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Author Frances Mayes to Speak with Tauck Groups in Tuscany

Bestselling Author of "Under the Tuscan Sun" to be
Featured on Selected Small-Group Tours in 2023 and 2024

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Tom Armstrong

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WILTON, CT (July 31, 2023) Bestselling author Frances Mayes, whose memoir Under the Tuscan Sun was made into an acclaimed Hollywood film, will share reflections of her 30 years in Italy with Tauck guests on selected departures of the company's eight-day, small-group "A Week In… Tuscany and Umbria" itinerary. Mayes will join with Tauck guests on more than a dozen 2023 and 2024 tours when they visit the author's adopted Tuscan town of Cortona, where the principal events of the book and its film adaptation took place. While in Cortona, Tauck guests will also enjoy a guided walking tour in town and a lunch of local specialties prepared by a Michelin-starred chef who is also a close friend of Mayes.

Under the Tuscan Sun was a New York Times bestseller for more than two and a half years and became a Touchstone movie starring Diane Lane. It tells the story of Mayes' purchase and restoration of Bramasole, an abandoned 250-year-old villa. In addition to Under the Tuscan Sun, Mayes has authored or co-authored more than 20 other works, and her books have been translated into more than 50 languages.

The first "A Week In… Tuscany and Umbria" departure featuring an appearance by Mayes took place recently, with her presentation cited by some Tauck guests as among their favorite experiences of their journey. For her part, Mayes thoroughly enjoying the experience as well, saying:

"I was so pleased to welcome Tauck guests to my favorite town, Cortona. We gathered at Il Falconiere, a lovely inn nestled into vineyards, and got to know each other at lunch. And what a lunch, served at a long elegantly-set table and prepared by Michelin star chef, Silvia Baracchi. The incredible food and her own delicious wines truly spoke of our surroundings. After my remarks, there was plenty of time for questions and conversation. I, and I think most of the guests, had a hard time leaving that special atmosphere!"

Tauck's "A Week In… Tuscany and Umbria" itinerary (from $4,790 USD* per person, plus airfare) begins with a two-night stay in Candeli at Villa La Massa, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World collection. Guests will also enjoy two-night stays at the Park Hotel ai Cappuccini (a former 17th-century convent) in Gubbio and the ideally-situated Sina Brufani in Perugia before concluding with an overnight stay in Rome at the Hotel Indigo Rome – St. George.

Along the way, guests will enjoy a hands-on cooking class with a lunch and wine tasting at the Fonte de' Medici agriturismo, owned and operated by the Antinori winemaking family. Guests will also enjoy walking tours in medieval Gubbio, Assisi and Perugia, and visit a farm in the Umbrian countryside where they'll have lunch and learn about the farm's truffle-hunting dogs. And in Narni, guests will travel underground to explore the hilltop town's subterranean ruins, revealing connections to the Inquisition and Narni's earlier Roman heritage.

Tauck's "A Week In… Tuscany and Umbria" tour accommodates an average of just 24 guests, and it's part of a growing collection of small group tours offered by the company. Those offerings include tours (such as "A Week In… Tuscany and Umbria") that feature small groups exclusively, and other special small group departures of Tauck's more traditionally sized tours.

This year Tauck is boosting the number of land tour departures featuring small groups by 35% over earlier (pre-pandemic) levels. In total, the company will feature small group departures on some 75 land journeys in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. Most departures will average 24 passengers, with many of Tauck's African safaris featuring as few as 18 guests on all departures.

Frances Mayes is just the latest in a series of fascinating experts and "insiders" who have enthralled guests traveling on Tauck journeys in recent years. Among others who either have shared – or continue to share – insights and personal stories with Tauck guests are the award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns; Winston Churchill's granddaughter and former traveling companion, Celia Sandys; Carolyn Robb, the former royal chef to then-Prince Charles and Lady Diana; Elisabeth von Trapp of The Sound of Music's von Trapp family and William Lobkowicz.

Lobkowicz is the Boston-raised descendent of Bohemian nobility whose life work has been reclaiming his family's ancestral holdings including three castles and one palace in the Czech Republic, 20,000 artifacts, approximately 65,000 rare books, and 5,000 musical artifacts and compositions that include an early copy of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. All of this – and more – had been stolen from the Lobkowicz family, first by the Nazis and later by the Communists.

Upcoming 2023 departures of "A Week In… Tuscany and Umbria" featuring Frances Mayes include September 6, 13 and October 4 and 11. 2024 dates featuring the author are May 6, 13, 20 and 27, September 2, 11 and 23, and October 7.

Those interested in more information can contact their local travel professional, call Tauck at 800 468 2825, or visit the company's website at ( in Canada, in the UK, in Australia/New Zealand).

About Tauck: Founded in 1925, Tauck is a world leader in upscale guided travel, with more than 150 land tours, safaris, river cruises and small ship ocean cruises to 70+ countries and all seven continents. In each of the last 26 years, Tauck has been honored in Travel + Leisure magazine's annual "World's Best Awards" celebrating the very best in luxury tours, cruises, hotels and more.

* $6,390 CAD / $6,940 AUD / £3,840 GBP

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