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 ~ Gems of Tuscany and Umbria ~ undiscovered Italy     

      Tuscany Hills

 I like going off the beaten path...  
   
     If you have been to Italy once you surely visited the “big three” Rome, Florence, and Venice. 
I love those cities, however, there is so much more to Italia then just them! 
     
Globus has some great “Undiscovered Italy” itineraries that visit villages that most tours overlook.
My husband is interested in the history of the Etruscan's and I love the countryside so "The Gems of Tuscany and Umbria" was a natural choice.
    
     Our group met up in Rome and had dinner before our departure the next morning. 
The trip kicked off with a visit to Narni, the inspiration for “Chronicles of Narnia”. 
We visited the convent of San Domenico where prisoners of the Spanish inquisition where held and carved their stories into the walls.
There are also some frescos that date back to the 12th and 13th century.
What is most interesting about the site is it had been completely forgotten; it was discovered in 1979 by two cavers who were astonished by what they found. 
After our underground adventure we were treated to a pasta making demonstration followed by a fresh pasta lunch with wine. 
Well satiated we were off to Spoleto and stunning Spello. 
     
     Spello is an adorable small village with beautiful flowers everywhere you look! 
There is a famous flower festival held in Spello each June, a true feast for the eyes!
It is the type of place I could wander around all day; I was very pleased we had so much free time to drink in the atmosphere.
     After exploring the hilltop village, we visited Assisi and then were on to San Martino in Campo our base to explore Perugia for two days.
We visited the Piazza IV Novembre square with its beautiful fountain, and tasted Baci candies.   
It was lovely strolling the promenade of Lake Trasimeno and hard to imagine that the bloodiest battle in Roman history happened there.
The surprise attack by Hannibal still holds the record as the largest military ambush in history. 
     Leaving Umbria we headed to Siena home of the annual Palio race. 
We had a wonderful dinner in Monteriggioni a picture-perfect village nearby. 
In Volterra we explored the Roman ruins and then headed to one of my favorite villages, San Gimignano, where we had the afternoon to ourselves. 
The pace of the entire tour was like this, with a lot of free time to explore on your own.   
   

     Driving through the beautiful gentle rolling hills of the Val d'Orcia to mountaintop medieval villages was a magical experience. 
We stopped in Pienza known for its Pecorino cheese and did a Brunello wine tasting in Montalcino.
     The tour wound down with two nights in Orvieto.
We visited the Etruscan Underground Labirinto, and of course the magnificent cathedral with the San Brizio Chapel, with the most beautiful ceiling outside of the Vatican.     
     Our last night in Rome we went to a great opera dinner show, it was quite humorous, not stuffy at all, so even non-opera fans would enjoy it.    
 I highly recommend this adventure for anyone who would like to get a more in-depth look at the villages of Umbria and Tuscany!   

Video -Umbria and Tuscany

 

Tanga Opera Restaurant Rome              

                                               

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Ann Castagna Morin

Southampton, MA
Luxury River Cruise & European travel specialist

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