Only about 1.5 hours drive southeast of Paris, is a rich combination of ancient pastoral landscape (dotted with medieval churches and castles of the highest artistic and historical value), some of the world's best wines (available for tastings and direct purchase from famous vineyards), and food (to be savored in the many fine restaurants, cafés and delis).


Provence is a moveable feast of vibrant colors, rustic flavors and craggy landscapes, with the seasoning that only thousands of years of cultivation can produce. Today's Provençal landscape is still alive with the brilliant contrasts that lit Van Gogh's paintings, in fields of deep purple lavender and cut flowers of every hue against the soft golden stone, whether in cliff outcroppings or hundreds of year old houses. Long before Van Gogh, Cezanne and other painters, the great medieval poet, Petrarch remarked on the "breathtakingly clear light" as he created some of the world’s finest love poetry to his beloved Laura while living in her native Provence


Rome offers world-class museums, public squares (with beautiful fountains and unsurpassed people watching), churches and monuments from its glorious past, and some of the world’s most elegant shops and restaurants.


Traveling along virtually any Tuscan road or rail line reveals a never-ending variety of twisting hills and dales, all covered in an intensely nurtured patchwork of vineyards, olive groves, woods, fields of grain and rows of stately cypresses, darkly and stiffly silhouetted against dramatic skies. The special magic of Tuscany lies in its seemingly paradoxical feeling of natural, organic beauty in what must be one of earth’s most carefully tended gardens.


This province lies just southeast of Tuscany and just above Rome’s province, Lazio, is full of lovely medieval hill towns hewn out of its rocky cliffs, including Perugia and Assisi (where Giotto and other painters left us a tremendous legacy), Gubbio, Todi, Spoleto and Orvieto (with its famous cathedral, elegant shopping and many winding medieval streets), Etruscan ruins and good olives, wines and truffles!

Southern Italy/Paestum/Amalfi Coast

Visit the massive yet graceful UNESCO World Heritage-designated ancient Greek temples at Paestum. The Amalfi Coast is about 1/2 hour north and the Cilento national park, with miles of gorgeous beaches and roadless area hiking, starts just to the south, at Agropoli. Besides Amalfi and Positano, the famous islands of Capri and Ischia, luxurious Sorrento and Pompeii/Herculaneum/Naples are near.

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