Saturday, March 31, 2007


Part One

Art has been so excited ever since Jami, his best friend and former boss, booked her flight to Italy. Art loves to share Italy with our friends and family, and the fact that so few have taken advantage of the fact that they have friends in Italy has been a big disappointment. Even a beach person like Art can’t understand why some of our friends would rather lie on a beach in Cancun or Destin rather than visiting Italy, but oh well, everyone has their priorities.

As Art’s co-worker, and later boss, Jami’s traveled the world vicariously through our pictures and stories, and we were both so excited for her to experience Italy firsthand. Her sister Beth, who’d been to Italy before, was only too happy to be her travel partner, and we emailed back and forth, selecting just the right hotel, suggesting itineraries, trying to find out what our guests really wanted to see.

Planning an itinerary is the most difficult task for me. Are we trying to do too much? Too many churches? Too many museums? Too much walking? And then I worry that if we do less our guests will go home feeling disappointed….so I always try to ask questions….but usually without much luck. The usual response is “Oh, you know what there is to see, you just take us anywhere and it’ll be fine!” Challenging to say the least!

Adding to the itinerary problem is the fact that we usually only have a few days to see and do everything! Of course people say they want to come to Umbria, to enjoy our little town of San Venanzo, to relax and enjoy, but of course they also want to see Florence, Rome, Assisi, visit a winery, etc etc etc. Quite challenging indeed!

Art and I spent lots of time thinking about what to do, where to go, and eventually hit upon what we hoped would be the perfect mix. Instead of taking separate trips to Florence and Rome, Art had the great idea of going to Florence, then traveling directly to Rome for the end of Jami and Beth’s visit. With only eight days, we hoped this itinerary would give them lots of variety:

Day One: Arrive in Rome 7:30 a.m. - Drive to Orvieto – tour Duomo – lunch in Orvieto – drive to San Venanzo – rest – dinner in Marsciano at Nestor’s Pizzeria (formerly Ternana’s)

Day Two: Assisi – Montefalco – lunch in Montefalco – visit a winery – dinner at home with Giacomo and Belinda

Day Three: Drive to Cortona, past Perugia and Lake Tresimeno – visit Le Celle monastery – Cortona – lunch with Alessandra - stop by Perugina to tour the factory and buy some chocolate – dinner at Angelino and Peppa’s with Wendy and Corrado

Day Four: Early train to Florence – visit the Bargello lunch at Verrazzano’s – Mercato Centrale – San Lorenzo Mercato – rest - walk to Ponte Vecchio – walk to Pitti Palace – stroll/shop - dinner at Osteria Zio Gigio

Day Five: 9:30 Mass at the Duomo – Academia museum – lunch at Al’Angolo – wandering – Santa Croce – Vivoli’s for gelato

Day Six: Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo – lunch – train to Rome – rest – walking tour at 5:30 from Piazza Navona

Day Seven: Forum/Coliseum – metro to Termini, then lunch – bus to Galleria Borghese – walk to Spanish Steps – taxi to Hard Rock Café

Day Eight: 10 a.m. tour of Vatican and St Peter’s. Art and Barbara go back to Umbria.

Day Nine: Jami and Beth fly home

In part two I’ll tell you how it all worked out!


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