Trip Type : N/A

The Hidden Villages of Tuscany and Umbria

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4.6 . Excellent
89%
Travel Style: Array
Physical Level: N/A
  • N/A
  • Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
    12 days
    From: $ 2,749 $ 229 / day
    Checking price

    Overview

    Highlights

    • Explore the village of Anghiari, designated as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy,” and learn about its rich history
    • Delight in a field trip to the Collegio del Cambio in Perugia to admire Perugino's frescoes
    • Discover the mysteries of Orvieto, a hilltop village renowned for its Cathedral of St
    • Mary of Assumption and the underground caves that were dug beneath the city 2,500 years ago

    Short Description

    Go off the beaten path to discover the charming, lesser-known villages of Tuscany and Umbria. Learn about Roman history, sample delicious regional food and much more!

    Trip Type N/A
    See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
    Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
    Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
    Lodging Level Value - 3 star
    Flights & Transport N/A
    Start City N/A
    End City N/A

    Destinations

    Italy

    Cities & Attractions

    Assisi Perugia Rome Tuscany Umbria

    Activities

    N/A

    N/A
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    Itinerary

    Day 1
    In Transit to Program
    In Flight

    Day 2
    Arrive Florence, To Anghiari, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
    Anghiari (AR) D Hotel La Meridiana
    Activity note: Hotel check-in from 12:00 Noon.

    Afternoon: After checking-in at the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax before our Orientation session. We will have a light snack and welcome drink. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Breakfasts in our program will be hearty buffets; most lunches and some other meals will be two courses featuring local dishes. These are the names of typical food courses in Italy: l'antipasto, a hot or cold appetizer; il primo piatto, the first course, often soup or pasta; il secondo piatto, the second course or main dish; il contorno piatto, a side dish such as vegetables or salad; and il dolce, dessert. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

    Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a set, plated meal featuring regional cuisine and fresh seafood with beverage choices of a glass of wine, mineral water, coffee; other beverages available for purchase.

    Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

    Day 3
    Anghiari, Battaglia Museum, Busatti Factory, Castle of Sorci
    Anghiari (AR) B,D Hotel La Meridiana
    Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile (1.5 km) at moderate pace throughout the day; standing in museums. At Museo Della Battaglia and Museo Taglieschi, several flights of stairs with handrail (no elevator). At Busatti Textile Factory, flight of stairs with handrail (no elevator); downstairs uneven surface and dust. To restaurant, walking less than 1/2 mile including uphill. At the castle of Sorci, 2 flights of uneven steps to go upstairs and down into the cellar, 2 flights of stairs to go to the dinner room.

    Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes choices such as meats (ham, salami), eggs, cheese, cereals, yogurt, fresh fruit, bread, pastries, jam, milk, tea, plus espresso coffee or cappuccino served by the waiter.

    Morning: We’ll have some time after breakfast when you might like to explore the weekly street market in Anghiari. Then, with our Group Leader, we’ll set out on a walking field trip to the Museo della Battaglia (Museum of the Battle) and meet the Director who will introduce the museum. The Battle of Anghiari was fought on June 29, 1440, between forces of Florence and Milan. The Florentines won and it was significant because it helped to define the borders of Tuscany. The museum traces human habitation back to the prehistoric era and documents social as well as military history. We’ll learn why this was called the Battle for the Renaissance, although — as Niccolò Machiavelli remarked — the only death was a soldier who fell off his horse! But the result was so significant that none less than Leonardo da Vinci painted a mural commemorating the battle, famous in its day and copied by many artists but since lost for centuries.

    Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

    Afternoon: We will walk to the Busatti textile factory, in operation since 1842, where we’ll learn about antique weaving and manufacturing techniques from a member of the staff. We will also see the old weaving machines still used to produce fine linens and textiles.< br> Walk through the historical center of Anghiari, with our group leader and a local citizen who will give you a warm welcoming in the village. Anghiari has been officially designated as one of the “Borghi più belli d'Italia” (Most Beautiful Villages in Italy). Surrounded by walls dating from the 13th Century, it is a place of both history and culture. Characteristic stone buildings overlook colorful squares with historic churches, museums, and narrow streets with antique shops and furniture restoration laboratories for which the town has become known.< br> We’ll also walk to the Palazzo Taglieschi that houses the State Museum. It was originally the home of the wealthy, aristocratic Taglieschi family and has been beautifully maintained. The museum has 20 rooms on 4 floors with a fascinating collection of sculptures, paintings, and household items recreating the feeling of a Renaissance palace.

    Dinner: In the restaurant at the Castle of Sorci, a short ride from the hotel in Anghiari , we’ll choose from a degustation menu with several options of starters, first course, second course, and dessert, plus wine, coffee, water. We will be serenaded with popular Tuscan music and songs performed by a local group.

    Evening: We will arrive back to the hotel in the late evening, approximately 11:00 p.m.

    Day 4
    Gubbio, Free Time
    Anghiari (AR) B,D Hotel La Meridiana
    Activity note: The drive from Anghiari to Gubbio is about 50 miles (80 km), approximately 1.5 hours. Walking up to 2 miles (4 km); hilly (difference in height up to 110 feet), several city elevators.

    Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

    Morning: En route to our field trip destinations this morning, the Group Leader will provide commentary and background information for self-directed explorations for your free time. We will then meet a local expert in Gubbio who will lead our field trip. Gubbio is beautifully located on the lower slopes of Mt. Ingino. Gubbio is an extremely ancient town mentioned in the famous Eugubine Tablets and was in the past the capital of Umbria. Gubbio's compact town centre has a good selection of mediaeval, Gothic, and Renaissance structures built of gray limestone, with great views over the beautiful countryside.

    Lunch: On your own in Gubbio to enjoy what you like.

    Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

    Dinner: At a local restaurant.

    Evening: At leisure.

    Day 5
    Monterchi, Piero della Francesca, San Sepolcro, Lectures
    Anghiari (AR) B,L,D Hotel La Meridiana
    Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; generally flat terrain; standing in the Civic Museum.

    Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

    Morning: We’ll embark on a field trip to Monterchi, where della Francesca’s mother was born, and the Museo della Madonna del Parto to view one of the highlights of Renaissance art, his “Madonna del Parto” (Madonna of Parturition, i.e.,childbirth). Aside from its artistic power, the image of a pregnant Virgin Mary was associated with women praying for safe deliveries. Della Francesca supposedly completed it in only seven days. The painting includes a number of theological and religious symbols. Continuing our study of della Francesca, we’ll go next to the Museo Civico di Sansepolcro to admire more of his legacy, in particular the “Resurrection” fresco, considered one of the most important works of art in the world. One of the images in this iconic masterpiece may be a self-portrait of the artist. In the Madonna del Parto Museum and in the Sansepolcro Civic Museum, our art historian lecturer will give two lectures on Piero della Francesca, one of the foundational artists of the Renaissance, who was also a mathematical theorist. He was born in Borgo Sansepolcro and always maintained a connection with his home region, often including its vistas in his paintings.

    Lunch: At a local restaurant.

    Afternoon: After returning to the hotel, we will hear a lecture on Tuscany and Umbria today.

    Dinner: At a local pizzeria.

    Evening: At leisure.

    Day 6
    Arezzo
    Anghiari (AR) B,L,D Hotel La Meridiana
    Activity note: The drive to Arezzo is about 18 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Walking up to 1.5 miles, approximately 2.5 hours; standing up to 1 hour, opportunities to sit in churches and museum, restrooms available; generally flat terrain.

    Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

    Morning: In Arezzo, our lecturer will provide background information for our field trip. We’ll visit the Cathedral, the Church of San Domenico, and the House of Vasari. During an expert led exploration of the Church of Saint Francis, we’ll admire masterpieces of Piero della Francesca.

    Lunch: At a local restaurant.

    Afternoon: Free Time. We’ll return to the hotel late afternoon.

    Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

    Evening: At leisure.

    Day 7
    La Verna, Free Time
    Anghiari (AR) B,L Hotel La Meridiana
    Activity note: The drive to La Verna is about 24 miles (40 km), approximately 1.5 hours. To Castelnuovo is about 16 miles (25 km), approximately 40 minutes. In La Verna, generally flat terrain.

    Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

    Morning: We’ll begin the day with a field trip to the Franciscan Sanctuary in La Verna where St. Francis received the stigmata. The Sanctuary is located on Mount Penna and it is one of the main spiritual and religious sites in this area. Here we see the small chapel of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the chapel of the Relics, and the Basilica with Andrea della Robbia’s terracotta. Our next stop is in the hills of Sansepolcro, from where there is a magnificent view on the Upper Tiber Valley, and where we will have lunch.

    Lunch: With a local family, in their house.

    Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free.

    Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

    Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

    Day 8
    Cortona, Spello
    Spello (Perugia) B,D Albergo del Teatro
    Activity note: The drive to Cortona is about 28 miles (46 km), approximately 1.5 hours. Walking up to 1.5 miles in Cortona; hilly (difference in height up to 185 feet) but with sections of flat terrain. The drive from Cortona to Spello is about 47 miles (76 km), approximately 1.5 hours.

    Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

    Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will board our private motorcoach and transfer to Spello, where we will check in at our hotel. We will stop en route at Cortona, a scenic Tuscan hill town with great art, great atmosphere, and superb views, for some free time

    Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like in Cortona.

    Afternoon: We expect to arrive in Spello in the late afternoon when we will check in to the hotel.

    Dinner: At a local restaurant.

    Evening: At leisure.

    Day 9
    Spoleto, Villa dei Mosaici in Spello
    Spello (Perugia) B,L Albergo del Teatro
    Activity note: The drive from Spello to Spoleto is about 21 miles (34 km), less than 1/2 hour. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; generally flat terrain, some hilly sections.

    Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

    Morning: Our field trip of the day will be to Spoleto. We will visit with a local expert the Cathedral with frescoes by Filippo LIppi and Pintoricchio and the Church of Santa Eufemia

    Lunch: At a local restaurant.

    Afternoon: We’ll then return to Spello for a visit with our group leader of the Villa dei Mosaici.

    Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

    Evening: At leisure.

    Day 10
    Perugia, Assisi
    Spello (Perugia) B,D Albergo del Teatro
    Activity note: The drive to Perugia is about 20 miles (32 km), approximately 1 hour. Perugia to Assisi is about 16 miles (26 km), approximately 1 hour. Assisi to Spello is about 8 miles (14 km), approximately 1/2 hour. Walking throughout the day approximately 3.5 miles (5.5 km). In Perugia and Assisi, flat terrain, escalators to reach the top; some cobblestone alleys in Assisi.

    Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

    Morning: Our first field trip of the day will be to Perugia, the lively medieval walled hill town with historic buildings, modern shops and a notable artistic center. We will visit with our group leader the Collegio del Cambio to admire the Perugino' frescoes.

    Lunch: On your own in Perugia to enjoy what you like.

    Afternoon: Our next field trip is to Assisi, home of St. Francis (1181-1226). We will walk among the medieval houses and shops, on cobblestone streets and alleys to reach the Basilica of St. Francis (Basilica Papale e Sacro Convento di San Francesco). The Basilica is first of all a holy place as the lower sanctuary contains the tomb and shrine of St. Francis. In the upper church, we can admire magnificent frescos of Giotto and his school, based on stories of St. Francis.

    Dinner: At a local restaurant.

    Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

    Day 11
    Orvieto, Rome-Fiumicino, Free Time
    Roma Fiumicino B,D Golden Tulip Rome Airport Isola Sacra Hotel
    Activity note: The drive from Spello to Orvieto is abot 62 miles (100 km), approximately 1.5 hours; From Orvieto to Fiumicino is about 93 miles (150 km), approximately 2 hours. Walking in Orvieto approximately 1.5 miles (2 km); generally flat terrain.

    Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

    Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will board our private motorcoach and begin our transfer to Rome-Fiumicino. En route, we will stop at Orvieto for an expert led field trip in the town and the underground. Orvieto sits atop a cliff of tuff (rock formed by the consolidation of volcanic ash) overlooking the Paglia River valley. It was originally an Etruscan settlement from between the 9th and 8th centuries C.E. Its main attraction is the iconic Duomo — Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption — an artistic masterpiece of the late medieval era. This is one of the most famous cathedrals in Italy. In addition to the amazing façade, the St. Brizio Chapel contains frescoes painted by Luca Signorelli that influenced Michelangelo’s rendition of “The Last Judgment” in this Sistine Chapel. We will also explore the Underground, a maze of more than a thousand caves, tunnels, and wells dug out of the rock over more than 2,500 years and used for a variety of purposes. There are the remains of oil presses, wine cellars, kilns, cells for pigeons, storage areas, and many wells connected to tanks to supply water.

    Lunch: On your own in Orvieto to enjoy what you like.

    Afternoon: Continuing our transfer, we expect to arrive in Rome-Fiumicino in the late afternoon and check in to our final hotel.

    Dinner: At the hotel restaurant. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

    Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

    Day 12
    Program Concludes
    In Flight B
    Activity note: Hotel check out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

    Breakfast: Hotel buffet depending on departure time. This concludes our program.

    Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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    Price Per Day: $ 229 per day
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    38 Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings

    89%
    4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
    Excellent 31
    Great 3
    Average 1
    Disappointing 1
    Terrible 2
    Value
    4.6
    Guide
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    4.5
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    4.5
    Meals
    4.4

    The Hidden Villages of Tuscany and Umbria

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    Company Reviews

    Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism.

    5.0
    Details
    Value5.0
    Guide5.0
    Activities4.0
    Lodging4.0
    Transportation5.0
    Meals3.0
    This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

    It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
    The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
    https://vimeo.com/41612444

    While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

    The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

    After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

    Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

    Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
    https://vimeo.com/43273083

    Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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    Best trip I ever took!

    5.0
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    Activities5.0
    Lodging5.0
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    Meals5.0
    Loved the variety of different hotels, the expertise of the individual tour guides, the meals and especially the beautiful countryside. All 17 of us on the t rip got to know each other well, thanks to the kindness, the personality and the organizational skill of Mark, our tour director. Keep up the good work!
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    Sunrise, Sunset, Learning Photography

    5.0
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    Guide5.0
    Activities5.0
    Lodging4.0
    Transportation5.0
    Meals4.0
    Road Scholar offers many tours starting in Utah. The one I took focused of photography of the National Parks in Utah, with a professional photographer traveling with us. The schedule was set up such that we would get "the golden light" at each of the parks. Those not familiar with the term must know that the best light occurs at either sunrise or sunset, when the impact of the sun on objects is diffused by having to travel through the earth's atmosphere on a diagonal rather than vertically.

    As such, you can now expect that sleep will be an issue as you will get to bed late and rise early. But the territory is beautiful at all times, and more so illuminated by the golden light.

    In order to maximize your sleeping ability, the tour is only offered in the spring and the fall. Doing this in the winter would be pretty cold and require special equipment to traverse the snow. Doing it in the summer would basically mean no sleep as the daylight is so long.

    A great learning experience in beautiful territory.
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    Thank you Road Scholar

    5.0
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    Guide5.0
    Activities5.0
    Lodging5.0
    Transportation5.0
    Meals5.0
    Thank you Road Scholar Staff for planning a wonderful introduction to Cuba today. My previous knowledge was from people who felt they had to leave Cuba more than fifty years ago. I learned from qualified professors, tour guides and from talking to Cuban people from different parts of Cuba who work in different kinds of jobs. I could see how the Cuban people have come together to meet the challenges of the past and to prepare for a brighter future.
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    Thank you Road Scholar!

    5.0
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    Guide5.0
    Activities5.0
    Lodging5.0
    Transportation5.0
    Meals5.0
    Road Scholar tours are the best bang for your buck

    Fabulous!

    5.0
    Details
    Value5.0
    Guide5.0
    Activities5.0
    Lodging5.0
    Transportation5.0
    Meals5.0
    This is a fabulous program for young and old. The instructors are great with kids and adults. The activities are very well organized and varied. My grandson is already making plans for next year.

    Details

    Trip ID#:

    roadscholar-765

    Meals Included:

    • 22 Meals
    • 10 Breakfasts
    • 4 Lunches
    • 8 Dinners
    • The following choices may be available when requested in advance: Gluten Free, Low Fat, Low Salt, Vegetarian
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