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Walking & Hiking in Idyllic Tuscany and Mystical Umbria

Program Number: 3573RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/30/2013 - 10/11/2013; 9/18/2014 - 9/29/2014; 10/12/2014 - 10/23/2014; 10/19/2014 - 10/30/2014; 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: 27; 10 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 10 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

9-18-2014

Please note that this departure date starts in Montefalco and ends in Pienza. All program content and hotels remain the same.



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
   Hotel Residence San Gregorio
  Pienza, Italy 5 nights
   Camiano Piccolo Hotel
  Montefalco, Italy 5 nights
 Hotel Residence San Gregorio
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Residence San Gregorio is only a few meters away from the ancient walled town of Pienza in the heart of Tuscany, with the Natural and Cultural Park of the Val d'Orcia in their backyard along with a large private courtyard. The hotel was once a theater in the 1930s due to the patronage of the Pienzan baritone Benvenuto Franci.
  Contact info: Via della Madonnina4
Pienza,  53026 Italy
phone: +390579748175
web: www.sangregorioresidencehotel.it
  Room amenities: Each room has satellite television, telephone, air conditioning, heating, mini bar, wireless Internet access and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, bar, beautiful gardens, an outdoor swimming pool (in season) and a jacuzzi, room service, laundry and dry-cleaning services, ironing service, and free wireless Internet access throughout the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404

 Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Camiano Piccolo Hotel is situated in a historic hamlet in Montefalco. Surrounded by olive trees and vineyards, and sitting 450 meters above sea level, the hotel offers a stunning panoramic view of the valley stretching from Spoleto to Perugia. Within walking distance is the historic center of Montefalco.
  Contact info: AZ.Agraria Fabrizi Dott. Piero
Via Camiano Piccolo, 5
06036 Montefalco (PG),   Italy
phone: +390742379492
web: www.camianopiccolo.com
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, air conditioning and a refrigerator.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a garden, swimming pool and outdoor terrace.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights after: 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


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Pienza, Italy. Rome Airport: Meet your group at 9:30 AM for the group transfer to Pienza (approx. 2.5 hours). (Hotel check-in is at 2:00 PM.) You will be staying at Hotel Residence San Gregorio that night.
  End of Program:
Montefalco, Italy. After breakfast on the last day, group transfer to Rome airport (approx. 2.5 hours). You will be staying at Camiano Piccolo Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  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:  Pienza
  Nearest airport:  Rome
  Transportation to site: From the airport in Rome, take a train to Chiusi. In Chiusi, take a taxi to the Hotel Residence San Gregorio in Pienza.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Montefalco
  Nearest airport:  Rome
  Transportation from site: You can take a taxi to the Foligno train station, and then take a train to the Rome Central Station (train to Rome leaves every hour). In Rome, change trains to go directly to the airport.
Elevation Note: Most scheduled activities take place above 3500, 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.
(Monday, September 30)
   
 In Transit: Overnight flight.

Day 2: Rome to Pienza
(Tuesday, October 1)

Note: 1.5 hours of walking



   
 Arrive To: Meet your group at the Rome airport for the group transfer to Pienza. Check in to your hotel. Take a guided walk in Pienza before attending a welcome reception and orientation.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Residence San Gregorio
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: "Pienza and Its Produces"
(Wednesday, October 2)

Note: 5.5 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Walk from the hotel to Pienza for a field lecture. Depart for the walk to 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.
 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. 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 4: "Siena"
(Thursday, October 3)

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 honest 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.
 Lunch: Lunch will be at a local trattoria.
 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 5: "Monte Amiata & The Tuscan Mountains"
(Friday, October 4)

Note: 4.5 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach ride to Monte Amiata (5577 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 1,300 feet) includes a bit of a climb; however, the scenery is well worth the effort.
 Lunch: Lunch at a mountain hut, known for serving the best food in southern Tuscany.
 Afternoon: Transfer by coach to Bagno Vignoni (1004 feet), famous for their hot springs. After dipping your feet in the soothing warm water, walk back to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Residence San Gregorio
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: "Montalcino Walk"
(Saturday, October 5)

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 field trip of Montalcino, walk through vineyards towards the Abbey of Sant’ Antimo in the center of this charming valley.
 Lunch: Wine with lunch at the local osteria offering their specialities.
 Afternoon: Coach transfer back to the hotel for an independent afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Residence San Gregorio
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Pienza to Montefalco / Transfer Day
(Sunday, October 6)

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: Lunch at a local establishment in Perugia.
 Afternoon: Continue coach transfer to Montefalco and hotel check-in.
 Dinner: Orientation briefing followed by dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: "Assisi Walk"
(Monday, October 7)

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: Field trip of the Basilica with the remainder of the day to explore Assisi independently. Return to the hotel by private coach.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: "Valnerina and Truffle Walk"
(Tuesday, October 8)

Note: 3.5 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Coach to Monte Patrico (3340 feet) for a morning truffle hunt, followed by lunch with the farmers. Monte Patrico is located above the town of Spoleto, on the summit of the Valnerina Mountains known for its rugged beauty.
 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 10: "Bevagna Walk"
(Wednesday, October 9)

Note: 3.5 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Panoramic walk from the hotel to an olive mill and learn about olive oil production.
 Lunch: Lunch in the field.
 Afternoon: Walk through vineyards and olive groves to the serene and handsome medieval town of Bevagna (662 feet). This town has two of Umbria's finest Romanesque churches. After walking around the town, an excursion to a medieval paper manufacturer. Walk back to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: "Wine Country"
(Thursday, October 10)

Note: 4.5 hours of walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Walking field trip from the hotel to Adanti Winery for a learning experience in wine making. The winery is north of Montefalco and in a valley that offers wonderful views of the cities, Assisi and Trevi.
 Lunch: Lunch and wine tasting at the winery's osteria.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon walk the southern trail back to Montefalco.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Departure day back to the U.S.A.
(Friday, October 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Private coach to the Rome airport (approx. 2.5 hours) for flights home.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Pienza Pienza
Two afternoons of independent time. Your 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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