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Multnomah Athletic Club presents: The Countess' private Italy
September 27 - October 8, 2014

A Countess’s Private Italy with Chi Omega Fraternity


The Trip

When it comes to travel in Italy, it really matters who you know. For this reason we have asked Countess Alessandra G. Ranghiasci, a young countess from an ancient Italian family, to take us far off the usual path from Venice to Rome. Traveling in a small group (20 person maximum) we will experience the high culture of Bologna and Ravenna before we venture into mystical Tuscan and Umbrian hillltowns. One of the journey’s most unique highlights will be your visit to Alessandra’s 150-room palace which overlooks Gubbio, Italy’s best preserved medieval village. Here you will learn about Italy’s Slow Food movement and sample the region’s best food and wine.

 

Itinerary

 

Day 0 – September 26: Fly from the US to Italy

Day 1 - September 27: Venice

Upon arrival in the immortal city of Venice you will be transferred from the airport to a charming centrally located hotel. You will have time to freshen up before joining your fellow travellers for a welcome talk and festive dinner.  Sleep in Venice

Day 2 – September 28: Venice discovery

It will take the whole day for us to show you the best kept secrets in Venice including hidden artistic masterpieces and off-the-path architectural wonders. Tonight you will enjoy a Vivaldi classical music concert. Sleep in Venice

Day 3 – September 29: Burchiello cruise and Lake Garda

This morning you will climb aboard the riverboat “Burchiello” for an unforgettable cruise down the historic Brenta River from Venice to Stra. You will explore the enchanting lands of the Doges and admire more than fifty luxurious villas – the summer residences of former Venetian nobility. You will then travel by private bus to the shores of Lake Garda where we will unpack our bags for a restful two-night stay in the peaceful lakeside village of Torri del Benaco. Sleep in Torri del Benaco on Lake Garda

Day 4 – September 30:  Verona and Lake Garda

This morning you will reach the beautiful city of Verona, renowned all over the world for its opera theatre (Arena) and the love story of Romeo and Juliet. You will visit Juliet’s balcony and explore the city centre, taking time to meander through Erbe Square’s central market and Verona’s many characteristically small streets. In the afternoon you will explore the amazing Valpolicella wine region and sample some of its prized wines at one of the most prestigious producers in Northern Italy. Sleep in Torri del Benaco on Lake Garda

Day 5 - October 1: Bologna

Today you will travel to sophisticated Bologna, the home of Europe's oldest university and a long-time European capital of culture. You will marvel at the awesome Piazza Maggiore and the city's great medieval towers. You will also stroll under the famous “portici” and sample tortellini, tagliatelle and lasagna with the region’s world-famous meat sauce. Sleep in Bologna

Day 6 – October 2: Ravenna and Bologna

This morning you will visit Ravenna, a historic city that served as the capital for the Western Roman Empire, the “barbarian” Ostro-Goths and finally the Byzantines. Ravenna’s incredible mosaics were created between 400 and 500 AD to decorate the city’s great churches. Still visible today, these mosaics display a kaleidoscope of rich images of people, plants and animals all on golden backdrop that will leave you speechless. Sleep in Bologna

Day 7 – October 3: Modena and Cortona

Today you will make your way south to Cortona, stopping en route in Modena to sample the region’s world-famous balsamic vinegar. With an ageing period of approximately 25 years, traditional Modena vinegar is one of the most delicious dressings ever conceived. Modena vinegar (produced from wine must) once constituted an integral part of a young bride’s dowry. Fortunately for Italy and the world, the people of Modena still respect the roots of this long and patient production. Later in the day, you will reach the amazing hilltown of Cortona and our countryside resort where we will bask under the Tuscan sun overlooking vineyards! Sleep in Cortona

Day 8 – October 4: Cortona and Tuscany country side cooking

This morning you will drive to a small farmhouse where we will enjoy a hands-on cooking class. You will sample some of the fresh products from the farm, including honey and olive oil, and enjoy a great lunch.  You will have the rest of the day to take in the city of Cortona or just relax and sip a glass of wine overlooking the vineyards and your resort's infinity pool. Sleep in Cortona

 Day 9 – October 5: Gubbio

Today you will drive along the shores of Lake Trasimeno and through Umbria -- the "green heart of Italy" -- to the charming city of Gubbio, our destination for the next two days. After an introduction to Gubbio's most important medieval sights, you will be invited to join Alessandra for a tour of her palace (Palazzo Ranghiasci). After some time on your own to explore the village or climb to a beautiful viewpoint on top of the Mount Ingino (the mountain on which the city is built), you will be invited back to the Palazzo Ranghiasci for a welcome drink and a very special dinner. Sleep in Gubbio

Day 10 – October 6: Assisi

Today you will visit Assisi -- the hallowed birthplace of St. Francis and one of the most mystical locations in Italy. Preaching to the common man a gospel of purity, humility, simplicity and the love of all creatures, St. Francis sent out a timeless message of acceptance and love to all of human kind. So much so that the city remains a worldwide symbol of peace and the saint an inspiration to the catholic world and newest pope. The art and architecture in the city are true masterpieces – so you will visit the Basilica of Saint Francis and part of the historical centre together. You will have time on own to visit other special places including Eremo delle Carceri and San Donato – or hike a piece of the famous Franciscan trail. Sleep in Gubbio

Day 11 – October 7: Gubbio to Rome by way of Orvieto

This morning you will hit the road again to reach one of the prettiest towns in all of Central Italy - the hilltown of Orvieto. Built on a high plateau of tufa rock, this historic town will surely be a cultural highlight of your trip. Here you will behold the very frescoes that inspired Michelangelo to paint his “Last Judgement” in the Sistine Chapel, and then visit a pastry shop that rests above a secret, mile-long Etruscan tunnel. Alessandra's friend, Maurizio, the shop's owner and an early proponent of the Slow Food Movement, will teach you a few Umbrian cooking secrets after showing you the private tunnels his father has been renovating for over 20 years ago. After this experience, you will be transferred to Rome for a special night in the Eternal City. Sleep in Rome

Day 12 – October 8: Fly home or start your Roman extension

You can either start your 2-day extension in Rome or be transferred to the airport for your trip back home. Fly home or sleep in Rome

 

Journey Extension:

2 nights in Rome, half day city tour with private tour guide, 1 dinner, guided tour of Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, entry ticket of Galleria Borghese museum

Extension cost: $ 530 per person in double room

Single supplement: $ 180

 

What’s included in your trip:

- Accommodation in carefully selected, centrally located hotels and charming country inns

- All group transportation in a deluxe air-conditioned private bus,

- Airport transfers upon arrival and departure

- All breakfasts and one main meal per day, including a grand feast inside Alessandra’s privately owned palazzo. Both lunch and dinner will be included on day 8 and day 12.

- The services of a professional tour leader and local guides. This outing will be led personally by Alessandra Gardino Ranghiasci – founder of MG Expeditions.

- Entrance to museums and attractions as per itinerary

- An unforgettable cooking class in Tuscany, comprehensive of wine, olive oil and honey tasting

- Balsamic vinegar tasting

- Burchiello river cruise and Lake Garda boat trip

- One person from MAC on the trip with you at all times

 

What is not included:

- International airfare from and to the US

- Personal expenses

- Tips for your M&G guide, driver and local guides

- Travel and Cancellation insurance

 

The optional price for insurance is:

Silver Plan (post-departure medical insurance): $ 35 per person

Gold Plan (cancellation insurance): $220 per person

 

 

12 days, 11 nights
$4,295 per person in double room
$760 single supplement

Itinerary details:
2 nights in Venice
2 nights on Garda Lake
2 nights in Bologna
2 nigths in Cortona                                      2 nigths in Gubbio                                        1 night in Rome

 


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