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Walking & Hiking in Idyllic Tuscany and Mystical Umbria

Program Number: 3573RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/12/2014 - 10/23/2014; 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: $3,577.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 26; 10 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 9 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).



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: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Residence San Gregorio is located in the heart of Tuscany, only a few meters away from the historical center of Pienza. Originally a theater in the 1930s, it was partly destroyed by a bomb during World War II. After the war ended, the building was restored and turned into a cinema by the local veterans, and remained as such until the end of the 1950s. Recently renovated after several years of being abandoned, the building is now an elegant hotel in the midst of this renaissance town.
  Contact info: Via della Madonnina, 4
Pienza,  53026 Italy
phone: +39 0578 748059
web: www.sangregorioresidencehotel.it
  Room amenities: Each room has a satellite television, telephone, air conditioning, mini bar, free wireless Internet access and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, bar, gardens, outdoor swimming pool (in season), Jacuzzi, solarium area, laundry and dry cleaning services, 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
  Check in time: 7:30 AM

 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
Montefalco,  06036 Italy
phone: +39 074 237 9492
web: www.camianoagriturismo.com
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, air conditioning and a refrigerator.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, garden and swimming pool.
  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
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Rome airport: Meet your group by 10:00 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.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
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: Day 5: 5700 feet (Monte Amiata). Day 9: 3340 feet (Monte Patrico).

Equipment Requirements: Sturdy walking/hiking shoes are required (ankle-high shoes are not required, but highly recommended). Please see the "Walking Boots" note for additional information on proper footgear.
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: In Transit
(Sunday, October 12)
   
 In Transit: Overnight flight.

Day 2: Rome to Pienza
(Monday, October 13)

Note: 1.5 hours of walking



   
 Arrive To: Arrive in Rome and transfer to Pienza.
 Afternoon: Meet your group by 10:00 AM 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"
(Tuesday, October 14)

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, with an 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 4: "Siena"
(Wednesday, October 15)

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. Learn about the history of Siena during this morning's field lecture.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Afternoon free to explore this city on your own. Your Group Leader will hand out town maps and information on what to see and do. 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"
(Thursday, October 16)

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 coach to the medieval hamlet of Bagno Vignoni (1004 feet) for the chance to dip your feet in the warm, soothing water of its natural hot springs. People have been enjoying these famous "spas" since the Renaissance.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Residence San Gregorio
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: "Montalcino Walk"
(Friday, October 17)

Note: 5 hours 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: If you wish, take an optional walk around the Pienza area.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Residence San Gregorio
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Pienza to Montefalco / Transfer Day
(Saturday, October 18)

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: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Continue coach transfer to Montefalco and check in to the hotel. Orientation briefing before dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: "Wine Country"
(Sunday, October 19)

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 back to Montefalco for a short guided visit and some free time on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: "Bevagna Walk"
(Monday, October 20)

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 a medieval paper mill and learn how paper was made 1000 years ago.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Camiano Piccolo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: "Assisi Walk"
(Tuesday, October 21)

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 (1400 feet) for a 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 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 11: "Valnerina and Truffle Walk"
(Wednesday, October 22)

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 (1299 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 12: Departures
(Thursday, October 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Private coach to the Rome airport (approx. 2.5 hours) for flights back home.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
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


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Description: A Tuscany resident 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.



Catherine of Siena, A Passionate Life


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Description: Brophy sets this deeply researched biography of the saint against the backdrop of 14th-century Europe, showing Catherine's sheer fortitude and personal magnetism in her efforts to bring peace to a troubled time.



Central Italy Map


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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


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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.



Italy, A Short History


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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


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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


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Made in Italy, A Shopper's Guide


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On The Road with Francis of Assisi


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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.



Reluctant Saint, The Life of Francis of Assisi


Author: Donald Spoto


Description: Spoto draws on fascinating new research to explore the travels, spirit and work of the beloved saint. This engaging portrait provides an excellent overview of the life of St. Francis.



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.



The Most Beautiful Villages of Tuscany


Author: James Bentley, Hugh Palmer (Photographer)


Description: This handsome oversize picture book is a portrait of the Tuscan landscape and people. It contains maps, a travel guide and many color photographs.



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.



Tuscany Map


Author: Touring Club Italiano


Description: This regional map is even better, now printed on water- and tear-proof paper. 1:200,000.



Umbria Regional Map


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





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