In Italy’s “Green Heart,” sophisticated cuisine and natural beauty share the stage with medieval grandeur.

Spring has sprung in the Umbrian hills, and there’s no mystery why they call this the “Green Heart of Italy.” From the lush farmland at your hilltop agriturismo to the sea of grapevines below Titignano’s medieval winery (where you savored a multicourse lunch of local delicacies), you’ve seen enough shades of green to fill an entire paintbox! Today you’re tracing St. Francis’s steps through the countryside outside Valfabbrica. Crest one last ridge, and the Basilica of St. Francis gleams like a beacon on the hilltop ahead, with silvery-green olive groves rising to meet it. Crossing a graceful arched bridge, you climb past walls draped with flowering rosemary, up through the ancient town gate, and into the fabled streets of Assisi to continue your walking tour.

Highlights

  • Savor a multi-course lunch complemented by a wine tasting at a DOC-certified vineyard in lovely Titignano, sampling delectable local meats, cheeses, breads, and biscotti.
  • Stroll the charming pedestrian center of ancient Orvieto, browsing ceramic shops, touring its 13th-century cathedral, or simply relaxing and enjoying a gelato.
  • Stay in a 17th-century country house still graced with original details like terracotta floors, large wooden beams, and rustic stone walls.
  • Follow the Franciscan Trail as it ascends through oak forest and pastures on its way to the spectacular hilltop town of Assisi.
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A local representative available 24/7.
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Detailed maps & route notes featuring turn-by-turn directions and places of interest.
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Delicious meals—many are included.
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Scheduled taxi transfers to bring you to and from each day’s walks.
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Gracious accommodations that are a clean, comfortable home away from home.
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Experts to handle all the details, including moving your luggage between hotels while you’re out exploring.
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Access to a Self-Guided Flight Concierge—ask our knowledgeable team to find flights that sync with your planned trip.

Itinerary

Thu, Apr 15 to Sun, Oct 31 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

You are met at the Orvieto train station and transferred the short distance up to Orvieto, a medieval city on a plateau above steep cliffs made of volcanic tufa stone. The city floats almost like an island over the Umbrian countryside of olive groves and vineyards. Compact and easy to navigate, the city’s historical center is a perfect introduction to Umbria. Orvieto has been inhabited for millennia, from the Etruscan period through its Roman conquest, and centuries later, gained prominence in the Middle Ages. A stroll through the charming pedestrian center begins at a striking 13th-century cathedral with a gold façade and striped walls. Orvieto also features fascinating 16th-century subterranean sites, including a network of caves and tunnels used in times of siege or for storing wine, and the Pozzo di San Patrizio (St. Patrick’s Well). You can peruse the region’s distinctive painted ceramics in the many shops, perhaps while enjoying a delicious gelato. At dinner, you may raise a glass of Orvieto, which is the dry or semi-sweet white wine that shares the city’s name. The wine is produced from grapes grown on the surrounding hillsides.

Accommodation: Hotel Duomo, Orvieto
Included Meals: Dinner

5.2 or 9.8 miles, easy to moderate, 1,300-ft. elevation loss and 500-ft. elevation gain

After breakfast, a 30-minute drive takes you through the rolling Umbrian countryside to the start of the day’s walk in the Area Attrezzata Sette Frati, located in Monte Peglia Natural Park. The full day’s walk gently descends over a well-signed and maintained gravel track through a tranquil landscape—Mediterranean forest of holm oak and low shrubs such as broom and blackberries, cultivated fields, and open meadows with abandoned farmhouses. It is a perfect setting for a picnic lunch.

Walking through this beautiful land, you will understand how Umbria earned its nickname as the “green heart of Italy.” Then, a final ascent delivers you to your home for the next two nights—a secluded hilltop country farmhouse with panoramic valley views. Dinner tonight is at the farm’s welcoming, wood-beamed restaurant.

Accommodation: Podere le Corone, Monte Castello di Vibio
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

6.2 miles, easy to moderate, 500-ft. elevation gain and loss

This morning, you depart the hotel for the day’s destination—the medieval hamlet of Titignano. This village is a sprawling estate featuring a 12th-century castle, winery, and farm buildings—all gathered around a central square with sweeping views of Lake Corbara. The lake is a scenic rural reservoir, which was created by a hydroelectric dam on the Tiber River. Surrounding the lake, are acclaimed vineyards producing DOC-certified red wine. In this region, much of the landscape is of cultural and natural significance, including the Tiber river basin, nearby lakes, and many towns. Habitats for migratory and resident birds share space with the archaeological remains of Etruscan and Roman civilizations.

Your walk starts on a paved, low-traffic country road and continues onto a mix of gravel roads and grassy trails through the Umbrian countryside. Admire views of beautiful fields dotted with villas and deep oak forest, as well as the distant hill town of Todi before reaching the piazza of Titignano. Here, gorgeous vistas unfold over expansive vineyards and down to Lake Corbara. You are then welcomed to lunch with a glass of wine produced in the surrounding hillsides. An afternoon transfer returns you to Podere le Corone, where there is time to take a dip in the seasonal outdoor pool or simply relax, enjoying the views before dinner in the hotel’s dining room.

For an additional, optional walk before or after dinner, amble to the neighboring town of Doglio, a tiny village with sweeping panoramas of the surrounding valley.

Accommodation: Podere le Corone, Monte Castello di Vibio
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

6.8 miles, easy to moderate, 200-ft. elevation gain and 750-ft. elevation loss

Today, you’ll experience a trio of medieval hilltop towns as you stroll through the pastoral countryside of the Tiber Valley. You’ll transfer approximately 20 minutes to the tiny, fortified village of Monte Castello di Vibio, described by the 16th-century architect and painter Cipriano Picolpass as “an ideal life.” Here, you have time to explore the main piazza, with its panoramic views and Baroque church. There will also be time to see the crenulated tower of Portia di Maggio, the defensive walls, and the diminutive Teatro dell Concordia—with only 99 seats it is billed as the smallest theater in the world.

Stroll the ancient stone streets of this perfectly preserved town, and perhaps, stopping at a local bar for a coffee or at the village grocer for picnic supplies. Then, set off into the countryside, enjoying sweeping views across the Tiber Valley. Descending through olive groves and vineyards, your route passes by the Rocca di Cecanibbi, a medieval watchtower, before you arrive in the small, fortified hamlet of Cecanibbi, which features a cluster of stone houses clinging to the walls of a massive medieval castello. The final section of today’s walk is along the Tiber River, used by the Romans to sail wine and olive oil to Rome.

At the walk’s end, your driver meets you and brings you to Montefalco, known as “the balcony of Umbria” for its dramatic hilltop perch. This medieval town boasts five gates and a five-sided piazza, and is renowned for its DOCG wine, Sagrantino. The town is also known for its traditional linen and the St. Francis Museum, which contains artwork and frescoes depicting the saint, such as “Scenes from the Life of Saint Francis” by Florentine Renaissance painter Benozzo Gozzoli. Following an optional visit to the Antonelli San Marco winery for a tasting of their excellent wines (like Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG), you can take time to amble through Montefalco’s cobblestone streets. Then you’ll transfer onward to the beautiful walled town of Spoleto, your home for the next two nights. Built at the head of a wide valley, Spoleto spills over a hillside, with its main sights concentrated in the compact upper town.

After settling in your hotel, you may choose to take a stroll, perhaps over the 14th-century Ponte delle Torri (Bridge of Towers), for a wonderful overview of the region.

Accommodation: Palazzo Dragoni, Spoleto
Included Meals: Breakfast (and Wine Tasting)

8 miles, easy to moderate, 900-ft. elevation gain and 2,200-ft. elevation loss

Satisfied from a delicious breakfast, a short taxi transfer takes you up to the neighboring resort village of Monteluco—home to the Bosco Sacro (Holy Wood) as well as a convent established by St. Francis in the 13th century. Following an exploratory wander, you enter the wooded slopes of Monteluco, held sacred by the Romans and medieval Christians. St. Francis was fond of meditating here.

A gentle ascent along the Via di Francesco (also known as the Via di Roma leads you to the summit and fork of Castelmonte for panoramic views of the mountainous Valnerina river valley. This is the road along which St. Francis walked the hundreds of miles to Rome. Following a descent through the forest along a medieval aqueduct, there will be spectacular views of the Ponte delle Torri before meandering back into town.

This afternoon there may be time to visit Spoleto’s many sights or simply absorb its special atmosphere. Its 14th-century defensive castle, the Rocca Albornoziana—now an interesting museum—presides from the town’s highest point and was built on the site of a Roman acropolis. The town’s main cathedral, the delicate pink-stone Duomo of Spoleto, dates from the 12th century. The cathedral is built on the site of an early Christian temple and features stunning Renaissance frescoes by Florentine artist Filippo Lippi. You may also choose to visit the Casa Romana museum, believed to have been the house of the Emperor Vespasian’s mother, or visit the Roman Theater, still used for performances during the Festival of the Two Worlds, which is held annually over 17 days in late June and early July.

Accommodation: Palazzo Dragoni, Spoleto
Included Meals: Breakfast

7.7 miles, easy to moderate, 1,450-ft. elevation gain and 1,000-ft. elevation loss

In the morning, you’ll transfer through the heart of Umbria to the start of the day’s walk at Valfabbrica. You follow the historical path known as the Franciscan Trail—the route by which St. Francis was brought back to Assisi when he was found seriously ill by a group of horsemen. The terrain is gently undulating—alternating between oak forest and open pasture, interrupted by old stone farmhouses and parish churches, dovecotes, and crumbling fortress towers on prominences above. The final portion, rising to the Basilica of Assisi, is steep but short. While challenging, it is exhilarating to arrive on foot in the city that is a spiritual destination for many, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

You continue on foot to your hotel in the historical center. The hotel is just around the corner from the Roman Temple of Minerva, now the Renaissance church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, and the Basilica of St. Clare, which was built in the 13th century for St. Clare of Assisi, the founder of the Order of Saint Clare.

Accommodation: San Crispino Residenza d’Epoca, Assisi
Included Meals: Breakfast

10 miles, easy to moderate, 500-ft. elevation gain and 3,700-ft. elevation loss or 5.3 miles, easy to moderate, 1,200-ft. elevation loss

After breakfast, there is a short transfer to the Natural Park of Mount Subasio, a protected area with serene paths meandering through open meadows and forests of oak and pine. 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 prayed and communed with the birds, all gathered on tree branches (there is an option to stop en route to your walk at the Eremo delle Carceri—the famous hermitage of St. Francis).

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. Your descent takes you through the charming village of Collepino, olive groves, and alongside an ancient Roman aqueduct to the walled village of Spello.

Following a return transfer to Assisi, you can continue your exploration of the city center, including the magnificent 13th-century Basilica of St. Francis, featuring late-medieval frescoes by Cimabue and Giotto. The basilica is one of Italy’s great Christian pilgrimage destinations and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

You celebrate your week of discovery with dinner at an outstanding favorite restaurant, where you may have an authentic Umbrian meal of strangozzi pasta topped with truffle sauce or black-olive pesto, grilled meat or rabbit cacciatore, and a house-made fruit torte to complete your meal.

Accommodation: San Crispino Residenza d’Epoca, Assisi
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, you depart at your leisure for connections home or to your next destination.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Accommodations

What's Included

Tour Only
Boutique accommodations Check
12 meals: 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 4 dinners Check
Detailed water- and tear-resistant Route Notes, maps, and use of a handheld GPS unit Check
Orientation meeting with a Country Walkers representative Check
Local representative available 24/7 Check
Scheduled taxi and luggage transfers (Please note: If unable to walk, it is possible to transfer with your luggage from one accommodation to the next at no additional charge.) Check
Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary: Wine tasting. Check
Travel assistance available 24/7 provided by Allianz Global Assistance Check
Access to Self-Guided Flight Concierge—Ask our knowledgeable team to find flights that sync perfectly with your planned trip. Check
Morocco: Marrakesh, Foothills of the High Atlas & Essaouira

Dates & Prices

2021 Dates Number of Travelers Pre Hotel Night Post Hotel Night
2-3 4+ Single Supplement
Solo Surcharge
2+ Single Supplement
2+ Single Supplement
Apr 15 - Oct 31 $3,298 $3,298 $748 $598 $98 $98 $123 $123
This tour is available daily, on request, from April 15 through October 31, 2021. Please note you may encounter particularly high temperatures in July and August. Please also note that the tour price includes one arrival transfer from the train station in Orvieto to your first hotel in Orvieto. If traveling in a group of two or more with separate arrival times, additional charges will apply for multiple transfers. All prices are per person, based on double occupancy.
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