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Walking & Hiking in Idyllic Tuscany and Mystical Umbria

Program Number: 3573RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/19/2013 - 9/30/2013; 4/9/2015 - 4/20/2015; 5/10/2015 - 5/21/2015; 9/20/2015 - 10/1/2015; 10/11/2015 - 10/22/2015;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Italy
Price starting at: $3,675.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 25; 10 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian    

Walk and hike through the incomparable Italian countryside and get up close to the culture, history, geology, art, flora and fauna of Tuscany and Umbria. Discover not only storied beauty and panoramic views of rolling pastures, famed vineyards and olive groves, but also learn about and appreciate some of the most historic and best-preserved medieval towns, villages and monuments in Europe.




Highlights

• In the town of Bevagna learn about two of Umbria’s finest Romanesque churches, while in Siena marvel at the medieval architecture made of sienna-colored brick.
• Follow in the footsteps of Saint Francis as you visit his hermitage and explore the town of Assisi.
• Savor the best cuisine in Tuscany at a special lunch at a mountain hut, visit renowned wineries and sample local cheeses.



Activity Particulars

Walking 4-8 miles per day over the course of 3-5 hours; trails and dirt roads are well-marked and generally gently undulating with some rocky sections and steep ascents and descents. Elevations of 5700 feet. Sturdy walking/hiking shoes are required (ankle-high shoes are not required, but highly recommended).




Date Specific Information

9-19-2013

The itinerary for this date is as follows: Arrival Rome, coach to Montefalco (Umbria) 5 nights; coach to Pienza (Tuscany), 5 nights; coach to/departure Rome. Please see the daily schedule for specifics.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Rome, coach to Pienza (Tuscany), 5 nights; coach to Montefalco (Umbria), 5 nights; coach to/departure Rome.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Rome
Coach to Pienza
5 nights

Surrounded by vineyards, villages and castles on precipitous rocks, the town of Pienza is adorned with early Renaissance buildings and surrounded by a towering, wooded mountain. Lectures indoors and out discuss Pope Pius and Renaissance Pienza, the local economy, history of Siena, Etruscans, Appenine nature and volcanic origins of the region, culture, flora and fauna. Walk through Monticchiello, known for its Teatro Povera (Poor Theater); Montalcino, home of the famed Brunello wine; extraordinary Siena; and Monte Amiata, noted for abundant natural springs. We also have excursions in Pienza and Bagno Vignoni (renowned for its hot springs) and sample Tuscan cheeses.



Coach to Montefalco
5 nights
Departure Rome

Considered the finest hill town in Umbria, Montefalco (Falcon’s Mount) is so called for its majestic views of the surrounding countryside. Rolling hills are carpeted with olive groves and dotted with ancient stone towns and villages. Lectures introduce Italian politics, history of Umbria, Pinturicchio, Giotto, Cimabue, art history and Umbrian gastronomy. Walk to the medieval town of Bevagna; Assisi; and San Marco, noted for Umbria’s finest vineyards. We also enjoy excursions to Perugia; Monte Patrico for a truffle hunt; and Spoleto with its Roman aqueduct. Activities include a demonstration of olive oil production and wine tasting.




Italy

“Dolce far niente,” the “sweetness of doing nothing.” This ode to leisure is a distinctly Italian phrase, and yet the expression does not do justice to the hard-work ethos of the nation’s inhabitants. The monuments, art and civilization bequeathed to the people of modern Italy are a testament to the industry of their forebearers, and the legacy lives on in today’s Italians, who work hard to better enjoy the sweetness of repose.



Accommodations
Pienza: Comfortable hotel located only a few yards away from the ancient walled part of town. Montefalco: Beautifully restored hotel surrounded by olive trees and with a wide view of the Umbrian valley.
Meals and Lodgings
   Camiano Piccolo Hotel
  Montefalco, Italy 5 nights
   Hotel Residence San Gregorio
  Pienza, Italy 5 nights
 Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: AZ.Agraria Fabrizi Dott. Piero
Via Camiano Piccolo, 5
06036 Montefalco (PG),  Italy Italy
phone: +390742379492
  Facility amenities: The Camiano Piccolo offers a convenient 24-hour reception as well as a garden, an outdoor swimming pool (seasonal) and laundry facilities. The apartment complex also provides on-site parking.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact Travel Provider. Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404

 Hotel Residence San Gregorio
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Located only a few meters away from the ancient walled town of Pienza, in the heart of Tuscany. The hotel has an ideal situation, with the Natural and Cultural Park of the Val d'Orcia in their backyard. The hotel was once a theater in the 1930's due to the patronage of the Pienzan baritone Benvenuto Franci. The hotel is a very unique structure which a large private courtyard.
  Contact info: Via della Madonnina4
Pienza,  53026 Italy
phone: +390579748175
web: www.sangregorioresidencehotel.it
  Room amenities: Satellite TV, telephone, AC, heating, wireless access, mini-bar, and hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: General facilities include a restaurant, bar, beautiful gardens and a outdoor swimming pool (in season) and a jacuzzi. Room service, laundry, dry cleaning, ironing service, and free Wi-fi throughout the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Rome Airport: Meet your group by 10:00 AM for the group transfer to Montefalco (approx. 2.5 hours). (Hotel check-in is at 2:00 PM.) You will be staying at Camiano Piccolo Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Pienza, Italy. After breakfast on the last day, group transfer to Rome airport (approx. 2.5 hours). You will be staying at Hotel Residence San Gregorio the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the return date to the U.S.
  Parking availability:
n/a
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Directions given in final program packet of train/bus schedules.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Montefalco
  Nearest airport:  Rome
  Transportation to site: Take a train to the Rome Central Station. Then change trains, and take a train to the Foligno Train Station. From there, take a taxi to the hotel.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Pienza
  Nearest airport:  Rome
  Transportation from site: From the Hotel Residence San Gregorio in Pienza, take a taxi to the train station in Chiusi. From Chiusi, take a train to the airport in Rome.
Elevation Note: Most scheduled activities take place above 3500 feet, but no higher then 5700 feet (Monte Amiata).

Equipment Requirements: Sturdy walking/hiking shoes are required (ankle-high shoes are not required, but highly recommended).
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A. to Europe
(Thursday, September 19)
   
 In Transit: Overnight flight.

Day 2: Rome to Montefalco
(Friday, September 20)
   
 Arrive To: Arrive Rome - transfer to Montefalco.
 Afternoon: Welcome drink and introduction.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: "Bevagna Walk"
(Saturday, September 21)

Note: 3.5 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to Gualdo Cattaneo for a short visit of this medieval fortified village. Take in a short lecture on Umbrian history during the walk through the hamlet. Then, walk through the farm land and woods to an olive mill and learn about olive oil production.
 Lunch: Lunch at the family-run mill.
 Afternoon: Transfer to the serene and handsome medieval town of Bevagna (662 feet), a city older than Rome. This town has two of Umbria's finest Romanesque churches. Visit the permanent exhibition of the Medieval House with a lecture on local life in the Middle Ages compared to the Roman Age.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: "Wine Country"
(Sunday, September 22)

Note: 4.5 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Walking field trip through Montefalco and the famous Sagrantino wine country. While walking along a river with vineyards, hear a lecture on local wines. The origins of these wines go back to Etruscan times, and today are among the most important Italian red wines. This morning's walk continues on the slopes of Montepennino overlooking the entire Umbrian vale.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local winery. Visit the estate.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, walk the southern trail back to Montefalco and hear a field lecture along the way.
 Dinner: Independent dinner to try out one of the local establishments.
   
Accommodations: Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: "Assisi Walk"
(Monday, September 23)

Note: 2 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach directly to St. Francis’ Hermitage for a field trip. Afterwards, walk down to Assisi (1815 feet) for walk of the town. Assisi is visible for miles around, tucked under the ridge of Monte Subasio. Enjoy the tranquil back streets and homes with geranium-filled window boxes in this famous town. Walking at a good pace, one can see almost all the sights of Assisi in one day.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local establishment in Assisi.
 Afternoon: Guided field trip of the Basilica of St. Francis, led by a monk living in the monastery. Return to the hotel by private coach.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: "Valnerina and Truffle Walk"
(Tuesday, September 24)

Note: 3.5 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach to Monte Patrico (3340 feet) to a farm estate in the mountains. Go on a truffle hunt with the farm owner and his truffle dogs. Monte Patrico is located above the town of Spoleto, on the summit of the Valnerina Mountains which are known for their rugged beauty. Listen to a field lecture entitled "All About Truffles."
 Lunch: Lunch with the farmers.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, transfer by coach to the woods of Monteluco and walk down to Spoleto (1495 feet), one of Umbria’s loveliest hill towns. In Spoleto, you will view the Ponte delle Torri (one of the greatest engineering works of the trecento, a bridge and aqueduct of 10 towering arches linking Spoleto with the slopes of Monteluco). You will walk to the upper part of the town center before taking the coach back to Montefalco.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Montefalco to Pienza / Transfer Day
(Wednesday, September 25)

Note: 3 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach along the banks of Lake Trasimeno to Perugia (855 feet) where a stop will be made for a city walk. Perugia is one of the 12 Etruscan city-states and is the regional capital. It also has one of the largest state universities in the country.
 Lunch: Independent lunch.
 Afternoon: Continue coach transfer to Pienza and hotel check-in.
 Dinner: Orientation briefing followed by dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Residence San Gregorio
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: "Pienza and Its Produces"
(Thursday, September 26)

Note: 5.5 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Walk from the hotel through beautiful Tuscany to reach Monticchiello (1667 feet), a small renovated village known for its Teatro Povera (Poor Theatre).
 Lunch: Lunch with cheese tasting in Monticchiello followed by a lecture on the cheese making called "Tuscan Cheese and Local Produce."
 Afternoon: This afternoon, optional walk to Montepulciano where the landscape is beautiful (the last part of this walk can be a bit of a climb, altitude difference of 600 feet). Montepulciano is a medieval village perched on the crest of a hill of volcanic rock. Its buildings represent the perfect style of the Florentine Renaissance. After a walk through the town, enjoy a wine tasting of Nobile di Montepulciano, along with a lecture on local wines. Please note: Should you decide NOT to take the afternoon walk, you will be transferred by coach to Montepulciano where you will meet the group. At the town square at 5:00 PM, walk through the town to the coach transfer back to the hotel (15 minutes).
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Residence San Gregorio
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: "Siena"
(Friday, September 27)

Note: 3 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Depart by coach to Siena for an in-depth walking field trip of this beautiful city draped on its hills and noted for its flamboyant ensemble of medieval buildings in brown (siena-colored) brick. On its lower slopes, you will find gardens and olive groves that fill half of the space within the old city wall. Above, you will find Tuscany’s tallest tower and dazzling cathedral. Learn about the history of Siena during this morning's field lecture.
 Lunch: Independent lunch.
 Afternoon: Afternoon free to explore this city on your own. Meet at a previously determined point and return to the hotel by coach.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Residence San Gregorio
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: "Monte Amiata & The Tuscan Mountains"
(Saturday, September 28)

Note: 4.5 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach ride to Monte Amiata (5700 feet), the highest point and only real mountain in southern Tuscany. The mountains are covered with thick chestnut and beech forests, criss-crossed with brooks and streams. Monte Amiata is a broad-based mountain, visible for miles from the low hills with a well-maintained trail system in a gorgeous countryside. A circle of towns rings its lower slopes. The delightful spring-fed pools here belong to a geometrical system that more or less encircles Monte Amiata, producing an abundance of natural springs. This morning’s walk (approximately 5 miles, with an altitude difference of 1300 feet) includes a bit of a climb; however, the scenery is well worth the effort. Take in a field lecture about the Apennine nature and volcanic origins of the area.
 Lunch: Lunch at a mountain hut, known for serving the best food in southern Tuscany.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, take a walk in the woods.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Residence San Gregorio
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: "Montalcino Walk"
(Sunday, September 29)

Note: 5 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Depart by coach to Montalcino (1831 feet), home of the famous Brunello wine. After a short guided field trip of Montalcino, walk through vineyards towards the Abbey of St. Antimo in the center of this charming valley. Time permitting, listen to Gregorian chants in the abbey.
 Lunch: Wine with lunch at the local osteria offering their specialties.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, take a coach to Bagno Vignoni, famous for its hot springs. After dipping your feet in the warm, soothing water, walk back to the hotel.
 Dinner: Independent dinner.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Residence San Gregorio
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12: Departure day back to the U.S.A.
(Monday, September 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Private coach to the Rome airport for flights back to the USA. Program ends. .
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Pienza Pienza
Two afternoons of independent time. Group leader will assist you with additional information after your arrival.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Culinary Traveller in Tuscany


Author: Beth Elon


Description: A resident in Tuscany for 30 years, Elon presents 100 recipes from a hand-picked selection of favorite restaurants in this charming cookbook and travel guide. With 10 itineraries highlighting largely undiscovered regions of Tuscany, restaurants, trattorie, shops, wineries, olive oil producers, markets and food festivals.



After Hannibal


Author: Barry Unsworth


Description: Unsworth's vivid novel takes in the history, landscape, pleasures and the other Americans and Europeans, like himself, who live in Umbria.



Central Italy Map


Author: Touring Club Italiano


Description: A regional map of Central Italy, including Tuscany, Umbria and Rome, at a scale of 1:400,000.



Every Day in Tuscany, Seasons of an Italian Life


Author: Frances Mayes


Description: Twenty years later Mayes is still besotted by Italy -- her house, the tumbling geraniums, the people and the food -- all lovingly documented in her best memoir yet. With interludes in Portofino, Assisi and Rome and a focus on Renaissance master artist Luca Signorelli.



Italian Days


Author: Barbara Grizzuti Harrison


Description: Grizzuti Harrison writes with warmth and depth of her journey from Milan south to Calabria in this sprightly account of Italy and the Italians.



Italy, A Short History


Author: Harry Hearder


Description: Elegantly written, generous and informative, this compact book takes in the sweep of Italian history from the Roman Republic through the Renaissance, World War II and up to the present.



La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind


Author: Beppe Severgnini


Description: Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. Severgnini opens the book with a snapshot of the hubbub at Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.



Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook


Author: Lonely Planet


Description: A handy palm-size phrasebook for the traveler.



Made in Italy, A Shopper's Guide


Author: Laura Morelli


Description: The second edition of Morelli's expert survey of handcrafted Italian shops and products from Murano glass to ceramics, jewelry and leather.



On The Road with Francis of Assisi


Author: Linda Bird Francke


Description: Assisi wandered for 20 years, affording Newsweek editor Francke and her patient husband plenty to see and do in the piazzas, sanctuaries and chapels of Assisi, Siena, Bologna, Venice, Gubbio, Rome and other choice spots.



Rough Guide Tuscany and Umbria


Author: Jonathan Buckley (Editor), Tim Jepson (Editor)


Description: This comprehensive travel guide includes region-by-region descriptions and a good overview of history and culture. With chapters on Florence and surroundings, Lucca, Pisa, Maremma, Siena, Arezzo, Peruguia, Assisi, Spoleto and Orvieto.



Songbirds, Truffles and Wolves, An American Naturalist in Italy


Author: Gary Paul Nabhan


Description: The author, a poet and naturalist, heads along the Franciscan Way from Florence to Assisi. This most unusual travelogue combines natural history, spirituality and a lively appreciation of local food and food traditions. A print-on-demand paperback.



Summer's Lease


Author: John Mortimer


Description: A well-paced mystery set in the Tuscan countryside, by Sir John Morimer, author of Rumpole of the Bailey. Poor Molly Pargeter’s idyll is upset when the water supply fails and a neighbor dies. John Gielgud starred in the Masterpiece Theatre adaptation as the seriously mischievous Haverford Downs.



The Renaissance, A Short History


Author: Paul Johnson


Description: The history, background, literature, sculpture, paintings and architecture of the Renaissance in just over 200 lively, thought-provoking pages.



Too Much Tuscan Sun, Confessions of a Chianti Tour Guide


Author: Roberto Rodi, Dario Castagno


Description: With affection and humor, Castagno recalls his experience as a tour guide in Tuscany, and the remarkable travelers he meets along the way. His ease with and taste for Chianti combine to evoke intoxicating images of the much-loved Tuscan region.



Tuscan Country, A Photographer's Journey


Author: Wes Walker


Description: Walker captures the allure of the hill towns, including Siena, Lucca, Pisa and smaller cities and villages in 100 luminous color photographs.



Tuscany Map


Author: Touring Club Italiano


Description: A detailed map at a scale of 1:200,000. Imported from Italy.



Tuscany and Umbria, The Collected Traveler


Author: Barrie Kerper


Description: Kerper hauled out her clipping files, interviewed her friends and raided her library for this inspired miscellany -- a quirky guide to the history, food, and landscape of Tuscany and Umbria. With travel essays, recommended reading and suggested hotels, restaurants, sights and shops.



Umbria Regional Map


Author: Touring Club Italiano


Description: A detailed map at a scale of 1:200,000.





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