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Walkthrough Italy: Tuscany and Umbria

Hosted By: Sue Ball | Sphera Travel

Farm-fresh cuisine. Renaissance cities. Quintessential countryside. No wonder these are Italy’s most iconic regions.

Tuscany and Umbria are located in central Italy and are known as the breadbasket of Italy due to the large farms and wine regions that cover the area.  Once you take a walk through Tuscany and Umbria we’re sure you’ll be back. 

Awesome architecture, beautiful scenery, and savory foods are just a few things to look forward to on your walking tour in Italy.  Enjoy sumptuous home-cooked meals with Bruschetta, grilled meats,  veggies, local wine, olive oil, and pasta.  As you walk, enjoy the peaceful, relaxing pace as you admire the architecture and scenic views.

We invite you to Walk Through Tuscany and enjoy DISCOVERING THE WORLD TOGETHER  with  Sue Ball of Sphera Travel

Trip Highlights

  • A guided tour to discover Giotto’s 28-part fresco, The Life of St. Francis, which graces the walls of Assisi’s iconic Basilica of St. Francis.
  • Savor an unforgettable meal of traditional Tuscan cuisine as you peer through the glass bottom of a remarkable restaurant that sits atop excavated Roman ruins.
  • Trek a dramatic path through an isolated valley of wheat fields and olive groves to the 12th-century Romanesque Abbey of Sant’Antimo.
  • With your local guide, experience the architectural beauty of Siena’s famous Piazza del Campo (home to the world-renowned Palio horse race).
  • Hike the slopes of Mt. Subasio amidst grazing sheep, Chianina cows, and semi-wild horses (before reaching a charming hamlet and your rewarding lunch stop).

Day 1 | Join Your Italy: Tuscany & Umbria Tour

 2 hours, a leisurely walking tour of Siena

Your guides will meet you at 9:30 a.m. in the lobby of Hotel de la Ville-Piazza Antinori, 1 in Florence. Please be dressed for city walking. Comfortable walking shoes are required. After meeting in Florence, you travel to Siena. The week begins with a tour of the historic center of Siena, an atmospheric Tuscan city. 

Following a light lunch of Sienese specialties, you explore the world-famous Piazza del Campo, presided over by its impressive town hall and tower. The Campo is the setting of the famous Palio horse race. Your engaging local guide leads you to the Duomo, the town’s main cathedral, to view its striking marble façade.

Later, you drive to San Quirico d’Orcia, one of the pilgrimage routes that connected northern Europe to Rome, and your home for the next three nights. An essential stop during medieval times along the Via Francigena, San Quirico is a charming, walled, hilltop town surrounded by vineyards that produce three great Tuscan wines: Montepulciano, Brunello, and the Orcia DOC.

Magnificent medieval architecture adorns its streets, and your boutique hotel is located just outside one of the town gates. A warm, wood-beamed restaurant in the heart of town welcomes you to dinner. Here, a glass of Brunello paired, perhaps, with a bistecca Fiorentina (local grilled beef) is the perfect start to the week’s culinary delights.

Day 1 | Join Your Italy: Tuscany & Umbria Tour

 2 hours, a leisurely walking tour of Siena

Your guides will meet you at 9:30 a.m. in the lobby of Hotel de la Ville-Piazza Antinori, 1 in Florence. Please be dressed for city walking. Comfortable walking shoes are required. After meeting in Florence, you travel to Siena. The week begins with a tour of the historic center of Siena, an atmospheric Tuscan city. 

Following a light lunch of Sienese specialties, you explore the world-famous Piazza del Campo, presided over by its impressive town hall and tower. The Campo is the setting of the famous Palio horse race. Your engaging local guide leads you to the Duomo, the town’s main cathedral, to view its striking marble façade.

Later, you drive to San Quirico d’Orcia, one of the pilgrimage routes that connected northern Europe to Rome, and your home for the next three nights. An essential stop during medieval times along the Via Francigena, San Quirico is a charming, walled, hilltop town surrounded by vineyards that produce three great Tuscan wines: Montepulciano, Brunello, and the Orcia DOC.

Magnificent medieval architecture adorns its streets, and your boutique hotel is located just outside one of the town gates. A warm, wood-beamed restaurant in the heart of town welcomes you to dinner. Here, a glass of Brunello paired, perhaps, with a bistecca Fiorentina (local grilled beef) is the perfect start to the week’s culinary delights.

Day 2 | Torrenieri to Pienza and Bagno Vignoni

6 miles, easy to moderate; optional 2-3 miles, easy to moderate

Today’s exploration begins on the outskirts of San Quirico. After an initial short drive to the village of Torrenieri, step onto a dirt lane that meanders along rolling terrain between the Orcia Valley and the Crete Senesi (Sienese hills) toward Pienza, the morning’s destination. 

Lunch awaits at an old Tuscan farmhouse, where your hosts welcome you with an assortment of local pecorino (sheep’s milk cheese), cold cuts, and homemade preserves and pickles accompanied by their house wine. After lunch, you will be driven a few minutes away to Pienza, the birthplace of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, elected Pope Pius II in 1458. 

Envisioning the creation of the “ideal Renaissance town,” Pius II had the village renamed and entirely redesigned by Florentine architect Bernardo Rossellino. The village’s restructuring came to a halt following Pius II’s death, and the only part of the urban plan that had been completed was the town center, Piazza Pio II. The main monuments lie harmoniously along the town’s central axis, with the town hall opposite a 15th-century cathedral. 

An optional afternoon walk departs from the tiny spa village of Bagno Vignoni, where you can soak your feet in the warm waters flowing out of the town’s picturesque main square. This pool is the only one in Italy that is, in fact, a thermal pool. After returning to the hotel in San Quirico, you have time to relax before enjoying dinner on your own at one of the fine local eateries in town, with recommendations from your guides. 

Day 3 | Montalcino to Sant’ Antimo Abbey

4-7 miles, easy to moderate

Today you depart San Quirico and walk through gentle hills in the shade of old-growth woods, skirting vineyards where the famous Sangiovese Grosso grape is grown for the world-famous Brunello wine. You might stop to visit an ancient Etruscan settlement, still under excavation. Then continue through farmland, ancient dwellings, wineries, and olive groves before making the dramatic descent to the isolated Romanesque Abbey of Sant’Antimo.

You continue to the attractive hilltop town of Montalcino, where you have time to stop into one (or more!) of the town’s enoteche (wine bars) or restaurants for a tasting and lunch on your own. Stroll through town, perhaps shopping for local products, perusing galleries, or snapping photos from the ramparts of the Rocca (the 14th-century fortress that affords views towards Monte Amiata, Siena, and the hills of Maremma), before a mid-afternoon return to San Quirico. 

You have time to explore or relax (or perhaps indulge in a spa treatment at your hotel’s nearby sister property) before gathering for dinner. You may want to step out for a pre-dinner stroll and a visit to the Horti Leonini—an excellent example of classic Italian-style gardens built by Diomede Leoni in 1540. This evening, reunite with your guides and fellow travelers for a casual meal at a local osteria. 

Day 3 | Montalcino to Sant’ Antimo Abbey

4-7 miles, easy to moderate

Today you depart San Quirico and walk through gentle hills in the shade of old-growth woods, skirting vineyards where the famous Sangiovese Grosso grape is grown for the world-famous Brunello wine. You might stop to visit an ancient Etruscan settlement, still under excavation. Then continue through farmland, ancient dwellings, wineries, and olive groves before making the dramatic descent to the isolated Romanesque Abbey of Sant’Antimo.

You continue to the attractive hilltop town of Montalcino, where you have time to stop into one (or more!) of the town’s enoteche (wine bars) or restaurants for a tasting and lunch on your own. Stroll through town, perhaps shopping for local products, perusing galleries, or snapping photos from the ramparts of the Rocca (the 14th-century fortress that affords views towards Monte Amiata, Siena, and the hills of Maremma), before a mid-afternoon return to San Quirico. 

You have time to explore or relax (or perhaps indulge in a spa treatment at your hotel’s nearby sister property) before gathering for dinner. You may want to step out for a pre-dinner stroll and a visit to the Horti Leonini—an excellent example of classic Italian-style gardens built by Diomede Leoni in 1540. This evening, reunite with your guides and fellow travelers for a casual meal at a local osteria. 

Day 4 |Travel to Umbria: Assisi City Tour

Independent exploration of Spello 3 miles, easy;

optional 3-4 miles, easy to moderate

This morning you bid farewell to southern Tuscany as your drive winds through the rolling hills and medieval hilltop villages of the Crete Senesi and descends to the plains surrounding Lake Trasimeno and enters the central valley of Umbria, a region known as the “Green Heart of Italy.” Your morning is devoted to an exploration of Assisi. This stunning town sits in a commanding position on Mount Subasio and has retained its charming medieval qualities and strong associations with St. Francis. The intriguing history of Assisi’s city center and the Basilica of St. Francis come to life with interpretation from your guide. 

Afterward, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. The afternoon offers several options. You may travel to Spello, your home for the next three nights, to stroll its picturesque alleys or relax by the hotel pool or in the hammam (Turkish bath). 

Alternatively, an easy walking option is offered—leading out of Assisi into the lush, surrounding countryside and olive groves, then back to Spello. Enjoy an independent dinner this evening at your hotel’s restaurant or one of the charming trattorias in town. (Your guides will provide recommendations.)

Day 5 | Gubbio

5-7 miles, easy to moderate

After breakfast, depart for Gubbio, the medieval masterpiece of Umbria that charms with its intimate alleys and surprisingly spacious panoramic piazza, flanked by the stunning palazzo Comunale. 

Following a scenic drive, the morning walk’s destination is the Church of Saint Ubaldo, perched high on the mountainside overlooking Gubbio. The church is the endpoint of the annual “Race of the Ceri,” a colorful historical festival where locals race ceri (giant heavy wooden structures that resemble candlesticks). The walking route passes by limestone outcrops and a tiny chapel, then meanders through woods, along a creek, and up a narrow gorge. After visiting the church and admiring the three Ceri contained within, enjoy a scenic funicular ride descending into town, where you are free to explore (and refuel!) savoring lunch at an osteria of your choosing. 

After lunch, you return to Spello, with an optional walk en route that traces ancient oak-lined farm roads leading back to the hotel. Your guides provide ideas for dinner on your own in town; many restaurant and trattoria menus offer typical dishes such as chickpea soup drizzled with olive oil, bruschetta, or strangozzi, the regional square-shaped ribbon pasta (literally shoestring-like).

Day 5 | Gubbio

5-7 miles, easy to moderate

After breakfast, depart for Gubbio, the medieval masterpiece of Umbria that charms with its intimate alleys and surprisingly spacious panoramic piazza, flanked by the stunning palazzo Comunale. 

Following a scenic drive, the morning walk’s destination is the Church of Saint Ubaldo, perched high on the mountainside overlooking Gubbio. The church is the endpoint of the annual “Race of the Ceri,” a colorful historical festival where locals race ceri (giant heavy wooden structures that resemble candlesticks). The walking route passes by limestone outcrops and a tiny chapel, then meanders through woods, along a creek, and up a narrow gorge. After visiting the church and admiring the three Ceri contained within, enjoy a scenic funicular ride descending into town, where you are free to explore (and refuel!) savoring lunch at an osteria of your choosing. 

After lunch, you return to Spello, with an optional walk en route that traces ancient oak-lined farm roads leading back to the hotel. Your guides provide ideas for dinner on your own in town; many restaurant and trattoria menus offer typical dishes such as chickpea soup drizzled with olive oil, bruschetta, or strangozzi, the regional square-shaped ribbon pasta (literally shoestring-like).

Day 6 | Assisi to Spello via the Natural Park of Mount Subasio

5-9 miles, easy to moderate

After breakfast, you embark on a short drive to the Natural Park of Mount Subasio, a protected area with serene paths meandering through open meadows and oak and pine woods. Mount Subasio is the sprawling mountain on whose flank Assisi is built. A haven of subtle beauty and spirituality, it was here that St. Francis preached to the birds as they gathered on tree branches. Hiking in the meadows along the summit of the mountain, you are likely to see grazing herds of sheep, white Chianina cows, and semi-wild horses before descending to lunch in the small, charming hamlet of Collepino. The waiting table is spread with a generous antipasto of assorted bruschetta, followed by grilled meats and vegetables.

After lunch, you may choose to return to Spello by van or descend on foot, continuing through olive groves and alongside an ancient Roman aqueduct. This aqueduct once brought drinking water into town along the mountain’s eastern side.

This evening’s farewell dinner is at an extraordinary venue in Assisi: a restaurant built on top of a glassed-in site of remarkable Roman ruins. You dine on the finest local cuisine and toast your week’s adventures with a glass from the restaurant’s world-class wine cellar. 

Day 7 | Your Italy: Tuscany and Umbria Tour Concludes

After a leisurely breakfast, you depart Spello for Rome. Time and weather permitting, a brief stop en route in the walled medieval hill town of Spoleto may allow for a walk and view from the impressive Ponte Delle Torri (tower bridge). 

You arrive at Roma Termini (Rome’s central train station) at approximately 1:30 p.m. Here, you bid farewell to your guides and make connections for onward travels.

What’s Included?

 

  • Exceptional boutique accommodations
  • 13 on-tour meals: 6 breakfasts, four lunches, three dinners
  • Local guides with you throughout the tour 
  • Local wine or beer with dinner
  • Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary
  • Travel assistance available 24/7 provided by Allianz Global Assistance
  • Telescopic walking sticks are supplied on the tour
What’s Not Included?

 

  • Meals when not mentioned as included
  • Early check-in/late checkout
  • International airfares
  • Travel insurance, visas, and items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities
  • Additional pre/post nights

 

Activity Level

This tour is a Guided Walking Adventure, rated easy to moderate, with an average of 4 to 8 miles per day, with shorter and longer options on some days. There are daily ascents and descents, with an average elevation gain of up to 500 feet. Most of the hills are gradual, as opposed to short and steep. The terrain includes cobblestone streets, narrow gravel roads, springy turf, packed dirt trails, and a few stretches of loose gravel. The pace on this tour is leisurely, to allow for stops en route to explore villages or to visit cultural and historical sites. 

Hi There!  I’m Sue

I believe that meaningful travel happens when WE are Discovering the World Together!

I’m turning 50 this year and want to celebrate this milestone with a group of women who love to travel.

I would love to hear what you think about this trip so click the button below and email me your questions.