Imagine a day as our guest

Imagine a different kind of vacation. One where you don't just see the sites, but you live the life that surrounds those sites. You don't just watch the people go about their business from a window, but you interact with them and go about their day with them. You become a part of the culture you are visiting. This is true Culture Discovery…

Good Morning

Imagine waking in the morning and not finding yourself in a hotel room, but instead in a beautiful village home nestled in the medieval quarter of an ancient Italian village, just steps away from an 11th century castle that was once the summer residence of the Pope. You realize that all of your neighbors are local villagers, not other tourists. As you leave your home this morning, you recognize your neighbors who smile and wave. You encounter a village grandmother sitting on a small chair in front of her home who delightfully exclaims ‘Buon Giornio!’ with a warm smile as you walk by. She doesn’t speak a word of English, but somehow you find a way to communicate.

Imagine walking into a village cafe’ where the locals are having their morning Cappuccino and pastry breakfast. As you walk in, several villagers smile and greet you. Luciano, the owner of the café, sees you and exclaims ‘Buon Giorno!’ with his huge smile before he takes your order. You sit down and enjoy your traditional Italian breakfast at a table right on the Piazza sidewalk and just take it all in as the church bells begin to ring across the Piazza and the locals begin their day.

Shopping & Cooking

Imagine shopping for food in this small Italian village, walking into the village grocery where you are on a first name basis with Franco, the proprietor. As we are buying cheese for today's class, Franco lets us taste some fresh ricotta and maybe a few olives. Once done, we head next door to see Emore, owner of the village fruit & vegetable stand. We select fresh veggies grown on his farm for our class as we laugh and joke around before going across the way to Teobaldi, the local butcher. We need some salami and prosciutto for today. He reaches up and pulls a huge one off a hook, places it on a carving rack and starts to carve slices out for us by hand. He can't help but carve a few extra for us to taste before we go grab a quick espresso from Luciano's café and head down to the country villa for our cooking class.

Imagine walking into the 350 year old country villa in the rolling hills of the Tiber valley. As you walk toward the villa you gaze at the hills of Umbria and Tuscany, littered with olive orchards, hazelnuts, and a vineyard here and there. You walk inside and place your bag on a 2,000 year old ancient Roman altar that is now part of a stone fireplace before tying on your apron. Before you know it, you are laughing the morning away as you make fresh pasta from scratch and all sorts of country Tuscan recipes that have been handed down though the generations in this small corner of central Italy. You feel like a little wine, so you walk over to the rack and select a Chianti, uncork it and share it with your new friends in the class. As class finishes, we all sit down and share the meal we just made as you wonder when the last time was that you laughed so much.

Discovering a Hidden Treasure

Imagine visiting the grounds of a Prince's castle, on which he had gigantic volcanic boulders sculpted into elaborate works of art... 460 years ago. All in an effort to create the 8th wonder of the world. As you walk the grounds and gaze at this truly mystical place, you learn that this is believed by some to have actually been designed by Michelangelo himself, but was lost in forest growth for centuries. You learn about the death of the Prince's wife, and how it drove him to insanity, inspiring this "Monster Park" that is referred to as "The world's first theme park".

Dinner With Locals

Imagine finding yourself invited for dinner at the home of a local artist tonight. You arrive at her villa in the hills above town where you are introduced to her family. She invites you to make yourself at home, and you quickly realize that this really is her home, and we really are sharing dinner with her family in her dining room... and it is a meal that she personally cooked for us, by her, in her kitchen. This is not a restaurant or a tourist attraction. We are house guests in this little Italian village and she is displaying the true warmth of Italian hospitality, sharing her home and a wonderful dinner with new friends.

Festivals & Special Events

Imagine you are here for one of the many festivals held in the village. After dinner we head back into the Piazza and take part in the entertainment this evening. Perhaps there are fireworks tonight, or you are here for the Jazz festival and there will be live music in the piazza. Perhaps you are here for the medieval festival and we will be watching the flag throwers & trumpeters, or the swordsmen, or any of many various performances that happen during festivities in Italian village life.

Good Night

Imagine the evening over, as you call it a night and walk to your village home, think back at the day of incredible, unique and personal experiences that you will treasure forever. Just before getting to your home, you see the grandmother still sitting on her chair. She smiles and waves. ‘Buona Notte!’. You smile back and reply ‘Buona Notte!’.

. . .

As you close your door, you wonder how tomorrow can possibly top this? Yet, somehow it does.