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a house in umbria: which towns are your favorites?

a house in umbria: which towns are your favorites?

Sep 11th, 2010, 05:58 PM
  #1  
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a house in umbria: which towns are your favorites?

We've rented a house in Umbria next June that we're sharing with another family. Our group will be 6-10 people (ages 18 - 50), and we will be based about five minutes away (by car) from the village of Preggio, 15 minutes from Umbertide, 30-40 minutes from Citta di Castello and Lake Trasimeno, and 1 hour from Perugia and Cortona.

We have 7 nights in a lovely villa, but would like some advice about our day trips.

We have spent a lot of time in Tuscany (but never Cortona), and none in Umbria (except for Orvieto), and we definitely plan on visiting Perugia and Assisi.

Where else should we be sure to miss?? I've read guidebooks and dozens of threads. We're interested in charming villages, great food, art, history, and architecture. Don't like crowds and lots of tourists, so plan to visit early mornings or late afternoons. (yes, we'll have two cars!)

Aside from Perugia and Assisi, these towns are on our list:
Cortona, Gubbio, Montefalco, Spello, Bevagna, Cortona

but sadly don't think we can see it all.

It would be wonderful if you could share your personal favorites ----

Which town is your favorite, and WHY?

Thank you!
Dina
dina4 is offline  
Sep 13th, 2010, 02:07 PM
  #2  
 
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I've been to all of the cities you list except Gubbio. All have been during the summer. The last time I was in Italy was 5 years ago, so some things may have changed -- some for better, some for worse. Fair warning!

Favorites: Perugia, Montefalco, Spello
Probably nice, but overrun with tourists: Cortona
Nice, but overrun with tourists: Assisi (hell, it's been a tourist destination for 700 years)
Bevagna: quiet, from what little I saw

Perugia has lots of tourists but can handle them easily because it's a big city. There's not a whole lot to do in Spello other than stop and let the world go by. It makes a good logistical base to see all of the cities you list except Cortona and Gubbio. Montefalco is similar to Spello, although it's out in the country (rather than on the freeway) and there's a lot more wine to drink. IMNSHO Sagrantino di Montefalco wine is much better than either Brunello or Barolo. Bevagna is the next town to Montefalco but it's in a valley, which means it can get hot in the summer. All of the other towns are at the tops of hills, so be prepared for a good calf and hamstring workout.

I would also add Torgiano to the list if you're interested in Umbrian wine. The Lungarotti estate is there.
tdyls is offline  
Sep 13th, 2010, 02:11 PM
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Dina: Please share the link to the house so we can dream!
ekscrunchy is online now  
Sep 13th, 2010, 04:22 PM
  #4  
 
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dina4, you definitely can see all of those places in one week, that's no problem. I'd even add some more:
- Foligno, which is sorely overlooked although its center is a model Italian small town, with a great Romanesque duomo facade
- Sansepolcro, which is another model small town, with a famous Piero della Francesca fresco in the palazzo that now houses the civic museum
- Monterchi, an underwhelming village with another famous Piero della Francesca fresco, once in a modest cemetery chapel, now in a modern shelter
- Castiglion Fiorentino, another model small town (all three of them are without any tourists, of course!) on a steep hill, with a beautiful Renaissance loggia on the main square, and a ruined medieval castle
- Morra, Umbria's least visited sight, and yet a major sight: inside a totally unassuming village church, some of Luca Signorelli's best paintings (in very easy reach from Città di Castello, and highly recommended!)
franco is offline  
Sep 13th, 2010, 04:24 PM
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Ah yes, and Anghiari (near Sansepolcro) is another very, very pretty hilltown (actually, a hill village).
franco is offline  
Sep 13th, 2010, 04:28 PM
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One more "ah yes": here http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...omment-6179624 is some further information on the area, plus an unmissable restaurant tip in Sansepolcro; the Umbria thread mentioned in that post has more restaurants (Foligno, Montefalco...).
franco is offline  
Sep 13th, 2010, 04:36 PM
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I enjoyed Deruta. I went mainly to look at pottery and was not disappointed! We just parked near the top and wandered for a few hours and did some shopping. I also enjoyed the town of Passignano sul Trasimeno. They had some interesting shops and restaurants. I haven't been but a friend enjoyed wandering Umbertide. If you're interested, we hired a chef for a night who came to our villa and taught a cooking class. We prepared a wonderful meal (and had leftovers!) and everyone really enjoyed themselves.
cls2paris is offline  
Sep 13th, 2010, 05:48 PM
  #8  
 
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I just posted asking for advice for villa rental in Umbria and then saw your post. Would you mind sharing some of your rental research?
eleanorw is offline  
Sep 13th, 2010, 06:57 PM
  #9  
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Thanks for all the great info!

I will look into some of the villages not on my list. Maybe some of them are close by!

Ekscrunchy
here's the link to the house. i think it's amazing, and i can hardly believe it. (and we seemed to have booked it right before he raised the prices!)

http://www.castalda.com/index.htm
dina4 is offline  
Sep 13th, 2010, 06:58 PM
  #10  
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cls2paris --
did you find the prices in deruta better or the same as other places? i assume the selection was better? i love italian pottery but am so often dismayed by the high prices!
dina4 is offline  
Sep 13th, 2010, 07:04 PM
  #11  
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eleanor -
i didn't see your post, but as you can see i posted the website. i found the house on homeaway, which i'm sure you've looked at.

i somehow stumbled upon this house after thinking we were going to stay in a hotel. i didn't research that much. i started with homeaway, because we've rented from them before (not in italy) and had been very happy. sorry i can't share more research with you!

i can say the gentleman who owns the house we're renting is a pure pleasure to work with so far.
dina4 is offline  
Sep 13th, 2010, 07:05 PM
  #12  
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sorry, my replies are so disjointed...

yes, cls2paris, i am VERY interested in the possibility of hiring someone to come to a cooking class for us! could you please share you contact?

thanks!!
dina
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Sep 14th, 2010, 01:29 AM
  #13  
 
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dina4 - of course, all towns recommended on this thread are near to where you stay. Otherwise, why would we recommend them?
franco is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 01:39 AM
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We enjoyed Orvieto, Spoleto, and Cortona, Sansepolcro and Gubbio. Recommend Passignano di Trasimeno and a boat trip to the small island in the lake where the women make lace.
Cortona and Assisi are popular but I would not describe them as 'over run with tourists'. We were there last May and it was perfectly manageable with lots of local colour.
bellini is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 02:40 AM
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Dina you have found a gem! It looks incredible. We are really following in each's other's footsteps because I was playing around with the idea of an Umbria trip/Tuscan coast for next year...

If I can break in here for one minute--what about Todi? I thought that that town was one of the treasures of Umbria. Am I mistaken on this?
ekscrunchy is online now  
Sep 14th, 2010, 03:24 AM
  #16  
 
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No, ek, you're not at all mistaken - Todi is just NOT really close to where dina4 is going to stay. There are many more gems in Umbria; for exploring all of Umbria, Preggio is inconveniently located, though. From there, it's better to explore the region around the border between Umbria and Tuscany (on both sides of that border).
franco is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 03:25 AM
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...more precisely, the northern border. Well, the towns mentioned on this thread...
franco is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 04:16 AM
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Dina4 - I think the prices were better in Deruta because there were so many shops in a relatively small town. The pottery was literally spilling out of the stores, it was a bit overwhelming but I loved it!

Here's the chef info:
http://amoresapore.com/

Two other friends have used them also, and thought they were great and had a fun time!

Your rental looks beautiful!
cls2paris is offline  
Sep 14th, 2010, 06:13 AM
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Thanks, Franco! I am playing around with a few ideas for next year...
ekscrunchy is online now  
Sep 14th, 2010, 06:25 AM
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dina4,

You are so fortunate to be able to trave like you do! What a fabulous villa! Views, everything.

I have very much enjoyed all the towns I've visited in Umbria. Gubbio, Spello, Montefalco, Deruta, Todi, Assisi, Foligno (easy place to return car as the Avis office is right in the station).

I did find Cortona to have lots of tourists, but not too bad. Assisi was filled with hoards of tourists! So many that you couldn't even get an English language audio guide, all out, or barely walk down the street. It's still a beautiful town and the main objective there is seeing the churches/art in the churches, so the hoards didn't bother me too much.

Buon viaggio and do have some Sagrantino di Montefalco for me!
Dayle is offline  

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