Christmas in Umbria & NY in Rome!

Old Mar 12th, 2023, 01:14 PM
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Thank you from the bottom of my heart to each of you. I did it. We are staying in Perugia over Christmas (4 nights) on Corso Pietro Vannucci. It is supposed to be in city center. If you have any comments, please let me know. I'm thinking we can visit Spello, Bevagna, and Montefalco from Perugia???? Does anyone have any recommendations for Christmas Eve dinner in Perugia? Through other posts i read about the Fendi winery, Sandri pastries, talmone chocolate.

We will then move on to Spoleto for 4 nights staying in the historic center. I'm thinking we can visit Todi, Orvieto and maybe Norcia from Spoleto. Any restaurant recommendations? I read in other posts: Tric Trac bar, Il Capanno, Salumeria Padrichelli, Forno Panificio Santini, ???

Always anxious to hear back from you. That's all I've got for now. Ciao!
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Old Mar 12th, 2023, 01:46 PM
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Will you be able to park at/near your hotel inside the Perugia ZTL?
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Old Mar 12th, 2023, 04:24 PM
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Hi Jean,

We are renting an airbnb. This is what they said about parking. "park at Parking Saba in Piazza Partigiani, and then take the escalators to get close to our apartment".
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Old Mar 12th, 2023, 09:28 PM
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Late to this thread, but I would have advised the larger Perugia over the small but lovely Orvieto.

The escalators will take you up to the ancient city centre; at one end of this main street is the place where busses stop and a hotel I would have recommended if you were staying in one, Hotel Brufani Palace. You might consider a nice dinner there too (again, gorgeous views, and we've had lovely meals there). It sounds like your air b&b is in the lower part of town; the ancient centre is more more appealing to spend time. At the other end of Corso Vanucci is, if memory serves, a city hall, an Etruscan well, and a small chapel with a Raphael painting. Also a museum on the main street there.

In addition to escalators, there is a mini-metro, with little cars that take you to and from the train station in the lower part of town, mentioning in case you end up taking the train to another town.

In Umbria we also like Assisi and Spello as well as Orvieto; we also love Umbrian cuisine.

I absolutely love the views from Perugia, and love the passagiata or late afternoon/evening stroll along the Corso.

Haven't been there at Christmas time and look forward to your trip report! We are going to Milan/Turin, Basel, Strasbourg, London and Paris this Christmas, but your thread almost makes me wish we were on our way back to Umbria!

BTW have you watched the UK series Signora Volpe? It's set in Umbria (Panicale).

Have a wonderful time!

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Old Mar 13th, 2023, 07:11 AM
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Hello Ann,

Better late than never. Really good feedback. I looed at Hotel Brufani and it looks lovely. We will need two rooms so I need to see how that comes out in terms of costs. It looks like it could definitely be a possibility. The don’t show pictures of the connecting room option but everything looks beautiful. I appreciate the comment about the ancient city being more desirable than the lower part of town. That’s always the most difficult thing to nail down when staying someplace for the first time. I found a nice Airbnb that says in in the old town. The reviewers comment about it being in the historical of Perugia. I don’t have the address but it looks like it might near Piazza IV Novembre. Im going to see how far that is from Hotel Brufani just to get an idea of location. Does that sound like it might be better situation if Brufani doesn’t work? Dinner at Hotel Brufani sounds perfect for a what we are looking for. Thank you!!!

We are really excited to visit this part of Italy. Believe it or not, we are thinking of Milan, Turn, and Piedmonte wine region (not sure about the weather though) next Christmas. I will be anxious to hear about your trip as well. I haven’t heard of Signora Volpe but I think I remember reading about it in one of the Fodor posts. It may have been yours.

I just love this forum. I’m soaking up any and all feedback. Mille Grazie. Have a wonderful time on your trip as well!

BTW, we are staying on Via Salara Vecchia in Spoleto. Are you familiar with that area at all?

Last edited by ciaociao; Mar 13th, 2023 at 07:37 AM.
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Old Mar 13th, 2023, 08:18 AM
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Hi Ciao, we haven't made it to Spoleto yet, so no feedback, will be interested in your experience there.
if the air b&b is in the area near the Piazza, then it seems like it will be in or near the ancient center; that's at the other end of Corso Vanucci (which I think is the main drag, pedestrianized) from Hotel Brufani. I think what confused me a little was the escalators, but maybe you were supposed to take them from where you parked the car to the air b&b? I'll go back and re-read the earlier posts. Ancient centre is definitely more desirable than the newer and lower parts of town IMO.

The enormous city walls are amazing; Perugia is great for walking IME. Inside the escalator near the Brufani Palace end are some shops. I don't recall other escalators but sounds like there is one near Piazza XIV Novembre. Here's a link to some info:
https://turismo.comune.perugia.it/pagine/escalators
I should add that these are not obvious; we completely missed them on our first visit.

On one trip I was there during the Amanda Knox murder trial, with a ton of media outside the building waiting for updates.

On one visit with friends we did go to the Perugina chocolate factory; it was fun to see but I'd prefer time in a sidewalk cafe on the main drag, an Etruscan cultural site, or a side trip to a nearby town.

You may know this but the University is a bit away from the centre, a different train stop. OK hope you enjoy your continued planning! I will see what else I have from our time there.



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Old Mar 13th, 2023, 08:32 AM
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I'm not positive, but Via Salara Vecchia in Spoleto may be inside the town's ZTL. If that's the case, you wouldn't be able to drive to the door. (It's not far from the Hotel San Luca where we have stayed.) Has the AirB&B advised where to park? It could be a hike... This is the downside of many/most AirB&Bs, and it will add to your travel times whenever you use the car. (Make sure everyone can carry their own luggage!) I don't know about Perugia, but not all of the escalators in Spoleto operate very late into the evening.
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Old Mar 13th, 2023, 10:09 AM
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Jean! you are a life saver! This is the one we booked but Iím thinking of canceling due to location. Hereís what the owner said about parking, etc. Don't worry about parking, there are several solutions , you can for example park at Parking Saba in Piazza Partigiani, and then take the escalators to get close to our apartment. Once you won't need the car anymore, we are in the heart of downtown , on the main course, everything will be close. From the escalators about 130 meters. If you want, you can also park temporarily in Piazza Italia , put your luggage down and then comfortably go to put the car in the parking lot (1 person can only go) . This will be even more comfortable , Piazza Italia is 100 m from the apartment.

The other Airbnb just says its right in the center of the old town. These are comments from people that have stayed there. The only issue with this one is you have to cancel 30 days in advance to get a full refund. This is a little unusual for airbnb. We arenít planning on canceling but you never know what can happen. 2 minutes walk from the centre of the city. The location was fantastic- very close to the main squares. You just had to turn right and right again on an incline (good way to get you active first thing in the morning!) and you're on Corso Vannucci. Lots of bars, cafes, restaurants and sights within easy walking distance. just a short walk up the hill & we were in the centre of the historic part of town.
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Old Mar 13th, 2023, 01:03 PM
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Me again, I did a google map directions from the airbnb to the hotel just to see the location. Google maps said it was 2 minutes from the hotel. I will have to double check that again to make sure it's correct. If so, we may be ok?????
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Old Mar 13th, 2023, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ciaociao View Post
Jean! you are a life saver! This is the one we booked but Iím thinking of canceling due to location. Hereís what the owner said about parking, etc. Don't worry about parking, there are several solutions , you can for example park at Parking Saba in Piazza Partigiani, and then take the escalators to get close to our apartment. Once you won't need the car anymore, we are in the heart of downtown , on the main course, everything will be close. From the escalators about 130 meters. If you want, you can also park temporarily in Piazza Italia , put your luggage down and then comfortably go to put the car in the parking lot (1 person can only go) . This will be even more comfortable , Piazza Italia is 100 m from the apartment.

The other Airbnb just says its right in the center of the old town. These are comments from people that have stayed there. The only issue with this one is you have to cancel 30 days in advance to get a full refund. This is a little unusual for airbnb. We arenít planning on canceling but you never know what can happen. 2 minutes walk from the centre of the city. The location was fantastic- very close to the main squares. You just had to turn right and right again on an incline (good way to get you active first thing in the morning!) and you're on Corso Vannucci. Lots of bars, cafes, restaurants and sights within easy walking distance. just a short walk up the hill & we were in the centre of the historic part of town.
Uh... all of these references seem to relate to Perugia about which I'm less familiar than Spoleto. The owner's comments in the first paragraph imply you'd park the car and not use it until you leave, but I believe you were planning to explore Umbria almost every day. The walk from Parcheggio Saba to Corso Vanucci would probably take 15-20 minutes (x2 each time you drove out of town). Also, from our singular experience driving into Perugia, the option of driving to Piazza Italia and then driving to Parcheggio Saba isn't exactly simple. Perugia has so many one-way streets. Plug those destinations into maps.google.com to see what I mean. However, P. Saba does seem to have easy/quick access to the road/s taking you out of town.

I think almost anytime an AirB&B says it's "right in the center of the old town" it will be inside the ZTL which IMO can add to the daily logistics and petty annoyances, esp. if you plan to drive/explore most days.
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Old Mar 13th, 2023, 11:14 PM
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I'm no help re: the parking/driving in Perugla since we only took trains after our first trip there. If you have the apt address I could see if I can figure out the route. From their description it does sound close to the main street (and most everything in the ancient centre connects to it or to a parallel street). Indeed, Corso Vanucci has plenty of options.

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Old Mar 15th, 2023, 06:57 AM
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Hi everyone,

Thanks again for all the input. I got side lined with the stomach bug. Still on the mend.

Ann Ė thank you so much. Iím starting to re-think the Perugia part of our trip. It sounds like driving in and out of town is a mess so maybe we spend our time in Peugia only and not do any trips. Of course, then we have the car for moving on to Spoleto to visit and do day trips from there. If so, we could take the train from Rome to Perugia and not get a car until we leave Perugia. BUTÖ.i donít know how easy it will be to get an ďautomaticĒ car rental in Perugia. Iím sure the supply is limited.

In Perugia this is the Airbnb, however, it doesnít say itís in the ancient city, instead it says itís in the heart of the old town. the address is:

Corso Pietro Vannucci, 71, Perugia. There is another Airbnb that lists itself in the ancient city so I could cancel by existing reservation and grab that one. I wonít get the specific address until we book though.

Comment From the Airbnb about parking:

Don't worry about parking, there are several solutions , you can for example park at Parking Saba in Piazza Partigiani, and then take the escalators to get close to our apartment. Once you won't need the car anymore, we are in the heart of downtown , on the main course, everything will be close !

Jean, thanks for the comments about Spoleto. Sorry, I got your Spoleto comments mixed up with Perugia. Spoleto Airbnb is at Via Salara Vecchia. This one has free parking on premises
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Old Mar 15th, 2023, 09:21 AM
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I think you could stay in Perugia AND/OR Spoleto without a car, but your sightseeing would be limited/curtailed by bus and train timetables. The train between Perugia and Spoleto takes a bit over an hour.

https://www.fsbusitalia.it/content/d...nn_Bacino1.pdf

https://www.fsbusitalia.it/content/d...nn_Bacino2.PDF

https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html

If an automatic car is an absolute necessity, your best bet is FCO. A one-way rental (pick up in Perugia, return in Spoleto or Rome) would involve a drop fee. The drive from FCO to Perugia would take almost 3 hours... not recommended after landing from an overnight flight. The train ride FCO-Perugia would be 4+ hours. There are car rentals at Perugia Airport, but air service is mostly seasonal (summer) so I doubt car rental activity would be very promising.
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 10:36 AM
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Well, i dont know what happen to the reply i sent earlier this morning. Just thought i would check to see if there were any replies. I hate when this happens. So, i think i said something like this. Thank you jean and everyone for the morale support and help. Truly invaluable.

i think we are close to wrapping everything up. We def want a car for the spoleto portion and i agree about it being best to pick up the car in rome so we will do that. We thought it best to spend christmas in perugia because more things may be open and accessable in town. We will b there dec 23 thru 25 and still debating whether to leave for spoleto on the 26 or 27 th. We prob wont do any day trips from perugia. Instead just take in the city. Im goint to start working on restaurants, things to see and do and also some food, wine, etc type tours. When we were in tuscany, we visited a local farrm and did a cheese making tour, got to see all rhe animals and then had a nice wine a cheese feast afterwards. Ok. Thats all for now. Mille grazie.
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 05:10 PM
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Oh dear, I'm back already. I'm overthinking again but just wanted to see what y'all think. We want to base ourselves in two different towns/cities while in Umbria. Currently thought is Perugia and Spoleto. However, I'm starting to rethink Perugia. Where would you stay for Christmas (12/23-26 or 27th) before moving on to Spoleto, i.e., Spello, or ????
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 06:35 PM
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If you're staying in an AirB&B, I would be less concerned about what's open. But having said that, Spello would be too small for me. And it wouldn't be at its prettiest without all the flower boxes in bloom...

I know you said you want to base in two different towns, but I would be inclined to stay in one place and not have to pack-and-move-and-unpack. I haven't spent Christmas anywhere, so I don't have any thoughts on which town would be best over the holiday (which includes the 26th, BTW). I really liked Spoleto, so I'd probably stay there. If you must do two towns, consider Orvieto which is only about 90 minutes' drive from FCO.
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 08:24 PM
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ciao, I looked at that air b&b and the address looks to be right on the main drag of the centro storico (historic center, old town, on the hill vs. down below by the train station etc.)

I'm attaching the Google Earth picture showing the location. Unless I am completely turned around, that seems to be right along the Corso Vannucci we've been talking about--at the other end of the street is that fountain I think I mentioned, and along this street as well are the national museum (noted) and many shops and cafes.
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 08:29 PM
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So I see that you may be rethinking Perugia, but if you decide to stay this seems like a great location.

In terms of the car, options are to get the car you want and let it sit in long term parking (like at the Perugia airport for a few days) or to see if at Perugia airport or city you can get the automatic you want.

BTW, getting a car and driver could I guess be challenging on the holiday, but generally they can be fairly reasonable and very professional. I've hired one getting from Bologna airport to Ravenna; have also flowed out of Perugia when I was pressed for time.

Jean's your best bet for Spoleto advice; I mainly know Perugia and Orvieto (and a little of Spello); here's another wild card--Arezzo, south of Florence. Not to complicate things! 😂.
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Old Mar 17th, 2023, 06:33 AM
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** I think what confused me a little was the escalators, but maybe you were supposed to take them from where you parked the car to the air b&b?**

The big parking lot in Perugia has a series of underground escalators that go up to the old town. Orvieto also has a big parking lot on the backside that many hotels/B&B's can give you a card for your dash giving you parking permission. There is also a series of escalators up to the old town from this parking lot which comes out near Piazza Ranieri. If you were staying on the front side of Orvieto, there is parking below the train station and then you take the funicular (across the street from the train station) up to the old town. It was free last time I parked there, but that may have changed. At the top, when you get off the funicular, there are a couple of buses that make runs around the edge of the old town (one goes to Piazza Ranieri if you are staying on the backside).

Perugia is a city (about 179,000 pop) where Orvieto is a small town (about 20,000 pop) with most of the populations being in the new towns below the hill towns. There's the Sulga bus from Fiumicino airport to Perugia, but you would still have the issue of picking up an automatic car around a holiday. Perugia does have an airport so it's possible you could pick up an automatic there. If you stay in that area, it might be easiest to return your car in Foligno and take the train to Rome (instead of trying to avoid ZTL in Rome).

FCO-RM-PG-RITORNO-da-ottobre-2022.pdf
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Old Mar 17th, 2023, 07:48 AM
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You guys are amazing!

Jean – thanks again. We will be in AirB&Bs but want to stay somewhere over Christmas that allows us to get out and enjoy the town. I know Christmas day will be pretty quiet, which we expect but Christmas Eve, etc. we would want to be out, hence Perugia. Although, as mentioned below, we originally had planned to stay in Orvieto and Spoleto but then it looked like they were to close to each other to warrant two stays so we decided Perugia would be a good based (1 of 2) before realizing it was challenging to get in and out so…then it was do we want to stay in Perugia for 3-4 days or ??? Sorry, I must sound like a nut case 😉

Ann – you took the time look up the address on google maps, that’s really awesome of you. Gives me more validation that we are probably OK where we are. If we stick with our plans to stay in Perugia, we will probably park the car there in the parking lot in town so we can easily leave and head to Spoleto. Our original plans was to stay in Orvieto and Spoleto but after more research they seemed to be too close to each other. I will have to look into Arezzo a bit. I don’t know much about it but appreciate the suggestions. Best to uncover all my options now while I have a bit of time.

Ky – appreciate the detailed info about the Perugia and Orvieto, including parking and car pick up and drop off. I will check that out. Our current plan is to start in Perugia go to Spoleto before returning to Rome. I think we are OK driving back to Rome to drop off the car. We’ve done it a few times before.
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