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Tuscany and Umbria Country Roads
Take Me Home, Country Roads
Story and photos by Tom Weber

ontrary to singer-songwriter John Denver's monumental 1970 folk-country-pop ballad Take Me Home, Country Roads, about the little winding roads he travelled, I'm asking some other off-the-beaten-path byways to not take me home, but, rather, take me along.

Let me explain.

For the next eight days I'll be traveling in style as a guest of Insight Vacations, a global business-class travel company, to sample a portion of one of its premium escorted "Country Roads" itineraries here in Bella Italia.

Insight Vacations' travel guide for Italy's Tuscany and Umbria

As part of a group of international media selected for this familiarization trip, I'll experience first-hand Insight's off-the-beaten path tour of central Italy's Umbria and Tuscany regions, along with Rome and Venice.

Rome skyline

facade of The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Orvieto, Umbria

We start out in the Eternal City and the Vatican and end up in La Serenissima. Along the way, our luxury motorcoach will stop in Orvieto, Perugia, Assisi, Spello, Cortona, Fonterutoli – in the heart of Chianti wine country – San Gimignano, and the Ferrari Museum in Maranello.

canal in Venice

Tuscan regional cuisine

According to the invitation, I'll be under the watchful eye of a dedicated tour director-slash-storyteller and local expert art-history guides; I'll have VIP FastTrack to all of the sights; I'll stay at some of Insight's Signature and Gold-level hotels, including a 17th century Tuscan villa-estate; I'll savor extraordinary regional cuisine prepared by master chefs and paired with exquisite wines; and, I'll toast the end of the tour by sipping a Bellini, the stylish aperitivo created at American author-journalist Ernest Hemingway's favorite Venetian watering hole: Harry's Bar.

Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?

Insight Vacations bus

For complete information on Insight Vacations' 12 Italian premium and luxury escorted itineraries and over 100 journeys throughout Europe just click HERE, or call toll free (888) 680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

Like a multi-course Italian dinner feast, be on the lookout for my series of dispatches as I dish out my observations of traveling some of those "Country Roads" of central Italy in style with Insight Vacations.

Can I get a BUON VIAGGIO?

Grazie.

Related Articles:
La Rua: Vicenza's Wheel of Fortune; Vicenza's Arch of Steps; Piazza dei Signori, Vicenza; Monte Berico; Vicenza: The City of Palladio; The Little Village Atop the Hill (Castelluccio di Norcia); Norcia, Umbria




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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

* * * *

Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

* * * *

Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

* * * *

Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

* * * *

I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: http://www.compagniadeicammini.it/en/. Thanks for stopping by and commenting..

Tom

* * * *

Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

* * * *

You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal



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Charlie Chaplin and the Chaplin Museum
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin. A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model Kiera Chaplin.

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As we dropped down to 25,000 feet I saw one of the most extraordinary panoramas I'd ever been lucky enough to witness. The majesty of it all and the stunning vistas that lay below and before me were spectacular. It was as beautiful as spring's first rose, and it made me understand why so many pilots on commercial jetliners love their job; they get to see so many awe-inspiring sights from the cockpit. My view was that of a vast vista of the Pacific.

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aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
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dressed-up for the Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their children’s eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from last year’s Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already fed and are rubbing their stomachs.

go there

Fyllis Hockman's travel blog/review
Cedar Hill: Frederick Douglass' Home is as Imposing as the Man who Lived There

Cedar Hill, Washington DC
Having recently received a misguided shout-out from the president during Black History Month – Frederick Douglass has done an amazing job... – it seems a good time to revisit the cultural icon's legitimate place in history. And a visit to his home in Washington, DC – surely a place the current president might want to consider visiting himself – would be a good place to start.

Go There

Raoul Pascual's travel blog
Leviticus 20:13
Sent by Tom of Pasadena, CA

It all makes sense now. Gay marriage and marijuana was legalized in the last election. Leviticus 20:13 states
"If a man lays with another man, he should be stoned..." We've been interpreting it wrong all these years!

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go there

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Lancaster has always been one of those cities that I pass through on the way to some other destination. But last week was different. I finally took the time to explore the place and wow, was I surprised! I discovered a downtown full of charm, culture, cuisine and community spirit. My recent getaway began when a friend and I drove about 60 miles north of Los Angeles toward the Mojave Desert and checked into the Towneplace Suites Lancaster.

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a scene from the documentary 'My Hero Brother'

I just spent five days attending the Santa Barbara Film Festival and for the most part, the features, animated shorts, and documentaries were quite professional and compelling. That said, "My Hero Brother," a documentary that was particularly outstanding, told the remarkable and inspiring story about a group of Down syndrome young men and women who go on a two-week trek through the Himalayas with their non-Down syndrome siblings.

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