Travel to Umbria in 2011!

January 3, 2011

[EDITOR UPDATE 1/25/2011: This trip is SOLD OUT! Watch this space in the coming months for announcements of future tours of Italy with Mary Ann.]

[EDITOR UPDATE 1/20/2011: Only three spots remain!]

Umbria, the “ green heart” of Italy, is where you will find me this fall from Sept 15 to 25, 2011, with a group of eager travelers as we explore the food and culture of this most remarkable region of Italy.

Join me for some unforgettable experiences in some of my favorite places including the stately city of Perugia, pastoral Assisi, and medieval Gubbio. Check out the entire trip itinerary below. Come cook, explore and enjoy Umbria with me!

The Cooking of Umbria with Mary Ann Esposito

14-25 September 2011

About this Tour

Known as the Green Heart of Italy, the extraordinary region of Umbria is rich with fascinating ancient hill towns, lush countryside, silver-green olive groves and vineyards. Home of Saint Francis of Assisi, Umbria has an almost mystical serenity, with a storied tradition of artists and craftsmen. Famous for black truffles, superb olive oil, and outstanding meats, the genuine regional cuisine is regarded as one of the best in Italy.

What better way to discover the delicious cooking of Umbria than with Mary Ann Esposito, host of the longest running cooking show on public television, Ciao Italia, now entering its twenty-second season. Mary Ann will travel with the group throughout the entire tour and conduct two hands-on cooking lessons in which she’ll help you to prepare her favorite Umbrian recipes. Her husband, wine expert Guy Esposito, will also provide an ongoing course on the wines of Umbria as we travel through the region.

We’ll spend four nights in the countryside near Montefalco, our base for exploring beautiful Umbrian cities like Spoleto, Foligno, Bevagna and Spello, hunting for black truffles, lunch at a privately-owned castle, and winetastings at a local winery. Then it’s on to elegant Perugia, the regional capital, where our five-night stay will include a visit to the famous Perugina chocolate factory, a daytrip to mystical Assisi, an excursion to the medieval town of Gubbio, and a stop in Deruta, famous for its ceramics. So don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to travel, cook with and get to know Mary Ann as we explore the wonders of Umbria!

About Your Host

This is our ninth annual tour with Mary Ann Esposito, host of the longest running cooking show on television, Ciao Italia. For 22 years, since its debut in 1989, Mary Ann has brought her knowledge and passion for Italian food and culture to 1.4 million weekly viewers nationwide on more than 400 PBS public television stations. She is the author of eleven best-selling cookbooks, including her most recent, Ciao Italia Five Ingredient Favorites, published by St. Martin’s Press. Mary Ann has appeared nationally on NBC’s The Today Show, Regis & Kelly, the Food Network, the Discovery Channel, FOX and numerous commercial and public television stations across the country. She has been featured in many national publications and metropolitan newspapers, and she has appeared beside chefs Todd English, Daisy Martinez, Sara Moulton, Jacques Pepin, Martin Yan, and countless others.

Four & Five Star Accommodations

MONTELFALCO Hotel Villa Zuccari
This large country villa, surrounded by the vineyards of Montefalco, has been the Zuccari family residence since the end of the 15th century, now transformed into a lovely four-star hotel. The grounds of the villa extend over an area of 40,000 square meters, including a large swimming pool. The park contains some extremely rare varieties of trees, plus more than 900 Meilland rose bushes which offer a unique spectacle from May to October. The meticulously decorated rooms have Carrara marble bathrooms, Wi-Fi internet access, and king size beds. Common areas are furnished with a unique collection of antiques, and include a fireplace room, a library, an Art Nouveau bar, and a large veranda overlooking the park. The restaurant is called “Le Zuppiere” because it houses part of the owners’ large collection of 18th century soup tureens.

PERUGIA Hotel Brufani Palace
In 1884 Giacomo Brufani of Assisi decided to open a hotel in Perugia. With a perfect location on the edge of the historic center and magnificent panoramic views of the valley below, the five-star deluxe Hotel Brufani Palace immediately became a home away from home for aristocrat families from all over Europe. The spacious hall includes the original parquet floors, stone fireplaces which are lit in the winter time, precious chandeliers and antique furniture. The hotel has 94 elegantly appointed rooms and suites equipped with all the modern amenities like individually controlled air conditioning, satellite television, Wi-Fi internet access, fax machine, and mini-bar. Throughout the years, the hotel has hosted illustrious guests such as the Queen Mother of England, the Prince of Monaco, famous actors and politicians.

Daily Schedule

Wed 14 Sept: Departing flight from North America to Rome (air transportation not included).

Thu 15 Sept: Arrival at Rome Fiumicino FCO airport and hello to your tour director! Private
(Day 1) transfer to Hotel Villa Zuccari near Montefalco (4 nights). Free afternoon to relax. Evening meet Mary Ann Esposito and stroll through Montefalco with your tour director. Welcome dinner at a local restaurant in the area (included).

Fri 16 Sept: Morning guided tour of Bevagna, including its medieval artisans’ workshops,
(Day 2) with our Umbria guide. Mid-day tour of a local winery and light lunch with winetastings (included). Afternoon visit to Foligno and guided walking tour with our Umbria guide. Private dinner at Agriturismo Borgo del Rio (included).

Sat 17 Sept: Mid-morning Cooking Lesson n.1 with Mary Ann followed by lunch in Spoleto
(Day 3) (included). After lunch guided tour of Spoleto with our Umbria guide. Free evening for dinner on your own in Montefalco (shuttle service provided).

Sun 18 Sept: Morning tour of Mulino della Torre historic olive oil mill and granary, with olive
(Day 4) oil lesson & tastings. Late morning truffle hunting demonstration. Private lunch at La Rocca (privately-owned medieval castle). After lunch stroll through Trevi historic center with your tour director. Free evening for dinner at Villa Zuccari.

Mon 19 Sept: Check out and departure for Spello. Stroll through Spello historic center with your
(Day 5) tour director and free time for shopping. Lunch and winetastings at Enoteca Properzio (included). After lunch departure for Perugia, with en route guided tour of the Perugina chocolate factory and museum. End of the day arrival in Perugia at the Hotel Brufani Palace (5 nights). Free evening for dinner on your own.

Tue 20 Sept: Morning guided walking tour of Perugia with our Umbria guide. Free time for
(Day 6) light lunch in Perugia. Late afternoon Cooking Lesson n.2 with Mary Ann in Perugia followed by dinner (included).

Wed 21 Sept: Daytrip to Gubbio. Morning guided tour of Gubbio historic center with our
(Day 7) Umbria guide. Lunch at a local restaurant in Gubbio (included). Mid-afternoon return to Perugia. Free evening for dinner on your own in Perugia.

Thu 22 Sept: Morning visit to Assisi and guided walking tour with our Umbria guide. Free time
(Day 8) for lunch in Assisi. After lunch visit to nearby Deruta for ceramics shopping. Dinner at a local restaurant in Perugia (included).

Fri 23 Sept: Free Day in Perugia.
(Day 9) Farewell dinner at a local restaurant (included).

Sat 24 Sept: Check out and departure for Lake Trasimeno. Visits to Isola Maggiore and
(Day 10) Castiglione del Lago with your tour director. Free time for lunch in Castiglione del Lago. After lunch departure for Fiumicino. Late afternoon arrival in Fiumicino at a four-star hotel (1 night). Free evening for dinner on your own in Fiumicino.

Sun 25 Sept: Private transfer from the hotel to Rome Fiumicino FCO airport.
(Day 11) Goodbye to your tour director and return flight to North America.

The Cooking of Umbria with Mary Ann Esposito 2011 tour pricing includes:

Ten nights accommodations as listed, double occupancy rooms
All breakfasts (buffet)
All ground transportation in luxury minibus with commercially licensed driver
Arrival airport transfer from Rome Fiumicino FCO airport to Montefalco hotel
Departure airport transfer from Fiumicino hotel to Rome Fiumicino FCO airport
Ciao Italia host Mary Ann Esposito to accompany the group for the entire tour
Our professionally licensed tour director at disposition for the entire tour
Our professionally licensed local tour guides for six half-day walking tours as follows:

Two hands-on cooking lessons with Mary Ann Esposito
Five full-course dinners (including beverages & wine) as follows:

Four full-course lunches (including beverages & wine) as follows:

All special visits and special events as listed in the daily schedule
All museum and site entry fees during guided tours
All gratuities for local guides and drivers, all porterage, and all taxes

Tour pricing is land only and does not include:

The Cooking of Umbria with Mary Ann Esposito
$5,690 per person land

Reservation deposit of $500 per person is required
Final payment is due 60 days prior to departure
Single supplement $650 (double room for single use)
Arrival and departure from Rome Fiumicino airport
Minimum 14/ Maximum 17 tour participants


To register, call David at (800) 594-2901 or email

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