As vacations go, this one could barely be more Italian if they covered you in meatballs and sang Nessun Dorma upon arrival.
For this is a Vespa vacation — a two-wheeled tour of the nooks and crannies, the winding backroads and the off-the-beaten-track hidden gems of breath-taking Umbria.
And, because you’re on a Vespa, no matter where you are from, how old you are, or what you do, you get to be cool for a week. Because the Vespa, designed by Piaggio of Pontedera in 1946, is the coolest thing mankind has yet devised. And for most of us that’s worth the cost of the holiday alone.
So how do you achieve such levels of coolness?
Well first you sign-up for a ‘Ves Spa’ (get it?) tour with the people at Via del Sole, then you head out to the Umbrian capital of Perugia. There, you are introduced to your Vespa and have a familiarization session and riding lessons.
Then it’s the open road with one of the very knowledgable guides — all of which are local.
From the first twist of the throttle you’ll fall in love with both riding and the divine Umbian countryside and wonder why the whole world doesn’t travel by scooter.
The first night is spent at the villa which produces Nobile wine. Day two takes you on a gentle 35-kilometre, tree-lined and winding route from Montepulciano to Bagnoo Vignoni.
And here’s the spa bit.
Bagno Vignoni is one of the oldest thermal resorts in Tuscany, dating back to Roman times. Heated swimming pools, saunas, and massages are mandatory.
Day three is a bigger 70-kilometre ride along the stunning ridge road that leads to Abbadia San Salvatore, before climbing to Radicofani, with its imposing tower, then dropping down to Celle sul Rigo for a night in a historical Italian house — and, of course, a spa.
Day four sees the return trip from San Casciano to villa Il Poggiolo, both pretty medieval villages on the southern side of Trasimeno lake among olive tree-covered hills.
Giuliana Perconi, who founded the company 17 years ago, is in love with Italy.
“We live in the heart of Italy and we know our land to the smallest detail: the small backroads, the charming country Inns, the delicious Trattoria, the hidden frescoes inside a lost-to-the-world church. Italy is our backyard, and we love it.