Umbria

Discover La Dolce Vita on a walking trip with mules in Umbria’s Sibillini mountains and among the soft hills around Assisi and the Vale of Spoleto. Dates 2019: 9th - 15th June

It is when walking in Umbria that your host, James, truly gets to indulge his passion for landscape, art, architecture, fine wine and exceptional food and hopefully you will find him expert in every aspect!

For instance, James, a one-time fine art auctioneer, is a very able guide when it comes to seeking out chapels adorned with frescoes by Giotto, Martini and Lorenzetti. He also has a forte in creating excellent picnics, made up of the finest local ingredients in the most perfect settings such as in the shade of an olive grove.

Ultimately, James, over years of visiting Umbria has come up with a week that is the very embodiment of La Dolce Vita. For you, he has lined up a world class wine tasting with lunch in Spello, walks on which you will be knee deep in bobbing poppies, wild pansies, gentians and orchids and visits to Umbria’s beautiful fortress hill towns of Spoleto and Spello. And on the high hills the mules and muleteeer will accompany you to lighten your foot.

The emphasis on food has been on sourcing out the dedicated artisans like Giorgio Calabro of Visso whose cured meats travel the world. One of particular interest is a ham made from a sheep which is the size of a violin and whose deep dark meat will be accompanied by a fizzy red Vernaccia from Le Marche. These little gastronomic marriages are a sheer delight to the palate and general 'esprit'!

James hosts this trip. Hotels, restaurants and visits have been carefully selected to reveal the character and colour Umbria. All meals are included and lunch will be a mix of picnics and restaurants.

Accommodation

LE SILVE

Set in its 240 hectares of natural parkland in the foothills of the majestic, whale-back Monte Subasio, four star Le Silve is part of the Romantik Hotel chain.  As well as a stunning setting, it has an excellent restaurant concentrating very much on organic Italian cuisine much of the produce coming from the estate itself.  21 bedrooms all with bathrooms en suite.  Standard TV.  Swimming Pool.  Sauna.  Tennis.  Wifi.  3 nights.

LA GROTTA AZZURRA

A family-run hotel in the heart of the walled town of Norcia at the foot of the Sibillini mountains.  This hotel could be straight out of the hustle and bustle of a Fellini film.  It is larger than most hotels that we use comprising 45 rooms all with bathrooms en suite.  Standard TV.  There is a pool in a sister hotel outside the town walls.  Wifi.  3 nights.

The PALAZZO SENECA

opposite the Grotta Azzurra is an option for those wishing to upgrade to modern Italy in an old palatial setting.  It is run by the same Bianconi family and has recently opened.  Wifi.  Standard TV.

HOTEL GATTAPONE

A 4 star hotel with an outstanding setting overlooking the medieval aqueduct of the ancient Ponte dei Torre and situated just outside the walls of the old city republic of Spoleto.  There are 15 bedrooms all with bathrooms en suite and views of the aqueduct and valley.  Wifi.  One night.

Grade Of Walking

Only about twenty percent of Umbria is flat so there is a bit of hard hill climbing here especially in the Sibillini hills around Norcia but elderly people have managed it with ease. We do have mules to help if anybody is feeling tired. We will cover a maximum of 65 kilometres. All paths are solid and there are astounding views as you climb. Our highest point is 1200 metres. The flowers are incredible in June.

We always suggest walking the morning walk. For those feeling tired in the afternoon there is always a vehicle to take you back to the hotel. Our hotels have been carefully chosen (see ACCOMMODATION) so they are all excellent places for relaxing, reading and just taking it easy. The fact that we do not officially offer time in the villages that we stay in as we always have walks on offer means that often people will take an afternoon off to enjoy village life.

FOOD & WINE

In Italy we source organic, fresh produce wherever possible for our picnics to accompany the fresh ricotta, cheeses, salamis and finely sliced prosciutto (including a sheep’s leg prosciutto) to be washed down with a sparkling red Vernaccia from Le Marche. Italy’s cuisine predates the French and the restaurant fare speaks for itself in terms of excellence.

We will be drinking Umbrian Sagrantino reds, Grechetto whites and some delicious sweet whites (especially those from La Palazzola made by Stefano Grili) as well as ‘Passito’ – a delicious, sweet red with a bitter twist. A first class tasting of top wines in Spello will activate the taste buds.

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DURATION

7 Days

DISTANCE

33 miles

PRICE

€2690 pp

SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT

€360 pp

DATES

9 Jun - 15 Jun