Five Weeks in Italy

Old Feb 24th, 2012, 01:46 PM
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Five Weeks in Italy

I am desperately looking for help from all of you Italy experts on our 35 day trip to Italy that I am trying to plan.

This is what we came up with: Any suggestions are welcome!
Sept. 7th arrive in Rome and transfer to Positano
Sept. 7-13th Amalffi Coast...we will be with our friends for 4 nights in a villa in Positano. Would you suggest we stay on Capri for the last 2 nights? We always find it quite nice to enjoy a destination when all the day trippers leave...just a thought. Option 2 is booking a hotel in Positano.

Sept 13th-17 Rome We will book a couple of walking tours.

Sept 17 train to Orvieto. We could spend a night in Orvieto or stay 2 nights at Relais Todi. I am not sure about the distance from Orvieto to Todi. If we stayed 2 nights we could enjoy the pool and also explore Todi.

Sept 19-22 Stop in Deruta on route to Spello, Bevgna, Trevi or Asissi. Scott seemed intriqued by seeing Spelleto and also Gubbio. We think 3 nights staying in one of the towns that is central would be interesting. I am very stumped on where to stay. The more research I do the more confused I get.

We like upscale, but with charm and not stuffy and either in town or a very short drive

Sept. 22-26 stay in Pienza/Montepulcino area. I did email Hotelito Lupaia and they suggested a bike and a hike Company and said they could arrange a cooking class. Any other rec's for that area?

Sept 26-29th Another tough decision. We would like to be in an area to visit Siena and have some time to relax.I thought Castel Banfii looked gorgeous, but we got the feeling that it was more about the wines. La Fontanelle has the appeal of being very close to Sienna. Again any other suggestions?

Sept. 29-Oct. 3rd Lucca.... Alla Corte Degi Angeli looked to have more charm than San Lucca Palace. We put on 4 nights there as we want to spend a day and perhaps a night on the coast.

Oct. 3-6th Florence...JK Palace on AMEX points.

Oct 6-9th Venice

Oct 9th-12 Como We want to do some hiking along with touring.

Oct 12 overnight in Milan if we can go to the Last Supper. If not we can pick up a day elsewhere

Oct 13 Fly home...we still need to check on miles for the 13th.

Thanks for any input! I am especially tearing my hair out on the Umbria and Tuscany segments.
Thanks in advance!!!
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 04:38 PM
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Very nice trip--let me offer some ideas:
1.Book the Vaticano tour with Context/Rome
2. I would stay in Orvieto and try to see Civita from there as well
3. Stay in Bevagna or Spello--look at Palazzo Brunamonti in Bevagna and Palazzo Bocci in Spello--also Genius Loci outside of Bevagna.
4. In south Tuscany, look at Terre di Nano and Paazzo del Capitano in San Quirico. Castello Banfi is too isolated.
5.From Lucca, consider a night at Portovenere on the coast.
6. Where will you stay on Lago Como---that is key.

You seem to be the right track---keep plugging !
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 07:59 PM
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You're hitting some lovely spots, but you also have a lot of hotel changes (12 by my count) in what is otherwise a luxury of 35 days.

Orvieto to Todi is about an hour.

You mention a lot of towns you want to see in your four full days in Umbria. Distances are fairly short, but the actual travel times are not. In most cases, you park outside the towns and bus or walk into the center. Some towns could occupy you for the better part of a day, so planning on seeing more than two in a day is (IMO) unrealistic.

I would eliminate one hotel change in Umbria and stay all of the nights in the Bevagna/Montefalco area. You can pick up the car in Orvieto, Spoleto or Foligno.

We loved the Locanda San Francesco in Montepulciano.

I'm not a big fan of Lucca, so I would visit it as a day trip from Florence. If you have your heart set on staying in Lucca, I would at least take one day/night away and give it to Florence or Venice.

You may be pushing your weather luck (at least for hiking) by putting Lake Como in the second week of October.
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 09:47 PM
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Thanks for the good suggestions. Jean your point is well taken as to how much we are trying to see in 35 days. We may just overnight in Orvieto as we will be taking a train from Rome and then picking up a car. I am confident that we will not stop in all of the mentioned towns in Umbria. We are mainly trying to find a place to base ourselves in Umbria and then see the places that specifically interest us.

The Genius Loci may be a good fit and location.

As for Tuscany I included Castelro Banfi along with Hotelito Lupaia as I thought they would both be places where we could sightsee along with taking some time to relax. I will look at the others that both you and Bob suggested. Castelo Banfi looked intriguing as it is a converted castle.

We can either eliminate Luca or take a day out and add it to Venice.

O.K. Back to researching....any other suggestions are very much appreciated.

Also as for Como, I have in a couple of hotel requests and am waiting for a reply.I hope I will have something by tomorrow. If it is too cold for hiking we can hopefully enjoy some fall foliage.

Thanks to both of you for the input.
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 10:04 PM
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I also wanted to add that we are a couple in our early 60's. Our main interests in Italy are history, art, architecture, local culture, natural beauty, good restaurants, a cooking class, some biking.etc. The wine touring has a lesser appeal.

We enjoy outdoor activities along with the cities and towns.
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 10:54 PM
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Sally,

Orvieto is a lovely town with much to see. Great place for the evening passagiata. Check out Palazzo Piccolomini, the real palazzo of the Piccolomini family.

Another vote for Spello and the Palazzo Bocci. I would return to both in a heartbeat. Palazzo BOcci is also the real thing.

In Chianti, 20 minute drive north of Siena chech out Hotel Residence San Sano****. Tiny village, very nice small hotel with pool.

Also, when planning you itinerary, do it like this

Nights1 & 2: Orvieto
Nts 3&4: San Sano

The way you have you days written down, I think you are fooling yourself with how much time you willactually have in each place since you count your moving/travel days twice.

I also really liked Todi. We did a day trip there combined with Deruta from our Orvieto base (3 nts there).

Happy planning & buon viaggio!
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Old Feb 25th, 2012, 03:18 PM
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IMO the location of Castello Banfi is not ideal for sightseeing. It's fairly isolated, probably 30 minutes from even Montalcino. If you just want to park yourselves, then fine, but if you want to explore the Val d'Orcia you'd need more than the 2-3 days you're thinking of. Lupaia is better located for exploring the area but is also isolated from towns.

I would still encourage you to spend all of your nights in Umbria in one place. Take an early train from Rome to Orvieto, rent the car, put your luggage in the trunk and park it in a safe place. Explore the town for several hours and then drive to your Umbria base.

Where are the hotels you're contemplating at Lake Como? I would choose a location that has good ferry service and sightseeing options other than hiking. The weather is not likely to be too cold but could be too rainy for hiking.
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Old Feb 25th, 2012, 04:11 PM
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What Jean said !
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Old Feb 25th, 2012, 10:45 PM
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Many thanks to all for your input. It's extremely helpful. We will need to check on trains from Rome to Orvieto, as that is one town we would like to see, even if we are there for only a short time and decide not to overnight.

I did look at Palazzo Bocci, It looks wonderful and a and perfect location, yet recent reviews seem to be consistent that it has "deferred maintenance" issues. We are still looking in the E. Umbria area. So far Genius Loci is looking quite good yet still searching.

As for S.Tuscany Hotel Lupaia was highly recommended from a friend who liked the location but again perhaps we can do better.

If we split Tuscany Le Fontanelle would put us in striking distance of Sienna. That may be an option.

As for Como we are still waiting to hear back from Hotel Florence. I have e mailed 3 times. Any other suggestions?

As you can tell this is still a work in progress. thanks for the critique's!!!!

Sally
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 08:03 AM
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Location is alway the key in Tuscany. Is the Montepulcinao area what you want? If so, also look at Terre di Nano.

Having a car in Bellagio is not easy--is that your intent?
Consider the west shore with a car---Lenno or Menaggio.
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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You probably won't hear from the Hotel Florence in Bellagio for a few weeks. They are closed for the winter. I like the Florence a lot, but I'm also a big fan of the Hotel du Lac in Varenna. FYI, the hotels that close for the season will likely begin to do so the weekend after your visit.

I assumed you would have turned in the car before your time in Florence and Venice, but what is your plan?

Whether you can "do better" than the location of Hotelito Lupaia depends on how you want to experience the area. From the Lupaia you can't walk out your door and stroll around a town early in the morning or before or after dinner. You would need to drive (and find parking) everywhere. But you seem to be drawn to these isolated properties (Banfi, Fontanelle, Lupaia), so perhaps immediate proximity to town life is not a priority for you. Of the three, however, I do think Banfi is better suited to a long, leisurely stay.
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 11:56 AM
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There are trains Rome-Orvieto every hour on a Monday morning (the day you plan to go). Check the opening time of the car rental office there (a short cab ride from the train station), and choose your train accordingly. There's no point in arriving early and having nowhere to put your luggage. There's a funicular that will take you up to the town from the train station.

http://www.fsitaliane.it/homepage_en.html
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 04:41 PM
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Thanks again for the comments on our Itinerary. As for Tuscany thanks Bob for the Terre di Nano suggestion..it looks wonderful. I had already emailed La Locanda Di San Francisco as my original plan was to split our stay between staying in a village in the Montepulciano/Pieza area and a lovely 4star converted castle in the countryside closer to Sienna.

Only 3 nights were available at La Locanda di San Francisco during the time we were planning to be in S. Tuscany. Relais San Bruno and Tenuta Santo Pietro also look very good and perhaps a better location than Lupaia.

We revised our Itinerary this morning. I think this works a little better.


Thursday 9/6/12 Leave Seattle
Friday 9/7/12 Arrive Naples/Positano
Saturday 9/8/12 Amalfi
Sunday 9/9/12 Amalfi
Monday 9/10/12 Amalfi
Tuesday 9/11/12 Amalfi
Wednesday 9/12/12 Amalfi
Thursday 9/13/12 Transfer to Rome
Friday 9/14/12 Rome
Saturday 9/15/12 Rome
Sunday 9/16/12 Rome
Monday 9/17/12 Train to Orvieto
Tuesday 9/18/12 Umbria
Wednesday 9/19/12 Umbria
Thursday 9/20/12 Umbria
Friday 9/21/12 Umbria
Saturday 9/22/12 Drive to Tuscany
Sunday 9/23/12 Tuscany
Monday 9/24/12 Tuscany
Tuesday 9/25/12 Tuscany
Wednesday 9/26/12 Tuscany
Thursday 9/27/12 Tuscany
Friday 9/28/12 Tuscany
Saturday 9/29/12 Tuscany
Sunday 9/30/12 Drive to Lucca
Monday 10/1/12 Lucca
Tuesday 10/2/12 Lucca
Wednesday 10/3/12 Drive to Florence
Thursday 10/4/12 Florence
Friday 10/5/12 Florence
Saturday 10/6/12 Train to Lake Como
Sunday 10/7/12 Lake Como
Monday 10/8/12 Lake Como
Tuesday 10/9/12 Lake Como
Wednesday 10/10/12 Train to Venice
Thursday 10/11/12 Venice
Friday 10/12/12 Venice
Saturday 10/13/12 Venice
Sunday 10/14/12 Travel to Seattle

We are set for accommaditons in the Amalfi coast and booked The Rapheal in Rome. We are still thinking of one night in Orvieto so we don't feel too rushed on that day and will inquire about an early check in. Then 4 nights in the Spello/Bevagna area. Thanks for the train schedule Jean.

As for Como I did call this AM and realized that the hotels are closed, but will reply as soon ASAP. If the weather is O.K. we assume we can hire a driver or guide for a day to take us off the beaten track. I will also check on the West shore for a place to stay...thanks for the tip Bob.

My main focus right now is on splitting up the Tuscany part of the trip to two good locations for both sightseeing the hill towns and enjoying the natural beauty.

Thanks for all the help based on your past experiences. Any additional thoughts are very appreciated! I am getting nervous about the Tuscany part as Sept. is a busy month and realize I need to book ASAP.

Sally
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 05:07 PM
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Hmm. Seattle? British Airways flies Milan-London-Seattle with no aircraft change. What would be your routing from Venice? And how early would your first flight depart?
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 05:13 PM
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We added two nights in Milan and were happy we did on our last trip. As our son said, "you're going to be that close and not see the Last Supper??!!". We purchased tickets through our hotel - it is not to be missed! You can also tour the duomo in Milan and LaScala opera. We are F1 fans, so the Ferrari store was a hit. I would also suggest an overnight in Verano if you have the time. Its a lovely city, has a great ampitheater, etc. We had just one afternoon, overnight and the next morning enroute back to Venice for our flight back to the states. We added the stop at the last minute instead of driving straight from Milan to Venice and staying there overnight before our flight. Again - glad we made the adjustment!
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Old Feb 26th, 2012, 05:19 PM
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Jean: There is a Delta (Air France) flight to Paris, change planes and then non-stop to Seattle; there is also a KLM flight to Amsterdam, change planes and then non-stop to Seattle. Both leave fairly early in the morning - 6:45 or 7:00 am.
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