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June 2012 Festivals in Italy, Tuscany and Umbria?

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Hi, Husband and I will be in Italy with a car for the whole of june this year and plan to spend the majority of our time in Tuscany and Umbria. We are aware that there are many festivals around this time. Some of the ones we know of are Infiorate (spello and Orvieto), several Palios in small tuscan towns, the Pisa fireworks(luminare) and Regatta, and seveal Medieval Markets, as well as the Giostra del Saracino in Arezzo and other Giostras (medieval jousts) in other towns. Also a cheese festival in Vallo di Nera (fior di Cacio). Has anyone been to any of these or other tuscan/umbrian festivals in the past? We cant possibly go to all of these festivals (and there are more, as we plan to see nothern italy too) and we would like to hear any peoples accounts or experiences of any of these festivals.

In particular, advice for parking on the day of these festivals? and if getting a hotel in the festivals village is highly recommended or not necessary (For example, we were planing on staying in/near Montepulciano for its beauty and vicinity for seeing nearby villages, but the Giostra del Saracino sounds great and it takes place in Arezzo but we have found on this forum many people saying Arezzo not a great place to stay in for those who want tuscan hill beauty and a good base for exploring the regoin???)

Thanks in advance :)

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    I really doubt that "many" people on this forum have ever stayed in Arezzo. If two or even one has, I'd be very surprised. That wouldn't stop some of them from misinforming you about Arezzo, however, and talking as if they has some personal experience. So you really need to be aware of that.

    Are you planning to stay in one place in central Italy, and then tour both Tuscany and Umbria from that one base? If so, you will find yourself doing a great deal of driving to and from your base, and you may find that by the time you arrive at some of your most distant destinations for a day trip, many things are closing for lunch, and won't re-open until 3:30pm or later.

    You might also find that if you head out to a festival, by the time you arrive, you will need to park at considerable distance from the festival since so many other people have arrived ahead of you.

    You might want to consider more than one base, and the foothills near Arezzo are extremely lovely and offers nice roads into many interesting parts of Umbria and well as some very pretty, historic parts of Tuscany, some still only lightly explored by foreigners. If you are near Arezzo (staying on a farm or in a nearby small town like Bucine) it will be easier to snag a good parking place early in the morning if you want to go to the Giostra.

    However, if you want to stay in one base the whole time, like Montepulciano, you may quickly discover that you actually don't have to drive far to enjoy marvelous places, or local festivals. You can find all sorts of wonderful corners and small towns in the immediate vicinity. You might give up your plans to do a lot of targeted sightseeing in favor exploring spontaneously.

    But if you already have a wish list of personal "must-see" towns and festivals in both Tuscany and Umbria, then give some consideration to either finding one location that is on the Tuscan-Umbrian border, or split your stay between two places, one convenient to the area south of Siena, and one more convenient to areas east of Siena or in Umbria.

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    zeppole - Prepare yourself for a surprise. I've stayed in Arezzo but it was a number of years ago.

    Bevitts - I've also seen several posts here telling about the virtues of Arezzo. Since you haven't given the links to the posts you refer to I can't agree with or dispute what you have found. I guess it depends on what towns you want to explore and what your interests are and who the posters are who made these statements.

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    I should probably clarify- we plan to explore Umbria first, ~5days from an Umbrian location (maybe Perugia or an agritourismo type place- Any suggestions?), then (after a fixed drive to/from Otranto for a wedding) we will explore Tuscany. In Umbria we wish to see Perugia, Assisi, spello and/or orvieto and elsewhere? In Tuscany we plan to have minimum 8 days and don’t intend to sight-see Florence (spent 10 days there previously). This gives us enough time I think to be based in 2 different locations and have a good mix of relaxation and exploring. We are young and energetic but also want some relaxation and comfort too. hope this helps. We know of mid-day closures and won’t plan more than 1-2 places /day, so I don’t think our trip will be so rushed. We like spontaneous exploring but want to be well informed and have an initial flexible itinerary in mind. We are super-excited about being there during festivals but are unsure about parking and where to stay during festivals. One particular festival we are interested in is the Giostra del Saracino in Arezzo. We are curious about the Pisa regatta as well, and the Mercato delle Gaite.
    We intend our first base to be somewhere near Montepulciano area (in a town or agritourismo? Suggestions?) to explore val d’orica region but don’t know of a good second location to explore the rest of Tuscany and be near Arezzo so we can attend the Giostra. We like good food, wine, culture, art and architecture (a little shopping) and love countryside and quaint towns. I would love suggestion of specific towns or even apartments/villas/agritourismo places.

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