Umbria: once the heartland of Papal power, now the ‘green heart’ of Italy’s wine-making scene...
Our tour through Italy’s ‘green heart’ begins in the fraught 13th century, and takes us all the way through to Umbria’s rather more relaxed present — specifically, its superlative winemaking.
During the Middle Ages, this beautiful hilly Italian region was the heartland of Papal power. And with great power, comes great art (at least in medieval Italy). Some of the greatest artists and craftsmen of the later Middle Ages were drawn to Umbria’s churches during this time of political uncertainty and civil unrest. On our tour, we discover the fruits of their labour: from richly-coloured frescoes at Spoleto Cathedral; to fairy-tale gothic façades at the Cathedral of Orvieto.
In the Middle Ages, the cultivation of the vine was considered one of the monkish arts, with the great Abbeys overseeing their own vineyards. The landscape in Umbria, moulded by steep hills and soft slopes, is perfectly suited to growing vines — Trebbiano, Sagrantino, and Sangiovese among them.
Over seven days this tour offers a perfect balance of charming hilltowns, beautiful art and architecture and excellent locally grown wine. A wonderful holiday, and a very enjoyable chance to get under the skin of beautiful Umbria.
- Marvel at Fra Filippo Lippi’s fresco cycle, in Spoleto’s Cathedral, still startlingly rich after six centuries
- Sample a selection of sumptuous local wines from vineyards nurtured by 'the green heart of Italy'
- Discover some of the finest extant Medieval architecture in Italy
History and wine exist in perfect harmony on this tour, as we take in producers and vine-growing sites harking back hundreds of years. Visit Enoteca Barberani, a noble house in existence since Roman times and flourishing since the Middle Ages; and Scacciadiavoli, owned and run by the Pambuffetti family since the 19th century.