The land of Umbria is a wonderful, picturesque, gentle landscape, for the most part undiscovered by large-scale tourism - one of Italy's best kept secrets. It is an ancient land, settled in prehistoric times by the Umbri, and later, by the Etruscans. In 295 B.C., it was conquered by the Romans who then settled a number of colonies across the region constructing the Via Flaminia in 220BC, parts of which are still visible today. In the 15th century it fell to Papal rule and then, with events following the French Revolution, became part of the Roman Republic (1789-1799) and then part of the Napoleonic Empire (1809-1814). Finally, in 1861, it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy.
Orvieto, as the jewel sitting on the southwest corner presents one of the most dramatic settings in Europe. This spectacular medieval town, built on Etruscan ruins, rises some 1500 feet from the floor of the Paglia River valley, atop the almost vertical faces of the tufa cliff surrounded with defensive walls and medieval houses made out of the same tufa rock. It is perfectly situated in one of the acknowledged centres of traditional Italian maiolica ware, midway between Florence and Rome and boasts the magnificent 15th century Duomo with its glittering facade of mosaic tiles and the very special Capella di San Brizio with Luca Signorelli's famous, and incredible, frescoes. We are biased about this beautiful city, as it is our home-base in Italy, but it is a bias well founded.
Many of our programs and excursions focus on the very special Roman, Medieval and Renaissance foundations of all that is Umbria, with places such as: Assisi, Carsulae, Bevagna, and Deruta and all the wonderful tastes of the Umbrian table and, of course, the particular wines and produce that abound. For excursions further afield we concentrate mostly on specialist centres in Tuscia (Alto Lazio) with the wonderful towns of Bolsena, Civita di Bagnoregio, Tarquinia, Caprarola and Viterbo with some other side trips to places such as Siena in Tuscany. And then there are the special programs that are run out of Rome, Florence and Venice.
Every place we add to our lists holds something particular and unique, giving every opportunity for travellers to experience the richness and diversity that abounds right throughout this most amazing peninsula that is ITALY.
For us, it is a love affair that began many, many years ago and is one that never diminishes . . .