Buon giorno!

Welcome to ITALIANHOURS, a blog for all interested readers but specifically written for the group of Willamette University alumni and friends who will be touring Tuscany and Umbria during the first week of June 2011.  The blog title is adapted from the book of travel writings by Henry James, who published his Italian Hours in 1909.

I am Roger Hull, professor of art history emeritus at Willamette and a guest speaker on our AHI Travel tour.  I’ll be posting blog entries periodically in April and May, anticipating our visits to Cortona, Assisi, Perugia, Montepulciano, Siena, and Florence.  Please use the blog as you wish–to get a quick glimpse of things to come or as the basis of further reading on particular artists or sites.

During our Italian hours we will immerse ourselves in discussions of art and culture, enjoy and learn about regional wine and cuisine, and rendezvous with old friends and meet new ones during a rich program of walking tours, coach excursions, museum visits, and free time for individual exploration and contemplation.

Our home base for the first six days of the tour will be the beautiful hill town of Cortona, located on the edge of Tuscany near the border with Umbria.  From our hilltop perch, with its lovely views out over the countryside, we will head out most days to tour the region by coach.

Here are some views of Cortona and surrounding territory:

The view just above is from our hotel, the Hotel San Luca.  This is a modern (mid-20th century) structure located on the brow of the hill just a few yards from the Cortona city gate.  The view is down over the Tuscan landscape.  In the evening, the view is quite magical:

As we ride up into Cortona, we pass the beautiful little domed church in the midground, and arrive in a small park at the edge of the town.

The hotel is just through the trees to the right.  If that arrow on the pavement were turned just a little bit to the right, it would point straight to the entrance of the hotel, which is just a few yards from the narrow main street of Cortona:

In the next post, we’ll head down this street and take a look around.

But–Ciao for now.



9 Responses to “Buon giorno!”

  1. bonniehull Says:

    ciao for now indeed

  2. Martha Peterson Says:

    For a nice description of the sites in and around Cortona, folks might enjoy, as I am, reading Frances Mayes’ “Under the Tuscan Sun”, starting on about page 146. She details many of the buildings and old Etruscan tombs, etc.


  3. Tom Steeves Says:

    Good beginning.
    This whets my appetite for more.
    Looking forward to the next one.

  4. Irene Mylan Says:

    Thank you, Roger. You really whet our appetite.
    A friend loaned me a copy of The Collected Traveler: an Inspired Anthology & Travel Resource. The editor, Barrie Kerper, republishes articles about Tuscany and Umbria… from her extensive files, from the classics and by other travel writers.

    • Julie Branford Says:

      I also am reading The collected Traveler, and am finding it fascinating. It’s a wonderful collection of terrific essays & articles about facets of life in Tuscany and Umbria. Highly recommend this book to all!

  5. Wonderful – how do we fast-forward to May?! Oh wait, that’s quantum physics; this is art history…
    Kris and Dan

  6. Julie Branford Says:

    Roger —

    Thanks for starting this blog. It will be wonderful preparation for our trip…


  7. Jean Pozzi Says:

    I am so looking forward to this trip.

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