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Is there anything interesting between the Cotswolds and Umbria?

Is there anything interesting between the Cotswolds and Umbria?

Old May 31st, 2008, 02:38 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,235
Is there anything interesting between the Cotswolds and Umbria?

We (Mrs F, the flannerpooch and I) are about to drive from the Cotswolds to the Orvieto area.

Assuming weather and flooding permit, we're following the Via Francigena for five days outbound, which means overnights in:
Langres area
Aosta area
Fidenza area.

Returning probably with overnights in:
Orange-ey area
Somewhere centralish for the Cluniac sites NW of Lyons
Then a few social and veterinary arrangements, so pretty much a dash straight to Calais.

Though we've driven variants of this at least a dozenish times, haven't done it for a decade. Assume we've seen most of the bleeding obvious.

Any bright ideas for eating or seeing? Especially anything on the route that's new, newly restored or newly accessible.

Particular dislikes : Bad restaurants, Catholic ecclesiastical post-reformation architecture. Shopping
Current fads : Etruscans, Romanesque, gardens
Particular needs Proper eating places like you used to get in every French village 20 years ago. Good walking opportunities for the flannerpooch near major routes.
flanneruk is offline  
Old May 31st, 2008, 04:40 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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This American is writing just to tell you that you have a terrific sense of humor! Give the Flannerpooch a scratch for me! Otherwise I have nothing of value to add!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old May 31st, 2008, 06:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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If youre being serious about suggestions, Id recommend driving through Belgium and Germany. Cheaper/fewer tolls, nicer restaurants, nice scenery, nice people. And no speed limit in Germany so you can hurtle through until you get to the tunnels in Switzerland, but then onto Italy.
traveller2007 is offline  
Old May 31st, 2008, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,862
Have you ever made it to Vezelay? If not, it's worth a special trip. One of the eminent Romanesque edifices of the world, with lots of history. And the hilltop village and its surrounding countryside are lovely.

You'll even get to see Mary Magdalene's rib in the crypt!

We're staying here, nearby (recommended by Fodorites).

Cimbrone is offline  
Old May 31st, 2008, 07:01 AM
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Yes absolutely, Vézelay is the obvious first destination for a Romanesque buff following that route... but I suppose you'll already know it, right? A serious candidate for winning the best-Romanesque-church-in-the-world contest, and Viollet-le-Duc's best restoring effort.
For Cluny and around, the place to stay is the Maconnais, the province of Macon (i.e. north of Cluny). Don't miss Berzy-le-Chatel, if that happens not to be on your list of Cluniac sites yet (it's the best but perhaps the least-known of them).
The restaurant you're looking for (you have but one night in the Cluny area, true?) is the Fleurvil in Fleurville (yes actually). Ok, rather 30 years ago than 20, but when the cook-and-owner is in bad form, meals are still memorably good, and when he's in good form, this is my favourite restaurant everywhere in Europe. And for prices you wouldn't believe... don't tell other Fodorites in order to keep this marvellous old-fashioned place what it is. (They have no website, do I need to stress that? but you should be able to trace their telephone number on the web - just to ask which day they're closed, though, there's no need to book ahead.)
Fleurville is one of the few ugly villages in the Maconnais, though; perhaps you could find accomodation in Viré, the next village, which is quite nice, and a short drive for dinner.
If you need some suggestions for Umbria, please check this one: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34792839
franco is offline  
Old May 31st, 2008, 07:05 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Sorry, a typo:
must read Berzé-le-Chatel.
franco is offline  
Old May 31st, 2008, 11:51 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions so far everyone.

Though this posting does rather read like a parody of those "Is Paris worth it?" sillinesses, it IS a serious question, and any other suggestions will be deeply appreciated.

However, we're committed to following the Via Francigena, which is part of the purpose of this jaunt. So the route HAS to be - assuming it's not flooded out - Calais-Rheims-Burgundy-St Bernard Pass. Belgium and Germany aren't options.
flanneruk is offline  
Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 01:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Nothing to contribute, I am sure you must have known these routes better than most posters.

However, hope you could spare time afterwards posting some notes about romanesque churches and gardens you have visited on this route.

Thanks for mentioning Via Francigena; at the first, I thought it's about St Francis Way in Umbria-an interesting walk I tried couple years ago.
JudyC is offline  
Old Jun 3rd, 2008, 04:08 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 538
If I could put a plug in for the birthplace of mia nonna - Cassio, southwest of Parma on S62 between Fornovo di Taro and Berceto. Legend has it that the original cobblestones of the Via Francigena run through the village. It's just a dot on the road but flannerpooch may enjoy walking around an unusual rock outcropping, Salti del Diavolo (Leaps of the Devil)
http://tinyurl.com/5mjuox Since we were first there, it seems as though the province has developed a walking path and bridge to the area.

And while still in Cassio, I can't attest to the quality of the restaurant but it advertises Torta Frita on its sign. We called it pasta frita as kids, for some reason, but it's fried bread dough that my grandmother made for us. And all these years later my 30 plus year old kids still thinks of it as the highlight of Christmas Eve Italian dinners. And it's the only place I've ever seen it on a menu in Italy.
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