Today with your chauffeur/guide from DiscoveryGuidedTours you will discover the stories that made the Umbria place dear to Christian spirituality, where St. Francis gave his life.
Your chauffeur/guide from Discovery G Tours will welcome you at your hotel or any other place of your convenience at around 8.00am (suggested time). This private tour of Assisi and Perugia begins with a lovely drive north of Rome into one of the Italy’s most picturesque regions, Umbria. Umbria, one of Italy’s smallest regions includes the Lake Trasimeno, the fourth largest lake of Italy called Lago Trasimeno and is crossed by the River Tiber where Hannibal defeated the Romans in 247 B.C. The regional capital is Perugia.
Once arrived in Perugia your chauffeur/guide will introduce you the city and suggest the most famous sights to see and visit as the Maggiore Fountain, the gothic Basilica of San Lorenzo and the Town Hall within Palazzo dei Priori. The town of Perugia, however, is characterized not only for its artistic and architectural treasures, but also for its cioccolato events, first of all “Eurochocolate“, the exhibition dedicated entirely to chocolate. It takes place every year in the month of October, the streets and main squares of the city, attracting many fans and always greedy who come here from all over Italy and abroad, to taste the many varieties of chocolate available, the various dishes made with chocolate prepared by top chefs and pastry chefs in their booth, and to admire the sculptures of chocolate made by expert craftsmen.
Also noteworthy is “Umbria Jazz“, one of the most important jazz events in the world, which takes place every year in Perugia in July, and has seen him perform in various concerts organized in the historic center of the city, the greatest artists of the genus, including Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Herbie Hanckok. A visit of the chocolate factory “Perugina” can be also planed. The “House of Chocolate” includes a chance to see the Perugina chocolate factory in operation, as well as a visit to the Museo Storico (Historic Museum). The museum explains the process of converting cocoa into chocolate, and introduces the history of the Perugina chocolate company.
One of Italy’s most famous candies are the Perugina Baci. For those of you who have never encountered this delicacy, it’s a piece of gianduja (chocolate, nougat and ground hazelnuts) on top of which sits a whole hazelnut. The entire structure is then covered in several layers of dark chocolate. “Baci”, which translates as “kisses”, are then enclosed in a silver wrapper adorned with blue stars. Inside the wrapper you’ll find a little “love expression”, a piece of paper on which is written a little romantic expression.
Ah, amore – only in Italy! After Perugia your private tour continues to Assisi, a medieval city built on a hill and famous all over the world as was the birthplace of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208, and St. Clare (Chiara d’Offreducci), the founder of the Poor Sisters, which later became the Order of Poor Clares after her death. The 19th-century Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was also born in Assisi. Assisi is also known for its well-preserved medieval Roman architecture. Once your chauffeur/guide have introduced to you the city he will suggest some great local restaurants for a authentic umbrian meal. After lunch you will get the chance to see and visit some of the most famous sites in Assisi.
The first highlight to visit is obviously the Basilica of St. Francis. The place where since 1230 there are the remains of the saint. In fact, it would be more correct to speak of the architectural complex, as the Basilica of San Francesco is composed of two structures: the first is the lower basilica, a masterful example of Romanesque architecture in Umbria and the second is the upper basilica, the style of which is much tied to the French Gothic and the arches of its nave are a sight that takes your breath away. The Basilica of Assisi was badly damaged by an earthquake that happened September 26, 1997. Part of the vault collapsed, killing four people inside the church and carrying with it a fresco by Cimabue. The Basilica of St. Francis became a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000. Other important religious building is the Basilica of Santa Chiara built around the church that housed first the remains of St. Francis, this basilica houses the remains of St. Clare since 1260, the interior of the structure consists of a nave, with bare walls and richly frescoed vault but instead its white stone facade has the peculiarity of being divided into pink and white stripes.
Still, among the many religious buildings of Assisi is to visit at least San Damiano, a church with a monastery near Assisi, Italy. Built in the 12th century, it was the first monastery of the Order of Saint Clare, where Saint Clare built her community. The church, according to tradition, is connected with Saint Francis’ encounter with Christ. In 1205 he had been praying at San Damiano which at the time was a very run down building.
If time permits we can drive up to the Eremo delle Carceri, a small hermitage in a steep forest gorge at the Monte Subasio, in Umbria, in middle Italy, four kilometers above Assisi, the steps and bows of which arch over a quatrefoil-shaped hole in the smooth pink stone: the so-called “Devil Hole”, a grotto. The word Carceri is from the Latin ‘carceres’ and means “isolated places” (as well as “prisons”). In the 13th century, Saint Francis of Assisi returned here during his life to pray and contemplate as did other hermits before him. When he first came in 1205, the only building here was a tiny 12th-century oratory. Soon, other men followed him to the mountain, finding their own isolated caves nearby in which to pray. On the way back to Rome enjoy a final stop in the town of Santa Maria degli Angeli (Saint Mary of the Angels) to see its beautiful basilica, is a church situated in the plain at the foot of the hill of Assisi, Italy, in the frazione of Santa Maria degli Angeli. The basilica was constructed in the Mannerist style between 1569 and 1679 enclosing the 9th century little church, the Porziuncola, the most sacred place for the Franciscans.
It was here that the young Francis of Assisi understood his vocation and renounced the world in order to live in poverty among the poor and thus started the Franciscan movement.
Back to rome at around 6.00pm.
This tour length is approximately 10 hours in total and is conducted by an English-speaking chauffeur/guide that will not enter sites but drive you around and show you places, pointing out things while explaining what they are, as well as stopping at the places which require a visit and helping you access them.
• Luxury vehicles air-conditioned and fully equipped
• English-speaking chauffeur/guide
• Fuel, tolls, parking fees included
• Personal and courteous service
• Fresh bottled water on board
• All vehicles are fully licesed and insured according to Italian law
• Meals & entrance fees (unless specified on your confirmation voucher)
• Gratuities (entirely at the client’s discretion)