Here we are, staring down another full year and wondering if or how we are going to make the most of it. For a lot of us, that means giving up vices or improving ourselves. For others, a new year holds the promise of traveling to new places or enjoying more of what life has to offer. So why not combine the two by taking a trip to Italy?

In this post, I’m going to look at the many ways to get  or stay fit while on vacation in Italy. If you’re looking for information  on golf in Italy, I’m saving that for its own post.

Biking Tours
It’s easy to want to eat everything in sight on a trip to Italy, but there are also plenty of ways to maintain a fitness regimen or get some exercise. The first thing that comes to mind are biking tours. If you really want to get your heart pumping, check out tours from Ciclismo Classico. Around since 1988, this bike tour company has numerous rides for the athletic traveler, including the Amalfi Stroll & Roll and the Bike Across Italy Tour, considered the company’s signature tour. If you really MUST break your diet, they also include a Giro del Gelato, a one-day mini tour.

Prefer easy cruising through Florence and Rome instead of pedaling through the countryside for days? Romantica Tours offers escorted Cruiser Bike tours, which are easier than walking from landmark to landmark and less obvious than a Segway tour. Here’s what you can expect:

For more information about bike tours around Italy with other companies and logistics of doing your own Giro d’Italia, check out this Italy Biking blog.

Walking Tours
Walking tours in Italy are also popular. These types of tours are for occasionally active travelers who like to take things at a slower pace or for more serious walking enthusiasts who enjoy challenging hikes. Some appealing trips for 2010 include the Wayfarers’ Historical Themed Walks around Italy, Andiamo Adventours’ Dolomite Hiking Tours, and Girosole’s Walking Tours of Umbria.

Horseback Riding
In this instance, the horse – and not you – is doing most of the activity. But horseback riding is considered a sport, so I will touch on a few of this type of tour here. The most unique of these that I have found is the Mount Etna Ride in Sicily offered by Hidden Trails. I was also inclined to include this category of active travel because of a blog I found recently via Twitter called Writing Horseback. I particularly enjoyed Zach Everson’s guest post on his Riding Vacation in Tuscany. This blog is chock full of information for horseback riding enthusiasts who like to travel.

Yoga Retreats
No need to travel the whole world, when you can eat, pray, and love in Italy. Sure, Italy doesn’t seem like the most typical place to study the eastern practice of yoga, but the craze is just as big there as it is throughout the world. Some of the yogi-centric tours available in Italy are offered by YogAdventure (in Puglia), the Hill That Breathes (Le Marche), Seeds of Yoga (near Rome in the Sabina Hills), and Symmetree (in Tuscany, near Siena). Many, many more yoga courses and retreats, as well as agriturismi geared to yoga lovers are cropping up in Italy every year, and you can find a longer list of the offerings on the websites Yoga in Italy and Retreats Online. There’s also the Roma Yoga Festival going on June 4-6, 2010.

Marathons in Italy
For the seriously fit or those who want to fulfill the dream of running a marathon “someday,” there is the possibility of running that 26.2 miles in Italy. I also can’t imagine better scenery for a such a trying endeavor (see the video of the Rome Marathon below). Several cities in Rome have annual marathons including Rome (March 21, 2010), Milan (April 11, 2010), Florence (November 28, 2010), and Pisa (December 19, 2010).

Photos © jooferr, fbnm

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