Culture and Cuisine in the Heartland of Italy

Come to the heartland of a nation. Live life for ten days immersed in centuries old traditions, customs and rites. Become part of a daily landscape in Italy's secluded regions of Molise, Umbria, Abruzzo and Puglia. Experience the intimacy of village to town, castle to monastery, mountain top to sea-shore. Savour their traditional foods, regional wines and superb vistas. Your hosts will be Don Kasta and Michael Quinn. The option of Land Only or Flight Included will be available. Optional pre-tour in Rome and post-tour in Florence.

BOOKING INFORMATION

April 25 - May 06, 2022

Price TBA

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*If the tour is SOLD OUT, please contact us to be added to the waitlist.


ITINERARY

Day 1 - Monday, April 25: Depart Toronto for Rome

Evening departure from Toronto International Airport to Rome. Dinner and breakfast served onboard. 

Day 2 - Tuesday, April 26: Rome to Molise

Morning arrival in Rome and coach transfer to the historic Benedictine Abbey of Monte Cassino. A visit and lunch before continuing on to 8thC Lombard town of Campobasso, the regional capital of Molise.  The city today enjoys the sobriquet Canada Town or Maple Leaf City in honour of the liberating Canadian troops in 1943. Following hotel registration, an exploratory walk through the town with perhaps a brief visit to the Samnite Museum before dinner. 

Day 3 - Wednesday, April 27: Molise and area

Breakfast before driving to Saepinum, considered one of the finest examples of  Roman provincial town architecture in all Italy. A market stroll and lunch in nearby Sepino before continuing on to Agnone. Once central to the ancient Samnite civilization, today the site of the Pontificia Fonderia Marinelli, a 1,000-year old bell-making family foundry. A unique bell museum tour and opportunity to view the town's mediaeval architecture before returning to our hotel and evening at leisure.                                            

Day 4 - Thursday, April 28: Campobasso to Termoli

Our travel today will offer visual examples of the classically traditional hilltop community as we make our way to the Adriatic coast. Our first stop will be given to walking the alleys and byways of  the ancient Gothic commune of Ripabottoni. Lunch in ancient Larino where sites include an elliptical Roman amphitheatre, Gothic Cathedral, Fountain and Ducal Palace. Before leaving, perhaps the opportunity to tour a  local wine cellar...with an obligatory tasting. In the afternoon, almost a mirror image as we explore the interior of Morrone del Sannio. In so doing we encounter the art work of probably the most influential 18thC artist in the Molise region, Paolo Gamba. Late afternoon arrival in the old fishing port of Térmoli, now a fine summer resort where its boardwalks will provide an elegant stroll on the shores of the Adriatic Sea prior to dinner in a typical osteria. One can never be too late here since the 13C Observatory continues to set today's Italian and Central European time!

Day 5 - Friday, April 29: Tremiti Islands

Together we board a ferry to the Trémiti Islands. Once used as sites for political exile and punishment by such historical figures as Augustus and Charlemagne, the islands also served as bastions in later centuries against Turkish incursions of the adjacent Italian coast as witnessed by the still dominant Benedictine abbey-fortress of Santa Maria al Mare. Today, following an Abbey tour, we can explore  the two inhabited islands (San Nicolo and San Domino) independently.... perhaps a quiet  alfresco lunch to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of beach or cove?  Individual ferry return and remainder of the day and evening  to wander Termoli.

Day 6 - Saturday, April 30: The Coast of Puglia

A sightseeing day of the upper Puglia coast begins on the nearby Gargano Promontory with its whitewashed coastal towns perched high over the Adriatic Sea.  On to Trani for a morning cafe latte or an early Moscato sipped by the old fishing boat harbour. A late lunch in Bari, once Byzantium's Italian capital and significant Crusader embarkation port.  A visit to St. Nicholas Basilica (yes...Santa!) with its Shrine, and the Swabian 12thC Castello Svevo.  But before we leave the city we wander  the Via Sparano  where Bari's open door policy offers glimpses of everyday life. Evening at leisure upon our hotel return.

Day 7 - Sunday, May 01: Abruzzo National Park and Assissi

A visual travel day as we leave the coast by way of Pescara and enter the Abruzzo National Park, long a haven for such species as wolves, chamois and eagles. Bypassing the Gran Sasso we lunch en route... perhaps in Terni, before arriving in the walled town of Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and home to the Franciscan Order. Here we view the restored Basilica, featuring the superb frescoes of Giotto.  On to the charming  medieval atmosphere of Umbria’s provincial capital, Perugia, a pleasant and very picturesque hilltop town that was one of the 12 cities of the Etruscans in their “golden age"of the 7th- 6th centuries BC”. Hotel registration and opportunity to relax and savour our first aperitivo on the hotel's elegant balcony before dinner.  

Day 8 - Monday, May 02: Perugia

Morning walking tour of Perugia, including the Piazza IV Novembre (one of the most attractive squares in Italy), the Etruscan Arch, the Cathedral, San Domenico and the Oratorio of San Bernardino. The afternoon offers  the pleasure of visiting the Umbrian National Gallery featuring paintings by Duccio, Fra Angelico, Piero della Francesca, and of course Pietro Vannucci, known as Perugino. Evening at leisure.

Day 9 - Tuesday, May 03: Umbria: Orvieto and Montepulciano

Into the Umbrian landscape after breakfast, to the brooding Etruscan mountaintop town of Orvieto, dominated by a cathedral considered to be one of Italy's finest, with magnificent Signorelli frescoes and incomparable iconography. Lunch ensures ample opportunity to taste the region's crisp white wines before  the afternoon takes us to the famous wine community of Montepulciano.  For some a stroll in the little town, for others a walk through its vineyards; but for all... a taste the Santa Anna wines.  We return home and gather together for dinner. 

Day 10 - Wednesday, May 04: Lake Trasimeno

A full-day excursion to nearby Lake Trasimeno, site of one of ancient Rome’s most memorable battles in the Carthaginian War with Hannibal. We follow the shores of the lake, to the picturesque medieval fortified town of Castiglione del Lago. The magnificent castle, where its Baglioni family once entertained both Machiavelli and Da Vinci demands a visit. A stroll through the community's Wednesday  market, in and around the medieval walls, will also capture a bygone way of life. Lunch at leisure, perhaps on the ramparts with the stunning lake, or perhaps by the water's edge. Mid-afternoon we begin our return to Perugia by way of Panicale.  Here we may enjoy a sweet treat of gelato or a latte perhaps? Evening at leisure with the only personal decision being trattoria or ristorante!

Day 11 - Thursday, May 05: Cortona and Florence

After breakfast we leave Umbria  for a brief  drive  to Cortona. Here we visit the Museo Diocesano to view one of Fra' Angelico's finest works...the exquisite Annunciation. By early afternoon we arrive in Florence. Early hotel registration will provide us an opportunity to re-acquaint ourselves with one of the world's  most influential cities. Perhaps a quick revisit to some old favourites: Santa Croce, Piazza Della Signoria, Piazzale Michelangiolo, Passeggiata Ai Colli, Ponte Vecchio, San Lorenzo and the Leather Market....David anyone? However, tonight our “arrivederci” dinner in an historic Florentine trattoria.

Day 12 - Friday, May 06: To Florence Airport and return flights

Morning airport transfer and flight to Rome and connecting flight to Toronto. Lunch and snack will be served before the afternoon arrival at Pearson International Airport.

ITINERARY PDF

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INCLUDED

• Return Air Canada or Alitalia flight from Toronto to Rome, including all airport taxes, fuel surcharges, and security fees: • Accommodation in first-class (4-star) hotels, based on double occupancy; the single room supplement is $ .00 CAD: • Land tour transportation via private coach: • Meals: full buffet breakfast daily and a total of six full-course dinners or lunches; • Sightseeing, visits, and excursions as indicated in the itinerary, including admissions; • Hotel taxes and gratuities: • Airport lounge pass for air-inclusive booking made more than 90 days prior to departure:

NOT INCLUDED

Not included are: • Meals other than those mentioned above: • Beverages with dinners: • Coach driver’s gratuity, estimated at $45.00 CAD: • All expenses of a personal nature: • Travel Insurance: available on an individual basis. Please call for rates.

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