Best Towns in Tuscany/Umbria

Oct 9th, 2005, 12:08 PM
  #1  
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Best Towns in Tuscany/Umbria

I've been scouring these postings for the last few weeks and inhaling all of the great information from you veteran travelers. There are so many recommendations for so many towns that I'm having a hard time deciding which ones to visit. We'll be spending next week at a small house on Lake Trasimeno (first time to Italy) and need to make some decisions. We will definitely spend some time in Florence, Siena, and Assisi but need some help picking the best of the rest. What would be your TOP 3 picks from the following:
Arezzo
Civita di Bagnoregio
Cortona
Greve
Gubbio
Montalcino
Montepulciano
Orvieto
Perugia
Pienza
San Gimignano
Spello
Spoleto
Urbino
Volterra
Any above that are not worth it too?
Looking forward to your advice and even others not considered so far. fc
fwcrawford is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 12:25 PM
  #2  
 
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Get out your map and you will see that several of these may be too far to be feasible. From that location I would not miss Cortona, Orvieto, and Montepulciano. Have fun !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 12:57 PM
  #3  
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Thanks Bob, the god of navigators. You have been a treasure of valuable info.
Are any of these towns listed more than 2 hours by car? According to a mapping website, No. But these sites are prone to errors.
Thanks again.
fwcrawford is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 01:16 PM
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From your list, I would pick Montepulciano, Orvieto, and Perugia.

But I'd rather take Other Cities for $800, Alex. I'd add in Montefalco, San Sisto, and Castiglione del Lago. San Sisto is an industrial suburb of Perugia that is generally irrelevant for the tourist, EXCEPT for the Perugina Chocolate Factory. San Sisto can obviously be combined in a trip to Perugia. Montefalco has the best wine in all of Italy -- even better than Brunello -- in Sagrantino di Montefalco and it has an awesome view of the Valle Umbra (the central valley in Umbria, from Perugia to Spoleto). Castiglione del Lago is going to be near where you're staying on Lake Trasimeno.
tdyls is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 01:22 PM
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I'm not (yet) a 'god' but I'll volunteer these thoughts anyway...

When you go to Orvieto, make time for nearby Civita.

When you go to Montepulciano and Pienza, make time for Monticchiello and Bagno Vignoni.

When you do to Montalcino, make time for S. Quirico (underrated IMO) and Sant'Antimo.

I enjoyed Trevi more than I did Spello. Corciano is nice.
TuckH is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 02:14 PM
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Since I haven't been to many of the towns you mention, it's hard to pick a top 3, but I have been to Pienza and San Gimignano and loved both of them despite the fact they felt completely touristy. But the views from the top of the highest tower in San G were spectacular and Pienza was delightful.
artlover is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 03:36 PM
  #7  
RJD
 
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Gubbio was pleasant, very hilly, but not too touristy. Some great views from the plaza on the hill in front of the cathederal Enjoyed that. Urbino may be too far for a day trip, but it has the finest of all the early renaissance castles. Raphael's father decorated it and it is a delight. Read about the Duke de Montefeltro before you go.
RJD is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 04:54 PM
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Hi FW,

Wow, it's very hard to choose. I have not been to Arezzo, Perugia, Spoleto, or Urbino, but I've been to all the others.

My top picks would be:

Orvieto and Civita
Montalcino (must include Sant' Antimo & hopefully dinner at Grappolo Blu)
San Gimignano

Spello is very close to Assisi. I loved Spello too!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 05:41 PM
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If you are going to go to Orvieto, which we really liked, go to Civita. It was worthwhile and interesting. Beautiful!
Gree65 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 07:05 PM
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From all the towns you listed, Orvieto was one of my favorite towns to visit. I wouldn't hesitate to go back. San Gim was another one. If I had to choose between these two it would be Orvieto.



nancy is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 08:28 PM
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If you are art lovers, the National Gallery of Umbria in Perugia is one of the finest museums I've been to, and I go to a lot of art museums. I don't quite understand why Perugia isn't more popular. I think it is a great small city.

Also for art, the Piero della Francesca frescos in the church of St Francis in Arezzo are among the world's greatest art treasures. I think Arezzo is an incredibly interesting town, with great food, art, shopping, history, architecture and more. If you are near there on the fist Sunday or preceeding Saturday, of the month, the antiques fair is a treat.

I like Montalcino better than Montepulciano, but not many agree. I think Montalcino has a lot more charm.

Love Spello, but one doesn't need to spend an entire day there. Good restaurants.

Someone else suggested San Quirico d'Orcia, and I agree. Great little town with residents that seem to me to be friendlier to tourists than those I meet in other nearby towns. And while in the neighborhood, of course you must see Sant Antimo and Bagno Vignoni. At Bagno Vignoni, the restaurant La Palapa is great: casual, well priced and delicious.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 05:28 AM
  #12  
 
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This one too...

When you go to San Gimignano, make time for nearby Monteriggioni.
TuckH is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 06:18 AM
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I certainly agree with what Tuck has said. The longest drive would be Volterra, which naturally fits with San Gim. But, none are more than 2 hours if that is your travel radius. Be sure to include the 2 abbeys if you can. I would start that day at St.Antimo, then Montalcino, and end at Oliveto Maggiore on your way home.
bobthenavigator is offline  

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