Jim and Claire Graves, Untourists of the Week: and their wine is so good

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1. Tell us a little bit about your most recent Untour.

In the fall of 2012, we took a 3-week Untour in Italy: one week at the Poggiarellino wine farm in Tuscany, one at an olive farm in Umbria, and a third in Rome, where our apartment (Zingari) was close to the Colosseum. We had our 46th anniversary lunch at a nice restaurant in Pienza, after which we enjoyed the local cheese-rolling festival. There’s no substitute for the things you just stumble into! 

We enjoyed Perugia (thanks to the Tom-Tom for getting us into and out of the city), Assisi, and particularly Spoleto in Umbria.  Driving around one Sunday morning, we stumbled into (!) an old car tour in Montefalco, then spent a delightful few hours in Bar Collona in Bevagna watching the Formula 1 race on their TV. 

Rome was delightful!  We took a couple of short guided walking tours, but mainly wandered around the city.  Our arrival at St. Peter’s at 7am one morning got us inside with no waiting at all – what a magnificent place!  We were very grateful to Andi and Andrea at Untours for setting up our trip so that we could fly into and out of Rome non-stop from Charlotte, NC.

2. Why did you choose to go there?

We had been to Poggiarellino twice before, with friends each time. Anna and Lodovico Ginotti are so nice and the farm is so relaxing (and their wine is SO good), that we wanted to go back again. We had never been to Umbria or Rome, so we decided to include these while we were in the country. We had studied Italian a bit and wanted to use what little we had (this turned out to be a lot of fun, and the Italians seemed to appreciate our efforts). The first sentence we learned in Italian was “I am an American tourist, please speak more slowly.”

3. What is your favorite Untours memory?

Claire’s: sitting on the terrace at Poggiarellino with a glass of Anna & Lodovico’s Brunello. Jim’s: the scene of more than 100 Ferraris in the Buonconvento parking lot at one time. When each one left, the exhaust note was “la musica,” to quote many of the locals who were there.

4. How is taking an Untour different from other ways of travelling?

The Untourist has a comfortable home base apartment with appropriate transportation, guidance as to we might want to see and do, and backup if needed. Activities are at one’s own pace, however slow, fast, or stationary.  We took a 10-day escorted bus tour once, and this mode of travel is just not for us.

5. If you could describe an Untour in just three words, what would they be?

Independent supported fun!

6. Have you heard of our trailblazing Untours Foundation? What do you think of a company whose profits have gone to create jobs among vulnerable populations through loans to pioneering, green businesses?




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