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  • Olive oil and wine tasting in Umbria

    Olive oil, wine and cookery holiday in Umbria

    This four-night food and wine holiday features the olive oils, wine and local dishes of Umbria, and is based at the Villa di Monte Solare, a short drive from the university city of Perugia and set in hills of vines and olive groves affording panoramic views of Lake Trasimeno. The hotel produces its own olive oil from its 80 hectares of olive groves and nearby are vineyards and wine producers you can visit. Also included in this food and wine holiday is a cookery lesson with the chef at the hotel, where you learn the secrets of local Umbrian or Tuscan specialities.

    Highlights of this food and wine holiday

    This four-night olive oil, wine and cookery holiday in Umbria, not far from Lake Trasimeno and the historic university city of Perugia, and amid vines and olives, includes the following experiences at the Villa di Monte Solare with entrances to the chocolate factory at Perugia.
    • One 3-course dinner from the A la Carte menu in the Dolium restaurant (drinks not included)
    • One olive oil tasting at the Villa di Monte Solare
    • One wine tasting with the hotel’s sommelier (selection of 3 wines) with Umbrian finger food
    • One relaxing bathing experience in the hotel’s Wellness centre
    • Entrance to the chocolate factory and museum of ‘La Perugina’
    • One hands-on cookery lesson (3 hours with 4 course lunch with drinks included, an apron and recipe booklet). Themes of the lessons include famous Italian dishes, seasonal specialities and quintessential Umbria-Tuscan cuisine.
    Prices from £1,380 per person including flights, car-hire, bed and breakfast accommodation and the experiences mentioned above.

    Your food and wine holiday
    Your four-night stay in Umbria starts from Rome. You collect your hire-car and then head north to Umbria, criss-crossing the River Tiber and then passing the cathedral town of Orvieto, perched on a rocky outcrop before climbing through the hills above Lake Trasimeno where you find the romantic Villa di Monte Solare. This charming hotel, really a private villa with additional rooms in converted outbuildings such as the olive mill and the lemon house, sits in secluded grounds of wooded hills, vines and olives. Lake Trasimeno can be seen in the distance. The hotel has just 25 rooms, located in the main villa and the converted outbuildings. Service is personal and charming but there are facilities of excellent quality to be found here: outdoor swimming pools, tennis court, spa and wellness (where treatments are based on rice, wild berries and argan oil). A highlight of the stay here is the association with food, both the natural ingredients and the cooking. Healthy, hearty and historic are the watchwords of the Monte Solare’s approach to food. Umbrian cuisine has its origins in Etruscan times and today still relies heavily on fresh local meat, vegetables, herbs and olive oil. Local wine in Umbria tends to be red and robust and made from the Sagrantino grape. The cellars at the Villa di Monte Solare house over 400 wines, both Umbrian and from the rest of Italy. Your stay at the Villa di Monte Solare includes a dinner with a choice from the A la Carte menu in the Dolium restaurant and a wine and olive oil tasting. There is time to experience the spa and enjoy a relaxing bathing experience whilst a short drive of about 20 minutes takes you to the regional capital, Perugia, an historic university city and the chocolate factory where the ‘baci’ have been produced since 1922. Other nearby destinations worth a visit are Torgiano, also noted for its high quality Umbrian red wine and the Lungarotti winery and wine museum. Umbria is renowned for its truffles too, so depending on the season of your visit here, truffle hunting may be possible too. In any case, truffles are in abundant supply in the delicatessen shops of the region, as are all manner of salami and sausages, also a regional speciality. You will find local pasta, flavoured with porcini mushrooms and truffles too. Your wine and food experiences can be interspersed with cultural sightseeing too as the nearby cities and towns of Perugia, Assisi, Todi and Spello all have noteworthy art and architecture. Whilst the style of the buildings appears more sombre than those in neighbouring Tuscany, the small towns such as Spello and Todi decorate the narrow streets and alleyways with potted plants and tubs of flowers.

    Recommendations for visits in the area:
    • Tavernelle with its central piazza, the finely preserved castle of Mongiovino and the regal domed Renaissance Temple known as the Santuario di Mongiovino.
    • Panicale with the Teatro Cesare Caporali, a stuccoed 18th century theatre and the church of San Sebastiano, which houses one of Perugino’s finest frescoes, the Martyrdom of St Sebastian (1505).
    • Perugia and its Collegio del Cambio with frescoes by Perugino, the Galleria Nazionale dell’ Umbria (on the fourth floor of the Palazzo dei Priori with works by Perugino) and the Cathedral
    • Assisi Basilica of San Francesco with frescoes by Giotto and Lorenzetti
    • Assisi Eremo delle Carceri (the cave of St Francis)
    •Torgiano is home to the Lungarotti Family Foundation that runs a fantastic wine museum in the 17th century Palazzo Baglioni on Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Vineyards nearby
    • Deruta for ceramics and majolica, visit the Mailoche Sberna
    • Spello with its Roman gates, the Pinturricchio frescoes in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Pinacoteca Civica, the art gallery in the Palazzo dei Canonici.
    • Todi for its architecture and historic remains: the Etruscan, the Roman and the Mediaeval.
    • Spoleto and the Festival of Two Worlds, Spoleto is the place to be from mid-June to mid-July.
    • Lake Trasimeno
    Entrance fees not included in the price of the holiday.

    What’s included:
    • 4 nights in a Classic Double room on bed and breakfast
    • British Airways return flights from London Heathrow to Rome
    • Group A hire car for the duration of your stay
    • One 3-course dinner from the A la Carte menu in the Dolium restaurant (drinks not included)
    • One olive oil tasting at the Villa di Monte Solare
    • One wine tasting with the hotel’s sommelier (selection of 3 wines) with Umbrian finger food
    • One relaxing bathing experience in the hotel’s Wellness centre
    • Entrance to the chocolate factory and museum of ‘La Perugina’
    • One hands-on cookery lesson (3 hours with 4 course lunch with drinks included, an apron and recipe booklet). Themes of the lessons include famous Italian dishes, seasonal specialities and quintessential Umbria-Tuscan cuisine.

    Dates for this holiday
    This holiday operates on any date of your choice, subject to hotel/flight availability at the time of booking. Additional nights here and at any of our other hotels can be arranged.

    Prices
    £1,380 per person when sharing a Classic Double Room with hire-car

    To book this holiday
    Deposit payment of £300 per person (additional deposit may be required for non-British Airways flights). Please call us on 01392 441275.
    Olive oil and wine-tasting in Umbria

     Where you stay

    Villa di Monte Solare, Tavernelle
    The Villa di Monte Solare is a small country house run as a hotel with just 25 rooms set in its own grounds comprised of formal gardens, wooded hills, vines and olive groves. There are five buildings: the main villa with seven rooms and four renovated stone estate buildings nearby including an ancient lemon house, farmhouse and olive mill. The rooms are furnished with antique and original furniture, much of heavy wood in keeping with the regional style. Floors are terracotta, there are frescoes and original fireplaces. Terracotta pots overflow with flowers and shrubs in season, throughout the grounds. The spa and wellness centre offers an enticing menu of treatments, some based on natural products such as chocolate, clay, berries and argan oil and others using water, hot stone and Ayurveda. The restaurant, Dolium, makes imaginative use of the region’s best local ingredients such as truffles, chocolate, cheese and red wine.

    Travel arrangements

    Flights
    British Airways flies direct from London Heathrow to Rome several times a day. There are also flights from Gatwick with British Airways. Economy is included, but we can offer you advantageous upgrade fares for Club Europe.
    There are also direct flights from regional airports: from Manchester, East Midlands, Leeds and Newcastle with Jet2, from Birmingham with Monarch and from Bristol with Easyjet.
    Connecting flights can be organised with British Airways through London Heathrow.
    Local transport
    We recommend the use of a hire-car for this holiday because of the flexibility it gives you to get out and about and explore the region. We include a basic group A car with Avis, for example a Peugeot 107, but a variety of upgraded cars are possible at a variable supplement: about £30 a day for an Alfa Giulietta 2.0, about £35 a day for a VW Golf automatic, or about £45 a day for an Audi A4.
    If you do not want to use a hire-car, it will restrict what you can do from the hotel, but if you prefer we can arrange for you to have a private car transfer to meet you at the airport and take you to the hotel in a Mercedes car although it is quite an expensive transfer, given the distance.
    Other means of getting to Italy
    This holiday can be reached by car from the UK, with a night or two in France en route if you prefer. We can suggest and make the overnight arrangements for you. This hotel can also be reached by train from the UK, on the Eurostar to Paris followed by an overnight sleeper to Milan before continuing by day train to Florence and then from there you could collect a hire-car and drive on to Umbria. Alternatively, this journey can be made on daytime trains stopping overnight, perhaps in Munich, Paris, and Switzerland.
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