Many restaurant hang their reputation on being “authentic” but Paesano Restaurant in Ann Arbor is taking authentic one step further with a custom guided trip to outlying Italy this coming fall. This is actually the 22nd consecutive year that Paesano has offered such a trip. Titled “Undiscovered Italy”, this years tour will center around the regions of Abruzzo and Le Marche on the Adriatic Coast, and Umbria in the heart of the country. The travel dates are September 9- 20, 2019.
“Having toured all the most popular regions of Italy over the years, we thought it was time to venture into the less traveled area of Central Italy,” says Paesano owner Mike Roddy. “Its rugged mountains, fortified hill towns, and gold beaches are all equally appealing.”
Abruzzo’s attraction lies in the stunning landscapes created by the proximity of the Apennine Mountains to the sea. Places like Chieti with its prestigious archeological museum, the fishing piers and golden beaches of the Trabocchi Coast, and the ancient Roman town of Vasto are all hidden gems.
Le Marche, or the Marches, to the north of Abruzzo is Italy’s best-kept secret. The magnificent Renaissance town of Urbino, which is easily on a par for beauty and interest with towns like Lucca and Siena in Tuscany, will be a highlight of this tour. Gradara, with its massive 500-year-old medieval fortress, and Ascoli Piceno, the hippest town in Le Marche, are other must see sights of this area.
Bordering both of these regions to the west is Umbria. It is often overshadowed by its more visited neighbor Tuscany, but its picturesque towns, Roman ruins, castles, monasteries and wineries give it a character all its own. Hill towns like Spoleto, Spello and Montefalco definitely deserve a look and the spectacular medieval city of Orvieto will enchant you.
“Our travel planner Suzan Alexander has once again created an amazing itinerary full of culture, wine tastings, fine dining, excursions and perfect accommodations,” says Roddy. These trips always fill up fast and never disappoint.”
Itinerary Monday, September 9 Depart in the evening on a non-stop Delta flight from Detroit to Rome. D Tuesday, September 10
On arrival in Rome, we will transfer with our bilingual escort by private motorcoach to our base for the next 3 nights, the 4-star Hotel Fonte Cesia in the picturesque hilltop town of Todi in the “Green Heart” of Italy.Once we check into this lovely renovated 17th-centuryy palazzo, we will have a short walking tour of the town and will meet in the evening for a Welcome cocktail and dinner. B, D
Wednesday, September 11
After breakfast, we’ll drive to Spello,a hill town dating back to Roman times. A reminder of the town’s past is a magnificent Roman gateway flanked by two 12-sided towers constructed in the Middle Ages. After a tour of the town, we will carry on to Montefalco, known as the “Balcony of Umbria” for its superb views of the surrounding area. Famous for its Sagrantino wine, we will visit a local winery for a light lunch and a wine tasting. B, L
Thursday, September 12
From your first glimpse of Orvieto, sitting a thousand feet above the valley floor, you will find it to be a visually stunning city! With its cobbled lanes, medieval piazzas, and its exquisite Gothic cathedral that dominates the skyline, this perfectly preserved town will delight you. Our guided
walking tour will include a chance to see Luca Signorelli’s vast fresco of the Last Judgement. It is said this incredible work was the inspiration for Michelangelo’s version in the Sistine Chapel. Lunch is on your own and there will be time to wander and shop before returning to Todi where we will have dinner at a local restaurant. B, D
Friday, September 13
Today we drive over the Apennine Mountains to the Le Marche region, one of Italy’s little known treasures, but not before seeing Spoleto. Spoleto was a major roman colony and its theatre, built in the 1st-century AD, is still used during the famous Festival of music and arts. The medieval 10-arch bridge, the Ponte delle Torri, spans a deep gorge between two fortresses and is the symbol of Spoleto. Our next stop is Macerata, one of the oldest university towns in Italy,where there will be time for lunch and a wander through the cobblestone streets with their honey-colored palazzi before carrying on to our 4-star hotel, the Hotel Nautilus, in Pesaro. Dinner at the hotel is included tonight. B, D
Saturday, September 14
This is a day for you to relax and enjoy the town and the beach. If you prefer, you can join a half-day excursion to the town of Loreto, one of Italy’s holiest sites where Renaissance popes invested heavily in art and architecture. It is like a mini-Rome away from Rome. On the return, we will stop for lunch in Sirolo, a cliff top town on the Conero Peninsula with great views of the Adriatic. B
Sunday, September 15
Urbino, the birthplace of Raphael, one of the world’s greatest painters, is an absolute jewel. It is a perfect and rare example of a Renaissance city that has survived intact, complete with surrounding walls. The highlight of the visit to this exquisite town is a tour of the Palazzo Ducale, home to the Montefeltro Dukes of Urbino, which in its day was the largest building in Europe. After lunch, we will drive to Gradara to visit its superbly preserved castle, a fantasy fortress of towers and bastions. B, L
Monday, September 16
Abruzzo beckons as we travel south to our destination, the seaside city of Pescara. A delightful stop on the way is Ascoli Piceno, a medieval town whose skyline is punctured by domes, spires and bell towers and filled with the golden hue of its travertine architecture. After a guided walking tour, we’ll have lunch and time to explore before driving on the Pescara where we will check into the 4-star Hotel Victoria. B, L
Tuesday, September 17
After breakfast, we’ll depart to Chieti, a sprawling hilltop town a short distance from Pescara. Chieti’s roots date back three millennia to pre-Roman times, which makes its excellent Archeological Museum a fascinating place to visit. The larger-than-life, 6th-century Warrior of Capestrano and the colossal seated statue of Hercules are must-sees. After lunch, we’ll drive to a nearby winery for a wine tasting before returning to our hotel. B, L
Wednesday, September 18
Today we’ll drive along the coastline to Vasto, the most southern town in Abruzzo. A guided walking tour of the city will include the churches, Castle, and the Palazzo d'Avalos, the town's most imposing building overlooking the sea. Lunch will be at a unique location as we will dine at one of the “trabocchi”, primitive and yet complex working fishing platforms constructed of wood, that sit over the water. B, L
Thursday, September 19
They say all roads lead to Rome. Our route will include Sulmona, where the poet Ovid was born in 43 BC. We’ll have a guided walking tour of the historic center and an opportunity to try its renowned almond sweets. After lunch, we carry on to Rome where we will have dinner and overnight at the 4-star Hilton Airport Hotel. B, D
Friday, September 20
After breakfast, it is a short walk from the hotel to the Delta desk to check-in for your non-stop flight to Detroit. B