Umbria Culinary Adventure
COOK, EAT AND EXPERIENCE in Bella Umbria
Dubbed the green heart of Italy, this spectacular region boasts a surprising variety of delicious foods. From ancient Etruscan dishes to inventive, modern menus, the meals and culinary experiences on our Umbria Culinary Adventure are based on fresh, hand-selected, seasonal ingredients (a must in every Umbrian kitchen) and are paired with top-notch wines from small-production wineries that harvest by hand.
Each day brings insider tours, private visits and delightful hands-on activities that are truly off the beaten path. From pasta lessons to truffle hunts, our local friends provide you with unprecedented access, while treating you like part of the family. Of course we also leave room for unscheduled events. If Mario calls to tell us they’re pressing his olives, you can bet we’ll make time to taste his freshly pressed oil!
ETRUSCANS and Olive Oil
A culinary adventure in Umbria is an immersive experience into exceptional foods and wines – based on generations of artisan methods, local traditions and organic practices.
And there’s expression here: “ We might be poor, but we wash our hands in olive oil.”
Although the region’s varied cuisine certainly began with the Etruscans and Romans, most of its traditional dishes were born on peasant farms. Yet it is a cuisine surprisingly rich in ingredients, like olive oil (arguably Italy’s finest), a stunning variety of vegetables (from gardens that ring virtually every village) and an abundance of wild game, truffles and mushrooms from its dense forests.
BASED off the Beaten Path
Situated halfway between Rome and Florence, the unspoiled hill town of Città della Pieve becomes your home for this extraordinary journey into Umbrian food and culture. Surrounded by spectacular panoramas, the town maintains its medieval roots with centuries-old houses built of handmade red brick – an ancient tradition of the area. Along winding avenues and alleyways you’ll discover family-run trattorie, wood-fired pizzerie, and cozy, inviting coffee bars, along with fabulous clothing boutiques and artiginale shops. Plus the local residents are nothing less than proud to welcome you into their community.
- 7 days/6 nights stay at Boutique Hotel Vannucci
- Group transportation by private transport service to/from Rome Fiumicino Airport on arrival and departure dates
- Private transport service to/from all towns and sites included in the itinerary
- All breakfasts
- 4 lunches
- All dinners, served with regional wines
- Hands-on cooking experiences
- Daily culinary adventures
- Historic menus
- Caffè mini-lesson
- Wine and cheese pairing
- Saffron lesson and tasting
- Truffle hunt
- Pasta-making class
- Antipasto lesson
- Olive oil tasting
- Traditional coccio cookware demonstration
- Pizza night
- Aperitivo and spritz lesson
- Evening aperitivo hour for chatting, sharing and relaxing
- and so much more!
Not included: Airfare, meals, alcoholic drinks, buses, trains or boat transportation outside of that which is specifically listed in the trip package, gratuities for villa staff and drivers
The Unexpected is Part of the Journey: At Strada Toscana we weave amazing, authentic experiences into every trip, but sometimes unexpected things come up. If a site has an unscheduled closing, we improvise to include something equally as wonderful and interesting. The quality of the trip is never at risk, as our team is committed to excellence, along with our vast, local, Italian connections.
UMBRIA CULINARY ADVENTURE
Day 1 ~ Arrival
- Highlights: Welcome and trip overview, village walking tour, aperitivo lesson
Benvenuti in Italia! Upon arrival at Rome Fiumicino Airport, sit back and relax as you are transported by our private drivers to your beautiful accommodations in Città della Pieve, Umbria – your home base for the fabulous days ahead! After check-in you’ll have the opportunity to explore your surroundings with your trip host, and learn some of the fascinating history of the area. Then it’s time for a light-hearted aperitivo lesson, with our friend, and sommelier, Paola, before sitting down for a delicious, regional-style dinner to kick off the tour.
Day 2 ~ Caffè, Pasta and Bruschetta
- Highlights: Coffee experience, Renaissance masterpieces, pasta-making class, bruschetta lesson
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner
This morning, during breakfast, you’ll enjoy learning about the cultural experience of Italian coffee, along with how – and why – coffee is typically enjoyed throughout the day. Afterwards we’re off to visit the town’s 15th century duomo, with its unique and beautiful interior, along with a peek at one of the region’s greatest masterpieces by Renaissance artist, Perugino. All this as we make our way to our friend, Cristian’s organic bistrot, where you’ll take a private tour of his amazing cantina, followed by a delightful pasta-making class. You’ll also learn about the surprising culinary traditions of this area, including how to make pici all’aglione – a local specialty. Lunch features your handmade pasta, of course!
This afternoon you’ll have some free time to explore, walk or shop on your own (you won’t want to miss the scenic lookout, along with the narrowest alleyway in Italy!) before we gather together at our friends’ rustic trattoria for a delightful bruschetta lesson, followed by dinner featuring grilled Chianina beef – an Umbrian specialty.
Day 3 ~ Coccio and Spritz
- Highlights: Terracotta cookware demonstration, Spritz lesson
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner
This morning, after breakfast, our drivers will transport us to ancient village of Ficulle, perched on a spectacular ridge line overlooking the rolling hills of Umbria. Here we’ll take a brisk walk around town – including a climb up the fabulous, medieval town – before meeting up with our friend, Fabio, for a fascinating demonstration of his hand-thrown cookware called coccio. For centuries the town of Ficulle was a center of pottery used specifically for cooking, and Fabio is the last remaining ceramist of this unique, rustic cookware. Afterwards, you’re in for a treat as we head to Fabio’s restored wine cantina for a special lunch, cooked and served in Ficulle’s “coccio”. Plus he and his wife, Pina, will be teaching you how to make an easy antipasto for virtually any meal.
In the afternoon you’ll have a chance to rest and recharge, and perhaps enjoy a traditional passeggiata (stroll) before Paola takes us to the private headquarters of one of Città della Pieve’s three neighborhoods – terziere – where you’ll learn more about the fascinating history of the village. Afterwards, it’s time for an oh-so-fun Spritz lesson, followed by a delicious dinner prepared by Chef Vito, featuring seasonable, organic vegetables from a local farm.
Day 4 ~ Zafferano and Etruscans
- Highlights: Saffron gathering, saffron tasting, visit to the old forno, Etruscan recipes
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner
This morning we’ll take an early breakfast before our drivers transport us to our friend, Alessandro’s, saffron field for a once-in-a-lifetime experience of hand-picking crocus, as you learn how to harvest saffron from these delicate flowers. Afterwards, we continue to Alessandro’s “saffron house”, in his cozy, former wine cantina, for a private saffron tasting and light lunch. Fascinating and delicious!
In the afternoon we’ll walk the winding avenues of Città della Pieve to the former forno (bread bakery) where you’ll enjoy a private visit, followed by a tour of our friend, Osfaldo’s, fascinating home museum (he’s the son of the town’s last bread baker!). This evening we make our way to a chic restaurant on the outskirts of the village, housed in a former olive press, where we’ll enjoy a dinner inspired by ancient Etruscan recipes.
Day 5 ~ Truffles and Pizza
- Highlights: Truffle hunt, pizza night
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner
This morning, after a light breakfast and an early start, you’ll be heading to the medieval hill town of Monteleone. Here you’ll be walking a trail through a beautiful holm-oak and pine forest as you take part in an oh-so-fun truffle hunt with brothers Andrea and Michele – and their amazing truffle dogs. Afterwards we continue to the brothers’ charming cafe for a special truffle tasting and lunch – served with local olive oil and wine, of course.
In the afternoon you’ll enjoy some free time followed by a visit in a private home for a special aperitivo. Then it’s off to a local pizzeria for thin-crust pizza (typical of the area), baked in a tradition, wood-fired brick oven.
Day 6 ~ Ancient Wine Cantinas & Local Cheeses
- Highlights: Visit to “cantina” village, winery tour, wine and cheese tasting/pairings
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner
This morning, after breakfast, we’re off to the village of Cantone, overlooking the sweeping green forests and rolling hills of Umbria, where you’ll discover quaint, family wine cantinas nestled into a sidehill. Afterwards we continue to the unspoiled castle village of Parrano, for a picturesque walking tour (with breathtaking views!) before continuing to a family-owned winery where you’ll take a private tour, with sommelier, Paola, followed by a delicious lunch that includes a wine and cheese tasting.
After lunch we’ll take a passeggiata in the vineyards (the perfect photo op) before making our way back to Città della Pieve for some free time to rest and recharge. This evening you’re in for a treat as we gather for aperitivo in a special location, followed by an exceptional farewell dinner prepared by Chef Vito.
Day 7 ~ Departure
Early morning departure for Rome Fiumicino Airport
ACCOMMODATIONS Boutique Hotel Vannucci
Hotel Vannucci began as a project of Vittoria Spinola, daughter of King Vittorio Emanuele II, who fled Pisa (and an arranged marriage with her elderly husband) to start a new life with her lover in Città della Pieve. Here, she and her soon-to-be new husband, Paolo, built two villas that became luxurious holiday accommodations for wealthy Romans vacationing in the countryside. In 1903 one of the villas became Hotel Vannucci, and today it maintains the elegance and refinement of its inception, with luxurious sleeping rooms, marble bathrooms and inviting gardens. A stay here is truly special, nestled just outside the medieval walls of the historic, and unspoiled, village of Città della Pieve.
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DATES & DETAILS
- October 22-28, 2023
- Trip Price:
- Single Occupancy Single Bed: $3,270 USD
- Single Occupancy Classic Room: $3,570 USD
- Single Occupancy Superior Room: $3,720 USD
- Double Occupancy Superior Room: $3,270 USD
- $500 Deposit, per person, is required to secure your space on this tour
- Terms and Conditions