Culinary Tour Italy 2005  

Artisanal Italy

A Personal Discovery of Rural Life in Umbria: Culture, Tradition, Artisan Craftsmen, Food, Wine, Friends and Laughter

10-Nights, October 2005 - SOLD OUT! - Interested in a similar itinerary to Italy for yourself or a group of friends/family? Read the itinerary below and contact us!

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This is a very special "small group" tour exclusive to Global Philosophy Travel. We would love for you to join us in discovering authentic Italy!

Artisanal Tour of Italy Highlights:

- This special departure coincides with the gastronomic happening, "A Spasso con Gusto" of the Slow Food organization. Slow Food is a reference to living an unhurried life, beginning at the table. We will participate in organized walks through Orvieto to discover the tastes and flavors of authentic, regional culinary specialties.

- Accommodations in a traditional farmhouse on a working estate and a well-known, charming, family-owned country home famous for hospitality and their family recipes.

- Participation in the grape harvest* along with participation in traditional grape stomping!

- Discover the art of chocolate making at a village "pasticceria."

- Learn how to prepare and cook traditional recipes of the Umbrian region, many which include the beloved truffle ('tartufo')!

- Winery visits and tastings as well as a visit to an olive oil mill with tasting (Umbrian and Tuscan oil is thought by many to be the best in Italy as well as the entire Mediterranean.)

- Visit the pre-Roman village of Ficulle famous for its terracotta and ironwork, as well as one of the principal producers of DOC Orvieto wine.

- Visit the spectacularly untouched village of Civita di Bagnoregio, established 2,500 years ago that has remained virtually untouched since the Middle Ages.

- Enjoy a full day at the "Terme dei Papi" thermal spa in the medieval city of Viterbo. This is where the popes would come to soak in the natural curative waters, hence the name "Terme dei Papi!"

- Plenty of leisure time to browse the local markets and wander independently of the group.

- Optional horseback riding at the farm estate as well as cycling and hiking excursions.

- Opportunity to enjoy lunch at the home of a local family

- Dinner with entertainment by village musicians and more!

Overview of Umbria:

"Imagine a magical place, where you can be transported back hundreds of years to medieval times. And in this place there are small villages, towers and castles clinging to the tops of hills. Imagine finding a small church containing frescoes by one of the Italian masters. And when you look around you there are mountains, lakes, forests and meadows. Acres of sunflowers turn their heads to the sky. Here and there an old farmhouse lies in abandoned splendour, its crumbled stone and terracotta blending into the burnt umber and rich ochre of the fields.

And then someone tells you that it isn't a figment of your imagination, this place exists. Its name is Umbria, the land-locked 'green heart' of Italy, also referred to as 'the land of 20,000 saints'. Its history dates back 3000 years; it was here that the mysterious Etruscans and the ancient Umbrian people battled for ownership of the land. The Etruscans have left their legacy all over the region in the form of tombs, arches, temples and strange stone tablets carved with a type of runic script. It wasn't really until Roman times that the name 'Umbria' was used for the first time, and even today Roman houses, baths and aqueducts are still being uncovered.

Umbria offers hundreds of hill towns, villages and hamlets, some of them not even marked on the map, waiting for you to discover. You can still witness women dressed in the traditional black, the men weather-beaten from a lifetime's work on the land. You will see them sitting outside their houses having a chat, or tending their vineyards and olive groves, the quintessential rustic Italian life many of us envision or dream." Excerpt from "Italy's Best Kept Secret" by Fiona Tankard

Artisanal Tour of Italy Daily Itinerary:

The dates of this exclusive tour have been arranged to coincide with different festivals and events occurring in Italy, including the "Spasso con Gusto" by Slow Food, the wonderful market days in Orvieto as well as the opportunity to stomp grapes at the end of the harvest!

Day 1 - October 5, 2005

Benvenuto! Our group will meet at the Rome airport and be privately transferred to our country farmhouse for the first 5-nights of our special tour of Italy. Check-in and time to relax and explore the estate at leisure before dinner. There are many nature trails surrounding the estate for picturesque walks and even hikes, cycling or horseback riding through the fields.

Day 2 - October 6, 2005

Today we spend time familiarizing ourselves with the estate and its activities, including its cellar where we enjoy a tasting. We will enjoy a bountiful "family style" lunch at the farm as well as the opportunity to have fun learning how to stomp grapes!

Day 3 - October 7, 2005

Today we enjoy an excursion on the "Strada dei Vini Etruschi" to get acquainted with the viticulture of the area. We will visit a well-known winery, learning of its production, followed by leisurely lunch with wine. Following lunch, we will visit an olive oil mill where a guide will share the original methods of producing olive oil, followed by a tasting with brushetta. The olive oil of Umbria is commonly known as one of the best in Italy as well as throughout the Mediterranean for its intensive fruity taste and deep emerald green color. If time allows, we will wander the streets of a small, undiscovered village where we can relax at an outdoor café. Dinner tonight is a special affair with village musicians, nothing fancy, just a few guitarists playing and serenading us as we enjoy our delicious homemade food and wine!

Day 4 - October 8, 2005

Today is a relaxed day with a visit to the beloved town of Assisi where we spend an hour touring the famous Basilica of St. Francis. The rest of our time in Assisi is at leisure to wander the charming streets or join us at the home of family friends where we can enjoy a lunch of pasta, listen to music, sing, dance, laugh and even play a game of bocce! After our free time in Assisi, we visit the medieval gem of Perugia where you can wander the narrow streets at leisure, discovering the many cafés, boutiques and museums.   Don't forget to try the famous Baci candy!

Day 5 - October 9, 2005

Today is at leisure to enjoy the gastronomic happening, "Spasso con Gusto" of the Slow Food organization. After satisfying your desire for the many culinary specialties, which you will discover during this fabulous culinary event, the day is yours to stroll the narrow streets of this medieval town.

Day 6 - October 10, 2005

Today we will transfer to a typical small, family-owned country house famous for their culinary specialties! This will be your base for the remainder of our special tour. Your hosts are warm and friendly people, lovers of the finest tradition in Umbrian and Tuscan country cuisine. You will enjoy delicious homemade pasta dishes and thick soups with the finest extra-virgin olive oil, as well as Tuscan ribollita, prepared with produce and herbs from our host's garden. In addition, you will enjoy unbelievably savory roasts, fragrant homemade bread and pizza all from their own traditional wood-burning brick oven!

After settling into our new home, we will learn the art of chocolate making at a local pasticceria. After our lesson, we will enjoy free time to relax before visiting Ficulle where we learn of this ancient town's famous terracotta pottery. Tonight will be the first night we dine on the culinary specialties our new home is so famous for!

Day 7 - October 11, 2005

Today we will enjoy another day at leisure for personal activities: to relax, shop, take day trips to neighboring villages, whatever your heart's desire.

Day 8 - October 12, 2005

Today is spa day! We will visit the medieval walled city of Viterbo, with a day of relaxation at Terme dei Papi where we can soak in the thermal waters or enjoy special treatments.

Day 9 - October 13, 2005

After breakfast, the morning is dedicated to the outdoor market in Orvieto, where we will enjoy free time to shop and browse the many stalls. After our free time, we will visit a small pottery studio. This evening, we will enjoy another fabulous dinner.

Day 10 - October 14, 2005

Today we will visit the virtually unchanged, untouched medieval village of Civita di Bagnoregio. This village has remained intact and untouched for thousands of years and will be one of the joys and memorable highlights of our trip for years to come. Return to our country home for a cooking lesson on local specialties, enjoying the fruits of our labor afterwards! This evening we will say arrivederci Italia at our special farewell dinner.

Day 11 - October 15, 2005

Ciao Italia! Transfer to the Rome airport.

*We will participate in the grape harvest if the season and weather allows. Regardless, we will have fun grape stomping!  

Towns and Villages Visited:

Orvieto - An ancient town carved out of an enormous plateau of volcanic rock, initially settled by the Etruscans. Orvieto, probably known as Velzna by the Bronze and Iron Age tribes that once occupied the land, is a delight to the eye and the senses.   The Romanesque-Gothic Duomo took three centuries to complete and is fondly known as the 'most dazzling Cathedral in Italy'. Orvieto is famous for spectacular wine as the plains and low hills around Orvieto grow grapes such as verdello, grechetto, and Tuscan varietals trebbiano and malvasia that go into one of Italy's great wines, a pale straw-colored DOC white called Orvieto Classico. This wine enjoys one of the longest documented histories of any wine in Italy! Montanucci Café in Orvieto was recently named one of the three best in Italy by Gambero Rosso, a national food and lifestyle guide. Orvieto is also famous for its beautiful ceramics. Click Here to View Information on Slow Food in Orvieto!

Perugia - The capital of Umbria, this perfectly preserved medieval hilltop town dates from at least the 4th century BC. Perugia's dominant position overlooking the Tiber valley meant it was to play an important part in Umbria's history. Perugia was one of the 12 cities of the Etruscan confederation, and though it submitted to general Roman authority in 310 B.C. Today, Perugia is a town of Gothic palaces, jazz cafes, art, fashionable shops and delightful restaurants. Perugia produced and trained some of Umbria's finest artists, including Gentile da Fabriano and Perugino, from whose workshop emerged Raphael, Pinturicchio and Lo Spagna.

Ficulle - A pre-Roman village famous for its terracotta, iron and woodwork, as well as one of the principal producers of DOC Orvieto wine. Ficulle is certainly off-the-main-tourist-track and is comprised of a delightful maze of small streets and quaint squares studded with shops, cafes and restaurants. The Santa Maria Vecchia Church from the 13th Century is one of the most noteworthy architectural attractions aside from the castle.

Civita di Bagnoregio - A spectacular village first discovered 2,500 years ago. This gem has been virtually untouched since the Middle Ages and is known as one of the most beautiful rustic villages deep within the heart of Italy. Built upon an enormous mound of volcanic rock jutting into the sky, Civita di Bagnoregio seems to proudly float above the neighboring valleys and villages below. Civita was once the main Etruscan road leading to the Tiber Valley and Rome. The ground below Civita is filled with ancient cellars used for storing wine and cisterns for collecting rainwater, since there was no well in town. Many of these precious artifacts, which are still in use, date from Etruscan times.

Assisi - A UNESCO World Heritage site, this special town exudes heavenly wonderment. Assisi represents an ensemble of masterpieces of human creative genius, such as the Basilica of San Francesco, which have made it a fundamental reference for art history in Europe and in the world. A medieval city built on a hill, Assisi is possibly best known as the birthplace of Saint Francis, closely associated with the work of the Franciscan Order. Assisi is also brimming with medieval art by masters such as Cimabue, Pietro Lorenzetti, Simone Martini and Giotto. In addition, the location could not be better, perched along a mountainside and surrounded by a valley of fields and olive groves, Assisi boasts Roman roots, a mystical castle and meandering alleyways dating from the Middle Ages.

Viterbo - One of the most carefully maintained medieval towns in central Italy. Viterbo is a walled city famous for its natural thermal springs, known to be a curative to many health related ailments. The most famous spa is "Terme dei Papi" named after the many popes who would come here to escape Rome and soak in the healing waters. The province of Viterbo is filled with many special features such as Italy's fifth largest lake, numerous national parks, ancient ruins and laidback friendly locals.

In addition, we will be visiting other small, unknown villages and towns in between!

Artisanal Tour of Italy Includes:

Roundtrip transfers Rome airport
Transportation by mini bus on excursions as listed in itinerary
10-Nights accommodations, 5-nights farmhouse on a working estate & 5-nights country home
Breakfast daily
Half Board (lunch or dinner depending upon the day's activities
Opportunity to join us at the home of a local family in Assisi
Dinner with village musicians
Special farewell dinner
Wine tasting with snack
Grape stomping
Excursion on the "Strada dei Vini Etruschi" with a winery visit and tasting
Olive oil mill visit with guide, tasting with bruschetta
Guided tour of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi
Transportation to Perugia with leisure time
Ticket to the "Spasso con Gusto" of the Slow Food organization
Chocolate making lesson at a village pasticceria
Cooking lesson of local specialties followed by lunch
Excursion and guided visit of Ficulle (famous for pottery and ironwork)
Excursion to a "surprise" village
Transportation, entrance and light lunch at "Terme dei Papi" Spa in Viterbo
Pottery studio visit
Excursion and guided visit of Civita di Bagnoregio

Artisanal Tour of Italy Excludes:

International airfare (discounted rates available)
Horseback riding at the farmhouse estate
Special spa treatments at "Papi dei Terme"
Optional lunch at family home in Assisi
Travel Insurance
Items of a personal nature
Items not listed in above itinerary

Rates: $3095USD per person, double occupancy. Single supplements available. Rates based upon current exchange rate. $200 deposit per person is necessary to secure this tour. Limited to 14 participants so please inquiry promptly to guarantee space!

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