WALKING IN TUSCANY & UMBRIA
Experience a memorable journey in the delightful countryside of Tuscany and Umbria.
Our Tuscany journey begins in the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence and continues through the medieval village of San Gimignano. We base our Tuscan sojourn in a gorgeous countryside farmhouse nestled on the ancient Francigena pilgrimage trail, which, together with Camino de Santiago, was the principal spiritual route of the great era of pilgrimage. Here we experience the essence of all that is Tuscany: open and undulating hills, medieval towers, captivating hamlets such as Volterra & Bagno Vignoni, sunflowers, endless vineyards, unforgettable Renaissance art, mouth-watering local cuisine & world famous wines.
After leaving Tuscany, we will enjoy a first taste of the holy Umbria visiting Bevagna and Montefalco. One of the highlights of our sojourn in Umbria is an eighth century Benedictine monastery converted to a hotel, where we will live a mystical experience in converted monks' cells. Here we will experience why it is said that Umbria has more poets and saints than any other region in Italy. We explore one of the lesser-known areas of Umbria: land of green ridges and castles, rounded mountain tops and wild olives.
ACTIVITY: guided small group tour
GRADE: easy to moderate
TRIP CODE: ICTU
GROUP SIZE: min 6, max 16
DURATION: 8 days/7 nights
2013 Prices & Dates
Please inquiry at email@example.com - Prices depend on period required and size of your group.
Privately guided departures with minimum 2 persons on request
Combining dates with:
ICCIT - Cinque Terre & Italian Riviera
Book now your 2013 tour
Day 1 – Florence
Arrival on your own in Florence.
Our Hotel*** is centrally located and it is a wonderful base for exploring, at your own pace, the capital of the Renaissance, world known for its important cultural, architectural and artistic heritage.
At 6:00 p.m. we meet our tour leader in the hotel for a welcome meeting and a planning session for our adventure.
Later in the evening we invite you to enjoy our welcome group dinner at a local restaurant in Florence. (D)
Day 2 – San Gimignano
Walking - easy 4 hours
After breakfast, we depart the city of Florence for the tranquillity of the Tuscan countryside. We travel by private bus to San Gimignano “of the fine towers”, one of the most attractive Tuscan medieval hill towns, (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). We stroll along its attractive streets lined with ancient palaces to admire the splendour of the stunning sight of the remaining 14 of the original 76 towers standing tall on the skyline.
After a lunch break in a typical Italian café we leave this remarkable place and take a short walk toward our next destination, following a section of the “Via Francigena”, the ancient pilgrim road, through vineyards and past stone farmhouses. Along the way we stop at a farm house for a short visit of the vineyards and a peaceful wine tasting with pickled onions, olives, oil and garlic “bruschetta”, Tuscan cured meats & pecorino cheese. Then we reach our charming country house, a recently-formed organic farm with over 20 hectares of land dedicated to the cultivation of vines and olive trees. We can relax in the swimming pool or enjoying a glass of wine in the garden, soaking up the view over the surrounding hills. Our dinner tonight features delicious local produce and traditional Tuscan dishes made by the amazing chef of the farmhouse. (B, D)
Day 3 – Volterra
Walking - easy 4 hours
Today we start our day walking around the agriturismo before taking the public bus to Volterra. Volterra is a vibrant town constructed on the highest hill, whose history goes back at least 3000 years, spans Etruscan, Roman and Medieval periods. Wondering around the town it is possible to admire the workshops of the Alabaster artisans. We visit a local workshop where we can see the hands of a craftsman create delicate and exclusive masterpieces, bringing to life the alabaster, a soft and fragile stone. There is plenty of time to explore at your leisure this magical place, with the option to visit the fascinating Etruscan Museum where 3,000 year old funerary urns, ceramics, and filigree gold jewels bear witness to the remarkable sophistication of the Etruscan civilization. We then walk through the countryside of Volterra and enjoy the magnetism of the city before taking our bus back to our country house. (B, D)
Day 4 – Pienza – San Quirico d’Orcia – Bagno Vignoni
Walking - easy 3 hours
This morning we are transferred by bus to the World Heritage Site of the Val D’Orcia: an outstanding expression of the way the landscape was re-written in Renaissance times to reflect the ideals of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing images. We take time to enjoy a short sightseeing walking tour in the simply spellbinding village of Pienza. Then we depart the village of San Quirico d’Orcia, one of the most important stops on the “Via Francigena”, the pilgrims’ way to Rome, with interesting remains of an ancient pilgrims hospital. We have time to visit the “Collegiata” with its southern door in the Romanesque style and the Horti Leonini, a superb example of the Italian garden. From this bucolic setting we start our relaxing walk along a gentle country backroad, visiting a small vineyard where we have the opportunity of a wine tasting. Our walk takes us to the unique Spa town of Bagno Vignoni: here the main square is a scenic ornamental pool built by the Medici Family. We can enjoy a refreshing bath in the many Etruscan water channels that surround the old watermills just outside of the centre before taking our way back to the agriturismo. Here the quiet garden beckons us for a relax time prior to dinner at our excellent farmhouse. (B, D)
Day 5 – Bevagna – Montefalco
Walking - easy 2,5 hours
Today we say “arrivederci” to our hosts and slowly leave the Tuscan landscape, driving toward our new destination for the next three nights. Along the way we can admire the lunar landscape of the Siennese clay hills: sculpted curves designed over the centuries by the wind. Then the journey takes us in Umbria: the green heart of Italia, crossing a road overlooking the suggestive quiet of the Lake Trasimeno. We stop for a city walk in Bevagna and Montefalco where we experience the Umbrian traditions meeting local artisans and olive oil producers, tasting the fruits of their labour and enjoying the pleasure of sharing knowledge.
The secret treasures of Bevagna are the Gothic Palace of the Consuls, the church of St. Sylvester, the ruins of a temple of the 2nd century A.C, the Roman theatre and the impressive remains of mosaics representing marine animals belonging to a thermal baths building. We then take a walk through the vineyards around Montefalco stopping off at a winery on the way to sample some of their wines. The Montefalco area produce the excellent Sagrantino di Montefalco, one of only two Umbrian wines to be awarded the highest-ranking category of Italian wine denominations. Late in the afternoon we continue toward our next location, an ancient abbey converted to a charming hotel while keeping its mystical atmosphere.
We dine indulging in excellent food by the award winning restaurant located in an scenic architecture part of the abbey. The restaurant offers a wide range of peasant culture tradition dishes, enriched with truffles, lentils & lake and river fish. (B, D)
Day 6 - Scheggino
Walking easy 3,5 hours
After breakfast we leave for the tiny village of Scheggino making our way along the narrow valley of the black river framed by impressive slopes and peaceful atmospheres. We then return to the monastery by public bus. In the afternoon we explore the historical abbey of our hosts, visiting the 7th century church and experiencing the peacefulness and quietness of a regenerating place. If you care to indulge yourself, at an additional expense they offer a personalized beauty treatment including Indian massages, a regenerating Finnish sauna, as well as a relaxing mini pre-heated pool with hydro massage. This evening we are free to dine on our own, either at our charming restaurant or at another one not too far from the monastery. (B)
Day 7 – Spoleto
Walking easy 4 hours
Today we drive to the fascinating and romantic hilltop town of Spoleto with a history that reaches back 2000 years. We explore the historical centre visiting the main monuments: the Roman theatre and one of the loveliest Renaissance and Romanesque façade in Umbria framed by hanging gardens, and the art museum Pinacoteca. We spend time tasting renowned olive oil produced in this area before starting a lovely walk in the countryside of Spoleto and enter the silent oak forests of Monte Luco. It is a memorable experience, walking along an ancient Roman road, the same trail used by the Christian hermits to cross over to the mountain and establish their monasteries in the forest. Upon returning to the hotel the outdoor terrace of our hotel beckons us for an relaxing time prior to this evening’s farewell dinner. (B, D)
Day 8 – Departure
Our trip ends after breakfast with a group transfer to Terni where you can easily catch trains for the rest of Italy assisted by our tour leader.
- English speaking local tour leader
- 1 night hotel *** in Florence
- 3 nights Farmhouse in San Gimignano countryside
- 3 nights Historical Abbey in the Southern Umbria
- 7 breakfasts
- 6 dinners
- 3 wine tastings on day 2 – 4 & 5
- 1 olive oil tasting in Umbria
- Transfer to San Gimignano on day 2
- Luggage transfers on day 2 & 5
- Transfer from Volterra to the farmhouse on day 3
- Transfer in Val D’Orcia on day 4
- Transfer in Umbria on day 5
- Transfer to and from Spoleto on day 7
- Transfer to Terni train station on day 8
ITEMS NOT INCLUDED:
- Visas, Airfare & airport taxes
- Travel Insurance (compulsory)
- Other meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Public bus & entrance fees
- Wellness treatments & SPA
- Anything not mentioned in “inclusions”
This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone. The walking is graded easy to moderate: rarely exceed five walking hours in a day. The pace on this tour is leisurely to al low for stops en route to visit cultural and historical sites, or to explore villages. In the case of emergency, for reasons of safety, unexpected circumstances or weather conditions, it may be necessary to change the tour program without advance notice, every effort will be made to avoid this if at all possible.
Those who want to extend their stay can book some extra days in Orvieto, Perugia or Assisi and can pre-book an optional transfer by private coach to Rome or wherever they wish – please enquire at time of booking.
From Rome you can easily catch trains for the rest of Italy.
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