Welcome! We meet in the morning at Rome airport or town ready to start our tour together. Alessandro, your tour leader will be waiting for you with Mimmo, our professional driver. On our way home, if not too tired, we stop at Orvieto (Aiken, SC sister city), where we also have lunch. Orvieto was one of the capitol towns of Etruscan, a pre-roman population that was living in Tuscany and Umbria 1,500 years b.C. Transfer to your hotel where you have dinner.
Today, after breakfast, we journey to Siena which was a rival city to Florence during Medieval era. This was the town that aspired to build the largest Cathedral on Earth and tried to persuade the Pope to come and reside there. We will learn about the world's oldest bank still in operation (Monte dei Paschi di Siena) and the tradition of the "Palio", a horserace that has been run within the city walls for more than 600 years.
Return to hotel where you will have dinner.
Today, after breakfast, we visit the town synonymous with St. Francis, where he was born and lived. We can admire the story of his extraordinary life as described by the artists Cimabue and Giotto in their captivating frescos that we will discover in the Basilica. We will also hear the account of this man's life: how he underwent a conversion experience that led him quitting his privileged lifestyle and adopting the values of poverty, simplicity and happiness which in turn led thousands of others to follow him. After lunch we keep visiting and then return to hotel where you will have dinner.
Today, after breakfast, we visit the town called the "Stone City" and is one of the best preserved medieval towns in the World. Its inhabitants also have, by tradition, the reputation of being crazy! Gubbio dates back to Roman times, remains of which can still be seen. During the middle ages the city went through a period of great development due to its convenient geographical position. Walking through its streets and gazing up at the towering ancient buildings you can physically sense the past of this place... it is truly like stepping back in time. After lunch keep visiting and return to hotel where you will have dinner.
Day 5 - Cooking class or Cortona + Perugia: Ancient Umbrian Capitol Today, after breakfast, we will have fun visiting Rosetta (Alessandro's mother) that will teach you how to prepare Italian Tiramisù and guide you through the local open market in Magione. If not available we will visit Cortona, the town of Under the Tuscan Sun. We will have lunch, tasting the fresh Tiramisù just made and then we visit Perugia which was one of the most important towns of the ancient Etruscan tribe. Named "Augusta Perusia" when conquered by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. The city today is the most important in Umbria. Return to hotel where you will have dinner
Today, after breakfast, we will visit the Chianti region of Tuscany, known for its wine production and of course we will get to taste some of the best wines this area offers, along with local cheeses, homemade prosciutto, salami and Tuscan biscotti.
You will not only savour and appreciate the gastronomy of Chianti but also beautiful scenery and countryside that will leave you breathless. Return to hotel where you will have dinner
Today, after breakfast, we will leave towards San Gimignano, a hilltop town crowned by its ancient towers and which is known particularly now for its local crafts. After visiting we will go to Monteriggioni where we will have lunch. This is a well preserved fortified walled medieval town which was attacked many times by Florence but never captured. We will learn the secret of its defences in our exploration after lunch. Return to hotel where you will have dinner
Today, after breakfast, you can relax at our hotel: swim in the pool or reading a book enjoying the beautiful garden. If you feel more energetic you can use tennis courts or rent a bike.
If you feel like an excursion we can arrange a trip to the tranquil islands of Trasimeno Lake.
Please note breakfast is the only meal included today.
The Val d'Orcia is a scenic valley famous for quiet little medieval towns and their wine production and we will visit one of the most well-known, Montepulciano. We will visit wineries here and taste their wines. Have lunch in town. Afterwards we will carry on to Pienza, which was formerly known as Corsignano and where Pope Pius II was born. A cultured and intellectual man, he not only redisigned the town after the Renaissance plan of the ideal city but he renamed it too in his memory, Pienza! Return to hotel where you will have dinner
Today, after breakfast, we will visit Spoleto. As the Roman Empire declined Italy was invaded by a number of peoples, among them the Longobards who chose Spoleto as their Capital and there are many buildings that attests this to history. After visiting we will drive to Montefalco, a gem of a town with beautiful wide views of the surrounding Umbrian Countryside which also boasts one of Italy's finest red wines: Sagrantino. We will have lunch here tasting it. After lunch visit and return to hotel where you will have dinner
Today, after breakfast, we will visit the pearl of Tuscany, Florence. We will leave some free time for shopping at the important leather market and then start visiting the town the was the heart of the Renaissance period. We will see some of the most beautiful buildings in the World...with some curiosities... did you know that Brunelleschi's Dome in the picture is still nowadays the largest brick dome ever costructed? We will have lunch here, then keep visiting, time for extra-shopping and return to hotel where you will have dinner
Today, after breakfast, we will visit Todi, the perfectly formed Umbrian town nestling amongst the Umbria hills. The tradition is that the founders of the town wanted to build a settlement in the valley but during lunch an eagle appeared and stole the table cloth, flowing away with it to the top of a nearby hill. The king took this as an omen and decided to build the foundations there! We will visit and then go to a special trattoria with homemade food and veggies to taste best Italian slow-food. After lunch return to hotel where you will have dinner
Today, after breakfast, we change gear to experience peace and calm in the stunning setting of Casentino National Park. The sanctuary of La Verna is perched on the side of Mount Penna and walking through we reach the place where St. Francis received the stigmata (the marks of the wounds of Christ). The walls of the church and walkway are lined with exquisite terracotta panels of the renowned family of Renaissance artits, the Della Robbias. Here there is the World's Unique Collection of their works. After visit we enjoy lunch in a typical trattoria in Caprese Michelangelo, the village where the famous artist was born. Return to hotel where you will have dinner.
Today we will leave towards Rome Airport or Rome town and goodbye, Arrivederci in Italian, until the next time!