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Off the beaten path in Central Italy
Italy is renowned for spectacular scenery, famous cuisine and wines, and of course for its many delightful towns and villages. 
We will savour it all as we explore the beautiful region of Umbria - an area of deep green valleys, rolling hills, olive groves and charming old stone villas. It is well known for its many enchanting picture-postcard towns and villages and also for the incredible cathedrals, castles and monasteries in the countryside. We will also absorb the timeless atmosphere in the many well-preserved medieval town centres as we stroll the ancient cobbled streets. 

We will stay in the region of Perugia, famous for its rich chocolate and delicious fresh pasta. Some of our sightseeing will take us “off the beaten path” to places rarely visited by tourists, including the charming town of Gubbio which sits at the base of the Apennine Mountain range, a cruise on Lake Trasimeno to marvel at the beauty of its islands, coastline and the surrounding mountains, a visit to Orvieto - a ceramic centre located on a cliff high above the countryside which boasts one of Italy’s most impressive Gothic cathedrals, and of course Assisi and its magnificent famous shrine - St. Francis Basilica.

Along the way we’ll enjoy the local wine, savour the purest of olive oil and indulge in the finest chocolate and truffles

We begin with 6 nights in Assisi, at the lovely Hotel Assisi La Terrazza, a perfect base for exploring this region. The hotel is beautifully situated among the olive groves of Assisi's hills overlooking the green Umbria valley. The historic city centre of Assisi is approximately 800 meters away to walk (or take the local bus which stops near the hotel).

 The hotel's restaurant serves regional specialties of Umbria as well as international cuisine. The hotel has a wellness centre and swimming pool (not heated). Our hotel in Perugia, for the next 7 nights, is the Residenza Fontanelle Hotel. This property is laid out like a small European village - a quiet oasis near a lively shopping area and steps from public transportation which you can take to other nearby towns and villages. On free days the hotel will offer a cookery lesson, afternoon tea, country strolls and a market visit. 

 * Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart for Rome with Air Canada.
We arrive in Rome and transfer to our hotel in Assisi. Afternoon at leisure until our Welcome Dinner this evening.
Our tour of Assisi today includes a visit of the famous St. Francis Basilica, Santa Maria degli Angeli, the 13th century gothic Basilica di Santa Chiara and the frescos of the Pilgrim’s Oratory.
A day at leisure to further explore Assisi. 
We visit Gubbio, one of the architectural jewels of Umbria. This city preserves important vestiges of Umbrian, Roman and medieval history. We will see the Roman theater, Palazzos dei Consoli, Bargello and Ducale, and the Duomo of St. Ubaldo Mount Ingino.
A day at leisure. You may want to join an optional excursion to historic Urbino and “holy” Loreto.
Today we visit Spoleto to see its historic monuments and buildings; the Roman Theatre, Piazza del Duomo, La Rocca and the San Salvatore and San Ponziano Churches. Our included lunch today will feature Italian truffles. In the afternoon we set off for Marmore’s Falls - a manmade waterfall created by the ancient Romans. Enjoy the observatory near the top that offers a grandiose view of the falls and the Nera Valley below. 
We depart for Perugia with a stop to sample the local olive oil. We then enjoy a tour of Perugia, the capital city of the region of Umbria and well-known cultural and artistic centre of Italy. We will see Cavallotti Square in the historical centre, San Lorenzo Cathedral and Palazzo dei Priori. In the afternoon we visit the historical museum of Perugina Chocolate.
A full day tour to Spello, one of the most beautiful “borgo” in Umbria with its old churches, walls and narrow streets full of flowers - sights that adorn travel posters for Italy all over the world. After our tour there will be some free time to wander the village. In the afternoon we stop in Deruta to visit a workshop known for its ceramics that are exported worldwide.
A day at leisure to perhaps take a stroll in the countryside or join an optional tour to a wild deer and boar farm with jeep rides and a farm-fresh lunch of their specialties.
Today we visit medieval Orvieto - a unique town sitting atop the summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff. It dominates the surrounding area and offers spectacular views over the countryside. We will visit the old town centre and the Duomo, and enjoy a special lunch with local wine and medieval costumes!
A day at leisure, or take an optional tour to Cortona in Tuscany, rich in museums, history and art.
A splash of inky blue on the hilly landscape, Lake Trasimeno is Italy's fourth-largest lake and is surrounded by silver-green olive groves, vineyards, forests of oak and cypress, and castle-topped medieval towns. We will enjoy a relaxing cruise on the lake and see the three picturesque small islands before enjoying lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the lake. This afternoon we will have time for a stroll around the charming lake-side town of Passignano, rich in history and beauty, before we return to our hotel.
A final day at leisure to relax at the hotel or do some further exploring of the region.
We transfer to the Rome airport for our flight back to Canada.
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