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Italy Tour 2020

Renaissance Art, Culture, Food, and Wine Tour of Tuscany
June 14–24, 2020

Florence

Following their successful alumni trip to Italy in 2016, professors Brad Franco and Gary Malecha, along with Fr. Ed Obermiller, are looking forward to sharing their intimate knowledge of Italian art, history, food, and wine with a new group of UP alumni, parents, and friends. We will be spending five nights in Siena, a UNESCO world heritage site that is widely considered to be the best preserved medieval city in Europe, and five nights in Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance and the Medici. We will explore the obvious highlights of each city (such as the magnificent cathedral in Siena, and the Uffizi and Accademia in Florence) as well as incredible lesser-known gems. We will also be visiting the Tuscan towns of Pisa, Lucca, and San Gimignano, wine tasting in the Tuscan countryside, exploring the famed food market in Bologna, and making a pilgrimage to the Umbrian hilltop town of Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis.

Tour Flyer

What is included in the cost?

The $4000 cost of the tour includes lodging, most meals, chartered bus transportation for our excursions, and guided visits to numerous churches, museums, and other points of interest. We will be staying in charming boutique hotels located in the heart of Siena and Florence. The tour includes seven group dinners at some of the best restaurants in Tuscany, expertly selected by your guides, as well as all breakfasts. Fr. Obermiller will hold an optional mass for participants daily. Each day, we will be visiting iconic destinations while also making time to venture off the beaten path. Our goal is to bring Italy’s culture, history, and traditions alive and to provide UP Pilots with a one-of-a-kind experience.

A Few Practical Matters

  • As the best way to see the towns of Tuscany is on foot, participants should expect to walk around 6 miles each day, often on hilly, cobblestone streets.
  • We are still finalizing hotel reservations and this information will be available by the end of summer. We will be staying in 3 and 4 star well reviewed hotels. Breakfast will be included each day.
  • Flights and trip insurance are not included in the cost of the trip, though we will provide information on how to get to Siena from nearby airports.
  • The $4000 cost assumes double occupancy for lodging. Single occupancy is available for an extra $1000.
  • Participants will have free time in each city that we visit. We will happily provide suggestions on sites, restaurants, shopping or anything else of interest to participants.
  • Please note that this itinerary is subject to change, if necessary. If any sites are closed for renovation, they will be replaced by comparable options.

How to Sign Up

  • Please contact the Office of Alumni & Parent Relations at alumni@up.edu or 503.943.7328.
  • Only 18 spots total are available!
  • The Office of Alumni & Parent Relations is accepting deposits on a first come, first served basis. A $500 non-refundable deposit secures each spot. Deposits are due by December 1, 2019.
  • Full payment is due February 14, 2020.

Sienna

About Our Guides

Dr. Bradley Franco is a historian of medieval and Renaissance Italy at the University of Portland who has lived in Siena and published extensively on the city, its religious history, and its culture. Most recently, he published A History of Siena From Its Origins to the Present Day (Routledge 2019).

Dr. Gary Malecha is Professor of Political Science at the University of Portland and the recipient of the Spirit of Holy Cross Award, among many other honors. He is an expert in European culture and food politics, and is a connoisseur of Italian food, wine, and olive oil. 

Itinerary

Saturday, June 13: Depart from the states on your own.

Sunday, June 14: Arrive in Siena

  • Afternoon: Group will meet at 3:00 p.m. in hotel lobby for a walking tour of historic Siena, a UNESCO world heritage site. We will visit the Piazza del Campo and the church of Santa Maria dei Servi.
  • Evening: Group will walk to neighborhood restaurant, Antica Trattoria Papei, which features typical Tuscan Cuisine (included in program costs). After dinner participants will be free to explore the city and return to the hotel on their own.

Monday, June 15: Siena

  • Morning: We will visit Siena’s famed religious complex. Sites include Siena’s thirteenth-century cathedral, the cathedral’s museum (which houses masterpieces of Sienese art), the Piccolomini library (famed for its Renaissance frescoes by Pintoricchio and Raphael), the baptistery (sculpture by Donatello) and the crypt.
  • Afternoon: Lunch on your own, followed by a visit to Siena’s national art gallery, the Pinacoteca. Dr. Franco will provide an overview of Siena’s role in the development of Renaissance art through the works of Sienese masters, Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone Martini, and the Lorenzetti brothers.
  • Evening: Group will walk to Il Gatto for a Tuscan feast in a local osteria (included in program costs).  After dinner, participants are free to explore the city and return to the hotel on their own.

Tuesday, June 16: Sant-Antimo, Montalcino, Pienza

  • Morning: Breakfast in hotel (included in program costs). We will depart from Siena at 8:00 a.m. by chartered bus for a day in the Tuscan countryside. We will visit the Romanesque abbey of Sant’Antimo, the castle at Montalcino, and have a group lunch and partake in some wine tasting (included in program costs)
  • Afternoon: we will visit the Renaissance town of Pienza and will return to Siena by 6:00 p.m.
  • Evening: Free evening and dinner on your own.

Wednesday, June 17: Assisi

  • Morning: Breakfast in hotel (included in program costs). Group will depart Siena via chartered bus at 8:00 a.m. and arrive in Assisi mid-morning and visit the lower church, learn the history of the church and its art, and visit the tomb of St. Francis. Fr. Obermiller will hold a group mass in the church. Free time and lunch on own in Assisi. 
  • Afternoon: After a break for lunch, Dr. Franco will lead a tour of the upper church with the famous Giotto frescoes in the afternoon.  The group will depart Assisi and take chartered bus to Siena and arrive back at the hotel around 6:00 p.m.
  • Evening: The group will enjoy a dinner festival in one of Siena’s neighborhood associations (contrada) in Siena (included in program costs). 

Thursday, June 18: Siena

  • Morning: Breakfast in hotel (included in program costs).  Group will meet in hotel lobby at 10:00 a.m. and visit the Palazzo Pubblico to see its famous frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Simone Martini. Free time to explore Siena and lunch on own.
  • Afternoon: At 4:00 p.m, group will enjoy a local wine and cheese tasting in the gardens of the Palazzo Ravizza (included in program costs). This will be followed by a visit to the museum of one of Siena’s local contradas and further explanation of Siena’s famous Palio and the contrada system.
  • Evening: Group will gather at 7:30 p.m. and walk to dinner at La Taverna San Guiseppe for final group dinner in Siena (included in program costs).  

Friday June 19: Siena- San Gimignano- Florence

  • Morning: Breakfast in hotel (included in program costs). Check out of hotel and board bus for San Gimignano (about 50 minutes), a small medieval Tuscan hill town and UNESCO world heritage site famous for its medieval towers. Dr. Franco will lead a tour of the Renaissance art found in the Collegiata, museo del comune, and the church of San Agostino.
  • Afternoon: Free to explore the historic center of San Gimignano,.  Lunch on own.  Board bus for trip to Florence (about an hour) and check into hotel in Florence by 5:00 p.m.
  • Evening: Meet in hotel lobby and walk to local restaurant for group dinner featuring local Florentine cuisine (included in program costs). Free to return to hotel on own.

Saturday, June 20:  Florence

  • Morning:  Breakfast in hotel (included in program costs).  Walking tour of Florence including guided tours of the Franciscan church of Santa Croce and the Bargello, Italy’s greatest gallery of Renaissance sculpture.
  • Afternoon: After a break for lunch, the group will visit the Uffizi, the world’s greatest gallery of Renaissance art.
  • Evening: Meet in hotel lobby and walk to local restaurant for group dinner featuring local Florentine cuisine (included in program costs). Free to return to hotel on own.

Sunday, June 21: Lucca-Pisa

  • Morning:  Breakfast in hotel (included in program costs).  Depart Florence by chartered bus and spend the morning in the walled Tuscan city of Lucca, visiting local churches and other sites. Lunch in Lucca on your own.
  • Afternoon: Travel to Pisa and visit the Leaning Tower, cathedral, and the baptistry. Return to Florence by 5:30 p.m.
  • Evening: Return to hotel around 5:00 p.m. Free evening and dinner on own.

Monday, June 22: Bologna-Florence

  • Morning:  Breakfast in hotel (included in program costs).  Depart Florence by chartered bus for Bologna. Group will visit Piazza Maggiore and San Petronio’s cathedral. We will take part in a Tasting Tour of Bologna’s famous culinary district (Via Drapperie and the Quadrilatero area).
  • Afternoon: Lunch in the Quadrilatero area (Mercato di Mezzo) and free time in Bologna.
  • Evening: Back to Florence by 6:00 p.m, dinner on your own.

Tuesday, June 23: Florence

  • Morning: Walking tour of Florence’s great churches, including Santa Maria Novella and its Spanish Chapel, Santa Trinita and the church and refectory of Ognissanti.
  • Afternoon: Visit Florence’s famed food market. Afternoon visit to the Accademia, home to Michelangelo’s David.
  • Evening: Final group dinner (included in program costs)

Wednesday, June 24:  Departure from Florence

  • Morning: Breakfast in hotel (included in program costs). Guests must check out of the hotel by 11:00 a.m.