Assisi or Orvieto

Jul 21st, 2008, 11:37 AM
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Assisi or Orvieto

Which of these two cities in Italy would you recommend visiting and why?

We will be in Florence traveling to Rome by train and will stopover in either Assisi or Orvieto for 2 nights and would like some opinions of others who have been there. Thanks.

bratsandbeer is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 11:44 AM
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Personally, I'd pick Assisi. Both are worthwhile, but Assisi has so much to offer and two days would be a nice way to enjoy it. Make sure to go into some of the smaller churches, I found that I could grasp their beauty easier - and they were usually empty. There are lots of shops and excellent restaurants - we found that the best food was away from the 'madding crowds'. It's a great place to wander, while you do take a peek at how everyday Italians live.

I also liked Orvieto, but thought it was appropriate for a daytrip.
rickmav is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 12:21 PM
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Just so hard to tell other people's stamina for art-viewing in churches vs. the chance to simply let it all drop and hang out in Italy for a breather in a beautiful spot.

If I were going to Orvieto for two days coming out of Firenze, I'd probably pick a pretty agriturismo just outside the town in the countryside, and slip into town for lunch and to stare at the cathedral, but otherwise just relax (and drink Orvieto!) before heading to Roma.

But, I've actually got a lot of stamina for art-viewing -- it's the main reason I live in Italy, and the chance to spread out Assisi over two days would certainly appeal to me more than a day trip in. That's for sure. I would get up early each day to get into the super-famous sites (or wait until they are just about to close) and otherwise spend my time in the less-known corners. And I'd book myself right in town.

They are just two very different experiences but, whether you see it on this trip or not, the cathedral of Orvieto is truly an astonishing work of art. Try to see it sometime, even if you only have a few hours, but I don't think I'd want to tack it on to Assisi unless you just can't stand the place and end up bailing early. In that case, have lunch there on your way to Roma.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 12:22 PM
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I'm just the opposite. I've stayed in Orvieto three times now, and have made day trips to other places, including Assisi. Orvieto has a lot to offer, IMO.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 12:37 PM
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We go for the artwork and architecture. We stay on the go - we can sit around at home.

We do have accommodations at Hotel Berti in Assisi.
Orvieto is a wine?

We love visiting the wineries in Napa Valley California but without a car it is difficult to visit any Italian wineries. October should be a beautiful month to see the color of the vineyards.

Thanks for all the info.
bratsandbeer is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 01:12 PM
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Orvieto is also a wine. A white wine.

It's very often sold in the US. You will surely be able to drink it Roma, and perhaps Assisi as well. Goes well with vegetarian food! (I tend to think one should eat vegetarian in the home of St. Francis, but the Umbrians aren't so strict.)
zeppole is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 01:32 PM
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Please try for both.
We spent more time walking in Assisi (but it is about 3 times larger than Orvieto). Both towns' Duomo's are too amazing to miss. We were based in Spoleto and easily took trains to each town (on diff days).
Each town is a different color because of the stones used. Assisi is hillier; Orvieto is at the top of the hill and is flatter. Orvieto has interesting underground tour. Assisi has ruin at its top and other churches to see.
Please let everyone know what you finally do!

TDudette is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 01:39 PM
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Hi bratsandbeer,

We visited both towns in April--two nights in Orvieto and three in Assisi.

We really enjoyed both, for many of the reasons others have mentioned.

However, if we could return to only one of them, it would be Orvieto.

I know you will have a wonderful visit to either.

Byrd is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 02:00 PM
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We preferred Orvieto to Assisi. The Orvieto cathedral in the late afternoon sun is incomparable.
Michael is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 04:25 PM
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Thanks for the info. From what you have written either Assisi or Orvieto will be a great place to visit. And the Orvieto white wine sounds wonderful. I will definitely try it.

We are planning on Assisi but zeppole threw out the idea of Orvieto and it sounded very interesting. We may change our minds before we leave or put it on for the next trip.

Will let you know.
bratsandbeer is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 05:26 PM
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We visited both and although we liked Orvieto just fine my personal preference would be Assisi. I can't really explain why; I just found the town more appealing and prettier. We really enjoyed wandering around Assisi at night, after all the daytrippers left. It takes on a completely different feel, although I'm sure the same could be said for Orvieto.

This question has been asked before and it seems like when all is said and done it's just about cut down the middle as we each have our own preference. Honestly, you can't go wrong either way. Flip a coin!

tcreath is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 05:57 PM
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I loved Assisi but didn't have the same feeling about Orvieto, which was disappointing to me as I'd really looked forward to seeing it. I can only put it down to Orvieto being a town full of dark gray buildings and that color seems oppresive to me. Assisi, on the other hand, was light and pale and soothing. Go figure.
mermaid_ is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 06:17 PM
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While I've not yet experienced Orvieto, I have had the pleasure of touring Assisi. I liked what tc said about Assisi after the sun sets and the daytrippers have departed. It is indeed a different place, much more subdued and ideal for an after-dinner stroll. From your elevated vantage point, look down upon the Umbrian countryside and be thankful you're on holiday. Also, by all means don't miss the Basilica of St. Francis. Yes, it can be tourist trampled, but it also one of the true artistic highlights of Italy. Stay overnight in Assisi, and following breakfast walk to the Basilica, well before the tour buses arrive, and enjoy some solitude in a magnificent setting.

Best of luck.
ExplorerB is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 07:00 PM
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Depending on when you are going, Hotel Berti has a lovely little garden/reception area with bistro tables overlooking one of the old gates. It's a great place to sip a glass of wine and watch the local action while resting your feet. We found that between the two, Assisi has a few more interesting destinations for our nightly strolls and as an added benefit, there's much more art.

If you decide on Orvieto, don't miss the trip to the bottom of the well. It was interesting to see how it was built and used through the years.

As for the wine, when we returned from Italy we placed an order with our local wine store, they have now been stocking it regularly for the last two years. Yep, it's that good.

anniemackie is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 07:39 PM
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Assisi to me is a top destination, historically important and a huge center of spiritual life. There is absolutely nothing like the cathedral, and the many sites connected to San Francesco and Santa Chiara (St Clair). The Eremo di San Francesco is... well, I'm afraid there is nothing comparable for spiritual inspiration and historical relegious importance in Orvieto.

Orvieto is a nice town, but Assisi is an important landmark in Christian, Umbrian and Italian history and art. I would pick Assisi.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 11:10 PM
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Orvieto's a lovely place to stay in (or near): not least because there really isn't that much there to attract lots of other people. Great - but not really outstanding - cathedral and nice buzzy atmosphere in the streets (from Orvietans shopping: not crocodiles of tourists gawping). And several really stunning, hard to find in any guidebook, little churches in its sidestreets.

Assisi's a major religious pilgrimage centre and the basilica houses some of the western world's greatest (and most historically significant) art. Practically always crowded, often (to my mind) downright unpleasant - but the basilica really has to be seen.

Assisi's also a much messier train journey. Orvieto's on the direct Rome-Florence line (though you need the funicular to get up to the city from Orvieto Scalo, where the train stops): Assisi most certainly isn't and you're likely to have to change trains to get from Rome to Assisi, and may even have to change trains to get from Assisi to Florence.

Major, but choked, World Heritage site? Or pleasant, easily accessible, modest-sized town?

Your call .
flanneruk is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 04:04 PM
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My experiences -

Orvieto - May 2000, stayed 3 nts and did day trips from there with a car. We (friends and I) just loved Orvieto! When we visited, it was very untouristed. Enjoyed the duomo, the well, the underground cave tour, the Etruscan museum and archeological excavation below town. Loved the art galleries, shops and restaurants (great dining) and especially the Orvieto Classico. Day trips were to Todi and Deruta, afternoon in Civita di Bagnoreggio.
Easy parking in the car park and town access. Dropped car there and caught a train to Cinque Terre.

Assisi - 2005, solo trip. Had planned to visit enroute between Gubbio and Spello, but due to unsatisfactory hotel in Gubbio, ended up staying 1 nt in Assisi. Beautiful large city, hoards of tourists, mostly day trippers and tour groups. Couldn't get an English audioguide - all sold out! Basilica crowded and amazing, where I finally (end of 3 wk trip) hit art overload and my eyes crossed. Granted this was after the night of no sleep in Gubbio. Had to go back the next morning and finish the lower level. Lots of religious knic knac shops, not my thing. Loved the churches. Had a great meal outside the walls at a restaurant recommended by my hotel. Much more quiet at night with day trippers gone, as with most hilltowns.

Stayed in Spello - 2 nights. Loved tiny beautiful flower-filled Spello - but you need a car. Near enough to Assisi for a 10 minutes drive. No tourists, fabulous views.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you want hotel and restaurant names.
Dayle is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 06:36 PM
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Thank you. Restaurant names in Assisi would be nice to have.
bratsandbeer is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2008, 07:06 PM
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I had dinner at my hotel owner's recommendation: Paradiso de la Terme. A family run and locals type ristorante. Very nice, great service, excellent regional food. Decent prices, but that was 3 years ago!

It would be a bit of a walk out the Porto Nuovo gate, or a short taxi ride. Only because it's downhill from town. You know how those hilltowns are!
Dayle is offline  

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