Christmas in Umbria & NY in Rome!

Old Mar 8th, 2023, 07:52 AM
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Christmas in Umbria & NY in Rome!

Greetings all,

We are planning to spend Christmas 2023 in Umbria.

Arrive in Rome on Dec. 23rd and will drive to Umbria. We have some general plans but could really use some help from all the experienced travelers out there. H

We are thinking of staying in Orvieto or Perugia Dec. 23-25. Originally, we would have only stayed there on or two nights but since it's Christmas we want to be someplace that is lively and not completely shutdown. We would plan to do some day trips during that time, hoping something will be open.

Do you have any recommendations on Orvieto vs Perugia, especially during that time of year? Do you have any recommendations on which area to stay in either of those towns?

We will then drive to Spoleto and stay for 4 nights and do day trips from there. Do you have recommendations on what part of Spoleto to stay in?

We will then drive to Rome, drop the car off and stay in Rome for 3 nights, including new years!!!!

Very anxious to see what you think.

Thank you eveyrone.

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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 07:25 AM
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I've wanted to visit (or stay in) Gubbio at Christmas time. It looks like fun.

https://www.travelawaits.com/2836676...-gubbio-italy/

It's been a few years, but we've stayed at Hotel Piccolomini in Orvieto (without a car) and Hotel San Luca in Spoleto (with a car).
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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 11:38 AM
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Hello Jean, iíve responded twice and neither have postedÖ i hope this works. Thank you so much for the hotel suggestions. I will definitely check those out. I was starting to lose faith that anyone would reply.

Iím still trying to decide if perugia or orvieto would be best for christmas and then if we should have our second base location in spoleto or todi. We will have a car so we will be looking for car park.

We fly in and out of rome and will spend new years in rome. Do you think it makes a difference whether we go from rome to orvieto or perugia first and then spoleto or todi or the other way around.

So much to ponder and want to make it a special christmas trip. Love you recommendation for gubbio. Itís on the list now!!!

Thanks so much.
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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 12:46 PM
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We spent Christmas in London and New Yearís in Rome.
Be aware that Rome will be packed, mobbed with Italian tourists! Book your dining reservations ahead.
We didnít do the special Roman New Yearís Eve meals which began at 10:00pm. Weather was cold but sunny.
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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 12:49 PM
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Last year we spent New Year's Eve in Rome... well, I was very disappointed. Vandalism on the streets, almost zero fireworks, but lots of firecrackers and crazies...never again.
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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 12:49 PM
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If you have an interest, here is a link to our lengthy trip report on Umbria: Ultimate Umbria in 4 Weeks

Our trip was in the fall, not Christmas, but there are lots of photos and maybe something will click. Our first trip to Umbria was to Spoleto, and, although we stayed in a villa outside of town then, we would prefer a stay anywhere in the old town. The trip report was entirely based in beautiful Spello. And, while we loved Gubbio, it is not central to Umbria.
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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 01:09 PM
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Hi ciaociao, I've been trying to read my trip reports that cover Perugia and Orvieto and got stuck in the nicest way in the Spoleto one. We based in Perugia (Locanda della Posta hotel) once and in Spoleto another, and took a day trip to Orvieto from Spoleto! Also, we didn't drive but took trains to most, but a bus to Gubbio. Oh, our hotel hired a driver for Montepulciano and Montelcino.

Can anyone help about parking? If memory serves, there is a big public lot below the pedestrian area of Perugia. Orvieto is flat (once you get to the top) but smaller than Perugia. Our Spoleto hotel (Hotel Clitunno) was on a piazza that looked like a parking lot! No first-hand parking info.

Edited to write that unless you have horrible knees stay in Perugia.... but don't miss a look at Orvieto's gorgeous Duomo. Orvieto is about an hour from Rome.

Last edited by TDudette; Mar 9th, 2023 at 01:13 PM.
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Old Mar 10th, 2023, 08:42 AM
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Thank you all for you comments and cautions. We spent new years in rome in 2018 and it was just perfect. We always talk about it being our favorite of all time. It was very mellow out. We watched fireworks from the top of the Spanish steps. Now you have me thinking….When you have such a perfect experience, it never seems to be as good the second time around. Things do change. I hope we are lucky again. I will let you all know after the fact.

Really good advice about making dinner reservations early. If you have any favorites in Rome or any of the other locations I’ve mentioned, I’m all ears!

I think I read your trip report, whitehall, and took lots of notes but I’m going to re-read it. My brain is kind of saturated and everything is running together. I definitely want to go to Spello it sounds beautiful. I’m hoping we can go to Gubbio to see the lights and from what I’ve read, the largest Christmas tree in Italy or ???

TDudette, I know I read your trip report and made notes as well. I’m thinking maybe we will base in Perugia over Christmas. Because we will have a car, I just need to make sure we have nearby parking and can easily get in and out of town.

We can then move to Spoleto for a few more days before going to Rome. I have to check distances and nearby towns for Perugia and Spoleto. That’s my next task. Todi sounds like a pretty town but might not have as much to do in the evenings as Spoleto. I’ve read a lot of good things about Spoleto.

I will read through the trips reports again. If any of you have any favorite wineries, wine tours, etc. let me know. We were in Tuscany some time ago and visited Podere Il Casale, saw how they made cheese, beautiful grounds, lots of cows, sheep, goats, etc. then had a beautiful lunch. I did read about this
https://www.lifeitalianstyle.com/food-wine-tours.

OK, I think I’ve gone on enough for now. Look forward to getting more inside scoop. Thank you.

Well, I did forgot something else. I'm sure it's in my notes someplace but...We are looking for AirBnB because we need to 2 bedrooms and want to be in the hear of town close to restaurants. Also, need close parking. In Perugia, do you recommend a specific part of town to stay.

Last edited by ciaociao; Mar 10th, 2023 at 08:58 AM. Reason: addition
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Old Mar 10th, 2023, 09:39 AM
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Our daughter got married in Orvieto in 2019 so we have very fond memories of the town and environs. She organized 2 winery visits for guests - Decugnano dei Barbi and Madonna del Latte. We enjoyed both wineries immensely though due to time constraints (the bus got lost on our way to Decugnano dei Barbi) we didn't have as much time at Madonna del Latte as we would have liked. We enjoyed the hosts and wine at both locations.
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Old Mar 10th, 2023, 12:42 PM
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Hello Kiddo, wow, what a beautiful and memorable place for a wedding. Thanks for the wineries. I will check those out. Since it will be december and thereís no telling what the weather will be, I want to have a few plans (back up) for indoor activities if needed.

I think i need to stop reading posts. They are so great but iím getting myself confused. We are still not 100% on perugia or orvieto as one base. I think a lot will have to do with availability of accomodations BUTÖbased on some things iíve read iím questioning whether orvieto is a good base for day trips and if so, which towns are best.

I also thought we were settled on Spoleto as our second based and read similar comments about it not being such a great location for day trips. Although we love small, quaint towns, we like to stay where there is plenty of options for restaurants, shops, strolls, etc. we would prefer to have lunch in towns we day trip to but probably have dinners in the town we are staying in so we donít have to drive at night.

Your still slightly confused fellow traveler!!!
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Old Mar 10th, 2023, 01:31 PM
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I was just looking at a map of umbria. Maybe i’m not selecting the best base location while in umbria. We wanted to have two locations so we could experience evenings in two differfent towns that also afforded us the best vantage point for various day trips. Based on the map it looks like orvieto and spoleto are kind of on the same plain, meaning if we chose orvieto over perugia, spoleto might not be such a good 2nd base location. Am I on the right track? Sorry about all the questions….

I wonder if staying in Perugia and then moving to either Orvieto or Spoleto as next base makes more sense? Any comments or thoughts? Doh…. I would like to limit days trips to less than 1 hr. I think i’m completely confused about organizing days trips from base to base.

Last edited by ciaociao; Mar 10th, 2023 at 01:49 PM.
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Old Mar 10th, 2023, 03:21 PM
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I guess the sense you're looking for the perfect decision/s. Frankly, I don't think any of the towns mentioned would be "wrong," esp. as you aren't staying anywhere very long. You're not going to see everything in Umbria in 6 nights/5 days, so just prioritize your sightseeing and check driving distances. In addition to Gubbio, I'd also visit Assisi.

FWIW, I'm not an AirBnB user which can apparently/usually provide specific arrangements people want at the price they want to pay, but IMO it can also be limiting if you don't find exactly what you want where you want to stay. One advantage to hotels/B&Bs (esp. for short stays) is that you show up when it's convenient for you... no making arrangements to meet up with an owner/manager to get the keys, etc. Parking is something to investigate with both AirBnB and hotels/B&Bs.
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 08:41 AM
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Hi Jean,

Yes, you are right. I'm looking for the defacto answer(s). It's hard when you are the main person planning a family trip. You know what I mean. As you said, we probably can't go wrong though. Just go with the flow. When i look on-line at distances (rome to rio) the seem further than what is listed in Rick Steve's guide book. I'm thinking Perugia and Spoleto as bases but will do more research. I had been leaning toward Orvieto and Spoleto but I think they are too close together. Thanks again....
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 10:15 AM
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FWIW, not considering location and your plans, I prefer Orvieto over Perugia, but I haven't been to either in winter. If you want some contrast, Orvieto is much smaller than both Spoleto and esp. Perugia.

FWIW#2, if you decide not to stay in Orvieto, I wouldn't switch mid-week between Perugia and Spoleto. The drive between the two is about an hour by either main route, although driving away from Perugia can take some time depending on the lodging location. Some people find driving into/out of Perugia a real challenge. For easy ingress/egress I'd pick Spoleto (particularly the Hotel San Luca I mentioned above). As you search for lodging, check locations vis-a-vis the town's ZTL and the parking options.
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 12:22 PM
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Jean, you are such a great sounding board. Thanks again. Wow, i was off base, i thought Orvieto was bigger than Spoleto. It looks like Orvieto is 50 miles from Spoleto. Does that sound right? I was thinking Perugia was maybe the size of Bologna but not sure. I promise not to be a total pain...
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 12:46 PM
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I would have to check, but Perugia is no way as big/populated as Bologna.

Okay, just Googled 2022: Bologna population 800,000+; Perugia: 136,000+; Orvieto, 19,000+; Spoleto: 38,000. These figures probably include folks living outside city/town borders.

I think it depends on what you want. I probably wouldn't want to stay in a postage-stamp size town in the dead of winter for more than a night or two. But that's me.

Last edited by Leely2; Mar 11th, 2023 at 12:51 PM.
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 01:15 PM
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Hi leely2, thnks for putting the size in perspective for me. Maybe i need to step away and come back. I know im over thinking this. We would like to see orvieto, todi, spoleto, spello, bevagna, montevalco. I think. Gubbio: assissi, perugia seem further away unless we base in perugia. I dont know what traffic will be like at christmas or getting in and out of perugia. Weve been to rome many times so we could even do a day trip via train to assisi or ? I know , take a deep breath and just go for it 😘. I do like the idea oF having two bases so we can get familiar with two towns in the evenings and during the day.

really appreciate everyones patience, time, and input
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 01:34 PM
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FWIW, I have done overnights in Assisi from Rome via public transportation a couple times--once was NYE. I've done a day trip to Orvieto from Rome via train and another time we stopped to visit Orvieto by car on our way to Spello (from Rome). That trip we stayed in Spello for five nights and drove easily to Spoleto, Bevagna, Assisi, Montefalco, and some other places I can't remember. We didn't go up to Gubbio or Perugia, though.
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 01:41 PM
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"Dead of winter" except that it's the Christmas/NY holiday period which could make any of these towns/cities a bit more lively/interesting if traditional events/customs have been restarted post-pandemic. It's worth researching...

Orvieto holds a jazz festival starting Dec. 28th. Berklee College has been affilliated with the festival for decades. If that's of interest, you might want to stay in Orvieto after your other stop.

https://www.umbriajazz.it/en/umbria-jazz-winter/
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean View Post
"Dead of winter" except that it's the Christmas/NY holiday period which could make any of these towns/cities a bit more lively/interesting if traditional events/customs have been restarted post-pandemic. It's worth researching...
Good point. The year we spent NYE in Assisi there was basically a giant town party with illuminations, music, dancing in the piazza...it's sort of hard to describe, but it was hopping. Restaurant reservations 100% necessary!
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