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18709
Italy

Choose Your Pace: Walking the Hill Towns of Umbria

Learn from scholars and local farmers as you walk the meandering hills of Umbria at the pace you choose, discovering its vineyards, olive groves, villages and sensational cuisine.
Rating (4.93)
Program No. 18709RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
2,459
Flights start at
825
Italy

Choose Your Pace: Walking the Hill Towns of Umbria

Learn from scholars and local farmers as you walk the meandering hills of Umbria at the pace you choose, discovering its vineyards, olive groves, villages and sensational cuisine.
Length
9 days
Starts at
2,459
Flights start at
825
Program No. 18709 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 7 - Sep 15, 2021
Starting at
2,459
Oct 5 - Oct 13, 2021
Starting at
2,459
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 7 - Sep 15, 2021
Starting at
3,049
Oct 5 - Oct 13, 2021
Starting at
3,049

At a Glance

With all the amazing views that echo the landscapes of Tuscany but none of the crowds, Umbria holds a special place in the hearts of those who love the stunning Italian countryside. With rolling hills, picturesque medieval towns and beautiful vineyards and valleys, it also holds a special place for those who love to walk. Join local experts for spirited and informative rambles through this truly unique region on daily hikes selected based on your preferred pace and difficulty.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Choose Your Pace
Each day, choose from multiple hiking options based on your desired level of challenge and pace, ranging from 1.5 - 8 miles on mountain trails. Elevations up to 3,596 feet. Sites visited may vary based on the hiking level you choose for that day.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Above the town of Spoleto, join a truffle farmer to learn the proper way to hunt this delicacy.
  • Climb through the Umbrian valley with views of Assisi and Trevi to a local winery for a tasting.
  • In the town of Bevagna, visit a medieval paper manufacturer to learn the technique of this ancient art.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Umbria Regional Map
by Touring Club Italiano
A colorful, detailed map of Umbria and surrounding areas, at a scale of 1:200,000. The most detailed map of the area available, imported from Italy.
La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
by Beppe Severgnini
Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. The book opens with a snapshot of Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.
Canti
by Giacomo Leopardi
An acclaimed new translation of Italy's greatest modern poet's work. Born in the Italian Marches in 1798, Leopardi lived in Rome, Central Italy, and Naples, where he died in 1837.
Rick Steves' Italian Phrase Book & Dictionary
by Rick Steves
This compact phrase book, organized thematically and with a brief dictionary, also includes Steves' insight into how to break the ice and make friends around the world.
Ratking
by Michael Dibdin
Venetian crime investigator Aurelio Zen goes after the kidnappers of a Perugian industrialist in this enjoyable thriller, winner of the Gold Dagger Award (and first book in the series).
Italian Days
by Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
Grizzuti Harrison writes with warmth and depth of her journey from Milan south to Calabria in this sprightly account of Italy and the Italians.
The Italians
by John Hooper
Italy correspondent for The Economist Hooper explores Italy -- its baffling contradictions, unique character and contemporary culture -- in this illuminating portrait.
Songbirds, Truffles and Wolves, An American Naturalist in Italy
by Gary Paul Nabhan
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.
Mysteries of the Middle Ages, And the Beginning of the Modern World
by Thomas Cahill
Cahill deftly evokes the historic glories of the major medieval figures (and the places they frequented) in this illuminating overview of philosophy, art and literature.
Italy for the Gourmet Traveler
by Fred Plotkin
Organized geographically, this encyclopedic guide features eating establishments, cooking schools, markets, shops and other gastronomic treasures in 500 cities and villages, perfect for the food-addled who can't be in the company of the irrepressible master himself.
The Art of the Renaissance
by Peter Murray
A classic, illustrated survey of the world of the Renaissance and its art. With chapters on Florence and its artists, the Netherlands, early illustrated books and many individual artists.
A Traveller's History of Italy
by Valerio Lintner
A brief history of Italy through the 1990s -- wide-ranging, accessible and necessarily condensed. With a useful chronology and historical gazetteer, this book marches confidently through the centuries.
Italy in Mind
by Alice Powers
A terrific collection of some of the best literary writing on Italy, including pieces by Melville, Lawrence, Henry James, Mary McCarthy and many others.
After Hannibal
by Barry Unsworth
Unsworth's vivid novel takes in the history, landscape, pleasures and the other Americans and Europeans, like himself, who live in Umbria.
Reluctant Saint, The Life of Francis of Assisi
by Donald Spoto
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.
The Italian Renaissance
by J. H. Plumb
A well-written history of the Renaissance, its artists and thinkers, with chapters on Florence, Milan, Rome and Venice, Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Women of the Renaissance.
Eyewitness Guide Umbria
by Eyewitness Guides
A marvelously illustrated, compact guide to the culture, history and attractions of Umbria, organized geographically and especially helpful for its innovative site plans, building diagrams and local maps.
D.H. Lawrence and Italy
by D.H. Lawrence
This omnibus Penguin Classics edition includes Lawrence's three travel tales, each very different in tone and all wonderful: Sea and Sardinia is a nostalgic look at traditional ways of life; Twilight in Italy, an evocation of Lawrence's memorable stay on Lake Garda; and Etruscan Places, his musings on ancient sites, including the painted tombs of Tarquinia.
A Valley in Italy, The Many Seasons of a Villa in Umbria
by Lisa St. Aubin de Teran
This short memoir chronicles a year in the small Umbrian village of San Orsola--especially the delights and frustrations of renovating a decayed villa. Taking in food, wine, local customs and landscapes, the book is an excellent introduction to the region
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9 days
8 nights
17 meals
7 B 4 L 6 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Rome, Transfer to Foligno, Check-In, Orientation
Foligno
D
Hotel Italia

Activity note: Transfer from the airport to Foligno is about 117 miles (188 km); approximately 2.5 hours. Hotel check in from 2:00 p.m.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a 3-course plated welcome dinner with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: 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. Hikers will choose between hikes of different levels of difficulty, organized into groups based on preference and ability. Sites visited may vary based on the hiking level you choose for that day. Each hike will be led by either the Group Leader of a local expert. Durations of hikes will be largely dependent on pace and ability level of the individual. Breakfasts will typically be European-style buffets with cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fruit, breads, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water. Water is included in the program cost at all meals. Periods in the 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. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Olive Oil Walk, Bevagna, Medieval Paper Manufacturing
Foligno
B,L,D
Hotel Italia

Activity note: 3 hiking choices: Easiest: up to 2 miles and 3 hours; city streets and cobblestones. Intermediate: about 4.5 miles, approximately 4 hours; roughly 719 feet in elevation change. Most challenging: about 5.5 miles; roughly 719 feet elevation change in the morning and an additional 2 miles with minimal elevation gain in the afternoon; up to approximately 5 hours total. Durations of hikes will be largely dependent on pace and ability level of the group.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fruit, and breads, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Transferring to Gualdo Cattaneo, we’ll go for a short visit to this medieval fortified village where we’ll learn about Umbrian history from our Group Leader during the walk through the hamlet. The intermediate and most challenging groups will then begin the walk towards Torre del Colle. The easiest group will explore the Fortress of Gualdo Cattaneo and then transfer to Torre del Colle where the intermediate group will join for a group transfer by motorcoach to the olive mill. The most challenging group will continue their walk to the olive mill. Once at the mill, all groups will learn from a local expert about olive oil production.

Lunch: At the olive mill.

Afternoon: The most challenging group will walk through vineyards and olive groves to the serene and handsome medieval town of Bevagna, which has two of Umbria's finest Romanesque churches. The easiest and intermediate groups will take the private motorcoach to Bevagna, enjoy some time for independent exploration, and then visit a medieval paper manufacturer to learn from an onsite expert about the techniques of this ancient art. After the most challenging group has arrived in Bevagna, everyone will transfer back to the hotel together. Note that the challenging group will miss the visit to the paper manufacturer.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Perugia
Foligno
B,D
Hotel Italia

Activity note: Getting on/off train; ride is about 25 miles one way; less than 1 hour. All groups will walk up to 3 miles in the morning; approximately 2.5 hours; city streets at an easy pace. Intermediate and most challenging groups will have an afternoon urban trek of about 2 miles; approximately 2 hours. Durations of hikes will be largely dependent on pace and ability level of the group.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After a short walk to the train station, we will transfer by train to Perugia where we’ll stop for a city walk led by our Group Leader, during which we will learn about the area’s history and culture. 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: 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: The easiest group will enjoy independent time in Perugia this afternoon before meeting at a predetermined time and place and returning by train to the hotel. Other groups will set out on another expert-led urban trek before all rendezvous and transfer back to the hotel by train.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Montefalco, Wine Country, Museum of St. Francis
Foligno
B,L
Hotel Italia

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 18 miles max total for the day; less than 1 hour; stops for field trips. 3 hiking choices: Easiest: about 2.5 miles; up to 3 hours; roughly 402 feet elevation change. Intermediate: about 5.5 miles; up to 4 hours; more than 300 feet of elevation change. Most challenging: about 8.5 miles total; less than 5.5 miles with more than 300 feet of elevation changes in the morning; approx. 3 miles in afternoon with roughly 300 feet elevation change.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After transferring to Montefalco via motorcoach, all three groups will start walking through woods and open fields, north of Montefalco. This Umbrian valley offers wonderful views of the cities Assisi and Trevi. Walk through woods and open fields. After 1.5 hours, the easiest group will be picked up and transferred to Montefalco to explore.

Lunch: In Montefalco, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After lunch, walk to a winery and enjoy an expert-led field trip through the winery and conclude with a wine tasting. With the Group Leader, the easiest and intermediate groups will visit the Museum of St. Francis with the Benozzoli frescoes Afterwards, we’ll transfer back to the hotel. The challenging group will walk back to the hotel instead of going to the museum.

Dinner: On your own to explore the local fare.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Collepino to Spello Along the Roman Aqueduct
Foligno
B,L,D
Hotel Italia

Activity note: 3 hiking choices: Easiest: about 2 miles; up to 3 hours; roughly 646 feet in elevation change. Intermediate: about 3.5 miles up to 3 hours; roughly 1,237 feet in elevation change. Most challenging: about 5 miles; approximately 1.5 miles and roughly 1,358 feet in elevation change in the early morning and 3.5 miles, 1,237 feet elevation change in the late morning.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: The most challenging group will have an early morning transfer after breakfast to the southern side of Mount Subasio to Madonna della Spella, an old chapel for shepherds on the mountain. The view from here covers a great part of Umbria. From here, the walk we will take descends down towards Collepino, a medieval gem of a hamlet, along meadows, through woods gently winding down. A bit later in the morning, the intermediate and easiest groups will transfer by private motorcoach to the tiny hamlet of Collepino where we’ll meet the challenging group. All 3 groups will walk from Collepino with the intermediate and most challenging groups making their way to Spello, a former Roman town that is known today for its medieval character. The easiest group will be picked up halfway and then transferred the remainder of the distance to Spello, arriving with some time to visit the Capella Baglioni in Spello with the Pinturicchio frescoes. All groups will then rendezvous in town for lunch.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Spello, we’ll have a special plated and served meal with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll then transfer back to the hotel and enjoy some free time to see and do what interests you the most.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
St. Francis Hermitage, Assisi
Foligno
B,D
Hotel Italia

Activity note: 3 hiking choices: Easiest: up to 2.5 miles; about 3 hours; city streets and cobblestones. Intermediate: about 2.5 miles; approximately 3 hours; roughly 1,715 feet elevation change. Most challenging: about 4 miles in the morning; about 2 miles with roughly 1,064 feet in elevation change in the early morning and about 2.5 miles with roughly 1,715 feet in elevation change in the late morning; approximately 5 hours total.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After an earlier breakfast, the most challenging group will leave in the early morning and transfer to Mount Subasio for a morning walk to the Eremo delle Carceri hermitage of St. Francis. The easiest and intermediate groups will transfer directly to the hermitage. All three groups will visit the hermitage together led by a local expert. First visited by St. Francis around the year 1205, this peaceful forest on the mountain about five kilometers from Assisi features many caves that were eventually occupied by both him and his followers. Shortly thereafter, friars were going there to pray ardently and emulate the solitary ascetic tradition of St. Francis. A sanctuary and small chapel were built up around his particular cave soon after and the hermitage, after some expansions over the centuries, became a sort of complex dedicated to religious contemplation and solitude. It has remained largely unchanged since the 19th century. After the visit, the most challenging and intermediate groups walk to Assisi while the easiest group transfers to Assisi enabling them to spend some extra time there. Assisi is visible for miles around, tucked under the ridge of Monte Subasio. The tranquil backstreets and homes with geranium-filled window boxes give the impression that one has gone back in time.

Lunch: On your own to sample the regional cuisine.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll all meet at a predetermined time and place and walk to the Basilica St. Francis for a field trip led by a monk who lives in the monastery. St. Francis was born in Assisi in 1182 and died in 1226 at the age of 44. Construction began on the basilica when he was canonized as a saint a mere two years after his death; it was completed in 1253. As founder of the mendicant Franciscan order of Catholic monks, St. Francis is depicted in the church’s abundant Early Renaissance fresco paintings by many artists such as Giotto and Cimabue. Afterwards, we’ll have some time for independent exploration before transferring back to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Monte Patrico & Truffle Hunt, Spoleto
Foligno
B,L,D
Hotel Italia

Activity note: 3 hiking choices: Easiest: about 1.5 miles; approx. 2 hours; roughly 510 feet elevation change. Intermediate: up to 3 miles and 5 hours total; approx. 1.5 miles and 510 feet elevation change in morning, and less than about 1.5 miles and 1,443 feet elevation change in afternoon. Challenging: about 8.5 miles total; approx. 2 miles and 800 feet of elevation change in early morning; 5.5 miles with 1,000 feet of elevation change in morning; about 1 mile with 1,443 feet elevation change in afternoon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: The most challenging group will begin to walk towards the truffle farm whereas the easiest and intermediate groups will visit the Sacred Wood and Franciscan Hermitage of Monteluco with the Group Leader. The beautiful oak forest is an ideal habitat for many types of birds – the legendary recipients of many a sermon by St. Francis – including green and great spotted woodpeckers. In the center of the hermitage courtyard stands a well that St. Francis told his followers to dig. Some of them were quite skeptical due to the hermitage’s elevation of about 800 meters but even at this high point, the story goes, water began to spring from the well. Upon arrival by motorcoach to Monte Patrico at about 3,340 feet, we’ll go a farm estate in the mountains where, once all groups have arrived, we will 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. Before setting out on the truffle hunt, we will gather with the farm owner and listen to a field lecture all about truffles.

Lunch: At the farm with the truffle farmers.

Afternoon: In the afternoon, the easiest group will be transferred to Spoleto for an expert-led city walk. The intermediate and most challenging groups will walk down to Spoleto, one of Umbria's loveliest hill towns. In Spoleto, we will view the Ponte delle Torri, a bridge and aqueduct of 10 towering arches that links Spoleto with the slopes of Monteluco and is arguably one of the greatest engineering works of The Trecento (14th century Italy). We’ll walk to the upper part of the town center and take the motorcoach back to Montefalco.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have plated farewell dinner with water included; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

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

DAY
9
Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 117 miles to airport; approximately 2.5 hours. See your program’s “Transportation Information” regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. 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 rewarding programs 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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