Italy - Lazio & Tuscany
Italy – Lazio/Tuscany. October 3rd – 15th, 2022. 13 days/12 nights.
Our new Italian tour, visiting some of the best of Tuscia in Lazio – and a slice of Southern Tuscany.
Fully guided tour of Lazio & (parts of Tuscany’s) more remote and unknown beautiful places, discovering the area’s unique culture and history.
Perhaps a little less known than other parts of Italy, Lazio is nevertheless the home of Rome, its capital. Some distance to the north of Rome lies a relatively undiscovered and beautiful area known as “Tuscia’. Perhaps its name derives from the fact that it was once at the heart of ‘Etruria’, whose great Etruscan civilisation reached its zenith around 2,700 BC. Tuscia is only a few miles from the southern boundary with Tuscany, which was also a stronghold of the Etruscans. The whole area is absolutely steeped in history and is full of hidden gems that await to surprise you! Our tour takes place mainly in the Viterbo area, which lies between Rome and Siena. Martin has visited this area many times over the past 20 years or so and it only made sense to him to finally put a tour together in Tuscia.
For anyone who has been on one of Martin’s many Tuscany tours (or even in Norway and Iceland), you will have met Goffredo and/or Luca. This tour will be guided by both Martin and Luca, although the area was originally introduced to Martin by Goffredo, who lives in San Martino, near Viterbo, which is why Martin knows it so well. On Martin’s recent visit to Tuscia, Luca shared with him many previously unknown magical places and this tour is the culmination of past knowledge and new knowledge gained, thanks to Luca’s huge enthusiasm! Not far from the Mediterranean coast lies Tarquinia, famous for its many Etruscan tombs – and some miles inland lies Blera, which will be our home for the first 5 days or so. After that, we will transfer into southern Tuscany for a few days, to the incredible “Tufa Countryside” around Sovana, Pitigliano and Sorano. The tour then moves back into Lazio, visiting the charming Sabina Hills, where we will spend the last few days in a beautiful ‘car free’ hilltop medieval village, our lodgings being in a wonderful 14th century refurbished Palazzo that Martin knows well and has stayed at many times, where it’s really like staying with your own loving family.
Join us on this unique guided walking and general exploration tour of Lazio and (parts of) Tuscany’s more remote and unknown beautiful scenery and wildlife, culture and history. As well as visiting a few well-known gems, we will visit artisan vineyards and farms, sampling outstanding wines, olive oil, hazel nuts and chestnuts, etc. Fine dining will form an integral part of this tour, as is usual on our Italian tours.
We have been running Tuscan tours since 2001 and so we really do know the area well – we get off the beaten path visiting charming often medieval small towns and villages, the fascinating Etruscan and Roman ruins, local farmers and the beautiful and bountiful nature and wildlife of this region. Not so many visitors achieve this… so you will see and experience an un-spoilt and authentic Lazio and Tuscany.
We will stay in 3 stunning locations:
Firstly, at a family run hotel in Blera, where there is a wonderful dining experience – secondly in a luxurious hotel in the Tuscan village of Sovana, birthplace and original home to Pope Gregory V11 – and finally in a beautiful old Palazzo in atmospheric Casperia, in the wonderful Sabine Hills, back in Lazio.
On this tour, we will use our feet, but also vans. Most days will have some walking/hiking, but some days will be more focussed on visiting historical places – where walking will still take place, but not quite so much as on full hiking days. We will use the vans to get to nearby places of interest, villages and towns, etc, so that we can cover a pretty good area of this part of Italy.
Wherever you go in this region, you will come across archaeological remains of both Roman and Etruscan origins, as well as frequent medieval structures of course. The Via Francigena passes through this area, on its long and winding way from Canterbury in England – to Rome. It is an ancient Pilgrims way and one day we will walk a good stretch of it. Most people have heard of the the more famous “Camino de Santiago” connecting central Europe to Santiago de Compostela in NW Spain. This route is equally historic, but far less crowded: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Via_Francigena
Many parts of Italy still have a lot of forested countryside and this region is no exception. Rich volcanic and alluvial soils have endowed the region with very productive agricultural land. There are great forests of oak, beech, walnut, olive, chestnut and hazel nut – the last two being rather more planted by man, for obvious reasons. The area we will be in is one of the worlds great producers of these last two nuts and we will no doubt be eating them as we walk!
We will visit an ancient volcano that although now dormant, once caused devastation around the whole area, coating it with thick layers of tuff (or tufa, as some people call it). It is this material which makes the whole area so distinctive. Once molten drops of explosive lava, it solidified on falling to the ground and hardened. Today it is reasonably easily carved into blocks and diverse shapes, which many buildings are constructed of – and this has been happening for nearly 3,000 years. In fact, The Etruscans literally carved roads, caves and tombs out of it – and The Romans even carved a whole amphitheatre from it, which we’ll visit. Many religious hermits in the early christian period lived in caves carved from it… and most importantly for us today, we will explore whole villages and towns built from it – on cliffs of it, riddled with caves and ancient tombs. A good example is Sorano, seen below. It is a remarkable Etruscan and Medieval village, built on a spectacular “rocky spur” of volcanic tufa between two converging canyons and is one of many in this area of tufa.
Our itinerary will probably include visits to the amazing volcanic lakes of Bolsena and Lago di Vico, The remarkable Reserve of Selva del Lamone, Blera, Barbarano Romano, Sutri, Bagnoregio Civitella, Orvieto, Caprarola, Capranica, Tuscania, Viterbo, Casperia, Monte Soratte and Monte Pizzuto – with numerous other odd places of interest (see main image!).
We will also take advantage of the frequent natural hot waters that abound in this volcanic region and visit a spa for a good hot soak. To give you time to really savour the whole experience, we have designed the itinerary to give you free time to explore some of the villages and towns on your own (if you so choose) during the tour, with time to wander the alleys of old Etruscan and medieval settlements.
Tuscia has an excellent reputation for food and wine. We will enjoy many traditional local dishes that include pasta and pizza (naturally!), meats such as wild boar, rabbit, pork, chicken and beef, plus all kinds of wonderful local vegetables, fungi, cheeses and olive oils etc. We have been careful to select eating places that use sustainably sourced products as far as possible and which have excellent chefs who love showing off their finest dishes to us. Local wines are very tasty and we will of course visit a vineyard or two during the tour for some tastings! No problem for vegetarians, traditional cuisine includes a lot of completely vegetarian recipes. On the days when we provide picnics, we’ll have a spread of fresh local produce to lay out at some enchanting spot and enjoy our lunch “al fresco”.
We hope you can join us on this visually stunning exploration of Lazio and parts of Tuscany. Hopefully, the pandemic will not impact this tour in 10 month’s time.
Provisional cost £2,830 per person based on shared occupancy, tbc.
Single room supplement approximately £280, tbc.
Our tour price covers everything, with wines included.
- All participants of our International holidays will be required to sign a Liability Release form upon arrival at the destination.