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8 Days History and Mystery Tour in Italy

Perugia, Italy

Classic Mysteries Tour in Italy

This tour is the innovative and involving way to visit Tuscany and Umbria. These two regions have incredible and mysterious stories to tell you. This is a tour where you can enjoy excellent food, and you will absolutely not get bored strolling along the routes off the tourist-beaten path. Visit the sites listed in history, all of which have been holding Italy's uncovered secrets.

Key information

  • With a guide
  • Type of transportation: Private bus
  • Starts in: Umbria
  • Ends in: Tuscany
  • Minimum number of participants: 2 persons

Highlights

  • Exploration of historical sites
  • Visit an art laboratory of glass
  • Tour the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci
  • Historical center walking tours in Siena, Pistoia, and Perugia
  • Professional, knowledgeable tour guide
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Delicious meals daily

7 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
Airport transfer included: Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport
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Accommodation

On this tour, you will be provided seven nights of accommodation in three and four-star hotel.

Program

In this tour, you will learn more about Narni, immortalized by the novel "Chronicles of Narnia”, as well as the Narni Underground mysteries. You will also be having a mystery tour of Perugia, and you will visit the most mysterious canvas in the world: the Trionfo dell´Ordine dei Benedettini, painted by Antonio Vassilacchi.

Have a trip to Siena and San Galgano, the mysterious abbey, and discover as well sounds, unresolved symbols, legends in Lucca, the Genesis and giants in Pistoia, and the J.F. Kennedy murder, something mysterious which happened in Tuscany. You will have a day tour completely dedicated to the singular life and unique art of Leonardo Da Vinci, in the village where he was born.

Daily itinerary

Day 1: Narni and Perugia

You will arrive at the Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO), and then you will meet with your tour escort and private bus. You will be transferred towards Umbria, with a stop at Narni. Narni is immortalized by the novel "Chronicles of Narnia”, written by C.S. Lewis. It is a small hilltop village in the almost exact geographical center of Italy.

It sits in a rugged landscape, Jerusalem pines, oaks, hornbeams, and maples, with outstanding views over the Nera river valley. Found in the narrow gorge of the Nera river and dominated by the brooding Albornoz Fortress, Narni grew up in importance with the construction of the Via Flaminia (during the ancient Roman domination) from Rome to Rimini.

The town was favored by the Papal State in the Middle Ages, and much of its most picturesque architecture, including the small stone houses, arched roads, and towers, remains from this time.

It also heralded an era of busy artistic development as a school of painting, and goldsmithery grew up and reached its peak in the Renaissance when artists such as Rossellino, Ghirlandaio, Gozzoli, Vecchietta, Antoniazzo Romano, and Spagna were commissioned to produce amazing masterpieces.

You can see some of their work in the 12th-century Cattedrale di San Giovenale, on Piazza Cavour, and the 13th-century Palazzo dei Priori (Town Hall), which is formed from three medieval tower houses and flanked by a beautiful loggia. One of the most interesting tours in town takes you into the subterranean rooms of the antique Convento di San Domenico.

From this convent cellar, an underground trail leads into a pre-Romanesque church with frescoes added in the 13th and 15th centuries, the remains of a Roman cistern, a cell decorated with graffiti by prisoners kept here in the Middle Ages, during the holy inquisition history. Lunch will be at your own leisure.

In the afternoon, you will have a Narni walking tour, and you will visit Rocca Albornoz and its medieval museum. Crossing 14 rooms, you will be suddenly winding up in a medieval world, an era that fills everyone’s imagination. The true face of the Italian Middle Ages through the reconstruction of environments such as the bedroom or the great hall of ceremonies, and much more.

You will have the chance to discover the weapons that were used in battles and tournaments, the way they dressed, fashions, and standards of beauty of that time; the best way to discover myths, legends, truths, and secrets of the Middle Ages in Italy. You will be checking in at some nice three-star hotel in the historical center of Perugia. You will have dinner in a typical restaurant in Perugia center.

Day 2: Perugia Ancient Mysteries

After breakfast, you will depart with your tour escort to explore the magnificent and fascinating mysteries of Perugia. The mystery tour of Perugia will start in the center of the city at Piazza Grande (now also known as Piazza IV Novembre). You will have a Perugia historical center walking tour.

The city of Perugia is the capital city of the entire region of Umbria. The town is placed between Lago Trasimeno and the Alta Valle del Tevere (Upper Tiber Valley), an untouched land of abbeys, monasteries, and flower-filled hills. Piazza IV Novembre has been the center of civil and religious power in the city since it was established by the Etruscans, before the Romans.

In the center of the square stands the impressive Fontana Maggiore, the city symbol and one of the finest medieval fountains in Italy. It was completed in the late 13th century to welcome the water of the Monte Pacciano aqueduct and was considered so important that Nicola and Giovanni Pisano were commissioned to design and decorate it.

A walk around the lower basin will take you past paneled scenes from the Old Testament, the story of the founding of Rome, an astrological calendar that appears to relate to local farming practices, and a representation of the seven arts. The 14th-century Palazzo dei Priori leads off from the left of the fountain along the main street Corso Vannucci.

It is a remarkable palace built of local white and red travertine and fronted on the fountain side by a large semi-circular staircase. You will have a light lunch and wine tasting. You will visit an art laboratory of glass, one of the oldest workshops in Umbria for an authentic experience.

The laboratory is run by two women that belong to the seventh generation of artisans or artists of their family.

The glass masterpieces of the family are exposed into important churches: Santa Maria degli Angeli (Assisi) and in Orvieto Cathedral. Dinner will be at leisure, and the tour escort will address you in the various and attractive restaurant in the city center depending on your tastes.

Day 3: The Mysterious Canvas

You will have breakfast and get ready for the third day of discovering the mysteries of Perugia. You will meet with the guide to discover Rocca Paolina and Saint Peter’s church. In San Pietro, you will study one of the most mysterious canvas: the Trionfo dell'Ordine dei Benedettini, painted by Antonio Vassilacchi called “l’Aliense”.

Despite its fascinating characteristic, this canvas is almost unknown, but this painting is documented as the biggest canvas ever painted in the Middle Age. It represents the triumph of the Benedictine Order: it depicts saints, popes, cardinals, bishops, and abbots founders of Religious Orders that surround St. Benedict of Norcia. It occupies the entire top of the entrance wall of the church.

The reason this canvas is so special to deserve to be mentioned in a mystery tour is the countless characters larger than natural dimensions making people imagine the magnificence of the painting, but the strange detail is that the subject was severely imposed to the painter, so he took a revenge worthy of a great artist and a precursor of contemporary digital techniques.

The best place to observe it is towards the main altar, but, if you do not know what is hidden on it, you will only see the numerous characters. In reality, all these outline a single demonic image. If you focus on St. Benedict and the two patches of sky where appears a haunting figure, demonic: St. Benedict is the nose, the glimpses of heaven are the eyes, St. Peter and St. Paul at the top at the far ends are the ears and the two central tufts are the horns.

The figures of Benedictine seen from behind are formidable tusks, fortunately, Antonio Vassilacchi did not paint the mouth otherwise it would have been even more impressive. The colors and postures of the various characters stand out even more lines of the hidden entity.

You must also consider that this canvas was not for the priest nor the people, the rule of reciting the mass watching the people was approved recently, but not in 1592 indeed. The picture is quite descriptive and hearing its story is really impressive. You will have a light lunch tasting of idromele (mead - alcoholic honey wine) and cheese, as well as some time for shopping in Perugia.

You will have dinner at leisure and overnight stay.

Day 4: Enigmatic San Galgano Abbey in the heart of Tuscany

You will have breakfast and then depart with your private bus and your tour escort towards Siena. You will have a guided walking tour in the historical center of Siena. With curved old palaces, brick arches, lively caffè-terraces, and a vast redbrick sloping square that leads the eye and the feet down to the Palazzo Pubblico (the town hall) prepare to be enamored by Siena’s Piazza del Campo.

For those lucky enough to arrive in season, the 2nd of July and the 16th of August (plus four days of pre-race trials), can see the outer perimeter of the square fenced off and covered withstand for the famous Palio bareback horserace. A dazzling spectacle of local culture, in which 10 of Siena’s 17 contrade (neighborhoods) compete in a merciless horserace held since Medieval Age.

Visitors arriving fall fascinated under the charm of Siena’s gracefully winding medieval streets. Lunch will be at leisure, and then you will depart towards Abbazia di San Galgano in the heart of Tuscany. Surrounded by trees and fields, the 13th-century Abbazia di San Galgano is known as the “abbey without a roof.”

The skeleton that remains (with grass floor and sky roof) is a fascinating example of Cistercian Gothic architecture, and the shapely windows create an atmospheric shadow. Arthurian legends are reversed with the “sword in the stone” taken from the abbey and displayed at the nearby Romanesque Chiesa di Montesiepi. Rather than St. Galgano pulling the sword from the stone, he plunged it in, creating with the hilt the shape of the Cross.

While you are here, there are also some lovely Andrea Lorenzetti frescoes to enjoy. St. Galgano was born in 1148 in Chiusdino from a family of small local nobility and died December 1181. Galgano lived as a libertine knight and addicted to wildest entertainment until something changed his life and turning it into a true Knight of God.

It happened that one day dedicated to lust and debauchery, suddenly Galgano had a vision of the Archangel Michael. Galgano followed the Archangel, crossed a bridge and a flowery meadow, reaching Monte Siepi, finding a round building and the Twelve Apostles. This event converted him permanently.

The tradition tells the second episode. In a quiet day, his horse led him back again to Monte Siepi, in the same place where he had previously met the Twelve Apostles. Galgano had no doubt, it was a sacred place and, as such, deserved a Cross. He decided to take his sword and drive it into the rock.

Then he heard a voice that invited him to stay in that place, Galgano accepted the invitation and began his real life as a hermit. Four years after his death was sanctified by Pope Lucius III.

The atmosphere of the places where this legend is magical, fascinating, full of energy. The story of Saint Galgano is very similar to that of St. Francis, both abandon a world of entertainment empty and corruption, to devote himself to the next and to prayer.

There are several points in common with the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, in which the protagonist is just the sword in the stone, as well as the knight named Gawain, very similar to Galgano. Probably the author of the narrative of King Arthur had been in Tuscany and absorbed the legend.

You will arrive in San Miniato and stay in a nice three-star hotel. You will have dinner in an amazing typical “Locanda” and overnight stay.

Day 5: Lucca

You will have breakfast and then depart with your private bus and your tour escort towards Lucca, an enchanting old town full of Italian mysterious places. Situated in a fertile plain between the Apennines and Monte Pisano, Lucca is a delightful city to explore.

Inside its four-kilometer (2.5 miles) stretch of city walls, narrow streets lead onto irregularly shaped squares, revealing pleasant gardens, 16th-century palazzi, jutting medieval tower-houses, and half-hidden churches. You will visit Duomo (Cattedrale di San Martino). It is a place that preserves unresolved symbols and legends.

The labyrinth, the Last Supper painted by Tintoretto with the presence of a woman among the characters, the sculpture of Ilaria del Carretto (called the sleeping beauty), the Volto Santo, the two legends of the poor Jolly and Giovanni di Lorenzo di Arras.

You will then visit Torre Guinigi and Torre delle Ore and have light lunch in a nice local restaurant.

You will also have a walking tour in Lucca, Piazza Anfiteatro, a place known for its perfect acoustics. It is nice to play with sounds and noises in the middle of the square. You will have dinner at leisure and overnight stay.

Day 6: Genesis and Giants frescoes in Pistoia

You will have breakfast and departure with your private bus and your tour escort towards Pistoia. It is one of the richest art cities in Tuscany with a fascinating cathedral square often missed on Tuscany’s well-trampled tourist circuit.

You will have a visit of Chiesa di Sant’Antonio Abate. Chiesa di Sant’Antonio Abate is the first church you meet as you take a right on Corso Gramsci is the 14th-century Sant’Antonio Abate (also known as “del Tau” from the saint’s T-shaped staff).

It conserves the city’s longest fresco cycle, a work showing stories from the Old and New Testaments and the life of the saint by the Florentine Niccolò di Tommaso and the Pistoian Antonio Vite (1372).

Thanks to the restorations were recovered and saved wonderful frescoes depicting stories of the Old and New Testament and the life of Saint Anthony, the most beautiful frescoes in the Gothic style of Pistoia.

It is made in 1372 by Niccolò di Tommaso, with twelve frescos representing Genesis, including the mysterious and enigmatic appearance of “Giants”. In the church of Tau is a rare representation of the Giants, it is not an episode of Genesis presented frequently. The mystery of the Giants is preserved in Chapter 6 of Genesis.

But who are the mysterious Giants? Who were this people who joined the daughters of man? In the Bible, they are called by the word Nephilim, translated as giants Aramaic naphil. Referred to as aliens, supernatural beings that populated planet or fallen angels, they remain one of the most enigmatic figures of the Bible.

Italy and all the world seems full of evidence, temples built with boulders of hundreds of tons, united and polished with great precision, without any remaining evidence of how man has managed to build thousands of years ago. Many places in Italy still bear the name of "giants" founded by them as tradition.

You will then have a guided walking tour in the historical center of Pistoia and then lunch in a Km Zero Italian Osteria in Pistoia.

You will get transferred to Campo Tizzoro. Up until now, the tour has been lived on experiences on ancient mysteries, but on this day, you will a will discover some detail more related to J.F. Kennedy murder right in Pistoia.

In brief, the SMI is an old weapon factory in Campo Tizzoro (among Tuscany mountains), and it was one of the major munitions factories of Europe and has been NATO supplier for many years. Now, it is an interesting museum focused on World War II weapons. Recently has been found a sniper rifle, excellently preserved, similar to the one used to kill JFK.

It seems that has been left there by the Warren Commission during the inquiry. The commission members visited the factory because two of the JFK's bullets were produced right here. The theory is that this sniper rifle could be the "second" one used in Dallas and it seems more similar to the one held by Osvald in photos than the one that was actually recognized as the murder weapon.

The guides will involve you in one of the greatest mysteries of contemporary times. Dinner will be at leisure, as well as overnight stay.

Day 7: Vinci, Leonardo’s birthplace

You will have breakfast and then departure with your private bus and your tour escort towards Vinci. You will have a day tour completely dedicated to the singular life and unique art masterpieces of Leonardo Da Vinci, in the village where he was born.

The birth house of the greatest genius of all time is reached along an ancient path through the hills and groves of Montalbano olive trees in the heart of Tuscany. An immersion in the landscape that is in itself an experience and gives the visitor a clear perception of the unbreakable bond between nature and genius.

The figure of Leonardo gives suggestion to the birthplace, but it is also true: the scenarios surrounding Anchiano, almost unchanged over time, evoke creativity and the genius of Leonardo da Vinci.

The striking simplicity of the place, combined with an art museum exhibition that invites you to know more about the history of this character, thanks to the innovative technology called "Leonardo Touch", a sophisticated interactive system that allows you to interact with the famous fresco The Last Supper. And to know a little more about his private life, Leonardo himself will welcome visitors in the Birthplace of Anchiano in the form of a life-size hologram.

Lunch will be in a local agricultural farm with zero Km local food and wine, and then you will return to San Miniato. Dinner will be at leisure as well as overnight stay.

Day 8: Departure day

You will have breakfast and then get transferred to Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO).

Included excursions

  • Have a stop at Narni
  • Tour the subterranean rooms of the antique Convento di San Domenico
  • Have a Narni walking tour and visit Rocca Albornoz and its medieval museum
  • Have a Perugia historical center walking tour
  • Visit an art laboratory of glass, one of the oldest workshops in Umbria for an authentic experience
  • Discover Rocca Paolina and Saint Peter’s church
  • Guided walking tour in the historical center of Siena
  • Tour towards Lucca, an enchanting old town full of Italian mysterious places
  • Visit Duomo (Cattedrale di San Martino), Torre Guinigi, and Torre delle Ore
  • Have a walking tour in Lucca, Piazza Anfiteatro
  • Visit of Chiesa di Sant’Antonio Abate
  • Guided walking tour in the historical center of Pistoia
  • Tour in Campo Tizzoro
  • Tour the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci

Location

This mystery tour will be held in Tuscany and Umbria, Italy. Places and sites of interest include Narni, Perugia, Siena, Lucca e Pistoia, and San Miniato e Vinci.

Food

The cost of the packages includes two tastings with light lunch, one light lunch in Lucca, two dinner meals in the hotel/restaurant, and two lunches in the hotel/restaurant.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • All guided walking tours
  • All historical center tours
  • All visits to historical sites
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast with beverages
  • Services of a local guide for five half days (Narni, Perugia, Lucca, Vinci)
  • Services of a local guide for two full days (San Galgano and Siena, Pistoia)
  • Bus with private driver
  • 2 tastings with light lunch
  • 1 light lunch in Lucca
  • 2 dinners in hotel/restaurant
  • 2 lunches in hotel/restaurant

What's not included

  • Everything not mentioned in inclusions
  • Entrance fees to Rocca di Albornoz in Narni and Leonardo Da Vinci museums
  • Flight tickets
  • Tourist accommodation taxes
  • Medical-luggage and cancelation insurance
  • Optional tours/experiences

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
8 days / 7 nights
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Availability

Other dates available on specific request

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