Italy - Umbria, Green Heart of Italy
Umbria – The Green Heart of Italy
October 2019 – provisional, tbc.
Known throughout the world as “The Green Heart of Italy’,
The Umbria region is a fascinating mix of culture and cuisine, with picturesque landscapes, ancient woodlands, abbeys, monasteries, fertile valleys, stunning fortified hill top villages and high snow-capped mountains. If you love Italy, or have always wanted to experience the breath taking beauty of the country; its fine cuisine and culture; the joyful, easy going inhabitants – then this tour is for you. Some folk claim that Umbria is even more beautiful than Tuscany!
One of the smallest regions in Italy, Umbria proudly preserves traces of its great past. Here you will find a rich artistic and cultural heritage, nestled in a charming landscape that retains the ancient atmosphere of medieval times. The inhabitants of this beautiful area strive to conserve folk events, festivals, localism, and traditional cuisine and they really enjoy sharing their culture with us.
In 2000, UNESCO collectively designated the Franciscan structures of Assisi, including the ‘Basilica of San Francesco’, as a World Heritage Site. A short walk in a peaceful forested gorge takes us to ‘Eremo delle Carceri’, where St Francis first visited this small hermitage in 1205, living alone in a cave praying fervently and performing penance. Today, Assisi calls itself “City of Peace”, largely as a result of his teachings.
As well as the Assisi area, our tour also takes us to Lake Trasimeno – one of Italy’s largest freshwater lakes and an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. A beautiful landscape characterised by the serene presence of the lake, situated in the largest regional park in Umbria. Walking trails crisscross the woodlands and olive grove covered hills, with breathtaking views down to the mirror like blue lake.
We will visit several fortified towns steeped in history, art, and culture, with views across rolling countryside, rich in olive groves and vineyards. One of our sight seeing trips from here will be to ‘Castiglione del Lago’, a fortress town overlooking the lake, where we will visit the museum and its Palazzo della Corgna, with fantastic frescos painted by Niccolo Circignani, known as ‘Il Pomarancio’.
Whilst in the area, we will cross over to Tuscany a few miles to visit the lovely hilltop town of Cortona, famed for the ‘Museo Diocesano’ – a small museum housing an outstanding collection of works by local artists from the 14th century onwards – including Fra’ Angelico, Luca Signorelli and Pietro do Cortona. Interest in this pretty town was amplified in 1996 when the American writer, Frances Mayes, published ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ – a memoir of renovating a dilapidated villa in Cortona after the end of her marriage. Mayes’ bestselling book was turned into a box office success when the film, starring Diane Lane and set in and around Cortona, was released in 2003.
Val di Nera, a beautiful part of Umbria, is a self contained area of high mountains, steep wooded valleys, upland villages and vast stretches of untouched land on the western fringes of The Appenines. There are many peaceful nature walks in the area, from the plain of Castelluccio, with its beautiful meadows, to the interior hills – and on up to Monti Sibillini (2500m). Valnerina is a genuine ‘forgotten corner of Italy’, where deserted farms and villages bear witness to a century of emigration.
Our accommodation for the first 5 nights is situated on the hills of Assisi, with spectacular panoramic views, set deep in the heart of the National Park of ‘Monte Subasio’ – yet within 10 minutes drive of the historical town of Assisi. Our host Alex (above right), has transformed his ancient family home into a comfortable and eclectic mix, encapsulating the mood of the era in which the oak beamed farmhouse was born. Expect the most fabulous dining here!
From Assisi we journey northwest to ‘Lago Trasimeno’ – Italy’s largest lake. Our hosts for the next four nights are Bruno and his lovely family – they are renowned for their warm welcome and hospitality. Staying in an elegant 1930’s villa which has been delightfully refurbished, on the north shore of the lake, we will wake up to stunning views of the lake, its islands, and the surrounding countryside. This part of Umbria is a designated an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, so development around ‘Parco del Lago Trasimeno’ is severely restricted.
Our last 3 nights accommodation on this exciting historical, natural, gastronomic tour, is in the tiny hill Village of Castle Postignano. It is a fascinating ancient place, full of enchanting cobbled streets, stairways and courtyards leading to unforgettable views over the lush mountains of The Valnerina. This is a place rich in history, where you can unwind in nature – with all of the comforts and services designed for maximum comfort and relaxation.
Here, after 12 nights, we will finish this fabulous tour – walking, talking, laughing, relaxing and enjoying sumptuous Italy together. You will then be transported back to Perugia airport or Assisi train station, with easy access to Florence or Rome.
Food – We will eat in typical Umbrian Restaurants, Agriturismos, Vineyards and Olive Groves, cafes and bars, where traditional cuisine is served. The produce is locally grown and sourced; olive oil, fresh fruit and vegetables of the season, meats, game, polenta, honey, cheese, salami and hams – with artisan breads baked on wood in ancient furnaces. Through the various chefs’ creativity, we will discover the authentic emotions, tastes and sensations of this truly wonderful region.
Joining us as our local travel specialist for the duration of this fascinating tour will be our friend and colleague Gabriele Salari (see “Team Adventureline” web page for his biography). He will share with us some of the region’s great history, cuisine, art and nature in places such as Assisi, Monte Subasio, Spello, Spoleto, Foligno, Bevagna, Trevi, Collepino, Vallo di Nera, Cortona.
Discover an enchanting province full of Prehistoric, Etruscan, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance history and art; providing us with ‘gateways’ to experience the most stunning surroundings, where we can immerse ourselves in nature and immense ages of culture – and, last but not least, good food. And as a ‘foodie’, Gabriele is very keen to share the very best cuisine of Umbria with you. He has done so with us several times and it is indeed incredible!
This fully inclusive 13 day tour costs €3,000 based on double occupancy.
Singles occupying double rooms incur a £250 supplement.
All meals and wines are included, as per our normal exclusive formula.
- All participants of our International holidays will be requested to sign a Liability Release Form upon arrival at the destination.