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Colleen's "Insider" Tours are only offered to L'Antica Vetreria guests. Tailored for the best "must see" attractions, guests receive the benefit of over 20 years of Colleen's experience visiting and living here. Colleen has a degree in Art History and Italian Culture. Whether you wish to drive with Colleen or require transportation for 2-12, Colleen will facilitate this. Half Day Tours are five hours, Full Day Tours are eight. Rates: You provide transportation, Colleen provides guide service only: 1/2 day 170 Euros/Full day 260 Euros. Colleen provides guide service and transportation, up to 4 people: 1/2 day 220 Euros/Full day 320 Euros. 5-7 days of tours and Colleen provide transportation up to 8: 1/2 day 325 Euros/Full day 420 Euros--Up to 12: 1/2 day 485 Euros/Full day 580 Euros.
Orvieto is a “must see” for many reasons. Orvieto is one of the most dramatic hill towns in Italy, perched on a plateau atop huge tufa cliffs created by an ancient volcanic eruption. Orvieto has a stunning Duomo (cathedral) and its monuments and museums cover millenniums of history starting with the Etruscans. Later, during the Middle Ages, many popes lived here for refuge from the many sackings of Rome, since it was so easily defended. The magnificent mosaic façade of the Duomo was created by the glass artisans of L’Antica Vetreria who were famous and sought after for their glassmaking. Visit the fascinating Underground Orvieto, climb a tower or go deep inside St. Patrick's well! Colleen creates a perfect tour for children and adults alike. An easy half day for touring and shopping for ceramics, olive wood and beautiful jewelry or make a very thorough explore with a full day! Or Half Day Tour of Orvieto can be combined with tour of Civita di Bagnoregio to make a Full Day Tour. This is a Rick Steves favorite, a tiny hamlet perched on an eroding tufa cliff with the only access across a massive bridge. Visit it before it disappears completely.
Deruta is world famous for its ceramics. Colleen will arrange visits to shops that will ship safely and who have the best reputions for quality. Learn to throw a pot yourself and also visit a private ceramics museum in one of the shops where you can purchase ancient ceramics. Arrange for a lesson to learn to paint your very own ceramic bowl with one of the most talented ceramics artists of Deruta. Half Day tour is sufficient.
Assisi is the mystical soul of Umbria, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Colleen's most sought after tours. She will take you to hidden gems that few tourist ever see: San Damiano Convent and Eremo dei Carceri high on the mountain above Assisi with its tranquil foot paths, open air amphitheaters where Francis preached to the animals and birds and the cave Grotto where St. Francis meditated. Walk in the footsteps of St. Francis and St. Clare for a truly spiritual experience of this town with its treasures including the beautiful Gothic Basilica of St.Clare with its flying buttresses and Museum of Relics, the Temple of Minerva and the magnificent Basilica of St. Francis, packed with the world's' finest frescoes and artwork, which houses the tomb of this revered Saint. Children love Assisi and have a special viewpoint and experience of Assisi with Colleen in the lead. This tour is called "Seeing St. Francis Through a Child's Eyes". Full Day Tours only.
Gubbio is a perfectly preserved Gothic town with many cobbled streets and byways to discover. Great shopping for Gubbio ceramics. Ride a cable car to the top of Mt. Ingino where we will dine in a fine restaurant with magnificent views and visit the Church of St. Ubaldo, patron saint of Gubbio, who saved Gubbio from destruction by Emporer Federick Barbarossa. Learn how you can become a certified "lunatic" by circling a historic fountain three times. Visit the largest existing Roman Theater and the massive Palazzo dei Consoli with its museum and the Eugubine Tablets, the only known vanished language of the ancient pre-Roman ancient Umbrians and much more. Full Day Tours only.
Lago Trasimeno and the surrounding towns: Make a circuit around the largest lake in the Italian Peninsula visiting Castiglione del Lago with its historic fortress jutting into the lake and many shopping opportunities, the beach community of Passignano, Tuoro: site of the great Roman defeat by Hannibal, the beautiful little fishing village of San Feliciano, eat at our favorite fish restaurant by the lake with magnificent views and the grand finale: historic Panicale for dessert in the thriving main piazza! Full Day Tour.
Local villages of Piegaro and Panicale: Visit hidden gems within Piegaro and Panicale Comune (County) such as the tiny Greppolischieto Castle home of the designer Madame Fendi, a perfect place to photograph and paint with grand views. We will drive along ridges, passing groves of olive trees and vineyards for the best views across the Valle Nestore to see Perugia, Assisi and Lago Trasimeno in the distance. Visits to Castlglion Fosco, the tiny Ierna with its historic church and on to Paciano and Panicale. Half Day or Full Day Tours depending on lunch and choice of towns.
Tuscany: Cortona, made famous by "Under the Tuscan Sun" book and movie is a shopper's paradise. Find out where to purchase the best cashmere, linens, hand-crafted shoes, finest leather bags at discount and jewelry. Colleen will take you on a tour of an artwork shop with historic well and ancient chapel. Visit a little known church to see St.Francis' tunic and the place called Celle di Cortona where his perfectly preserved cell can be viewed. Half Day for Cortona or Full Day Tours can be combined with a visit to Castilgione del Lago the castle town jutting into Lago Trasimeno.
(Personal Favorite) Pienza, La Foce and the iconic Val d'Orcia: A Full Day Tour through some of the most iconic places in Tuscany. Visit Pienza, the perfectly preserved Ideal City of Pope Pius II, the first Humanist Pope, a little Renaissance gem designated as a World Heritage UNESCO site, the town is intended to harmonise with nature to maximise the happiness of its inhabitants. The pope - a local aristocrat - travelled widely in Europe and looked for inspiration at the gothic cathedrals of northern Europe. Twenty thousands builders worked on the new town. "Pienza was born from the dream of a great humanist. Everything you see in the centre of Pienza, this palace, the cardinals’ palaces opposite, the cathedral, the public palace, the bishop’s palace, were built in three years," said Vittorio Carnesecchi, curator of Palazzo Paccolomini. Dine at La Bandita, a fabulous restaurant the serves fresh Tuscan ingredients with a new spin. Driving back through the Val d'Orcia will take you through the perfectly sculptured landscape with the neat rows of cypress climbing up to a hilltop Villa. A UNESCO World Heritage Landscape because this land was actually perfectly sculpted during the Renaissance, one of the first landscape design marvels of the world! A visit to La Foce estate gardens with a rich history; a vast farm estate rescued by the Marquesa Iris Origo and her husband, Antonio, in the 1920's. They pulled the farmlands from ruin and made modern farming, a school for children, a hospital. Tour the gardens created for Iris as a place of beauty in the wilderness of the Crete (eroded clay hills). One of Colleen's Favorite Tours!! Or 1/2 day trip to La Foce with lunch at Dopolavoro (the old social hall for farmers and now a gourmet place to eat) on the estate with visit to the gardens on Wednesday afternoons. See link about La Foce:http://www.montepulciano.net/la_foce_iris_origo.htm#.VLOWzk10zIU