From the medieval hilltop towns found in Umbria to the spectacular villas of emperors, noblemen and Popes found in Lazio, we welcome you to these two historical regions of Italy. Enjoy the local wines and cuisines of the area and even participate in a private cooking class using traditional Roman recipes. The beauty of Ancient, Catholic and modern day Rome will astound you. Get lost in the unique charm and beauty of such places as Perugia, Assisi, Gubbio, Marmore Falls and the towns known as Castelli Romani.
Departure from the United States on your overnight flight to begin your trip to discover Umbria, Rome & Lazio.
Upon arrival in Rome, you and your English speaking tour escort will join your private motorcoach driver for a direct transfer to Perugia. Relax on your scenic drive from Rome as you travel north through the rolling hills of Umbria. Arrive at your 4* hotel in Perugia – the hilltop capital of Umbria. This afternoon can be spent relaxing or exploring this charming town. This evening, enjoy your first group dinner at a local restaurant in Perugia (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at hotel. Meet with your English speaking local guide for a half day tour of Perugia – a gorgeous medieval city filled with a maze of alleyways and piazzas. With strict traffic regulations, Perugia is pedestrian friendly with numerous escalators, elevators and a Minimetrò to reach the historical city center. As part of your tour you’ll see the main square, Piazza IV November, and the Palace of Priori. First built in the 13th century, this fortress-like Gothic building was once the seat of local magistrates, but today houses the city’s main art museum. On the opposite side of the square, you’ll find the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. Don’t let the cathedral’s stark exterior fool you; its interior is ornately designed in a Gothic style. The Chapel of the Holy Ring (Santo Anello) is located inside which holds the supposed wedding ring given to the Virgin Mary by Joseph. There are 14 keys needed to get to the treasure chest that holds the ring. The bronze statue of 16th century Pope Julius II stands watch outside the cathedral overlooking the main piazza. The centerpiece of Perugia’s main square is the Fontana Maggiore. This pink and white marble fountain was designed in the 13th century and has 25 sides with depictions of Biblical scenes and the signs of the zodiac. At this point, you’ll be given a Perugia Museum Card which allows you admission to 5 museums of your choosing from the following:
Baldeschi Al Corso Palace: 15th century art collection and large collection of Majolica ware (Renaissance era painted ceramics)
Capitolar Museum: in the cloister next to the Cathedral, a spectacular display of religious artifacts, vestments, paintings, etc. spanning from the 11th through the 19th centuries
Chapel of San Severo: small chapel that contains one of Raphael’s earliest frescoes, The Holy Trinity with Saints
Civic Museum at Palazzo della Penna: a 16th century nobleman’s palace built upon the ruins of a Roman amphitheater, today houses contemporary art and exhibitions
National Gallery of Umbria: housed in the famous Palace of Priori, the greatest collection of works from the Umbrian School of painting from the 13th through the 19th century.
National Archaeological Museum of Umbria (M.A.N.U.): in a former Dominican monastery, the greatest collection of prehistoric, Etruscan and Roman artifacts found in central Italy
Nobile Collegio del Cambio: part of the Palace of Priori, the Moneylender’s Guild in medieval times – it has one of the finest examples of a Renaissance room (and ceiling) fully intact painted by local artist “Perugino” – Pietro Vanucci
Nobile Collegio della Mercanzia: also part of the Palace of the Priori, the Merchant’s Guild is a spectacular, yet very rare, example of Renaissance style inlaid woodwork with highlights of gold and color that covers the entire room from floor to ceiling
Etruscan Well: this well, dating back to the 3rd century BC, is an example of groundbreaking Etruscan engineering. A modern glass and steel walkway allows you to walk through the center of the well and see its ancient construction up close
Volumni Hypogeum: 3 miles from the city center, this underground Etruscan burial site was built for the Volumni family in the 3rd century BC. Other unearthed burial sites are on display as are other found artifacts in the small museum.
Meet back up with the group for lunch in a local restaurant (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person). Depart for a visit to the Perugina Chocolate Factory located just outside the center of the city. Italy’s #1 chocolate producer got its start in 1907. A visit to the company’s museum will show you their humble origins and how they’ve perfected the Italian art of chocolate making. After the museum, you can indulge in a chocolate tasting by sampling a number of chocolate varieties. Next, proceed to the Perugina factory where you’ll watch the chocolate production from a suspended walkway above the factory floor. Your tour ends in the Perugina gift shop where you can purchase memorabilia and, most importantly, Perugina Chocolates. Return to the center of Perugia and enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure. Perhaps you’d enjoy some shopping or would rather explore one of the many museums included with your Perugia Museum Card. Dinner tonight is at your leisure.
Breakfast included at hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and English speaking guide for a day to discover Umbria and travel to the cities of Assisi and Gubbio. After your short drive to Assisi, your English speaking local guide will begin a tour of the Basilica of St. Francis which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Learn about the magnificent frescoes painted by Giotto that depict the life of St. Francis, along with other works by Cimabue, Lorenzetti and Martini. Descend into the crypt that preserves St. Francis’ tomb. The crypt was built after the discovery of St. Francis’ tomb in 1818 upon order by Pope Pius IX. Embark on a tour of the rest of Assisi to see the city’s most significant monuments, such as the Chiesa Nuova (New Church). This church was built in 1615 on the site of St. Francis’ family home. Off an alley is the small Oratory San Francesco Piccolino, the place that was once the family’s stables where St. Francis is believed to have been born. Please enjoy some free time for lunch and to explore this charming hillside city. Return to your private motorcoach for the drive to the city of Gubbio. This charming medieval town has been preserved over time with its Gothic styled grey stone city center. Your English speaking local guide will bring you to the Church of St. Francis of Gubbio which was first built in the 13th century to honor St. Francis who had been taken in by a family in Gubbio. It’s here that he first wore the habit that eventually became the outfit of the Franciscan monks. This church still contains frescoes painted in the 13th century that depict both Biblical scenes and the life of St. Francis. Walk through the city’s oldest neighborhood, San Martino, with its winding lanes and noble towers on the banks of an ancient stream. Walk to the city’s Bargello Fountain, better known as the Fountain of the Madmen. Tradition holds that if you run around the fountain 3 times and have the water splashed on you, the title of honorary citizen and a license proclaiming your madness or craziness will be given. The “madness” refers to the old views of citizens of Gubbio as being crazy idealists or dreamers, not technically insane. Finish your tour at the Piazza Grande and Palazzo dei Consoli – the centerpiece of Gubbio. The city’s main square is dominated by this towering 14th century Gothic palace built in limestone lined with narrow arched windows which can be seen from all parts of Gubbio. Today, this palace houses the Civic Museum with both art and archeological treasures. Enjoy dinner in a local restaurant upon returning back to Perugia (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and English speaking guide for a transfer to Rome with a stop at Marmore Falls in the southern part of Umbria. These are the tallest manmade waterfalls in the world. They were first designed by the ancient Romans to divert a canal through a stagnant swamp and then over a cliff to rid the swamp of disease. Today, the flow of the waterfalls is regulated on a timetable by a nearby hydroelectric power plant. You’ll have a 1 hour guided tour called ‘Between Water and Nature’ through this beautiful park on nature trails designed to complement the waterfalls’ views. Enjoy a lovely lunch in a local trattoria close to Marmore Falls (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person). Continue with a relaxing drive into the region of Lazio on your way to your final destination – Rome, the Eternal City. Check in to your 4* hotel in Rome and the remainder of the evening and dinner tonight is at your leisure.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and English speaking local guide for a tour of Ancient Rome. Enter the Colosseum, the iconic Roman amphitheater remembered for its ancient gladiator battles. See the Arch of Constantine as you venture over to the Forum, the excavated center of Ancient Rome, to view the ruins of temples, squares and government buildings. Next to the Forum is Palatine Hill, the most central of Rome’s 7 hills, which today is a vast archaeological site showcasing many ruins and ancient palaces of imperial Rome’s nobility (entrances to the Colosseum and the Forum are included with headsets if available). Enjoy a group lunch at a local Roman restaurant (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person). After lunch, you’ll travel across Rome to Vatican City where your local guide will bring you to the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Tour the treasures of the Vatican Museum which is comprised of numerous galleries, including the awesome frescoes by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. Learn about the Basilica of St. Peter with an in depth visit and guided tour. This basilica, at the heart of Catholicism, is the world’s largest church and is also the burial site of St. Peter. Reservations (including headphones if available) are included for the visit to the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica. This evening, enjoy a special dinner in the lively Trastevere neighborhood of Rome complete with music and entertainment (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and English speaking local guide for an excursion to the Roman Castles area just south of Rome. Located in the Alban Hills, the Castelli Romani is the collective name of the towns and villages clustered around Lake Nemi and Lake Albano which are part of a volcanic crater. From the times of Ancient Rome through today, this has been an area of escape and relaxation from Roman city life. You’ll stop and explore some of the following towns and villages: Genzano, Nemi, Ariccia, Albano Laziale, Castel Gandolfo, Grottaferrata and Frascati. Castel Gandolfo is home to the Papal Palace which was the Pope’s summer residence until 2016. Today, the 17th century palace, built on 135 acres, is a museum dedicated to the history of the Papacy filled with paintings, relics, vestments and other priceless artifacts. Enjoy lunch with a wine-tasting at an agriturismo in the town of Frascati. Wine cultivation in Frascati dates back to the 5th century BC due to the rich volcanic soil. A famous white wine variety is also named for the town. After your day in the Roman Castles area, return to Rome where you’ll have the remainder of the evening and dinner at your leisure.
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach and return to the charming town of Frascati. This morning you’ll learn the secrets of Roman cuisine during your private cooking class held by a native of Frascati. You’ll prepare your own authentic Roman lunch in a creative and fun way. The rest of the afternoon is yours to further explore Frascati, the home to many opulent villas dating back to the 16th century. Discover the quaint alleys and browse the numerous artisans, goldsmiths, antique shops and boutiques. Frascati is known for their fraschette – local taverns that sell wine where you can bring your own food and sit outside at their tables set up in the streets. During the summer months, everyone in town sits at the outdoor benches and tables eating, drinking, talking and laughing. At the end of the day, return to your hotel in Rome where you’ll enjoy a group dinner at your hotel (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
Breakfast included at your hotel. Depart from your hotel with your private motorcoach for a guided day trip to Tivoli to visit Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana (Hadrian’s Villa). Villa d’Este, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a beautiful 16th century Renaissance villa with spectacular gardens and fountains. Tivoli had been a summer residence for the nobility since Roman times and in 1550 was the location for Cardinal Ippolito d’Este to build his villa and gardens. The villa’s ‘nobles’ floor’ is beautifully decorated (walls and ceilings) with paintings by Roman artists Agresti and Zuccari. The gardens of Villa d’Este has heavily influenced garden design throughout Europe in the post-Renaissance period. The intricate system of fountains, terraces, grottoes and promenades was an architectural wonder of its time. The aqueduct and canal system resembles the highly-advanced engineering of the Romans. Take some time to soak up the tranquility of these unforgettable gardens. You’ll also have some free time in Tivoli to enjoy lunch on your own today. When Cardinal d’Este was in the midst of building his villa, he decided to use a lot of the remaining marble and statues from Hadrian’s Villa for his new construction. Hadrian’s Villa, also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a large archeological complex a short distance from Villa d’Este in Tivoli. Roman Emperor Hadrian had the villa constructed in the 2nd century AD as his retreat located just outside of Rome. Designed using both Greek and Egyptian architecture, Hadrian created his own small city with gardens, pools, theatres, baths, gymnasiums, a stadium, a hippodrome and temples – along with separate underground tunnels and housing for a permanent staff. The villa complex fell into disrepair due to various wars and weather for many centuries until Alexander VI began unearthing the neglected area in the late 15th century. There are numerous items from Hadrian’s Villa excavations found over the centuries that have been restored and are housed at the Vatican Museums. In the afternoon, return to Rome for some free time. This evening, prepare for a wonderful Farewell Dinner Show that includes a special opera performance at a local Roman restaurant (including ½ liter water and ¼ liter wine per person).
ded at your hotel. Transfer with assistance by your private motorcoach from your hotel in Rome to Rome Fiumicino Airport. Say “Ciao Italia!” as you return home with cherished memories of your time in Umbria, Rome & Lazio.