For electing your first female mayor. Forza le donne!
It is certainly not a destination for everyone: no big splendid cities with Renaissance treasures on each corner, rows of souvenir kiosks or restaurants trying to lure customers in with tourist menus.
Sounds like a great place to visit! Renaissance treasures are important to take in, but when you want to relax and take in the Italy every day Italians enjoy it’s crucial to get out of the tourist-track and see places like this.
Via Google Earth
A city upon a hill in the truest sense. Follow the link for a series of shots of this amazing little village via drone. What an amazing place, and just an hour northwest of Rome, give or take.
Tonight we did some broiled tuna steaks with radicchio and capers in olive oil, and I thought it called for some vino bianco for the sauce. A quick trip to Sovereignty Wines was required, and I noticed they had a special on Seiano Bianco, a dark straw colored IGT offering from a little town called Teverina in the Viterbo area, just south of Orvieto. It’s on a ridiculous sale for a price I won’t even mention, but expect to pay $9 or so on average. 11.5% ABV, and very much the right wine for a dish like this. As you can probably guess, after dinner we were dying to learn more about the village where this came from.
As you can see above, looking up Teverina gets you to the rolling hills east of Lago di Bolsena, a glacial lake carved into the Lazio countryside. Let’s click onward:
As you meander down a few clicks from where the offices for Seiano are reported via Google, you arrive at a little bend in the road where the local vino is sourced. Check out those well-trained grapes growing on the sun-drenched Lazio slopes with Umbrian hills in the background. Another town that looks like it’s worth a visit. Checking out the rest of the town, you can’t help but love the narrow decidedly *not* SUV friendly streets:
This place looks pretty livable:
The hills off in the distance from the city center:
To borrow from Tony Bourdain, this place does not suck.
A side benefit–if you were to make it here, you’d be a short jaunt from Orvieto (also known for great white wines, which, if you’re reading this, you probably already know), and not too much further south to go explore the Tivoli Gardens.
EDITED TO ADD: Looks like the wine makers run a small overnight accommodation that looks very, VERY inviting. If you want to go, Sassi Italy Tours can get you there. Let us know.
We’re offering a great package deal for our Introduction to Italy with Doug Sassi–fun for the experienced traveler who wants to get an artist and art historian’s inputs on “must-see” Italy, and an immersive trip of a lifetime for the first time Italy traveler. For the artistic community, we can include our Drawing From the Masters option–with professional drawing instruction from Raphael Sassi–for a nominal surchage (inquire with group size and dates).
Pricing for this will be based on a departure from PHL, please inquire about departures from other airports as you require.
Arrive in Rome via an overnight flight we’ll book for you. Spend three days and nights in a boutique hotel near the Pantheon, with Doug Sassi’s art and art history expertise guiding you through all of Rome’s captivating attractions, including:
- The Sistine Chapel (Vatican)
- The Rooms of Raphael (Vatican)
- Saint Peter’s Basilica
- Michelangelo’s Pieta and Moses
- Castel Sant’Angelo
- Spanish Steps
- Piazza Navona
- Campo dei Fiori
- Arch of Constantine
- Trevi Fountain
- Circus Maximus
- The Coliseum
- And many, many more
Day trip to Siena after checking out in the morning and hopping a train from Rome for an excursion to this lovely Tuscan gem where you’ll see it’s famous Piazza del Campo and Duomo, and have a lovely lunch. After more taking in of Siena’s cultural gems, a train to check in at your hotel in Florence (a centrally located boutique hotel just steps from the Brunelleschi’s Duomo), and then walk off dinner and grappa with an evening walking tour to take the monuments of the Renaissance with Doug Sassi. Sleep well, as the next three days will be filled with Doug’s encyclopedic knowledge of the Fiorentine masters’ works. With Doug, you’ll have an unforgettable viewing of the following and unlimited access to his lifetime of knowledge about The Cradle of the Renaissance:
- Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo)
- The David and the Accademia
- The Uffizi
- The Baptistry and its famous doors
- Giotto’s Campanile
- Santa Maria Novella
- Santa Croce
- Palazzo Vecchio
- Ponte Vecchio
- The Leather School
- Piazza della Repubblica
- Piazza della Signoria
- Boboli Gardens and the Palazzo Pitti
- And of course the view from Piazzale Michelangelo (stunning at night and at dusk)
After the fourth night in Florence, you’ll check out for a lovely train ride through the Emiglia Romagna and Veneto country sides to La Serenissima–you’ll arrive in the afternoon in Venice in time for a late lunch of cicchetti at our favorite cicchetti bar near Santi Apostoli and check in at our “home in Venice“. After a quick siesta you’ll take an evening walking tour with Doug along Strada Nuova and then on to a lovely meal (dinner in Venice rarely starts before 730 or 8pm) at a local family run trattoria, and then take in the view from the Rialto at night. You’ll spend three nights in Venice and enjoy Doug’s famous walking tour (when in Italy, his *Italian* friends ask him where to go and what to do in Venice), to include things most tourists and tour groups miss off-the-beaten-path:
- Burano and Mazzorbo
- Torcello’s ancient Basilica
- Piazza San Marco
- San Giorgio Maggiore and the astounding view from her campanile
- the Rialto and the markets nearby
- cicchetti bars
- Squero di San Trovaso (gondola making)
- The Frari
- della Salute
- more cicchetti bars (the best seafood you’ll ever eat!)
- a meal at restaurant Tony Bourdain sort of made famous, but where Doug was a regular 20 years before, that will leave you speechless
- a romantic nighttime vaporetto ride
- a wine tasting at a romantic, hard to find bacari that you’ll remember forever
And much, much more. Three nights in Venice with Sassi Italy Tours will prove an unforgettable experience that, on day four, you’ll be sad to see come to an end. But you’ll be back! This we are quite sure of.
This package includes:
- all hotel accommodations in boutique hotels known for comfort, warmth, and welcoming atmosphere that Sassi Italy Tours has vetted and has established relationships with, guaranteeing you’ll enjoy your stay
- airport transfers from Fiumicino to your hotel in Rome and to Venice Marco Polo via Alilaguna
- vaporetto passes in Venice
- taxis and shuttles as required in Rome
- all museum and historical site entry fees
- trains between cities
- unlimited tour guidance from Doug Sassi himself
- AIRFARE! Our fee includes booking your airfare from PHL to Rome and back to PHL from Venice.
All you have to do is show up at the airport for departure and we handle the rest! This package is $4300 per person for departures from December 2014 through February 2015, and $4600 per person for departures in March and April of 2015. Availability is limited (max group size is 6, 8 people for family groups) and airfares are, as always, subject to change which may impact pricing in the future.
I’ve done some price shopping against the big name tour groups that cram you 50 people at a time onto a bus and give you an impersonal experience, and they’re no cheaper. This is a chance to have your own private Italy expert for ten days and nights in an enchanted country! Don’t miss it.
We’re proud to announce that the Bemis School of Art’s collaboration with Sassi Italy Tours and our Drawing From The Masters program is formally open for registration. The initial departure is this February but fear not, more will follow in the future; some slots are already taken but a few remain and we strongly encourage you to contact Tara Thomas and get your deposit in now. A course description is included at the registration link, and more information can be found here and a FAQ can be found here.
In case you haven’t seen the new page we added, check out Drawing From The Masters. If you’re an arts enthusiast who appreciates Italy’s contribution to the Renaissance and the modern art world alike, this is the experience for you. You’ll have an extremely talented professional portrait artist and his art historian father guiding you through a series of drawing classes and art experiences in the perfect Italian setting. And don’t worry, all the good food and wine experiences that are a must in Italy are par for the course! Imagine seeing the classics by Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, Tintoretto, Donatello, Bernini, etc and then learning the historical and intellectual backdrops for them…and then getting professional instruction on how to incorporate the classics into your own artistic expression. If you’re an educator at the secondary or collegiate level, this might well be something your school should offer, and we’d be happy to help you arrange it.
Not too shabby! Lots of great shots. I’m less and less impressed by some of the Instagram gimmicks out there all the time and think they don’t contribute as much as Instagram wants you to think (the Vatican shot is a prime example…does that really help you get a better sense of the place?), but sometimes they really just nail the feel of the place and provide an emotional understanding a generic iPhone shot won’t.
I remember my first trip to Italy with Dad. I was 14. I’d never been out of the country. I couldn’t sleep with excitement on the plane, and I landed beat, bleary eyed, and amazed at everything. We hopped on a shuttle bus to the hotel and even though my mind was racing with “wow, so this is Rome!”..I fell asleep.
I spent the next three weeks amazed at all the things my Dad knew and had my worldview forever changed by seeing an amazing culture up close.
Sassi Italy Tours is all about sharing the amazement that 14 year old boy experienced with the rest of the world. We’re here to share culture, art, food, wine, history, architecture, and the dolce vita in a private, intimate setting that offers a deep immersion in all that is wonderful about Italy. I’m biased for obvious reasons, but I really do think people who travel to Italy without Doug Sassi’s perspective are missing out.
Come travel with us. Continue reading Welcome