If you have already visited Rome and want to see something different, or if you simply want to have some relaxing time in the country, away from the crowded touristy areas, this is the tour for you. Your tour driver will welcome you at the dock beside your cruise ship in Civitavecchia at 8.00am (suggested time), then we will drive through the countryside north of Rome, mainly in the area called Tuscia (name derived from Etruscan) and some of Umbria (name derived from umbra), the shady heart of Italy. The tour we suggest includes Orvieto (75 minutes from Civitavecchia) and other charming little towns on the way back from Orvieto.
After leaving Civitavecchia, the first stop could be in Tuscania. Founded by the Etruscan, it became a Roman colony in the 3rd Century BC, and it appears today as a charming, little medieval town. Unfortunately it was badly damage by an earthquake in 1971, and the old buildings haven’t been fully refurbished yet.
Driving in the direction of Orvieto, you can stop briefly at the town of Montefiascone, another town founded originally by the Etruscans. Built right on top of a hill overlooking Lake Bolsena, about 1800 ft above sea-level, it appears today as a small, charming medieval town. We will stop there shortly, just to admire the view from the hilltop, but we might end up finding time to wander around the typical streets for a little while. Montefiascone is also known for its production of wine.
Another place we will visit before arriving to Orvieto is Civita di Bagnoregio. This charming, little town was also founded by the Etruscans around 2,500 years ago on top of a hill formed by “tufah” stone. The area must have been really different in those days. The natural erosion and earthquakes have, in fact, changed the town into a smaller area on top of the hill than it originally had been.
In 1794, one of those earthquakes destroyed the natural bridge that linked Civita to the bigger nearby town of Bagnoregio. The natural erosion hasn’t stopped and the sides of the hill keep crumbling down, and therefore they call Civita, “the dying city”. It really is a place to see! “Civita, like an island in our memory or a figment of our imagination, is connected by a narrow walkway to reality and to the surrounding countryside; it takes us far away, not so much in distance as in time. There is a feeling that one is leaving the real world, and this feeling becomes stronger after entering the ancient city gate, standing guard over a sheer drop between the remains of two houses with their windows opened wide over the emptiness. One almost has the impression that this gate opens into a supernatural world, surviving in another dimension.”
We will approach Orvieto from the west, and it will appear to us from the distance sitting on its plateau formed by the volcanic “tufa” stone. A great view! We should arrive there around 1:00 pm. Time for lunch! The people there have their main meal in the middle of the day, after which, they like to nap. Shops, in fact, don’t re-open any earlier than 3/4:00 pm. It’s the famous Italian tradition of the “siesta.”
You can choose between a light lunch at the wine shop on the main square (weather permitting you can eat outside) or some local cuisine in a typical restaurant, housed in the caves that the people of Orvieto dug in the tufah stone underneath the city. After lunch, you’ll have time to visit the magnificent cathedral, Duomo, one of the most beautiful in Italy. After visiting the Duomo, you can stroll down Orvieto’s quaint narrow streets crammed with colorful shops selling beautiful ceramics. Orvieto produces one of the most famous Italian white wines; the wine shop in the square offers the opportunity to taste some of the local wines, as well as to eat some of the prosciutto, salami and cheeses locally produced. As an alternative, time permitting, you might want to have a more substantial meal and taste some of the region’s renowned outstanding foods at a proper restaurant.
You will return at your ship between 5:00 – 6:00pm.
This tour length is approximately 9 hours in total and is conducted by a highly trained English-speaking tour driver.
• Pick up/drop off directly at your ship gangway
• A fun and informative private English speaking tour driver to lead you through the day
• Private transportation by air-conditioned and fully equipped luxury Mercedes Benz vehicle
• Fresh bottled water on board
• Parking, city passes, fuel & tolls
Meals & entrance fees (unless specified on your confirmation voucher)
Gratuities (entirely at the client’s discretion)