Having just returned from our 2012 Arts Sojourn to Umbria I am barely over my jet lag, but so full of vivid memories that it is difficult to decide on just one topic to write about. Our congenial group of eleven spent five days in Gubbio followed by eight in Spoleto with side trips to Assisi and Spello. Of all the magnificent sights and experiences I would say that the one that likely stands out for most of us is Gubbio’s Corsa dei Ceri Piccoli. The Corsa dei Ceri is one of Italy’s oldest and largest festivals, second only in popularity to Siena’s Palio. The Ceri Piccoli takes place a couple of weeks after the main festival – a scaled down version of the adult event that incorporates the children of Gubbio into the traditions of their forefathers. In spite of its smaller participants the Ceri Piccoli is no less exciting than the adult version and the sweetness of the children in their traditional costumes adds a special touch. The Ceri Piccoli is a spectacle that has to be experienced in person – even the accompanying photographs cannot begin to convey the high energy and excitement that fill the town during this great event. What made the day even more special for our Arts Sojourn participants was our viewing position on the balconies of Gubbio’s grandest privately owned palace followed by lunch with the Contessa of Gubbio and members of her family in the palace gardens. We met the Contessa and her American husband a number of years ago on a previous visit to Gubbio and proposed this cooperation to them. It was such a unique and remarkable experience for our clients that we are considering repeating our Umbrian Arts Sojourn in 2014.
Matthew Daub is a professional artist and university professor with works in major public and private collections throughout the United States and Europe. He has been leading plein air painting workshops in Italy since 1994. In 1999, Matthew and his wife Barbara formed Arts Sojourn as “a vacation for artists and their friends.” The program is designed to appeal to artists of all levels as well as non-artists who enjoy the company of creative people in a slow travel format.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.