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If possible Florence/Umbria 2022 - end of May or end of August?

If possible Florence/Umbria 2022 - end of May or end of August?

Old May 13th, 2021, 10:52 AM
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If possible Florence/Umbria 2022 - end of May or end of August?

Trying to plot out a trip that was supposed to be for my 60th birthday this fall, but while it isnít going to happen this year, I hope it will next. I want to spend seven days in the Umbrian region and three in Florence/ Siena. Based on your past trips, which would be the best choice weather and crowd wise? Late May or late August? I know the weather predictions could be a roll of the dice, but in general what do you think?

Iím looking at staying in the Lago Trasimeno area - maybe Panicale or Castiglione del Lago. ( but itís still early so that could change. I love the thought of Spello, too) The former area is a bit closer to some of the places I want to see, so...

I love reading all about your trips there. I am just so happy to think that we may be turning the corner on this ghastly pandemic, and while Iím still very cautious, this celebratory trip might come to fruition!
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Old May 13th, 2021, 11:21 AM
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Welcome fernweh1. Umbria was a huge favorite of mine. Based on one trip only, DH and I found Spoleto easier as a base to travel to and from than to and from Lake T. That said, we were using public transportation; even if you're driving, you have the ferry to schedule. We trained to Spello and had problems with the ticket machine. On another trip, we based in Perugia. We needed to hire a driver for Montepulciano and Montalcino. If you are interested, click on my name and see my trip reports...just scroll down.
Not sure about the month except to suggest that you check tour dates. Fresh produce will differ...squash blossoms in spring!

Last edited by TDudette; May 13th, 2021 at 11:26 AM.
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Old May 13th, 2021, 12:08 PM
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Well I just don't know about August, but I took yearly trips to Europe (2003-2019), all in late May, mostly the Mediterranean when not Italy (7x), and May is an absolutely stunning time of year to visit (particularly late May, as early May can be a bit cool for me at night). I can recall one rainy trip to Croatia, and that was an outlier. Late May also has fewer crowds. I think in August you would have other considerations besides just the heat. But after the last year, I'd go whenever I could!
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Old May 13th, 2021, 01:08 PM
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May
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Old May 13th, 2021, 01:49 PM
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Iíd love to be able to go in May if the restrictions are lifted in terms of having to provide a negative COVID-19 test to renter the US. Iím feeling more confident- todayís news from the CDC is encouraging and welcomed news to those fully vaccinated. But I will wait if need be to make it as close to a normal trip as possible.

My daughter went in mid May early June and loved the climate. Warm days, cool nights. She cannot wait to return. Now Iíve just got to determine where to spend the week. I am hoping to rent a car to see Umbria. Iíd like to make it as easy as possible getting around, so Iíll check out the Spoleto area. I read one of your trip reports TDudette. Your enthusiasm for Italy is infectious! Thanks to all who are sharing their ideas.
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Old May 13th, 2021, 06:58 PM
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To explore Umbria, we stayed in Spoleto on one trip and at a friend's home outside of Umbertide on another trip. Both locations were good, but I preferred Spoleto. If we returned to Umbria, I'd like to try a stay in Todi.

We stayed at the San Luca Hotel in Spoleto which has a perfect location for driving in and out on day trips.
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Old May 14th, 2021, 03:15 AM
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I have thought about Todi as I looked at the map. I havenít read about as many people on the forum using it as a base for Umbria. Originally I was trying to get a little closer to take an easy day trip into Tuscany (montalcino, Val dí Orcia, etc) but since I am now going to end the trip in Florence I thought I could use one day from there to venture out.

Having a place to easily head out would be a nice option.
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Old May 14th, 2021, 07:19 AM
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Our family rented a house near Todi in May 2004. Todi has a very attractive main piazza and had an upmarket feel. We daytripped from there to Orvieto and Perugia on each of two days and Assisi/Spello/Montefalco on a third day. Monte Castello di Vibio with its jewel box of a theater was nearby, https://www.italymagazine.com/monte-castello-di-vibio. In May the poppies were in bloom and truffles were in season. What I liked about traveling around Umbria was that you could either take the quick and easy highways or the meandering even more scenic backroads. The area around Perugia/Assisi/Spello would have been an excellent alternative having a lot to offer within easy reach. While we didn’t visit Bevagna, the fact that it’s flat would make it especially convenient for daytripping.
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Old May 14th, 2021, 08:25 AM
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If Todi was our choice, would you still take the train to Arezzo and stay the day/ night then pick up the car from there to drive to Todi? Or would heading out to Foligno after landing to hire a car be better? Are there direct trains to Todi from Florence? Europcar Offices? Thanks so much for your help!
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Old May 14th, 2021, 09:26 AM
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Train to Arezzo from where? FCO? Without knowing your itinerary, it's hard to say which town would be better for picking up a car. If coming from FCO, Foligno would be quicker than Arezzo. If you're spending a night, Arezzo is more interesting than Foligno. But I'd pick Spoleto.

There is no direct train between Florence and Todi. Todi is served by the private FCU (Ferrovie Centrale Umbra) railway on a route between Terni and Sansepolcro. If you stay in Todi, you have to decide where you're going to return the car. No rental offices in Todi.

For me, Todi would be too far from the Val d'Orcia for day trips but very central to explore Umbria.
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Old May 14th, 2021, 09:38 AM
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IMO, Florence is also too far from the Val d'Orcia for a day trip. It's at least a 2 hour drive each way between Florence and Montalcino, and that's on the main roads and not the more interesting secondary roads.

From Florence it would be easier to explore Chianti or the Val d'Elsa, San Gimignano, Volterra, etc., with a private driver for a day. Or, on your own, take the bus to Siena or train to Certaldo or Lucca or Montecatini Terme, etc.
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Old May 14th, 2021, 09:59 AM
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Havenít really gotten too far into an itinerary other than thinking about flying into Florence - early morning midday arrival from WAS airports, training out of Florence to a town nearby to rest, spend the night and pick up the car the next day. In my first thread on this back in 2019, Dalyle and others had mentioned training to Arrezo before heading out the next day (I was considering Spello at the time)

Weíd spend 5-6 nights in Umbria and then return the
car before training back to Florence for three days and flying home.

I would love to get more input from those of you who have visited. Thank so much for sharing your advice!

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Old May 14th, 2021, 01:02 PM
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Arezzo is a good suggestion from the Florence. You'd have to take the shuttle bus or taxi into central Florence to catch the train.

But you might consider taking the bus (TiemmeSpA) directly from the airport in Peretola to Siena. This eliminates the need to go into central Florence. Spend a night or two in Siena, and then pick up the rental car near the train station. Because the car rental offices are on the east side of Siena, driving away in the direction of Umbria is easy-peasy. You can drive the north shore of Lake Trasimeno if that's of interest. Head to your Umbria base, explore the region, and then return the car at one of several options where there are rental offices and a train station. OR, return the car at the Florence airport (no issues with day of the week or open/closed hours), drive through the Val d'Orcia along the way, and then taxi to your hotel in central Florence. That's what I would do.
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Old May 14th, 2021, 03:14 PM
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I think that the bus from the airport option is really a good one. My daughter loved Siena and wants to return, so ensuring we have time in that city right off the bat is great. Any suggestions for a moderately priced hotel there? 100 Euros or so? Iíd love to drive around the North side of Lake Trasimeno as well. Just take our time. Is there a big surcharge for renting the car in Siena and returning at the airport?

I was talking to my daughter earlier today and for our base she said she thought a little bigger town than Spello is appealing to her. So I know weíll visit that beautiful town, but will focus on maybe Todi or Spoleto?

Thanks so much for your thoughts and advice!!
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Old May 14th, 2021, 04:48 PM
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You'll have to wait a bit to research room rates for next year. Who knows what they will be. We have stayed at the Palazzo Ravizza in Siena twice and would stay there again.

Whether there would be a surcharge for a one-way car rental is another issue you'd have to research a bit closer to your dates. We noticed this charge being assessed a bit more frequently before the pandemic, but things may be different in 2022. The company may actually welcome the car being returned at the airport where demand is usually higher. May v. August could also factor into the overall rate.

I agree with your daughter about staying in a town bigger than Spello. Everyone swoons over Spello, and it is charming and picturesque. But for a stay of several nights, I'd want more streets to wander, shop windows to look at, restaurants to choose from, etc. In Spoleto, I liked that we could park our car near the hotel (San Luca) and make quick getaways and easy returns in the car. In Todi, you'd have to investigate the hotel situation vis-a-vis parking. Perhaps there is a nice property at the bottom of the town with parking included or nearby. Otherwise, if your hotel is at the top of the town, you'd likely have to park in the large lot that is connected to the town by an elevator. The driving ingress/egress would be great, but you'd spend some time getting to and from the car.
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Old May 14th, 2021, 05:36 PM
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Four years ago I stayed several nights in Spello, and I know I've said this ad nauseam on this forum, but I found it a little dull. It worked for us because of the weird trip we had. I was with my niece, a kid who wanted to swim, but was also was with friends, and we wanted to walk to dinner in the evening, and also had other folks meeting us late in our stay, and they were coming via public transportation from Florence and were then heading on to Rome, also by train.

So Spello it was. We found an in-town hotel with a pool, La Bastiglia and we toured in the mornings and my niece could go for a swim late afternoon.

But because I like a little more action, I would have preferred Spoleto or Todi or even Assisi.

It is very beautiful, though, and super easy for driving. Bevagna had a festival going on while we were there, so seemed more impressive. Also, better restaurants. But again, this was four years ago. Things have probably changed.
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Old May 15th, 2021, 08:31 AM
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It would take a lot to get me to Italy in August! May, perfection.

I've stayed in Perugia several times as a base in Umbria; the ancient center atop the hill has gorgeous views, a wonderfula passagiata, shops, restaurants, and a youngish vibe from the nearby university. Little metro cars run from the train station to the hilltop town area and massive escalators, hidden in ancient stone, also move people up through the city walls. Easy train connections to Assisi, Spello, and the like. I too found Spello charming but small for more than a day trip. There's a great herb shop on one of the main shopping streets not far from Il Molino and other good restaurants.

Arezzo is quite convenient from Florence by train, but depends on what you're wanting. Lovely, but to me Siena makes for a more culturally rich experience, though slightly less convenient by train.

We're hoping to see Val D'Orcia in the fall and will drive there from Florence and stay two nights in San Quirico; that's the only part of our trip where we will rent a car, dropping it off in Orvieto on our way to Ravello.

I hope you have a wonderful trip!
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Old May 15th, 2021, 01:05 PM
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We definitely want to spend a day in Perugia. It sounds awesome. If we weren’t interested in hiring a car to drive, I think we’d center there bc of its public transportation conveniences. I’ve been reading about Bevagna today. How does it differ from Spello or Todi? Several reports mention the nice factor of having a little flatness to return to after a long day trip to the hill towns. That could be a plus in its favor. I’m an avid walker and in decent shape, but I do feel my age more now when traveling all day.

I really like the thought of having our base be less touristy. I’m not as worried about the lack of nighttime action and daughter said she’ll probably be in a different state of mind when touring with her family, in other words just chilling at a villa at night wouldn’t bother her at all. So, where to base? Thanks for any shared information!

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Old May 15th, 2021, 01:52 PM
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Staying in a hill town for me would be less of an issue regarding fitness but rather how easy/convenient it would be to get the car in and out of town every day. Streets are narrow and, if I’m remembering correctly, can be one way. Parking is limited so there are often parking lots at the bases of the larger towns.
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Old May 15th, 2021, 02:23 PM
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We spent a full day in Bevagna before it became a bit of a tourist destination. I liked the town a lot and it has a couple of interesting sights, but I wouldn't want to base there for multiple nights. For me, just not enough there there, although it may now have more restaurants and lodging options. One thing I like about hill towns (as opposed to Bevagna) is that when there's a hill, there's a view from the top of it. The views from the top of most hill towns are wonderful-to-spectacular.

"Less touristy" is hard to find if you also want a variety of restaurants and perhaps some things to see right in the town. I too am not interested in nighttime "action," but I also don't want the place to feel like a ghost town after dark. I want to be among people who are out and about, even if many are tourists.

If you think you'd like relief from walking hills during the day, look again at Spoleto. The city has installed several escalators that will take you from the bottom to the top of the town. Spoleto is also a transportation hub for much of southern Umbria.
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