Depart the U.S. for Italy. The particulars of your
arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.
Day 2 - Arrive in Rome / Transfer to Orvieto
Upon arrival at the Rome airport, claim your luggage and
clear customs. VBT's local representative will meet you outside the customs
area in your arrival terminal and will be holding a VBT sign. Your local
representative helps you transfer by private car (approximately 2 hours) to
your hotel in Orvieto to begin your trip. If you arrive early, your hotel room
may not be available until 1:00 pm. You may store your luggage with the reception desk.
You have the rest of the day free to explore this wonderful,
historic city. Situated in the Paglia River Valley, Orvieto boasts centuries of
history and architecture, including towers, palaces and noble houses. It began
as an important Etruscan center and became prosperous in Roman times thanks to
its production of ceramics. After being overrun by several invasions, Orvieto
enjoyed the status of a free state in the 11th and 12th centuries. In 1354, it
became a city of the Church Estate until 1798. After brief Napoleonic
domination, it was finally annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1860. During your
stay, be sure to visit Orvieto's impressive Gothic cathedral and archaeological
In the evening, relax in one of the city's restaurants and
sample the local cuisine.
Day 3 - Meet Trip Leaders / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception
VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders and
the rest of the group in the Orbetello-Monte Argentario train station at 2:15
pm. Please plan to buy some lunch on your own before this meeting. Your Trip
Leaders will be wearing VBT staff garments. If your arrival at Orbetello-Monte
Argentario train station is scheduled later than 2:15 pm or if you are
delayed, you must take a taxi at your own expense (approximately 30 euros/$45
USD) to Antica Fattoria La Parrina (approximately 10 minutes). Please contact
Antica Fattoria La Parrina to advise of any travel delays or changes, and the
staff will pass your message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.
VBT Air Package guests & Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet
your VBT Trip Leaders at the hotel in Orvieto at 11:00 am. They will be
wearing VBT staff garments. We will transfer by motorcoach (approximately 2 1/2
hours) to Antica Fattoria La Parrina. The coach will make a stop to buy lunch
on the way to the hotel in Pitigliano.
Antica Fattoria La Parrina is a welcoming 4-star country
resort that has been featured in Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Surrounded by
beautiful countryside, this hotel produces its own wine, cheese, yogurt,
vegetables, oil, balsamic vinegar and flowers. Organic pasta, delicious jams
and sauces and cosmetics are also partly prepared and marketed there. All
products are made with natural and healthy ingredients. In the afternoon, we
join our Trip Leaders for a safety and bike-fitting session followed by a short
warm-up ride over the Tenuta along quiet country roads. Later, gather with the
group for a welcome cocktail reception on the terrace. Dinner is at the hotel.
Day 4 - Cycle through Maremma Park / Explore Talamone / Cooking demonstration
After breakfast, we leave La Parrina and cycle to the coast
and Talamone, where we'll discover the many Greek legends linked to this little
fortress village. There'll also be time to swim in the glittering blue sea.
This medieval hilltop town is set in the rolling countryside of the Maremma,
one of the least-developed areas of central Italy. Talamone stands on a small
promontory overlooking the Mediterranean and is dominated by an ancient Sienese
castle. This little town of fishermen originally stood on the Talamonaccio hill
and served as an ancient Etruscan port. Currently, Talamone is set inside a
World Wildlife Fund nature reserve known as Parco Regionale Della Maremma
(Maremma Park), which features an incredible variety of protected flora and fauna.
Lunch today is a delicious picnic prepared by our Trip Leaders.
In the afternoon we cycle back to our hotel, where we can
relax at the wonderful pool or take a walk on the mapped trails that weave
through the estate. Or you may opt for horseback riding in the area, well-known
for its local breed of Maremma horses.
Tonight our hosts at La Parrina conduct a cooking class. Out
on the terrace, learn how to prepare typical Tuscan cantucci—delicious almond
cookies that are best when dipped in sweet Vin Santo wine. Enjoy dinner at the
Day 5 - Cycle to Porto Ercole and Orbetello / Enjoy swimming / Meet local fishermen
This morning, ride through the countryside toward the coast
and Ansedonia, passing elegant villas and gardens and enjoying great views of
the sea and the old watchtower that once was used for defending this stretch of
coast. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way at a typical Maremma country farm
that grows its own organic vegetables and breeds cattle. This afternoon, we
cycle through a thick pine forest, and then roll along a sandy beach where you
can take a refreshing swim. This is one of the most beautiful routes of the
week. After a short visit in the fishing village of Porto Ercole, we continue
to the old town of Orbetello, traversing a cycling strip built on the lagoon.
We explore the lush byway around the lagoon, then rejoin our Trip Leaders and
follow them to a great gelato spot. A short shuttle will take us back to our
Tonight we meet some local fishermen and enjoy a tour on
their fishing boat on the lagoon and a taste of local fish and wine. Dinner in
on your in Orbetello, and you can opt to remain at your hotel if you prefer.
Day 6 - Porto Santo Stefano / Ferry to Giglio Island
This morning, we say goodbye to our hosts at La Parrina and
transfer to the bustling harbor and quaint village of Porto Santo Stefano
(except during March and October—see note below). From this port town, we
board a ferry to Giglio Island, arriving in the village of Giglio Porto. With a
local guide, we shuttle to the walled hilltop town of Giglio Castello,
dominated by a fortress called the Rocca Pisana, and explore the site with her.
This town is the oldest inhabited center on the island and still retains much
of its medieval atmosphere.
After the tour, we continue westward to Campese Beach for an
informal lunch in one of the restaurants. You have free time to swim or relax
on the beach. If you prefer, opt for a hike along the Faraglione cliffs, where
our guide points out some of the 700 different species of wildflowers and
plants growing in this remote little corner of Tuscany. On our way back to
Giglio Porto, stop for a gelato before ferrying back to the mainland.
Please Note: Alternate Itinerary in mid-March, late
September and October: Due to the seasonal ferry schedule, guests on March and
October departures spend this day exploring historic Tarquinia, a vibrant,
welcoming town with medieval towers and Etruscan necropolises. From La Parrina,
we transfer by shuttle to this city, about 45 minutes from the hotel. Then, we
meet a local guide for a short presentation on Etruscan history and culture.
The Etruscan Necropolis of Tarquinia was added to the UNESCO World Heritage
Site list in 2004. Afterward, we visit some of the most beautiful and
well-preserved painted tombs from the ancient world. Because of their
uniqueness, they are comparable only to Egyptian tombs.
After visiting the necropolis, we stroll to the city center
of Tarquinia, where you have free time to explore this medieval Etruscan
capital. Known as the heart of ancient Tuscany, Tarquinia gently rises to
breathtaking views overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. You can visit the
archaeological museum, stroll through the medieval district, or have lunch in
the beautiful city center. In the afternoon, we cycle along the coast from Tarquinia
to Montalto di Castro. In Montalto, board a coach to our hotel, Fattoria di
Magliano, where we have time to swim in the hotel pool before dinner.
If you prefer, you can opt for a bike ride to the Argentario
promontory, or you can spend the entire day playing golf at the scenic
Argentario Golf Resort & Spa in Porto Ercole, magnificently set on the
hills of the Argentario peninsula with a view of the sea. Our Trip Leaders will
facilitate your choice.
Dinner is at the hotel tonight.
Day 7 - Follow the Wine Road / Explore the medieval city of Magliano / Wine
After a leisurely breakfast, we ride on quiet country roads,
passing fields of poppies and sunflowers, with vineyards gently sloping down to
the sea. Tour the wine roads south of Scansano, famous for the red Morellino
wine. Then, we join the Andreini family for a picnic lunch at their olive-oil
mill. Before lunch, we tour the facility and participate in an interesting
olive-oil talk and tasting. After lunch, cycle through Magliano, a walled city
that in the Middle Ages housed the Aldobrandeschi mobile court in winter. Some
of the 14th-century city walls are still intact.
From Magliano, cyclists who wish to have a taste of hilly
Tuscany can take an optional, gentle-but-steady climb to the lovely villages of
Pereta and Scansano. Back at the hotel this afternoon, relax or swim in the
pool before sipping local wines—produced right on the farm—during an
included wine tasting. Dinner is on your own. You can opt to follow your Trip
Leaders to Magliano, where you can choose an area restaurant, or dine at the
Day 8 - Discover Capalbio / Farewell dinner at a local organic farm
Today we bike to the medieval town of Capalbio. Dating to
the 11th century, historic Capalbio is surrounded by great walls. Stroll along
these ancient ramparts above the city and take in the panoramic views of the
surrounding countryside. Enter the historic center through one of two gates—the
Sienese or the Porticina—and visit the city's Romanesque Castle of Saint
Nicholas, with its dramatic bell tower. The tower features two rows of
mullioned windows dating to the 12th century. Explore the town's winding
cobblestone streets, medieval churches and shops. Finish your week with a
rewarding bike ride all the way back to the hotel, or hop in a van shuttle.
Tonight, enjoy an aperitivo watching the sunset. Our festive
farewell dinner at a local farm features organic vegetables from the garden and
Day 9 - Transfer to Rome / Free time / VBT No-Air Package ends
VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast, transfer back to
Orbetello-Monte Argentario train station by private motorcoach, arriving at
approximately 9:30 am. Important: Flight
departures from Rome airport prior to 3:30 pm are not recommended. If you
depart earlier, you must make transfer arrangements from the last hotel at your
own expense. Taxi cost to Rome airport is approximately 300 euros/$450 USD
(travel time approximately 3½ hours). Taxi cost to the Orbetello-Monte
Argentario train station is approximately 40 euros/$60 USD (travel time
approximately 30 minutes). If you prefer, you are welcome to board our coach to
Rome and get off at our Rome hotel.
VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, we transfer by
private motorcoach (approximately 3 hours) to our centrally located Rome hotel
for our final overnight stay. We arrive at approximately 11:30 am and have
the rest of the day to shop or relax in one of the city's outdoor cafés.
If you have chosen the independent Post-Trip Extension to
Rome, you remain at this hotel for the next three nights. Upon your arrival, a
VBT Rome representative will be there to answer your questions. An optional
walking tour of Baroque Rome will be offered.
Day 10 - Depart for U.S.
After breakfast* this morning you will transfer to the Rome
airport (approximately 40 to 60 minutes depending on traffic) for your
departing flight. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at
the designated time**.
*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures,
breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk
to verify the times that breakfast is served.
**Please note: VBT recommends that you check your transfer
time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you
extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to
the airport will be at your own expense.