Join us for this special trip to a classic destination, Classical Pursuits–style. On this journey to central Italy, we’re reprising our very first trip by returning to where we started with an even greater love of travel that brings together literature, culture and conversation in a way that helps you see even the most famous sites with new eyes.
Our literary focus will be Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, a contemporary classic set in a medieval Benedictine monastery. The book stands on its own as a haunting murder mystery; however, it can be more fully explored as a questioning of the concept of truth from theological, philosophical and historical perspectives.
It’s a book as multi-layered as the regions we visit, slipping easily between medieval and Renaissance with occasional forays into the ancient and modern worlds. We can think of no better setting in which to read Eco’s novel than the beautifully preserved towns and cities that line Italy’s Adriatic coast and dot the hills of the Apennines.
It all begins in Bologna, whose university (Europe’s oldest) attracted scholars from all over the medieval world. From there explore Le Marche to appreciate first-class art and architecture without the crowds. In the Renaissance capital of Urbino, see masterpieces of Raphael and Piero della Francesca, and stroll through the city’s medieval centre. In the Jesi valley, visit the Moroder estate, whose seaside vineyards produce wine made from Verdicchio grapes, grown in the region for seven centuries.
Heading inland to Umbria, the “green heart of Italy,” visit Gubbio’s imposing ducal palace built at the request of Federico da Montefeltro (You may have seen his famous double portrait with his wife Battista Sforza in Florence’s Uffizi.). Our base in Umbria is lovely Spello, whose church Santa Maria Maggiore houses richly detailed Renaissance frescoes of the life of Christ. In Assisi learn about the Franciscan order and its relationship to older orders like the Benedictines, and admire the extraordinary range of medieval paintings in the 13th-century Basilica of Saint Francis. Along the way there will be opportunities to enjoy the salumi, porchetta, truffles, lentils and Sagrantino wine that make Umbrian cuisine so delicious.
Enjoy the many pleasures of Italy through the lens of one its most beloved novels.
For more information, see our detailed itinerary. All Travel Pursuits operate under the umbrella of our partner, Worldwide Quest (TICO Reg: #2667946). Worldwide Quest arranges the logistics for each trip to complement our literary theme. They handle all bookings/registration and are happy to book flights and help with pre- and post-trip arrangements.