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5 Days on Umbria and Tuscany border. Difficult choices. Please help!

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Apr 6th, 2013, 02:25 AM
  #1
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5 Days on Umbria and Tuscany border. Difficult choices. Please help!

We will have 5 full days in Paciano. Arrive Sunday 23 June afternoon from Parma and leave Saturday 29 June for Matera. I need help to put together itineraries for Monday to Friday. The more I do research, the more I get confused. So many beautiful places, I realise we will have to choose. Here are the places we would like to see. Can you please help me to group them into 1 day itineraries to save time. Please add if I missed something or take them from the list. Thank you!!
Pisa, Cortona, Arezzo, Siena, Voltera, Montalcino, Assisi, Spello, Orvieto, Spoletto, Casiglione del Lago, Perugia, Chiusi, San Gimignano, Pienza, Todi, Terni, Montefalco, Urbino ... never ending list!! We would also like to taste some fine wine.
Erna
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Apr 6th, 2013, 06:14 AM
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Will you have a car? Some of your Tuscany destinations, in particular, seem like long day trips.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 07:31 AM
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You seriously need to look at driving times to some of those places. Paciano is somewhat remote as it is so it will take time to get anywhere (one lane roads - low speed limits).

I think Volterra, San G, Pisa, Urbino are too far.

If you really want nice wines, I would leave in Montalcino (but it would be a long day) and Montefalco. You might add Montepulciano.

Use Mappy.com for driving estimates.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 08:22 AM
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You really have too many places for 5 days, and if you take a map and mark all these places with Paciano as the center, it will make more sense. Also check driving times, the roads are slower than you may think. Also remember that shops and restaurants will close for several hours mid-afternoon, so plan around that. I think a map will really help give you a better visual of the distances from Paciano.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 11:11 AM
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I agree that your list is too long. It's not always possible to combine two destinations in one day, either because there's too much to see or the driving times and logistics involved take up too much time. Many of the towns on your list have limited traffic zones (ZLT) which add another layer of planning (and sometimes additional time). You need to know before you go exactly how you're going to approach each town and reach parking without driving into the ZLT.

On your way from Parma to Paciano, you could either stop in Arezzo (lunch?) or drive through Chianti instead of sticking to the A1 south of Florence.

Depending on your interests, and assuming you don't want to drive back to Paciano in the dark, both Siena and Perugia could take a full day EACH. (I would probably pick one or the other, but not both.) If you like to move fast, you could probably see Orvieto and Todi in the same day. Ditto Assisi and Spello.

On your southern Tuscany day, I would see Montepulciano or Montalcino, but not both. If Montepulciano + Pienza, you might have time to stop in Chiusi on the way back to Paciano.

Don't forget to plan for lunch. I don't pick specific restaurants, but I do think about where we'll be around noon. If you wait until, say, 1:30/2:00 to stop, you may not find anything open. We've learned to stop at the proper time, even if we're not super hungry.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 01:03 PM
  #6
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Thank you so much for your reply. I realise that it is a long list, that is why my question is about difficult choices. I appreciate your input.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 01:45 PM
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I would swap Orvieto for any of the surrounding towns.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 02:30 PM
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Erna - given that there are so many lovely places relatively close to where you are going to be staying, i think that my approach would be to start nearby and work my way outwards.

IMO the way to deal with the "everything closes for lunch problem" is to do as the italians do - have lunch! have a small breakfast, do your touring, lunch somewhere nice, tour some more [many places stay open til 7pm] then go "home" and eat a light evening meal.

if that doesn't suit, eat a larger breakfast, get a snack of fruit for lunchtime, and drive during the lunch-time break when everything besides restaurants will be shut. if you have a car with efficient a/c, it won't matter that it'll be hot at this time.

ven if you aren't eating, remember to keep drinking - water i mean!
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Apr 6th, 2013, 02:40 PM
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We like Orvieto. Perched on a (fairly) flat top of volcanic tuff, it's not like any other town on the OP's list. The local wine (white, a blend of mostly trebbiano and grechetto) is very different from what the OP will taste in, say, Montepulciano or Montalcino.

To each his/her own.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 06:30 PM
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You are near the southern part of Tuscany, where the Orcia River Valley (Vald'Orcia) The scenery here is unbelievable. Anything north of Siena is going to be hard to get to for a decent day trip.
A half day in Montepulciano is highly recommended, as it is the nearest city of significant tourist interest to where you are staying. They have a 3 hour wine tour that I can't say enough about. They do the driving, the scenery is indescribable, and you'll get some of their very best Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano, very similar to a good Brunello. It is the tour labeled simply "wine tour" on the website: http://www.stradavinonobile.it/booki...vizi.php?cat=1
A lunch at La Porta in Monticchiello (osterialaporta.it) and a guided tour of the Gardens at La Foce (www.lafoce.com) are worth considering.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 06:38 PM
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Orvieto is my favourite cathedral in the whole of Europe (and I've seen quite a few!). I agree that your list is too long. I second docdan regarding Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. You pay for wine-tastings in Italy, by the way. I have written a blog post on Where to go in Tuscany if it's any help.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 10:07 PM
  #12
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Thank you to all of you who helped to narrow our itinerary. My husband is not a fast traveler at all and I appreciate your help. Much appreciated!!
Erna
(We will have a car)
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Apr 7th, 2013, 03:11 AM
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I'm with AussieFrance about Orvieto - just the front is worth the trip. absolutely amazing - and there are some very nice places to have lunch there too!

Erna - I'm with your husband. less is more!
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