Overview

Assisi - 7 nights

Spendology - Widgets

SECRET ITALY

Exploring the cities and scenery of Umbria, from our base in Assisi to Spello, Orvieto, Perugia, and Spoleto, and taking in the Marche town of Urbino, this tour reveals hidden gems and holy places, Roman ruins and medieval palaces, and a feast of exquisite art

While every region of Italy has its own history, heritage, and highlights, some are more famous, more lauded, more visited than others. This tour explores the landmarks of lesser-known Umbria. The only Italian region with neither a coastline nor an international border, its character is undiluted, and many of its towns seem barely altered since the Middle Ages. Travelling on day trips by private taxis, the tour is based in Assisi. Some see its grand basilicas as places of pilgrimage, others as fabulous art museums. Either way, Assisi’s fortunes are inextricably linked to its most revered residents, St Francis, founder of the Order of Friars, and St Clare, whose tomb is in the 13th-century church. From here we visit Spello, with little lanes and all the atmosphere of an ancient village; Orvieto, displaying 3,000 years of history, and described as Italy’s most beautiful city; and Todi, tucked within three encircling city walls, Etruscan, Roman and medieval. The walled city of Urbino has gorgeous valley views, and very few visitors; Perugia mixes a modern vibe with a medieval setting, cobbled lanes of colourful houses, and churches adorned with the art of Raphael and Perugino; and in Spoleto, Romanesque chapels mingle with Roman remains.

Key Features

Cultural Tour
Jules Verne Sightseeing
3 UNESCO Heritage Sites
Hosted by Art Collector
Historic Hotels

Special Event

Art & Cuisine

An aperitif at the home of your tour host, also a private art collector; enjoy an Umbrian dinner with traditional dishes and local wines; a buffet supper, an Umbrian wine tasting with a local expert at the home of your tour host.

Day 1 Depart London Stansted to Perugia. Seven nights at Dei Priori in Assisi. Aperitif at the Assisi home of your tour host who will describe his collection of Roman, Byzantine and Medieval art.

Day 2 Tour of St Francis' Basilica in Assisi decorated with frescoes by the greatest 13th and 14th century Masters.  Drive to the medieval mountain village of Spello to see the frescoes by Pinturicchio. In the afternoon, visit a 2nd-century Roman Villa with magnificent mosaic floors. (B)

Day 3 Scenic drive through southern Umbria to Orvieto and its Cathedral, a jewel of medieval architecture and art, including Signorelli’s frescoes of the Last Judgement. Return via Todi, a mountain village with fine views. (B)

Day 4 Drive to the Renaissance city of Urbino for a tour of its magnificent Ducal Palace, with the Duke's marquetry lined study and art treasures including paintings by Piero della Francesca and Raphael. Continue to the Oratory of St. John the Baptist for frescoes of the saint's life by Salibene. Continue to the medieval town of Gubbio for lunch and visit the Palazzo dei Consoli, famous for its bronze tablets inscribed with ancient Umbrian and Etruscan language. (B, L)

Day 5 Day at leisure. A local expert presents Umbrian wines at a buffet supper in your host’s home. (B, D)

Day 6 Full-day tour of Perugia, the capital of Umbria, visiting the lavishly decorated church of San Pietro, underground medieval streets, imposing Corso, Collegio del Cambio decorated by Perugino, the Piazza IV Novembre with its 13th-century fountain by Pisano, the Cathedral and a 2nd-century BC Etruscan well. In the afternoon visit the 14th-century Palazzo dei Priori with its outstanding collection of early Italian paintings. Lastly, visit the mighty Etruscan archway and 2nd-century Roman mosaic of Orpheus charming the animals. (B)

Day 7 Drive to Spoleto. After coffee beside the 14th century bridge-aqueduct Ponte della Torri, visit the Cathedral with its imposing facade and frescoes of the Life of the Virgin by Filippino Lippi, the Roman amphitheatre and Arch of Drusus. Afterwards, drive through the beautiful Valle of Valnerina to the spectacular 400ft Marmore Waterfall, the highest in Europe. Continue to the mountain village of Piediluco, enjoy a celebratory farewell lunch beside its lovely lake and end the tour with a boat trip upon the lake. (B, L)

Day 8 Return flight to London Stansted. (B)

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner

Notes

Some visits are on foot with some uneven surfaces and inclines.

The Assisi Calendimaggio Festival, in praise of Spring, is a competition between the Lower Part of the City (Magnifico Parte de Sotto) and the Upper Part (Nobielissima Parte de Sopra) with 1,000 participants.  It is a serious evocation of medieval life judged by a Professor of Medieval History, a Professor of Medieval Music, and a professional in theatrical presentation. 

Day 1 Depart London Stansted to Perugia. Seven nights at Dei Priori in Assisi,  Afternoon: The first day of the Calendimaggio.  The mayor gives the keys of the city to the Maistro di Campo, the judges are introduced and each Part enter in procession.  Evening buffet supper at your host's home with Umbrian wines, described by a local expert. (D)

Day 2 Tour of Assisi’s St. Francis’ Basilica decorated with frescoes by the greatest 14th-century Masters. Drive to the medieval mountain village of Spello to see the frescoes by Pinturicchio.  Return to Assisi for the afternoon Calendimaggio.  The two Parts each enter is glorious processions, followed by medieval competitions of archery, crossbow, sled race and tug o' war. (B)

Day 3 Scenic drive through southern Umbria to Orvieto and its Cathedral, a jewel of medieval architecture and art, including Signorelli’s frescoes of the Last Judgement. Return via Todi, a mountain village with fine views.  Evening Calendimaggio torchlight processions by each Part. (B)

Day 4 Morning at leisure. Afternoon climax of Calendimaggio, when each Part presents a pageant. Evening: choral competition of medieval music.  Afterwards the judges retire to decide their verdict and the Palio is awarded. (B)

Day 5 Full-day tour of Perugia, the capital of Umbria, visiting the lavishly decorated church of San Pietro, underground medieval streets, imposing Corso, Collegio del Cambio decorated by Perugino, the main square Piazza IV Novembre adorned with a 13th-century fountain by Pisano, the Cathedral and a 2nd-century BC Etruscan well. In the afternoon visit the 14th-century Palazzo dei Priori with its outstanding collection of early Italian paintings. Lastly, visit the mighty Etruscan archway and 2nd-century Roman mosaic of Orpheus charming the animals. (B)

Day 6 Drive to the Renaissance city of Urbino for a tour of its magnificent Renaissance Ducal Palace, with the Duke's marquetry lined study and art treasures including paintings by Piero della Francesca and Raphael. Continue to the Oratory of St. John the Baptist for frescoes of the saint's life by Salibene. Continue to the medieval town of Gubbio for lunch and visit the Palazzo dei Consoli, famous for its bronze tablets inscribed with ancient Umbrian and Etruscan language. (B, L)

Day 7 Drive to Spoleto.  After coffee beside the 14th century bridge-aqueduct Ponte della Torri , visit the Cathedral with its imposing facade and frescoes of the Life of the Virgin by Filippino Lippi, the Roman amphitheatre and Arch of Drusus. Afterwards, drive through the beautiful Valle of Valnerina to the spectacular 400ft Marmore Waterfall, the highest in Europe. Continue to the mountain village of Piediluco, enjoy a celebratory farewell lunch beside its lovely lake and end the tour with a boat trip upon the lake. (B, L)

Day 8 Return flight to London Stansted. (B)

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner
 

Notes

Some visits are on foot with some uneven surfaces and inclines.

2023

Wednesdays
per person in a twin/double room
Hotel Dei Priori
Ryanair from Stansted

Date Price
May 3 £1795
June 7 £1595
September 13 £1645

Supplements per person

Single Supplement

Single supplement £245 (May £525)

Extension Options

Extra nights – Assisi
Hotel Dei Priori (per night) £65
Double room for sole use £35

Tour Only

Save £200
Arrival or departure transfer add £35

Price Includes
Air travel and taxes, transfers, entrance fees, 7 nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily, 2 lunches and 1 dinner, itinerary as described, services of a guide and local representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.

Not Included
Travel insurance, tipping, any government or local tourist taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.

Notes
An accommodation tax is payable locally, approximately between €1.50 and €3 per person per night.
Calendemaggio Festival departure is on 3 May 2023.

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