Medieval Towns, Amazing Culture
Take a trip back in time by immersing yourself in Italy’s Le Marche region. Filled with small towns, many with ancient medieval walls and towers still in use, Le Marche offers fabulous food, art, nature, and the always-inviting Italian people to travelers who relish a slower, less-crowded pace.
This itinerary begins and ends in Florence, and takes you to Assisi, Cagli, Fano and Urbino. The adventure can include a rental car if you wish to drive, or arranged transportation ranging from bus, train, or private driver depending on your budget and desired level of comfort.
One of the World’s Most Beautiful Cities
The Renaissance comes alive in Firenze (Florence), Italy. Everywhere you walk in the city’s historic center – and the city is very pedestrian friendly – sculptures, frescoes, and amazing architecture greet you.
The Historic Center of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to some of humanity’s most beloved works of art and architecture. The city rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries. The 13th century Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, referred to as the Duomo by locals, can be seen for miles around the city. Other famous Florentine sites are the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi, the Pitti Palace, and the works of great masters including Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo.
Your itinerary will include your choice of these historic sites along with less traveled, but equally fascinating experiences in local neighborhoods. And it’s all designed with as much, or as little, bustle as you desire.
The Beauty of Lake Maggiore region and its Gardens
Lake Maggiore, also known as Verbano, nestles against the southern Alps and straddles the Italian and Swiss border. Small towns dot the coast, offering guests stunning views and a relaxing atmosphere. The second largest lake in Italy and the largest in southern Switzerland, its shores touch the Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy and the Swiss canton of Ticino.
Swiss, Italian and German cultures mingle in the towns along Lake Maggiore, offering visitors amazing food, art, and architecture.
Water activities abound, and ferry rides to the three Borromeo Islands (Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Madre), are a wonderful way to spend a day. Garden enthusiasts will want to visit Isola Madre’s incredible sculptured gardens, as well as Isola Bella’s royal gardens of the Palazzo Borromeo.
You’ll also want to spend a day strolling the artfully designed paths through the Botanical Gardens of Villa Taranto on the shores of Lake Maggiore, near Verbania. These gardens contain nearly 20,000 plant varieties, representing more than 3,000 species.
Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, AZ
The legendary red rocks of Sedona weave a magical spell in this desert paradise.
Located in the heart of the Coconino National Forests, and just two hours from the Grand Canyon, nature enthusiasts will find beauty in all that this desert region offers. From majestic buttes and stone towers, to the soaring oak and pine forests, you will be greeted with amazing views and adventure possibilities. Hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, and so much more awaits you. Many people consider Sedona a spiritual site; guests will be pleased with the number and variety of worship centers and churches.
With the natural beauty surrounding this town, Sedona has a vibrant arts community featuring artists of every medium and aesthetic style. The town features many galleries and hands-on arts opportunities for visitors. After a day of hiking the trails, or the shops, you can indulge in a luxurious massage or spa treatment and any of the premiere resorts in the area, before heading out for a delicious dinner.
Lovely Charleston, South Carolina, provides a perfect getaway for anyone who enjoys history and culture. Founded in 1670, this port city is the essence of Old South charm. Cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and historic, pastel antebellum houses await you. Activities abound and your itinerary will be tailored to your preferences.
If history intrigues you, a guided tour through historic neighborhoods, a visit to Fort Sumter, and a stroll through City Market are sure to please. This city of 140,000 caters to visitors and offers a fantastic array of museums, art, entertainment and dining.
Spain offers a splendid variety of cities and towns to explore. One of my favorites is Valencia. This beautiful, sunny, seaside locale is perfect for both casual tourists and cultural enthusiasts.
One of the most well-known Valencian attractions is the City of Arts & Sciences. The ultra-modern architecture links an incredible blend of art, music, natural history and science museums.
Parks and green space abound, as do miles of beaches along the Balearic Sea. The lush Turia Gardens is a former riverbed transformed into a beautiful 9km park that passes by many of Valencia’s museums and monuments. It’s a perfect destination to walk, run, bike, and relax. From there, it’s a short walk or drive to the many beaches to sunbathe, swim and take in the sea’s restorative beauty.
Foodies enjoy a treasure trove of delicious cuisine in this city, including paella, which hails from 18th century Valencia, and fresh seafood. The warm, Mediterranean climate offers perfect growing conditions for rice, vegetables and fruits, including the renowned Valencia oranges. These ingredients are abundant in local recipes.