Secret Places

Starts in Rome – Ends in Venice (11 days – 3 nights in Umbria / 2 nights in Tuscany / 4 nights in Bologna / 1 night in Venice )  

ART AND NATURE, OIL MILL AND WINERY VISITS, MEDIEVAL TOWNS AND THE FERRARI WORLD, ART LANDSCAPES AND SCENIC ROUTES: WE WILL TAKE YOU OFF THE BEATEN PATH TO EXPERIENCE THE TRUE HEART OF ITALY

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  • Day 1 – Rome - Spoleto

  • Leave Rome and reach Spoleto in less than two hours. “Spoleto is the most beautiful discovery I made in Italy”, Herman Hesse wrote once. But even his words do not do justice to Spoleto’s dramatic charm. The majestic Rocca Albornoz fortress dominates the city and offers magnificent views of the Duomo, a striking example of Romanesque architecture with frescoes by Pinturicchio and Filippo Lippi. The Towers Bridge,  connecting the Rocca with the Monteluco hill, dates back to 1100 and it’s an astonishing piece of engineering. Anyone afraid of heights should probably consider avoiding it. Over time this impressive bridge, that seems to be suspended in space, cast its magic on the most illustrious tourists visiting the area, including Goethe, who described it in his Italian Journey, and English painter Turner, who depicted it in one of his most prominent works

  • Day 2 – Spello – Bevagna - Montefalco

  • Pink-stoned Spello is all about quiet alleyways and unexpected panoramic views; its most distinguished sight is the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, which houses art treasures that alone are worth a trip to Umbria. The church displays a number of frescoes by Perugino and the Baglioni Chapel is decorated with a cycle of frescoes by Pinturicchio along with a self-portrait of the artist himself. Bevagna is a charming medieval village enclosed by walls hosting at the end of June one of Umbria’s most spectacular historical festivals: the Mercato delle Gaite when the town’s alleys fill with people in period costumes who demonstrate medieval crafts and skills. With their incredibly long life span and slow growth rate, olive trees embody Umbria’s commitment to preserving its century-old traditions, handed down from one generation to the next.  A visit to an olive mill will allow you to familiarize with the oil production process and will end with a sampling conducted by an oil expert. You will find out everything you need to know about the finest among olive oils, “emerald green in color, intense aroma with well balanced hints of almonds and artichokes, fruity flavor, a soft and pleasant nutty aroma”. Montefalco, is also known as "Ringhiera dell'Umbria" (The Balcony of Umbria), a tribute to its lofty position and a stunning panorama across the entire Valle Umbra, and a bird’s-eye view across a vast area, from the Apennines to the Monti Martani, from Perugia to Spoleto. Its name meaning “Falcon’s Mount” reminds us of Emperor Frederick II - who lived here for a short period of time in 1249 - and his passion for falcon hunting. A narrow street lined with old linen shops leads to the main square with its historical buildings, small shops selling home-made items and wine shops. Montefalco’s vine growing history dates back to Roman times and the town has achieved international renown for its wine, the Sagrantino

  • Day 3 – Assisi - Perugia

  • Assisi is undoubtedly Umbria’s best-known village. It is the birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare, and it was from here that St. Francis’s message of peace was spread far and wide. The most popular tourist attraction is by far the Basilica del Santo. It encompasses two churches: the Lower Church, in Romanesque style, and the Upper Church, in Gothic style with Giotto’s frescoes. Strolling through Assisi’s streets one cannot fail to notice how the town has managed to retain its original medieval character. Perugia is the seat of one of Italy’s oldest universities and it has a lively atmosphere day and night. It preserves artistic and architectural gems of exceptional value: the imposing Rocca Paolina, symbolizing the power of Pope Paul III Farnese over the Perugini; the Palazzo dei Priori, beautiful example of medieval architecture and finally the Collegio del Cambio, with superb frescoes executed by Perugino along with the self-portraits of Perugino and Pinturicchio among the bankers depicted on the wall; the Cathedral and the Fontana Maggiore. Stop at a pottery workshop to learn about the realization of traditional artistic ceramics and try a little decorations, if you like. Let us not forget that Perugia is home to the famous Bacio Perugina (literally Perugina Kiss), a praline wrapped in silver foil that comes with a special love note and the unmistakable package showing two lovers kissing each other, inspired by the painting “The Kiss” by Hayez. Chocolate lovers cannot miss a visit to the museum chocolate factory

  • Day 4 – Montepulciano – Val d’Orcia

  • The maze of underground cantine (wine cellars) carved into the rock, guarding the precious oak barrels where the Vino Nobile “rests”, bear witness to the strong ties that have existed for centuries between the town of Montepulciano and its wine. Let us not forget about the sweet Vinsanto di Montepulciano DOC, which must be aged for at least 3 years in the caratelli (small wooden barrels), while the Riserva version requires the wine to age for 5 years and the more expensive “Occhio di Pernice” - made from Sangiovese dried grapes and best enjoyed sipped - must age for 8 years. With its scenic landscape, the Val d’Orcia has been used as the setting for a number of well-known movies, including “The English Patient”, shot at Sant’Anna in Camparena, “The Gladiator”, shot at Vita Leta near San Quirico d’Orcia, and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”, shot at Montepulciano

  • Day 5 – Siena

  • Its imposing buildings, the fine decorations and the wealth of materials will leave you speechless, gazing in wonder at the town’s beauty, of which its inhabitants are deservedly proud: Piazza del Campo with the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia, Piazza Duomo and its Cathedral, the old Spedale and the remains of the new Duomo. Breath in the wonderful atmosphere, enjoy a walk down the medieval alleyways and step back in time

  • Day 6 – Chianti - Bologna

  • A stunning landscape of rolling hills planted with a sea of vineyards and olive groves, tiny villages, charming parish churches, stone farmhouses and noble castles: welcome to the Tuscan region of Chianti. A sampling in a wine cellar does not make you a Chianti connoisseur, the story behind Chianti must be told by those who were born with a passion for wine, who have been making wine for 700 years, for whom every vintage is a new beginning, having their roots in the past but looking towards the future. Dramatically situated on a hill among vineyards is another artistic gem of this region: the Badia a Passignano, dating back to the year 395. The monks of the Vallombrosian Order, who still live in the premises, have been promoting scientific research (Galileo Galilei was a teacher here in 1587) and the conservation of the local countryside, especially through vine growing on the land surrounding the Abbey. Leave Tuscany and reach Emilia Romagna, the land where gourmet food meets great minds like Verdi, Pavarotti and Enzo Ferrari. Bologna is the gastronomic capital of Italy and a place not to be missed by gourmets. You will learn about the specialties of the Italian cuisine, its flavours and ingredients and above all you will taste the best food Italy has to offer

  • Day 7 – Montefeltro – Romagna Riviera

  • Be ready for an experience like no other: entering the landscape of an art masterpiece. You will visit the so called “Balconi di Piero” (Piero’s Balconies), places that Piero della Francesca used 500 years ago as a setting for his works, or The Monna Lisa vista points. Right in front you is the landscape in the most famous portrait by Leonardo da Vinci or the background of the portrait depicting Duchess Battista Sforza, on display at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.  The sea is not far and the Riviera Romagnola offers plenty of choice when it comes to leisure opportunities. You could take a ride on a sailboat but make sure you do not miss the chance to taste the true piadina romagnola, a flatbread disc cooked on a hot boiling metal griddle, filled with squacquerone (a fresh, tasty cheese), herbs, cold cuts and many more

  • Day 8 – Ferrari World Maranello

  • Discover the fascinating Ferrari world, the Casa Museo L. Pavarotti, the town of Modena and the many outstanding products of the land of engines and taste. Visit the Museo Ferrari in Maranello and the Museo Enzo Ferrari in Modena, the Casa Museo L. Pavarotti and have guided tours with tastings of the traditional food products like the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, the Lambrusco wine or Prosciutto. A coach service links all the above mentioned premises for a unique experience for gourmets and Ferrari lovers. Car enthusiasts can test a F1 simulator in the Ferrari Museum or they can test drive a Ferrari on normal roads in Maranello

  • Day 9 – Ravenna

  • Ravenna, a city where art meets the sea, is world-renowned for its hospitality. Since ancient times it has welcomed illustrious visitors the likes of Dante, Lord Byron and Hermann Hesse. It is the city of mosaics, a city with an ancient history, and a city that was declared capital three times: of the Western Roman Empire, of the Ostrogoth Kingdom under Theodoric and finally of the Byzantine Empire in Europe. Its glorious past left it with an extensive architectural heritage: as many as eight buildings have been acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ravenna is a city with a vibrant cultural scene all year round. There is nothing like strolling in the historical centre, having a meal in an authentic restaurant and visiting one of Ravenna’s many mosaic ateliers.

  • Day 10 – Venice

  • Visit the workshop of an ''Impiraressa", to discover an ancient Venetian craft and learn about the history and beauty of venetian glass beads and the hidden places in which they have been threaded for centuries. This will be the starting point of a  dream that will bring you back in the days, walking in a quiet and enchanted Venice, you will have the opportunity to see the real day to day neighborhoods of the city and a break from the tourist traffic. At sunset enjoy a gondola ride through the canals of Venice and let yourself be conquered by the unique charm of this city

  • Day 11 – Venice

  • We are today at the end of the tour which followed a classic route but led you to discover enchanting off-the-beaten-track places