Loading

AUTHENTIC ITALY THE LANGUAGE INSTITUTE + VIA DEL VINO TOURS: UMBRIA + LE MARCHE

From Italy’s “Green Heart” to the Renaissance city of Urbino you’ll experience unspoiled landscapes, enduring architecture and a deeply mystical aura on our small group tour to undiscovered Umbria and Le Marche. We’ve crafted the journey to include a selection of food and wine activities with sightseeing, artisan workshop visits and free time to meander in beautiful cities of art and in mountain villages little-changed by the centuries. Visit Perugia, Assisi, Gubbio, Spoleto, Orvieto and Urbino with stops along the way in lesser-known towns and villages in Umbria, Le Marche and Lazio. Discover a landscape of green hills, majestic mountains and spacious valleys, crisscrossed by rivers and dotted with ancient hilltop towns where you'll walk in the footsteps of the ancient Etruscans, Roman Emperors, pious saints and countless artists.

ASSISI PANORAMA WITH THE CHURCH OF SANTA CHIARA IN THE BACKGROUND

DAY 1: Our tour begins with a transfer from Rome Fiumicino Airport to the walled city of Gubbio. Sitting majestically at the foot of Monte Ingino, Gubbio gives visitors a generous dose of medieval charm with its compact mass of stony buildings that seem to be carved from the mountain itself. Drop your bags at our hotel in the historic center and meet your fellow travelers over a light lunch before an afternoon tour of the city's major sights with Danilo, a Gubbio local who knows the city inside and out. Afterwards you'll have free time to explore before dinner at one of Danilo's favorite restaurants.

Palazzo dei Consoli Gubbio
1st CENTURY AD ROMAN THEATER ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF GUBBIO
THE BOSONE PALACE: OUR HISTORIC HOTEL IN THE CENTER OF GUBBIO

DAY 2: Today we'll head to Urbino, one of Italy's finest Renaissance cities in northern Le Marche. Thanks to the patronage of Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482, this beautiful university town has a remarkable artistic legacy and a perfectly preserved centro storico (old town) with a lively student atmosphere. We'll tour the city's main sights before lunch then have free time to explore.

URBINO, LE MARCHE

Urbino is probably the most well-known city of Le Marche and owes its reputation to two great figures, the Duke Federico da Montefeltro who supported its expansion during the Renaissance and the painter Raffaello Sanzio (A.K.A. Raphael), who was born here and whose family home can still be visited. Along with the artistic beauty of its palaces, churches and monuments, we'll enjoy the evocative hillside landscape surrounding it. Since 1998, the historic center of Urbino has enjoyed UNESCO World Heritage status.

THE TWIN TOWERS OF PALAZZO DUCALE, URBINO

DAY 3: After breakfast and our departure from Gubbio we'll visit Assisi, a beautiful town nestled along terraces on the lower slopes of Monte Subasio. The birthplace of San Francesco and Santa Chiara, Assisi is the spiritual heart of Umbria sitting above the valley with panoramic views of the countryside stretching out in every direction. We'll visit the Basilica of San Francesco, a UNESCO world heritage site whose upper basilica is decorated with 28 Giotto frescoes depicting the life of St. Francis then have free time before lunch.

BASILICA OF SAN FRANCESCO WITH ITS GIOTTO FRESCOES IN THE UPPER BASILICA
ASSISI'S TRANQUIL SURROUNDINGS

After our visit in Assisi we'll stop in Deruta, a town not far from Perugia that is famous for its majolica pottery where we'll visit a ceramics studio before check in at our hotel in Perugia's historic center. We'll relax a bit before our cooking class in the private home of a friend followed by dinner in the property's secluded garden.

Umbrian Pottery Craft in Deruta
OUR COOKING CLASS WITH CRISTINA AND HER NIECES
Cristina's Beautiful Garden
HOTEL BRUFANI PERUGIA IS LOCATED JUST STEPS FROM ALL OF THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS IN THE CENTRO STORICO
HOTEL BRUFANI
PERUGIA'S CORSO VANNUCCI IS THE BEST PLACE IN UMBRIA FOR AN EVENING PASSEGGIATA

DAY 4: Perugia is a city with a rich and ancient history. But with five universities and a constant influx of international students this city also has a hip, modern vibe. This morning you'll want to save your appetite as we explore Perugia with all five of our senses on a special Taste Perugia food and historical highlights tour. As we stroll through its maze of medieval streets, you'll be struck by the delicious simplicity of Umbrian food including delicious pastries, handmade pasta, truffles, chocolates, cheeses and more. We'll meet the local restaurant and shop owners as we learn about the fascinating history of this beautiful city. Then we'll end the tour with a creamy gelato from one of Italy's Top 100 rated artisan gelaterias.

PERUGIA CHOCOLATE, BLACK TRUFFLE PASTA, TORTA AL TESTO, UMBRIAN CHEESES
Fontana Maggiore Perugia
CENTRO STORICO DI PERUGIA
ARCO ETRUSCO (THE ARCH OF AUGUSTUS) PERUGIA

Our day in Perugia includes an optional afternoon visit to meet Marta Cucchia, a 4th generation master weaver whose workshop is located inside a little known church where Saint Francis and his disciples once lived and prayed. Meeting Marta is a real treat and an opportunity to learn about Umbria's rich textile tradition that's been kept alive by generations of independent, entrepreneurial women. In the afternoon there will be free time to meander and shop with a guide to the best boutiques in the historic center. We'll plan a group "apericena" for later in the evening. Aperitivo in Italy is that special time of day when Italians prepare themselves for eating and drinking by eating and drinking!!! Apericena can be called a cross between aperitvo and dinner.

Marta Cucchia, Museo-Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti

DAY 5: We'll head to Spoleto today, stopping along the way in Bevagna, a small town situated along the western border of the Valle Umbra that sits on the original Via Flaminia trade road. Inhabited since the 7th century BC, Bevagna has an ancient history including a revival in the 12th century that lends the town its present-day appearance. Bevagna's town walls incorporate part of the original Roman walls, outside of which very little has been built since the Middle Ages. After our visit we'll have lunch at the Dionigi winery before checking into our hotel in Spoleto for dinner on your own with suggestions provided.

BEVAGNA IS SURROUNDED BY WATERWAYS THAT HAVE ALWAYS PROVIDED A NATURAL DEFENSIVE SYSTEM
Cantina Dionigi

Cantina Dionigi is located in the prestigious Montefalco DOCG zone and produces a range of wines including one of my favorite Umbrian whites. This 100% Grechetto wine is delightfully floral and crisp due to a special technique known as cryomaceration, a process that allows better extraction of aromatic substances. Dionigi always provides a generous lunch in their beautiful tasting room where we'll be able to sample their full range of wines including the reds made from Montefalco's indigenous red grape variety, Sagrantino.

SPECTACULAR SUNSET OVER SPOLETO

The town of Spoleto's charms derive not only from its many remarkable monuments but also from its setting against the scenic backdrop of the Monteluco hill, which surrounds the town with centuries old holm oak forests. The historic center of Spoleto has maintained its medieval appearance, although traces of its Roman heritage are still visible. Most notable are the Arch of Drusus and Germanicus and the ancient Roman Theater, which today is part of the complex hosting the State Archaeological Museum and it is still used for performances and various plays.

The Roman Theater in Spoleto
PIAZZA DEL DUOMO SPOLETO

A must in Spoleto is the beautiful walk at the top of the town that passes the Ponte delle Torri, an imposing limestone structure with nine pillars and ten arches that joins the Rocca to the hill of Monteluco spanning a deep gorge.

Ponte delle Torre Spoleto

DAY 6: After breakfast today we'll have a truffle hunting adventure on a farm where Mac and his family have been hunting truffles for generations. The hunt starts from the mountain village of Pettino where an expert truffle hunter will comb the forests and pastures, following his highly trained dogs. When we have enough of this local delicacy to make lunch, we'll stop in a panoramic spot and have your first taste of a freshly dug truffle and a glass or two of Prosecco. Then back at the village you can lend a hand to Francesca as she makes fresh pasta or simply sit back and watch as you enjoy an assortment of home-made specialties such as truffle bruschetta, capocollo and the family's own pecorino cheese – with loads of great local wine.

TRUFFLE HUNTING AND LUNCH WITH A FAMILY IN PETTINO

We'll then sit down to a big traditional Umbrian meal where all of the recipes have a distinctly ‘wild’ flavor. Family and friends from the village often join for this relaxing, fun and totally authentic lunch. In the afternoon we'll head back to Spoleto for a leisurely evening and dinner.

DAY 7: After breakfast, we'll check out and head to Orvieto, a city with an ancient and mysterious atmosphere that soars above the surrounding valley, perched atop of a tufa cliff. Luckily, a series of funiculars, escalators and elevators help visitors access the historic center, which is enhanced not only by its monuments and museums but through the tradition of wood craftsmanship, wrought iron and majolica pottery. We'll check into the Hotel Palazzo Piccolomini in Orvieto's historic center where we'll tour the city and its duomo before lunch. Later in the day there will be free time to meander and shop before our official "farewell" dinner.

VIEW OF ORVIETO AND SURROUNDING COUNTRYSIDE
THE DUOMO OF ORVIETO WITH ITS SPECTACULAR FACADE INCLUDING COLORED "TESSERAE" CERAMIC MOSAICS
Palazzo Piccolomini Orvieto
PALAZZO PICCOLOMINI LOBBY
Palazzo Piccolomini

DAY 8: Though technically not in Umbria or Le Marche, the town of Civita di Bagnoregio, known as "La Città che Muore" (The Dying City) is an important stop along the route back to Rome. This ancient town in Lazio, a stone's throw from Orvieto was founded by the Etruscans more than 2,500 years ago. All that remains now is an evocative cluster of homes, narrow streets and a few eateries that cater to seasonal tourists and the town's six permanent residents. Much has been done in recent years to save Civita di Bagnoregio, which at one time was considered the “jewel city of the Tiber Valley.” Its decline in the 17th century, due to earthquakes and soil erosion sent many of its medieval buildings tumbling down the cliffs, and the inhabitants fleeing to nearby towns. Nowadays the town, which sits precariously atop a precipice in a fairytale-like setting, can only be reached by a narrow footbridge - a walk, much of it an incline, that takes about ten minutes.

CIVITA DI BAGNOREGIO AND ITS EVOCATIVE SURROUNDINGS
Civita di Bagnoregio, Lazio

After our visit and lunch in Civita di Bagnoregio our tour concludes and the group will continue to Rome for drop off, check in and dinner on your own at the Hilton Garden Rome Airport. Weather and time permitting we can make an optional stop at Bomarzo's "Parco dei Mostri" (Park of the Monsters) a garden named after the many larger-than-life and fantastical sculptures, some carved directly into the bedrock, which populate this predominantly barren landscape.

Bomarzo Sculpture Garden

The Hilton Garden Rome Airport hotel provides a free shuttle every half hour to the main terminals of Fiumicino's Leonardo DaVinci Airport, making catching an early morning flight almost as easy as just rolling out of bed!

8 Nights: Sept 10-17, 2018, €3,200 per person (double), Min 8/Max 12 guests Single Supplement €400 (Limited QTY Available)

INCLUSIONS:

  • Round Trip Group transfer from Rome Fiumicino Airport
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Driver and mini coach transport
  • Daily continental breakfast
  • 8 lunches with wine
  • 6 dinners with wine
  • Taste Perugia food tour
  • Winery tour and tasting
  • Truffle hunting experience
  • Cooking class
  • Entrance fees for historical sites and local guides where applicable

Individual transfers and additional nights are available upon request (extra charges apply). Airfare is not included. Dietary restrictions can be accommodated with advance notice.

A 25% deposit is due at the time of booking. The deposit is non-refundable within 90 days of the tour start. Payment in full is due 60 days prior to departure. For full terms, please visit: THIS LINK and reference the section on private tours and group culinary excursions.

MEET YOUR GUIDES

GIULIANA SERVADIO

Giuliana Servadio was born and raised in Perugia, Italy but her travels around the world, meeting countless people from other cultures had a lasting impact on her way of thinking, her open, fun and adventurous outlook on life and ultimately her decision to make her living by bringing the joy of travel to others. After studying political science Giuliana met her dear friend Pierre and they married. The newlyweds' choice of a honeymoon destination will certainly attest to her adventurous nature. They drove an old FIAT from Italy to Iran! Later, after the couple earned graduate degrees in the USA, they outfitted an old Land Rover into a makeshift camper and drove nearly 50,000 miles from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Patagonia, South America on a journey that lasted eleven months.

Giuliana says her life is a bit like a mosaic—as if she’s lived more than one. She's lived in Switzerland and France where for many years she raised goats and sold her fresh cheeses at a nearby farmer's market. But the call of the world beckoned once again and she returned to Italy to immerse herself in her true calling, the business of travel. Giuliana speaks fluent French, English, Spanish and her native Italian. A big fan of hiking, she’s trekked all over the globe and shortly after undergoing hip replacement surgery a couple of years ago, she still managed to shred the slopes of the Dolomites, leaving Sue in the dust on nearly every run!

Susan Guerra was born and raised in northern New Jersey, in an Italian American family, just outside of New York City. Her paternal grandparents are from southern Italy. Her father’s first language was Italian and anyone who knows her will tell you she spent her whole life dreaming about someday living Italy. After studying graphic design, Susan met her husband and as they raised their three sons in Montclair New Jersey, she worked as a designer and ultimately a creative director. Like Giuliana, her work life became a bit of a mosaic that ultimately led her to study wine—another subject she was passionate about. After earning her advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, she took her first job in the wine business and also blogged about wine for New Jersey Monthly Magazine.

But the call of Italy was never far from her mind and after a decade in the wine trade an overseas opportunity led her and her husband to sell everything and take the chance to move to Perugia, the capital city of Umbria. Anxious to improve her Italian shortly after her arrival, Sue invited a neighbor to dinner, who asked if she could bring her cousin—none other than Giuliana! Naturally, a collaboration was born and Sue launched her company Via del Vino Tours—a marriage of her passions for Italy, food and wine. Susan speaks passable Italian, broken Spanish and exceptional English! She spends her free time obsessing about the uses of the subjunctive tense, exploring the lesser-known corners of Italy and skiing in the Alps!

Please note: Although every effort is made to adhere to the stated tour, itineraries are sometimes subject to change at any time due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of The Language Center, Via del Vino, LLC and its service providers.

Credits:

Created with images by evondue - "perugia panorama church santa giuliana" • evondue - "assisi landscape santa chiara" • yoloizi - "assisi view panorama" • bogitw - "architecture old city"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.