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9 Days in Central Italy in March (Spoleto, Ascoli and ?.) Ideas welcome!

9 Days in Central Italy in March (Spoleto, Ascoli and ?.) Ideas welcome!

Jan 8th, 2013, 05:11 AM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 597
(I got curious because I clicked on your screen name and the only trip reports I saw for Italy were for a beach location in May and Rome in winter. No agriturismi stays.)
goldenautumn is offline  
Jan 8th, 2013, 05:48 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,137
I spoke with DD today just before she got on the plane to London - her starting point! We decided to spend a night in Perugia because of the museum, chocolate and people. We are also curious about the Maremma - how that would be in winter. Pitigliano looks interesting and I can't tell if Grosseto is great or just grim.

Annhig I was thinking about your visit to the Tuscan coast for your language course. Is that an area you think worth visiting in March? And yes, this is a professional interest that's been a big shift for me. It'll be a very busy course and we are staying at an Agriturismo in Garfagnana with the whole class. THAT will be fun! It costs very little more for DD to stay with me for 6 days and she can explore the coast, Barga, Lucca, Pisa, Parma, etc. Even CT.

Plan B includes Siena and may include Florence. I love the Uffizi but DD and I were there in February 5 years ago and didn't love the city even though we love most cities. Well, all other cities. There were just so many tourists even in February, and our apartment was such a long way from everywhere.

On agriturismos - DD is interested in wine bars in towns rather than large dinners. I have only stayed in one agriturismo (late September, the Cilento, yes TR is coming) and we loved it. However, we were the only people there so...it was a little quiet at dinner. I'd like to find a more lively place this time! We plan to do a mix of accommodation - farms and hotels in the center of town.

I'm really not worried about the weather although VERY glad to have the reminder of icy roads. We want to avoid those. But I live in the NW corner of the Pacific NW and it's pouring right now. While I don't like driving in the rain, I'm fairly content in a town or a warm, cosy place with the rain coming down. There's coffee, there's wine, churches to see and we have books for hanging out.

Thanks for your help - I've made progress. Thoughts on the Grosseto area in March?

goldenautumn - I think that sounds like a good itinerary. We were almost settled on that until we started wondering about SE Tuscany today. So - let me know what you think about that instead of Ascoli. I have the Cadogan guide to Tuscany, Umbria and the Marche and it seems fairly good. I was in Spoleto for a couple of nights once and I know I missed nearly everything there was to see. This time I plan to follow the guide. Also: yes to Montefalco!

The La Petraia website was down yesterday when I looked. That's probably for the best...
rosetravels is offline  
Jan 8th, 2013, 11:43 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 597
hi rosetravels,

Good to know you're from the Pacific Northwest and thus keen rainy-weather drivers.

I hope you do make it to Perugia! It is a fascinating place, and Sandri's pastries, right near the National Gallery, plus the chocolate shops nearby are a chocolate paradise.

As for the Maremma, generally speaking, the coast is always milder and with much less risk of snow or ice in winter, although you can get plenty of rain. The beach towns will be really, really quiet, especially at night. Grosetto is industrial. Pitigliano itself might be a fascinating alternative to Ascoli Piceno. You can also visit the hot springs in Saturnia from Pitigliano, which might be a fun March excursion.

Surely one of the liveliest and prettiest town for wine bars would be Tarquinia (actually in Lazio), which also has the marvelous Etruscan museum and all those Etruscan tombs. It's got a couple of really nice restaurants (Arcadia, Cavatappi). A nice wine bar named D.O.C. I stayed here:


An even livelier city is Viterbo, where I've never been but I understand it has a very impressive historic center. You could put up a post and ask about it. From Tarquinia or Viterbo, it's also possible to go have lunch in Rome by train.


From that area it's about a 3 hour drive up to the coast to Pisa, with a few pretty towns along the way for lunch, like Magliano in Toscana, and the very beautiful Massa Marittima (or beach towns if the day is sunny and warm enough to venture to the sea). But otherwise the coast, while prettier than then Adriatic coast, is rather empty.

Almost any agriturismo is qoing to be fairly quiet in March, include the one in Force in le Marche. Maybe one of the liveliest in that region is Locanda Rosati, but since it is so close to Orvieto, maybe you would only want one night there before moving on to a town for 3 nights:


Some places your daughter might enjoy once you are up north is Pietrasanta and Montecatini Alto.

And a further thought -- there is someone who posts on the TripAdvisor message boards who lives in SE Tuscany. The screen name is "appia" (or close to that). If you end up gravitating toward that area, I feel certain that poster could tell you whether Tarquinia or Pitigliano or Viterbo in March is a pleasant stay.

Instead of Florence, consider Arezzo after Siena if you head that way.

Cadogan guides are great.
goldenautumn is offline  
Jan 8th, 2013, 11:51 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 597

Sorry if I sounded like I was pouncing on you. I just read your post and found myself wondering "Where the heck was she in March in Italy where she was out and about at night?" I actually just spent part of the morning reading your Rome report. I see that you found a show to go one night in February -- but that is Rome! It is very hard to find that in small towns dotting the farm lands. Even in Rome I noticed in your trip report you spent all the other nights eating dinner close to your apartment, or in the apartment.

To me, one of the joys of Italy is how much time people spend talking after dinner. I've stayed at agriturismi and learned so much from the people who own them about the history of Italy, their families, their parents and grandparents in the war, politics, their relatives overseas, today's euro, etc. I find it so much nicer than eating in restaurants -- although it's also true that in some restaurants in Italy, the owners sat down with me after dinner and talked just as much!
goldenautumn is offline  
Jan 9th, 2013, 07:59 AM
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goldenautumn - thank you for all the great ideas! I'll spend time this weekend thinking this through, researching these and then making reservations. Viterbo looks so interesting! We spent a night (sadly, just one) at the Hotel Marulivo in Pisciotta in the Cilento in October and LOVED it. Part of what I loved was how medieval the town felt to wander through.

And thanks for the reminder of Arezzo rather than Florence for Plan B.
rosetravels is offline  
Jan 9th, 2013, 08:02 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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rose- my knowledge of the Maremma is limited to the week that i spent there in May, so i can't tell you what it would be like in March; i can tell you that in may it was blessedly free of tourist hordes; therefore in March it might be a little quiet, though i was told that in holidays and at weekends it is very popular with romans. Pitigliano is lovely - like a geological trifle - and IMO well worth a visit.

what your DD says about agriturismi in march would be my worry - and as you are staying at an agriturismo for the course, i would opt for a mix.

GA - no problems. I've not stayed at an agriturismo in spring precisely for the reason I have given - plus the problems of possibly having to drive back to it in the dark and fog. i quite see the attraction of sitting around after dinner and chatting to other guests, but prefer doing this when we can sit outside in the warm. I was not talking about walking around a town at night [which can be fun hunting for a bar for example] but rather in the early evening which can be a very dead time if you are staying out in the country in spring and autumn - I personally find towns much more attractive to stay in during those season.

as for eating in restaurants near our apartment in Rome, I'm not sure what that's got to do with anything - we were in Rome with our kids!
annhig is offline  

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