• Exploring the hill town of Spoleto made famous by its yearly “ Festival of Two worlds” arts festival held in the town and in Charleston South Carolina
• The chocolate capital of Perugia renowned for its Perugina “ Baci” chocolates
• Discovering the life of St. Francis in his hometown of Assisi
• Sampling white wine in cellars deep underground in Orvieto
• Lunch in Cortona of “ Under the Tuscan Sun” fame
• Staying in the centre of the medieval city of Siena
• Visiting the great vineyards of Montepulciano, Montalcino and Chianti
• Staying in a villa in Tuscany built by the Machiavelli family, designed by Michelangelo and located in 650 acres of vineyards and olive groves.
Day 1 Depart USA
You board your aircraft for the overnight flight to Rome, your gateway to the scenic charms of Umbria and Tuscany.
Day 2 Rome, Spoleto and Panicale
Upon arrival in Rome you are met by your guide and escorted to the car that will take you into the Umbrian countryside. Along the way you will stop in the town of Spoleto made famous by its annual Festival of the Two Worlds featuring music, dance and drama both in Spoleto and in Charleston in South Carolina. The festival was started in the 1950's by the composer Gian Carlo Menotti noted for his Christmas operetta Amahl and the Night Visitor. Like many town in both Unbria and Tuscany, Spoleto is a hill town and also surrounded by a wall. You will spend some time exploring the old upper town before continuing on to the town of Panicale where your hotel, an 19th century Patrician Villa, is located in close proximity to Lake Trasimeno. You have a chance to relax before having dinner.
Day 3 Perugia and Assisi
After breakfast your guide will be waiting to take you to two well known Umbrian towns. In the morning you will visit Perugia, another hill town and home to a major university. Others may know the city for its chociolates especially the Perugina "Baci" or " kiss" chocolates sold throughout the world. During your walking tour of the city you will visit "Piazza Grande", a beautiful square surrounded by historic buildings including Priori Palace, the Cathedral and, in the centre of the square, the Maggiore Fountain. After your tour you have lunch and then return to the car for the trip to Assisi, forever associated with St. Francis. You will see the highlights of the city and its links with St. Francis, including the magnificent cathedral, before returning to the villa.
Day 4 Orvieto, Above and Under Ground
Today you will join your guide for a visit to the town of Orvieto. The town is built on a butte and over the centuries, many tunnels were dug into the rock, primarily to allow an escape route for the town notables. In the 16th Century, Pope Clement VII took refuge here afer a dispute with the Holy Roman Emperor. Concerned about a siege, the Pope ordered that a well be dug 180 feet into the butte with a double helix pathway so that donkeys could go down one route and return up another carrying water. Above ground, Orvieto, an old Etruscan town, has many interesting sites, some dating back to the pre-Roman era. Of particular note is the cathedral which was built in the 13th Century. After touring the town you then enter a deep wine cellar where you have the opportunity to sample varieties of the white wine that Orvieto is known for. After the tasting you have lunch and then take an hour long tour through the "underground city". Before returning to the Villa you stop in the scenic town of Todi for a visit.
Day 5 A Day of Choices
We have left this day open for you to pursue a variety of options. You can walk to nearby medieval villages or take a walk to the banks of Lake Trasimeno. If you are looking for pamperimg Le Muse Spa may be just right. If you are looking for more adventure, the Villa has classic sports cars including an Alfa-Romeo Spyder and a Morgan that you can rent for a drive arounf the countryside. Of course, you can just relax by one of the pools with a good book.
Day 6 Cortona, Arezzo and Siena
Today you check out of the Villa and set out "Under the Tuscan Sun" to the town of Cortona made famous by the book by Frances Mayles and the movie. Before this fame, however, the city had belonged to the league of the Twelve Etruscan towns. Situated in the Chiana valley and not far from Lake Trasimeno, it is a very pretty town with breathtaking countryside all around and olive groves that reach all the way to the town walls. Since it has barely changed since the Renaissance, it is pleasant to stroll through the narrow medieval streets. You enjoy lunch at a Trattoria just off the main square. After lunch you depart for Arezzo, one of the centers of Etruscan civilization and also a very prosperous city in Roman times when it became famous for its production of "Aretine" vases. The town is also the birthplace of the poet Petrarch and the Renaissance artist and art historian Giorgio Vasari but today it is better known for the beautiful frescoes by Piero della Francesca which can be seen in the Basilica de San Francesco. After your visit you continue on to the city of Siena and your hotel located in the center of town. A stroll around town builds up an appetite for dinner.
Day 7 Discovering Siena
fter breakfast you meet your guide and begin a walking tour of this elegant city, founded in the Roman era. It became very rich thanks to its bankers and merchants. In the Twelfth Century it became an independent republic and became one of Florence's most bitter rivals. The city is set on a hill of beautiful red clay, enclosed by extensive walls and overlooked by the very elegant tower of the Palazzo Pubblico and the black and white striped cathedral. Its central square is the Piazza del Campo and it is considered one of the most beautiful squares in the world. Each year on the 2nd of July and the 16th of August it is the sight of the "Palio delle Contrade" where young Sienese jockeys dress up in medieval costumes for a horse race around this square (actually more of an oval). After visiting the highlights of the city you have lunch and then the rest of the day is at your leisure.
Day 8 The Great Reds of Tuscany
Today you have the opportunity to compare and contrast two of the great reds of Tuscany. Your first stop will be the hill town of Montepulciano which, although overshadowed by its wines, is also of architectural interest. Once through the city gates you head up the Corso which is the main street taking you to the main square at the top of the hill. While you will spend some time exploring the area it is the tasting of the wine that is our prime activity. The area offers not one but two famous wines, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano and Rosso de Montepulciano. You will sample both. A brief stop in the hill town of Pienza allows outstanding views and the chance to sample their famous Pecorino de Pienza a delicious sheep's' milk cheese. After lunch in a Trattoria you arrive in Montalcino known for Brunello di Montalcino, one of Italy's most esteemed wines. You have a chance to sample several varieties before returning to Siena.
Day 9 San Gimignano and Chianti
After breakfast you will be leaving Siena and heading for the Chianti region close to Florence where your next hotel is located. Your first stop is the beautiful medieval town of San Gimignano. The town is situated on a hill and is enclosed by an outer wall including five gates. Fifteen of the over 70 original watchtowers still exist making it unique among Tuscan towns. You will explore the city on foot and learn of its diverse history. It became a free commune in the twelfth century and rallied to the side of Florence against Siena, Pisa and Arezzo. It was also a great center of painting with many great painters from both Siena and Florence creating masterpieces here. After your visit, you stop at a delightful family restaurant where you enjoy an a la carte lunch with wine on a terrace overlooking the typical Tuscan countryside. The famous Chianti Region, home of the Chianti Classico, extends from Florence in the North to Siena in the South and is bordered by the Chianti Hills to the East and the Elsa and Pesa rivers to the West. Both Florence and Siena battled for control of this region and the monasteries, castles and fortresses built during that period were, in later years, transformed into villas and country residences. This afternoon you will visit the town of Greve where cheeses and seasoned meats will be offered for tasting prior to your winery visits where you will have a chance to taste not only the wine but the olive oil and balsamic vinegar for which this area is also justly famous. After your visit, you continue to your new hotel , a Villa built for the Machiavelli family and reputed to be designed by Michelangelo himself. Once you have checked in you have a chance to relax on the covered portico with original frescoes and superb views of the hills and the city of Florence in the distance.
Day 10 Vineyards and Olive Groves
Your villa sits amidst 650 acress of vineyeyards and olive groves providing the grapes and the olives for award winning wines and olive oils. You will get a tour of the vineyards and the olive groves as well as an explanation of the production of both. You get the chance to sample both the olive oil and the Chianti Classico before having lunch. In the afternoon you have two choices. First you can stay around the villa trying out the spa or the pool or just taking a walk around the estate. The second option is to take the villas shuttle into Florence only seven miles away. Although you will be going with your guide tomorrow, that day will be focused on sightseeing and this will give you the opportunity to do some shopping particularly for leather goods. Both your guide and the concierge can give you suggestions. Because of this choice we have left dinner open allowing you to eat at the villa or in town before taking a shuttle back.
Day 11 Florence... Heart of The Renaissance
After breakfast your guide will meet you and take you into Florence to allow you an in-depth view of the city, the buildings and what they represent to the history of the city and, indeed, mankind. You will visit the Piazza del Duomo and learn the history of the dome created by Brunelleschi and the nearby bell tower by Giotto. A visit to the Ponte Vecchio will be followed by a tour of Franciscan Santa Croce church and its masterpieces by Giotto, Donatello and Brunelleschi. Within its walls are the burial sites of the Renaissance greats, Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. You then stroll through the Piazza della Signoria, one of the most beautiful squares in the world. Your last visit of the morning is the Accademia Gallery famous for its collection of sculptures by Michelangelo. In addition to the world-renowned "David", you will also see the four "slaves" created for Pope Julius II and the "Pieta di Palestrina". After lunch you begin a private tour of the Uffizi, designed by Vasari as an administrative office for the Medici's, it was, in 1591, turned into an art gallery to make available to the public the great works of art acquired or commissioned by the Medici family. It is a treasure trove of Renaissance art including notable works by DaVinci, Giotto, Michelangelo, Botticelli and Raffaello and after viewing and studying the art you return to the villa. This evening, have an elegant farewell dinner with wine from the estate to toast the end of your introduction to Tuscany.
Day 12 Return to USA
After breakfast, your guide is waiting to take you to the airport where you begin your journey back to the USA arriving back later that same afternoon.
Available Year Round
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
Panicale, Umbria, Siena, Tuscany, Chianti