1-WEEK ITALIAN EXCELLENCES TOUR
Central Italy

From Umbria, the land of Saints, to the marvellous sceneries of Chianti and Val d’Orcia.
Enjoying harmony between man and nature through food and wine in Central Italy.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Umbria, the green heart of Italy
  • Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis
  • Val d’Orcia, where man and nature blend perfectly
  • Volterra, masters of the “smooth” stones
  • Chianti, winemakers for 800 years

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

Accommodations with Continental Breakfast:

  • Day 1: 3* to 5* Hotel / Country House in Spoleto area
  • Days 2 & 3: 3* to 5* Hotel / Country House in Assisi area
  • Days 4 & 5: 3* to 5* Hotel / Country House in Val d’Orcia area
  • Days 6: 3* to 5* Hotel / Country House in Chianti area
  • Day 7: 3* to 5* Hotel in Florence city centre 

Activities / Transfers:

  • Day 1: Pick up in Rome and transfer to Trevi area – Visit of an organic farm with tastings of olive oil and light lunch
  • Day 2: Full-day private tour of Assisi and Bevagna area - Visit of a Sagrantino di Montefalco winery with tasting
  • Day 3: Private truffle hunt experience with lunch - Private Round trip tour to Deruta - Visit of an Artisan Ceramics Laboratory in Deruta
  • Day 4: Transfer to Val d’Orcia - Stopover in Bagno Vignoni - Tuscan pasta Cooking Class in Val d'Orcia
  • Day 5: Full-day private tour of Val d’Orcia area, with stopovers in Pienza and Montalcino - Visit of an organic “Pecorino di Pienza” cheese laboratory with tasting and light lunch - Visit of an organic Brunello di Montalcino wine cellar with tastings
  • Day 6: Transfer to Volterra – Visit of an alabaster laboratory in Volterra - Stopover at San Galgano Abbey – Stopover in San Gimignano - Transfer to Chianti area
  • Day 7: Half-day private tour of Chianti area - Stopover in Greve in Chianti - Visit of a Chianti Classico winery with tastings and light lunch - Transfer to Florence city centre

All transfers by private car / minivan

Meals on request - List of recommended restaurants along the itinerary

Full assistance 24 hours/day by our Back Office

Optional pick ups and drop offs at Airports / Railway Stations

DAY 1 – SPOLETO

Benvenuti in Italia, welcome to Italy.

Umbria is called “the green heart of Italy”, and its people are very proud of it. First, you will stop at an organic farm near Trevi, where you will learn about organic cultivations and have a typical Umbrian lunch. Then you will stop in Spoleto, a medieval hill town in the Umbria region, famous for its summer music festival, “Festival dei Due Mondi”. Thick walls and a magnificent gorge surround the city and fine medieval and Roman monuments sit along the streets. The Duomo is one of Spoleto's finest sights: begun in the 12th century, the cathedral is set against a backdrop of hills and valleys. High above the town stands the Rocca, a Papal fortress which was used as a prison until the 1980s. A massive bridge, Ponte delle Torri, built in the 14th century, functioned as both a bridge and aqueduct; you can walk on it for breath-taking views of the valley and gorge below.

Spoleto, the Duomo

In Spoleto you should try the typical “torta al testo” (bread prepared with water, flour, salt, pepper, and olive oil, and cooked on a special marble stone in a wood-burning oven); it is sometimes stuffed with ham, sausage, or simply with herbs prepared in olive oil.

DAY 2 – ASSISI and bevagna

In upper Umbria, the spiritual centre of Italy, you will be based in Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis.

The splendid Basilica, one of the emblems of Christianity, located on Mount Subasio and overlooking the entire valley, is dedicated to him. Apart from being a strong appeal for millions of religious believers, the Basilica is a monument of great artistic value. Its construction of the Basilica began two years after his death, in 1228, and between the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century its walls were frescoed by the best artists of that time: Giotto, Cimabue, Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti. St. Francis's Basilica consists of two churches laid upon each other and a crypt containing the tomb of the Saint. The Lower Basilica, with a double front portal, presents a simple façade embellished with a rose window and a mosaic. The interior is decorated with frescoes by some of the most important painters from 1200 to 1300, from Cimabue to Giotto and from the Lorenzettis to Simone Martini. In the Upper Basilica you can see St. Francis' life in frescoes painted by maestro Giotto, the stories of the Old and New Testament covering the entire nave, and other wonderful frescoes by Cimabue and Torriti.

Try to enjoy the mystical atmosphere of Assisi:

"Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
Who feeds us and rules us,
And produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs."

(St. Francis, Prayer of the Canticle of the Creatures)

Assisi, the Basilica of St. Francis

DAY 3 – deruta

In the morning, you will wander in the local woods with a professional truffle hunter and his talented dog, looking for precious truffles. At the end of the hunt, you’ll enjoy your freshly foraged truffles tossed with tagliolini egg noodles and fried eggs – a delicious combination (pls note: the hunting season starts in March and ends in December, the best time is October and November).

Later on, you will then head for Deruta, famous for its splendid brightly coloured maiolica, here you will visit a ceramics laboratory, to enjoy the colourful creations of ceramics master artisans.

Ceramics in Deruta

At dinner, enjoy “salumi di cinghiale o cervo” (boar or deer sausage) and pecorino cheese, or taste the region's prized white truffle oil.

DAY 4 – val d’orcia

In these days you will explore Val d’Orcia, one of the most fascinating places in Italy, included by UNESCO in the list of World Heritage Sites. The landscape of Val d’Orcia is part of the agricultural hinterland of Siena, redrawn and developed when it was integrated into the territory of the city-state in the 14th and 15th centuries to reflect an idealized model of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing picture. The landscape’s distinctive aesthetics, flat chalk plains out of which almost conical hills with fortified settlements on the top rise, inspired many artists. These images have come to exemplify the beauty of well-managed Renaissance agricultural landscapes. 

On the way to your accommodation you will stop in Bagno Vignoni, a tiny and charming village where the main square is a pool 49 meters long and 29 wide, from the bottom of which bubble up several hot springs whose therapeutic quality has been renowned since antiquity! All this creates such a pleasant sensation, it will be hard to leave!

The “pici” is the most famous pasta dish in the Province of Siena. This pasta, thicker than normal spaghetti, is made by hand, rolling the dough and rubbing it with both hands. In the afternoon of your first day in the area, you will pleasantly learn to make not only pici, but also tagliatelle and tasty sauces for seasoning, such as meat ragout, aglione sauce, or cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper). At the end of this cooking course on fresh pasta, you will enjoy the first courses, properly paired with a glass of wine.

Val d'Orcia

DAY 5 – val d’orcia

Your first stop today will be Pienza, “Pio’s town”: here Pope Pius II decided to build the perfect palazzo for his papal court according to the project of an “Ideal City" drawn up by artists such as Piero della Francesca. From the loggia of the Palace, you will enjoy a breath-taking panorama of the landscape all around! Pienza is also the area of the typical “Pecorino di Fossa” cheese, a real delight to the palate; here you will visit a cheese factory, where the cheese masters will uncover the secrets of this ancient cheese, a real delight to the palate!

Then, close to Montalcino you will visit a Brunello winery, for a tasting of the most famous Supertuscan wine, probably the best Italian red!

Pecorino di Fossa

DAY 6 - VOLTERRA

On the way to Chianti, here is Volterra, Tuscany’s oldest continuously-inhabited town, with settlements documented since 1,500 B.C. Volterra has an unmistakable Medieval character, where the atmosphere of an ancient village can still be felt and whose authenticity is protected by the relative isolation that has limited the development of the city centre in the industrial era, safeguarding the city from urban speculation. Here you will walk on Piazza dei Priori, the main square, the centre of civic power since the 8th century, then Porta all'Arco, the 4th century B.C. Etruscan gate to the city walls, its 12th-century Cathedral and the ruins of the Roman Theater (40 B.C.) and the Roman Baths (3rd century AD).

Alabaster is a soft stone, much easier to work than marble, which is far harder. This malleability makes it perfect for carving small sculptures and richly detailed ornamental motifs. Historically, alabaster was used to carve the human face. More than 2,000 years have passed since the Etruscans first began carving alabaster, but it is still crafted today in the hilltop town of Volterra. Although it no longer represents a significant part of the local economy, it is nonetheless a fundamental part of the town’s culture. In the city, you will visit a laboratory and find beautiful shops selling artefacts and handmade unique pieces carved into this semi-transparent stone.

Volterra

DAY 7 – chianti

Today you will wander around Chianti, home of the world-famous wine!

Only a few regions can offer such a beautiful and rich panorama as Chianti: green hills sketched by miles and miles of vineyards and olive groves, ancient walled villages, panoramic curvy roads. Chianti Classico area spreads from Florence to Siena and includes the municipalities of Greve, Panzano, Radda, Gaiole and Castellina. Most of the route consists of the grid of roads connecting the larger towns to villages and castles, like the one leading to Radda, former headquarters of the Chianti Military League, and then to Castello di Brolio where Bettino Ricasoli devised the “recipe” for Chianti wine.

The history of Chianti has always been deeply linked to its wines and other first-rate products, making it the perfect destination for a journey through traditional Tuscan food and wine: the towns in the area make up the production zone of world-renowned Chianti DOCG red wine.

After Sagrantino, Brunello and Vino Nobile, Chianti will be the ideal conclusion of your tour at the discovery of the wines of Central Italy!

Finally, in the late afternoon you will head for your final destination, Florence.

The tour is over, but the memories of this fantastic journey will accompany you for a lifetime!

Arrivederci for another tour with VITOR, Visit Italy on the Road.

Chianti

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