Take Me along, Country Roads | ©Tom Palladio Images

Contrary to the late singer/songwriter John Denver’s monumental 1970 folk/country/pop ballad Take Me Home, Country Roads, about the little winding roads he travelled, I asked some other off-the-beaten-path byways to not take me home, but, rather, take me ALONG.

Let me explain.

For eight days I traveled in style as a guest travel writer of Insight Vacations, the global, upscale travel company, to sample a portion of one of its premium-escorted “Country Roads” itineraries around the Bel Paese.

Take Me along, Country Roads | ©Tom Palladio Images
As part of a group of international media — now forever known as the “band of merry media” — I experienced firsthand Insight’s off-the-beaten path tour of Central Italy’s Umbria and Tuscany regions, bookended by Rome and Venice.

We started out in the Eternal City and the Vatican and ended up in La Serenissima. Along the way, our business-class legroom motor coach stopped in Orvieto, Perugia, Assisi, Spello, Cortona, Fonterutoli — in the heart Chianti wine country — San Gimignano, and the Ferrari Museum in Maranello.

Take Me along, Country Roads | ©Tom Palladio ImagesAnd, every kilometer we traveled we were under the watchful eye of a dedicated, professional tour director/concierge/storyteller and a host of expert local art-history guides.

We had VIP FastTrack to all of the sights; we stayed at some of Insight’s signature and gold-level hotels, including a 17th century Tuscan villa-estate; we savored extraordinary regional cuisine prepared by master chefs and paired with exquisite wines; and, we toasted the end of our journey with a Bellini, the stylish peachy Prosecco aperitivo created at American author/journalist Ernest Hemingway’s favorite Venetian watering hole, Harry’s Bar.

Take Me along, Country Roads | ©Tom Palladio Images Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Well, it was.

Like a multi-course Italian dinner feast, I filed a series of dispatches, dishing out my observations of traveling some of those Country Roads of Central Italy aboard an Insight Vacations executive motor coach.

If you’d like to retrace my steps along the cobble with Insight, just click on the story links below.

Buon viaggio!

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images_________________________________________________________________

Country Roads: A Roman Night | ©Tom Palladio Images

1. Rome: The Eternal City

Mvsei Vaticani | ©Tom Palladio Images

2. Mvsei Vaticani

Country Roads: Orvieto's Etruscan Chef | ©Tom Palladio Images

3. Orvieto’s Etruscan Chef

Country Roads: Touching the Sky in Orvieto | ©Tom Palladio Images

4. Touching the Sky in Orvieto

Country Roads: Underground in Perugia

5. Underground in Perugia

Country Roads: Caput Mundi | ©Tom Palladio Images

6. Odometer Update

Country Roads: Saintly Assisi | ©Tom Palladio Images

7. Saintly Assisi

Country Roads: Picking out a Virgin in the Olive Groves | ©Tom Palladio Images

8. Picking out a Virgin in the Olive Groves

Country Roads: Linnertime in Spello | ©Tom Palladio Images

9. Linnertime in Spello

Country Roads: Paparazzi at the Osteria | ©Tom Palladio Images

10. Odometer Update II

Country Roads: Under the Reconstructed Tuscan Sun | ©Tom Palladio Images

11. Under the Renovated Tuscan Sun

Country Roads: Chianti pours forth from Fonterutoli | ©Tom Palladio Images

12. Chianti pours forth from Fonterutoli

Country Roads: Paparazzi at the Osteria | ©Tom Palladio Images

13. Paparazzi at the Osteria

Country Roads: Scraping the Skies of Medieval Italy | ©Tom Palladio Images

14. Scraping the Skies of Medieval Italy

Country Roads: The Good Humor Man of San Gimignano | ©Tom Palladio Images

15. The Good Humor Man of San Gimignano

Country Roads: A Dark and Foodie Night | ©Tom Palladio Images

16. A Dark and Foodie Night

Country Roads: The Redheads of Maranello | ©Tom Palladio Images

17. The Redheads of Maranello

Bologna_WM

18. Bologna: Gone in Sixty Minutes

Country Roads: Venice at Night | ©Tom Palladio Images

19. Under the Spell of La Serenissima

Country Roads: Escape to Giudecca | ©Tom Palladio Images

20. Escape to Giudecca

Country Roads: L'Aqua Alta splashes Venice | ©Tom Palladio Images

21. Venice splashed by Aqua Alta

Country Roads: Gliding into the Venetian Sunset | ©Tom Palladio Images

22. Gliding into the Venetian Sunset

Country Roads: Bologna -- Gone in Sixty Minutes | ©Tom Palladio Images

23. Country Roads of Italy: Epilogue

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