Mysticism, history and art in their highest form…this is what awaits you during your visit of these two gems in Umbria that are nestled among rare and evocative landscapes.
In the morning we will introduce you to the splendid city of Assisi, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Tour of the splendid, unique town that is the birthplace to both Saint Francis and Saint Chiara. A mystical atmosphere permeates the entire city and draws in hundreds of tourists and pilgrims each year from all over the world. Tour of the marvellous Basilica of Saint Francis which contains his tomb, a tour of the Basilica of Saint Chiara with it’s splendid crypt, of the Piazza del Vescovado, the church of St. Stefano and St. Maria Maggiore, the Piazza del Comune and Minerva’s temple which dates back to the 1st century b.c. You will be amazed by both the cultural and religious richness of this beautiful gem in central Italy. We will pause for about one hour so you can have a quick lunch on your own, perhaps in one of the excellent restaurants the city has to offer, then around 2:00 pm we will depart for Spello, the ancient ‘Iulia Hispellum’ of the Romans, of which numerous traces remain even today. It’s historical centre has all of the flavour of an ancient Umbrian village, with narrow alleys and streets that wind in an orderly fashion through the stone buildings, creating a harmonious up and down rhythm interrupted only by rare and extraordinary glimpses of the surrounding landscape. Amongst all of the towns in Umbria, this is surely the one that contains the largest number of ruins from the Roman era: le cinta murarie (the walls surrounding the city), the remains of the theatre and the amphitheatre, the splendid porta consolare, the porta Urbica and the porta Venere. We will visit the majestic Church of Saint Maria Maggiore which contains some of the most beautiful works of the painter Pinturicchio. At the end of the day, you will find that this tour has let you experience a variety of emotions and has left many memories that you will always carry with you.
MONTEPULCIANO - PIENZA - MONTALCINO
This is a more classic tour, a more renowned tour, and considered by some to be the best tour… and it is definitely one of our favourites! We will discover together the rare beauties of the Sienese province, where even the ancient Romans would come to relax and soak up the numerous pleasures this land has to offer. We will depart for a visit of Montepulciano and a tour of the city centre, where we will take in together its impressive Renaissance buildings, churches, the main street of the town known as the ‘Corso’, and of course, Piazza Grande, the heart of the city. Before departing we will stop in some local wine cellars/shops where you can sample some of the delicious local products. We will then leave for Pienza for a visit of the small town whose history is so closely connected to that of its founder, Pope Pio II, who with the help of well known artists and architects was able to complete construction of these magnificent buildings in just three years, from 1459 to 1462. He thus transformed the small Sienese country village into a true Renaissance gem. Pienza is now well known for its production of Pecorino cheese, which may be sampled in any of the delightful wine bars or local cheese shops. We will stop here for about an hour so that you can enjoy lunch in one of the many wonderful restaurants in town before we set off for Montalcino. We will then visit the city which is located among the rolling hills of the Chianti region, at almost 600 meters altitude. The fortress of Montalcino was erected by the Sienese people in 1361 in order to keep command over the valleys below, and two centuries later was destined to become the last defence of the Sienese Republic after the surrender to Florence; here under the leadership of Pietro Strozzi they fought and resisted for four years more before giving up to the Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici. However, the origins of Montalcino date even further back. In the 12th century it was a free commune until the Sienese took control and built the fortress. Piazza del Popolo is the centre of civil life of the city, with its dwellings that date back to the late Middle Ages and frame the Palazzo dei Priori, a slender building with an interesting portico and a high tower.
-If you prefer to have a more relaxing tour it will be possible to substitute Montalcino’s visit with some characteristic places close to Pienza as Bagno Vignoni, very old roman thermal baths, and Monticchiello, wonderful small town dominating the Val d’Orcia.
PERUGIA - GUBBIO
Medieval Umbria, the one full of knights, as well as cosmopolitan Umbria, the center where various cultures come together…these are what are represented by a visit of Perugia, the region’s capital, and Gubbio, a city that has been magnificently preserved over the centuries. Perugia will be the first of our two stops. We will dive into the city center with its major monuments such as the Rocca Paolina, Palazzo dei Priori, Fontana Maggiore, and Arco etrusco. Its rich artistic and cultural heritage and its distinctive urban developments have made Perugia a unique city of primary importance since the beginning of its history. Today Perugia is a very modern and cosmopolitan city, known throughout the world for its variety of cultural events and for the University for Foreigners; extremely proud of its traditions and of the beautiful traces that remain from the past, Perugia holds innumerable nooks and corners where past and present have come together to create an unforgettable atmosphere. We will give you some free time for shopping in Corso Vannucci andfor a quick lunch. Around 2:00 pm we will transfer to Gubbio for a tour of this ancient city-state, which is certainly one of the most characteristic and picturesque cities, not only in Umbria but in all of Italy, greatly due to its medieval appearance which has remained intact and also to its’ particular urban structure—more specifically five parallel roads, each situated on different levels along the slope of the mountain, each one connected to the others by small alleys and stairways. Evidence of Gubbio’s ancient origins are found in the Tavole Eugubine, an extremely important document in Italian history, as well as in the Roman theatre located right outside of the city walls. Gubbio is home to numerous architectural masterpieces, such as the Palzzo dei Consoli, the piazza pensile , the palazzo pretorio, the palazzo Ducale and the Cathedral. Among the many important events that take place in the city, it is without doubt worth mentioning the Corsa dei Ceri and the commemoration of the Palio della Balestra. You will be stunned by the beauty of these areas that often get overlooked by major tourism.
The very heart of Tuscany…this is what you will be able to tell your friends that you have seen after spending a fantastic day with us, discovering one of the most well known geographical areas in the world. We will begin by visiting the most famous castle in the Chianti region, the Castello di Brolio. Dating back to the Lombard period, it was always strategically vital for the control of the vast area in Chianti. We will drop by the wine cellar where you can sample the wine produced from the property’s own vineyard. Before lunch we will head in the direction of San Donato in Perano. During the uphill climb that brings us to our lunch destination there will be a brief visit of the characteristic and quaint village of Vertine. Upon our arrival in San Donato in Perano you will enjoy lunch, during which you will sample a vast array of delicious Tuscan meats prepared over a wood fire, accompanied by excellent wines produced by the property. At the end of the meal there will be a visit of the magnificent villa, with it’s commanding position overlooking the valley.
After lunch we will transfer to the splendid Castello di Meleto cited for the first time in 1269 as the property of the Ricasoli family. It rises up not far from the border between the ancient Republic of Siena and of Florence. Guided tour of the castle (with a bottle of wine included in the price).
Given that Chianti is full of interesting places where to go we can substitute the visit to Castello di Meleto with a stop in some characteristic towns such as Castellina in Chianti o Gaiole in Chianti.
ORVIETO - TODI
Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a full day discovering these two wonderful Umbrian cities, rich in art, culture and history that dates back thousands of years?
In the morning we will arrive in Orvieto, a wonderful town rich with history and culture, in which everything is found concentrated together into a predetermined physical space given that the town is located on a hilltop cliff, with the traces of each and every era for almost three millenniums seen in the hillside. In fact, this enormous platform of volcanic deposit, rises up anywhere from 325 to 350 meters above the plains that stretch out below. It was created by the eruptive activity of volcanoes that deposited an enormous quantity of material. We will visit the marvellous Cathedral, considered the artistic ‘gem’ of Umbria, the Etruscan Museum and other major monuments. After a walk through the historical city centre with plenty of nice small shops selling typical food products we will also stop for lunch. Here you will have the opportunity to sample the famous white wine of the city and typical Umbrian specialties.
With a full stomach we will head towards Todi for a visit of the quaint streets, monuments and beautiful Medieval piazza of this ancient village, which over the centuries has preserved it’s charm from the Middle Ages. Todi was founded by the Etruscans between the 3rd and 1st century b.c. and it was during this period that the first set of city walls to close in the town were erected, however it was during the Middle Ages that the city itself took on the typical appearance of a castle. In the beginning of the 1990’s the University of Kentucky, using a series of qualifying parameters elected Todi ‘Ideal City’ a place where nature, man, history, and tradition all come together to reach a level of excellence recognized worldwide. You will thus be able to boast of having been to the city that, all at once, became the most liveable in the world.
SIENA - MONTERIGGIONI - SAN GIMIGNANO
Few words are needed to introduce a tour like this, that in reality can only introduce itself, with all of the fascination of Tuscany at its best. We will take you to places that are admired from every corner in the world, where you have always dreamed of going at least once in your life. We will first arrive in majestic Siena with a guided tour of one of Tuscany’s most beautiful historical centers, surrounded by the rolling hills of the Chianti and Maremma regions. Walking among the noble buildings and the narrow streets and alleys of the town center, we will arrive in the Piazza del Duomo which will draw you in with its marvellous Cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta that dates back to the 12th century. We will continue our tour with a visit to the very heart of the city that is home to the Palio race twice a year, the Piazza del Campo, where you can admire, among other things, the Palazzo Pubblico, also called the Palazzo Comunale, with the famous Torre del Mangia towering above it. We will leave you with some free time on your own that you may dedicate to shopping or to visit any of the numerous museums or art galleries of Siena, including the following: the Museo dell’Opera Metropolitana del Duomo; the Pinacoteca Nazionale; the Museo Civico del Palazzo Comunale. Close to midday we will depart for Monteriggioni for a quick visit of the small town. The Castle of Monteriggioni (Il Castello di Monteriggioni) was built by the Sienese in the period between 1213 and 1219, and was originally used as a defence of the city, in order to keep watch over the valleys in the direction of Florence, the historical rival of Siena. We will stop here for a quick lunch and then get on the road again, heading in the direction of San Gimignano. Here, together with tourists from all over the world, you will be able to enjoy this stupendous town. It is known as the ‘town of beautiful towers’ (città dalle belle Torri), with its defining medieval architecture seen in each street and piazza, as well as in the castle. A true gem immersed in the deep green of the Tuscan countryside. What else can we say? It will be impossible during the ride home not to realize the many wonders that you have just seen with your very own eyes, as you glance back at the many photos you have taken.