Aaah...Umbria!

Aug 21st, 2014, 09:53 AM
  #1  
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Aaah...Umbria!

Greetings all - We will be staying in Orvieto the last 2 weeks of October, and would like to make a couple side trips into the beautiful Umbrian countryside. We've been to Assisi, Todi, and lovely Spello, and are now considering Perugia, Foligno, Spoleto, the Cascata delle Marmore...any recommendations for great towns to visit, or just scenic rides? Yes, I know, all the routes in that area are scenic, each town sweeter than the last, but still, we'd love to hear your favorites. We're also interested in great Roman ruins. Grazie!
Maria_G is offline  
Aug 21st, 2014, 10:37 AM
  #2  
 
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If you are interested in considering places not in Umbria but within the same driving distance (approximately) or less, I would suggest Bolsena (on Lago di Bolsena, a spectacular volcanic lake), Montefiascone (also on Lago di Bolsena), and Pitigliano. Also, in the area around Viterbo, there are numerous springs and some ruins of Roman baths.
mama_mia is offline  
Aug 21st, 2014, 11:14 AM
  #3  
Ian
 
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The ruins of Carsulae - just north of San Gemini are well worth a stop.

Ian
Ian is offline  
Aug 21st, 2014, 11:52 AM
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I based in Perugia and loved it - not your quintessential hill town but a lively real workaday hill city - still very old looking - I would put that near the top of my list.

Cortona is a more quintessential hill town - it too exudes old-worldishness to the hilt. Gubbio was a favorite too - and a bit farther afield Urbino.

Montepulciano is not far - another iconic hill town- on a different note Chianciano Terme in the old hill town of Chianciano is very different - a spiffy spa town where folks, many on their last legs it seems, come to take the cure for their aging bones - lush campus-like setting justapositioned with ancient hill town looming high above.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 21st, 2014, 12:56 PM
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I second the suggestions of Montepulciano and Gubbio. While Gubbio at almost 2 hours each way is a bit far for my idea of a day-trip, there are the ruins of a Roman amphitheater at the bottom of the town next to the main parking lot. In the Tuscany direction, after Montepulciano, you could circle back to Orvieto by way of Pienza and/or San Quirico. We also enjoyed the already-mentioned Pitigliano and towns on/near Lago di Balseno.

As for pleasant drives, we liked the secondary road between Acquasparta (south of Todi) and Spoleto: SS418. Also, the maze of smaller roads between Spoleto and the area of Montefalco/Bevagna/Bastardo. In Bevagna you can view the beautiful mosaic floor of a Roman bath. When we visited, access to the Roman bath and the interior of the town's opera house was provided by the Tourist Info Office. Bevagna has a ZTL, so watch for the signs.
Jean is offline  
Aug 24th, 2014, 01:47 PM
  #6  
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Mama_Mia - funny you mentioned Bolsena - my Dad was born & raised in little Bolsena, I know it well, and we always spend time there. I still have family around the lake, & we always save time to visit the towns on that side of Orvieto. Likewise we've been to Montepulciano, Montalcino (we'll be there again for the festival of the Thrushes!), Pitigliano, & on up through Tuscany. We dearly love going "home", but each trip we also like to see at least one place we've not been to before.

PalenQ - Chianciano Terme is now on our list! We fell in love with the outdoor baths in Saturnia, & will now give these a try.

Ian - Carsulae - thanks!

Jean - thanks for the tip on Bevagna, & the SS418 sounds perfect. Grazie tutti!
Maria_G is offline  
Aug 24th, 2014, 04:45 PM
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Have a wonderful trip and please write a trip report!

Here's my trip report for that area in case you are interested. Spoleto was our huge favorite base but mostly because of our hotel:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ellagio-tr.cfm

FWIW, here's Perugia as base:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...in-and-bus.cfm

Both TRs are long but maybe the info will be helpful.
TDudette is offline  
Aug 24th, 2014, 05:14 PM
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It's been years, but I really enjoyed Gubbio.
Leely2 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2014, 05:17 PM
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P.s. I finally made a day trip to Orvieto from Rome last month and loved it. Are you staying in town for two weeks? I'd like to read your impressions of using Orvieto as a base when you return.

Have a wonderful trip!
Leely2 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2014, 05:51 PM
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If you are going to Perugia with a car then visiting the Hypogeum of the Volumnus family (Etruscan tomb) and the adjacent necropolis that is about 5 kms outside the historic center of Perugia is very much worthwhile.

http://www.perugiacittamuseo.it/en/test-inglese.html

On the day that you visit the Cascata you could stop by Bomarzo if you've never been. And you could include seeing the Roman bridge of Augustus just outside of Narni.

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/...idge/home.html
sandralist is offline  
Aug 24th, 2014, 09:52 PM
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Just went to Gubbio yesterday (also Spoleto). Gubbio was really something, but you must go to the top of the town for the full effect. Lots of up and down! Spoleto is also an axcellent choice. Go up to the fortress, see the Roman Aquaduct.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2014, 09:51 AM
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Hi simpsonc510,

Would a day trip be enough to see Gubbio? How is the parking situation?
I am beginning to plan a trip to Umbria. I am a little confused where to base ourselves.

Thank you
cafegoddess is offline  
Aug 25th, 2014, 10:19 AM
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We did a nice day trip to Gubbio from Spoleto in 2011. A perfect day trip. My other nominee is Perugia. Very neat little city. It is a university town, and you get that vibe from it. Have a big lunch at Osteria Lanterna. It was one of our top meals during a month in Italy. Just went back to my old trip report. sigh. We had two weeks in Umbria and it was heavenly. http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...m#last-comment that's the link to the TR. I do mention our top restaurants, there and while it was 3 years ago, I suspect they are still good
Drink lots of Montefalco Rosso and Sagrantino for me.

Pictures are here: https://dianestevespreadtheirwings.shutterfly.com Scroll to the bottom for the 144 from Umbria. (Not a bad job of editing those down, I know we had over a thousand!)
uhoh_busted is offline  
Aug 25th, 2014, 01:37 PM
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@cafegoddess, I was in your shoes a few months ago and ultimately chose to stay in Spello (for a week this coming May). There are a number of past threads that touch on the merits of basing in such places as Spello, Spoleto, Perugia, Montefalco, Assisi and Bevagna--to name just some of the options. Hopefully, the can help you decide. For us, it came dome to the ease of parking, getting into and out of the town, public transport to and from a Rome, the proximity of some of the other towns we want to visit, and accommodation choices. We also knew we wanted to stay in town versus and a more rural setting. But in the end, I don't know that you can go too wrong. Admittedly, we likely won't day trip as far as Gubbio, but there are certainly lots of other options less far afield. We also really wanted to stay put for a full week, in part because many rentals require it. But we could have split our time between the northern and southern Umbria without difficulty.

Good luck with your planning!
indyhiker is offline  
Aug 25th, 2014, 01:48 PM
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I loved Trevi. Bevagna was such an enchanting little town, I am going back to get a better look in November. I went to Spoleto in April and just loved the city and especially the Duomo with the amazing frescos by Fra Lippi (the last of his life). I stayed at the Palazzo Leti while I was there and while it has its charms, I would probably not stay there again as the rooms were a little stifling.
Tiggy22 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2014, 02:16 PM
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Hi indyhiker,

I think we will stay in Rome for 10 days, pick-up a car, head to Orvieto explore the area, them head towards Gubbio. Fly out of Florence. We are going in January so hopefully there will still be lots of truffles left.

I am concern about parking in Orvieto and Gubbio, hopefully it will not be too bad.
cafegoddess is offline  
Aug 26th, 2014, 02:28 PM
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Parking will be fine but I think you should more concerned about January weather if you are planning a long drive to Gubbio from Orvieto and from Gubbio to Florence. Road conditions are fine if it is dry and above freezing but that is not a guarantee in January. You will need to be flexible about your driving plans.

I am not the huge fan of Gubbio that other people are so I am not sure I would make a project out of seeing it in the shortest days of the year. Between Orvieto and Florence there is no end of beautiful hilltowns and art cities. You will be zooming past wonderful places to get to a supposedly "better hilltown. I would go by mood and take some chances on off the beaten track towns.

If your travel dates are for very early January then you need to be aware of the big music festival in Orvieto. If you plan extensive driving in rural areas with hills in winter then you also need to make sure that any car you rent has the rent kind of snow tires or chains. They are required by law in many parts of Tuscany and Umbria between Nov and Feb.

White truffles may be fading out of season by January. Before you pay a lot for them be sure you get some guidance. Usually it is possible in early winter to find truffles in some of the better restaurants of Rome (most of them from Piemonte which has better truffles than Umbria anyway).
sandralist is offline  
Aug 26th, 2014, 04:04 PM
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@cafegoddess, what do you hope to tour from Orvieto? Depending on what other towns/areas in Umbria you want to see, you might find that Orvieto isn't the best base. Especially in winter, I might want to pick a town that has better train connections to other areas of Umbria. But in saying that, it really depends on what, specifically, you'd like to see and do.
indyhiker is offline  
Aug 26th, 2014, 04:04 PM
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Orvieto-Gubbio-Florence in one day??? That's well over 4 hours of driving under the best of circumstances!

cafegoddess, I liked Gubbio a lot. Beautiful views from several spots, some charming shops and restaurants, an interesting mix of architecture from different periods, the Roman amphitheater, etc., but would I drive over 4 hours on a January day just to spend a few hours there? Nope.
Jean is offline  
Aug 26th, 2014, 10:48 PM
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Thank you Sandralist, indihiker and Jean

Our trip is for five weeks, we are thinking of spending three weeks in Umbria, one week in Rome and one week in Florence. I want to spend one week in Orvieto to see Todi, Spoleto, and Trevi. From there I want to move to Perugia for another week and go to Assisi and Cortona. Then on to Gubbio for one week, and finish the trip in Florence.

We both have driven in snow, so I don't think it will be a problem but definitely something to consider. I might move this trip for Spring instead. I am working in Asia right now and will discuss all your comments with my husband tonight.

Thank you again for the inputs and suggestions, it is very much appreciated.
cafegoddess is offline  

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