I’ve known the woman who runs these tours for a few years now, and Ionian Jewel Tours founder and president, Nancy Ursino Howard, is amazingly well-versed in all things Italy. So, I’m hoping to catch up with her and participate in the “Umbria, Le March & Rome Tour,” March 13-23, 2015.
Music, wine, food and fun will be all that surrounds from the time you land in Rome to start the tour. From Rome, the plan is to head to Assisi for a stay at Castello Di Petrata, where a relaxing day will lead to a fabulous dinner with wines of the region. On March 15, the day will be spent exploring the historic sites of Assisi: Basilica di San Francesco, Cathedral of Santa Chiara, Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, and possibly The Church of San Damiano.
The culinary delight in this day will be either a rustic Umbrian lunch or dinner at La Stalla (The Stable) will showcase the cooking method of La Brace (hot coals) to create a rich smoky flavor. Another day will lead to the Etruscan town of Perugia, home to Perugina Chocolate. Within this historic center, there will be much time to savor the sights, shop and dine before heading to Cantina Chiorri for a wine tasting. The grape of Grechetto has Greek origins and was planted throughout central Italy, particularly in the Umbrian region.
Next stop: the town of Monteprandone in the Le Marche region, where the tour group will check in at Hotel/Agriturismo Il Sapore della Luna before heading out to explore the organic vineyard. The days to follow will include wine tastings, a visit to Ascoli Piceno, and possibly a visit to the Adriatic coast before heading to Rome. The Hotel Tiber at Fiumicino awaits, and once checked in, there will be tours of Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, home to the Pope and decorated by the talents of Michelangelo and Botticelli. A walking tour guide will meet the group to continue touring historic landmarks such as the Spanish Steps, Fountain of Trevi, Roman Forum, Colosseum and Pantheon. Time on your own is in order to do some shopping or enjoy an espresso at a nearby cafe — or better yet, a gelato.
So, if you’ve always dreamed of visiting Italy and want to do it in style and avoid trying to figure it all out on your own, you’ll want to join the March 13 Ionion Jewel Tours excursion so that you can relax and enjoy every moment, knowing you’re taken care of by an expert.
So, by now you’re wondering how much? The cost for this tour (space IS limited) is $3,499.00, and includes airfare from Boston, two meals a day, the minibus/private driver/transfers, all excursions/hotels/double-occupancy accommodations, and wine, of course . What it doesn’t include is anything you do outside of the itinerary, such as wining and dining, or enjoying that gelato during your own exploration time. You will also be responsible for museum tickets and driver gratuities.
See you in Rome!