Italy Itinerary - Can you help?

Jan 9th, 2010, 02:40 PM
  #1  
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Italy Itinerary - Can you help?

DH & I came back from our first trip to Italy last fall & already we are planning a return visit! We feel that Venice, Florence & the Tuscan countryside deserve a second visit - still so much more we want to experience in these places! We have added Rome & Umbria to our itinerary. We are looking to go for three weeks in May/June 2011.

Our struggle is how to organize an itinerary without too much backtracking & balancing the busy-ness of cities with relaxing in the countryside. (DH thought maybe going to Tuscany/Umbria after Rome.) We would probably choose either Venice or Rome to begin the trip. I would like to avoid leaving from Venice because of the early flights I've read about so much on other threads ... although I don't discount the possibility if it works best!

Here are some ideas we've put together:

#1: Rome ... train to Umbria; pick up car in Foligno; drive to Spello (comments please about Spello as homebase) ... drive to Pienza (loved it here!) ... drive to Florence; drop off car ... train to Venice ... fly home

#2: Venice ... train to Rome ... drive to Umbria ... Tuscany ... Florence; drop off car ... fly home

#3: Venice; pick up car ... drive to Umbria ... Tuscany ... Florence; drop off car ... train to Rome ... fly home

There's another one with us flying home from Florence!!! Egads!

I sure could benefit from another set of "eyes" & from those with greater travel planning experience than us! Can anyone help?

With thanks!
2010
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Jan 9th, 2010, 02:52 PM
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You could start in Venice and then take the train to Florence. When done in Florence, pick up a car in Florence (or Pisa) and drive through Tuscany into Umbria. Leave the car in Orvieto and take the train into Rome. If you want to start in Rome you could reverse this-- pick up the car in Orvieto and leave it in Florence.
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Jan 9th, 2010, 03:00 PM
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Re Spello as a homebase. If you're staying in a villa/apartment/agritourism in the Umbrian countryside then it's an ok base. If you plan to stay in-town then I think there are far better places to stay. Spello is really a tiny little town. One or 2 good restaurants, a nice hotel, and a few shops to keep you occupied for all of about 15min.
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Jan 9th, 2010, 03:07 PM
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I vote for option #3, which we've done before, except that we went to Tuscany first, then Umbria. We dropped our car in Foligno and took the train from there to Rome.

J62 has Spello pegged pretty correctly; we stayed there for two (or was it 3?) nights when visiting Umbria. In addition, there are some appealing old buildings, remains of a Roman portal (or arch), and if you walk above town, there's a road that has wonderful views (I went running up that way one morning). But all the towns in the area are small, so you'll have to decide which town you want to stay in. We prefer to eat near our hotel, so we don't have to drive after dinner, but one night we drove to nearby Montefalco for a wonderful meal at Il Coccorone. We felt staying in Spello was a good choice, even if it is a small town (we stayed at Palazzo Bocci).
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Jan 9th, 2010, 03:13 PM
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I would book whichever I got the best flight deal starting in Venice and flying out of either Florence, Pisa or Rome.
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Jan 9th, 2010, 03:20 PM
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I too prefer # 3
As for Spello, very nice town but a bit vertical for my taste. Look at Palazzo Brunamonti in Bevagna. Good luck !
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Jan 9th, 2010, 03:40 PM
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I would definitely go for #3,

After days of travel I would like the option to be free and not be stuck in a train.
When you have a car you can always be flexible and see the scenery and then fly home.
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Jan 9th, 2010, 04:39 PM
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2010,

I also stayed in Spello at Palazzo Bocci for 2 nights on my last trip. I would have enjoyed staying in Spello and the general area for maybe 4! I loved Spello, tiny, beautiful views, untouristed (comparatively), lots of flowers, easy to drive in/out for day trips. Very closed to many other towns of interest, Assisi, Bevegna, Montefalco, not that far from Gubbio either. Just a short 15 min to the Foligno train station too (Avis office right in the same building).

Spello actually has a very nice small art museum and an outstanding church or two!

Palazzo Bocci is excellent, as is their restaurant across the street, Il Mulino.
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Jan 9th, 2010, 08:30 PM
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Remote: The itinerary you suggest gives us a "break" between Venice/Florence and Rome. It looks like a short train ride from Orvieto to Rome. This is one to consider! Thanks!

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Jan 9th, 2010, 08:50 PM
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J62: Your comments about Spello are interesting! We loved Pienza & San Gimignano (Tuscany), both smaller in population than Spello. They both had wonderful restaurants for us to choose. We plan 4 nights in Umbria. Perhaps there is another town where there are more than one or two good restaurants!

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Jan 9th, 2010, 09:11 PM
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Lexma90/Dayle:

I have read on Fodors (Umbria) threads that Spello is a pretty village. Your descriptions of Spello confirm that! I have also made note of Palazzo Bocci. Thanks for the recommendation!

Like Lexma90, we prefer to have dinner nearby so we can walk (not have to drive) back to our hotel. So, can you please clarify: are there more than one or two good restaurants in Spello?

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Jan 9th, 2010, 09:22 PM
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kybourbon: Thanks for your suggestion! We recently began looking at flights for May/June 2010 to get a sense of what flights cost to Venice and out of Rome & Florence. We flew on FF points to Italy last fall.

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Jan 9th, 2010, 09:27 PM
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There is a shuttle bus from Florence to Pisa airport which is a bigger airport than Florence. You might find better prices from there instead of Florence. You can also train to Pisa airport.
http://www.terravision.eu/
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Jan 9th, 2010, 10:08 PM
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bobthenavigator:

Bevagna is another pretty town mentioned by other posters on Umbria threads here! It sounds like another town to consider as a home base. I will definitely check out the Palazzo Brunamonti!

What is the restaurant situation in Bevagna? I should clarify that we enjoy eating at trattorias/osterias where the food is local, fresh & simply prepared.

Thanks, Bob!

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Jan 9th, 2010, 10:19 PM
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There are about a dozen restaurants and pizzerias in Spello, around nine in Bevagna.
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Jan 9th, 2010, 10:27 PM
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lets_fly_cheaper:

<< When you have a car you can always be flexible and see the scenery... >>

I agree! My DH loves to drive in the countryside! Sometimes when we take a circuitous route to a destination, we find ourselves in the most amazing places quite by accident!!! We look forward to touring Umbria & more of Tuscany!

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Jan 10th, 2010, 02:44 AM
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Which is your origin airport and preferred airline ?

It is true that Pisa (PSA) is a bigger airport than Florence (FLR), but PSA has mainly low costs airlines and european secondary airports destinations. Possible option with PSA:

DL to JFK non-stop starting again early may 2010
BA to LGW
AZ to FCO

Florence has more options:

AF to CDG
LH to FRA and MUC
AZ to FCO
IG to AMS, MAD and BCN

but being Tuscany between Venice and Rome I also would exclude #2 to avoid backtracking. #3 looks very good
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Jan 10th, 2010, 02:45 AM
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I forgot FLR to ZRH with LX !
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Jan 10th, 2010, 09:39 AM
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kybourbon: Thanks for the rail link! It looks very reasonable to go from Florence to Pisa!
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Jan 10th, 2010, 09:59 AM
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Fabio: We are flying out of YVR (Vancouver CANADA). On our last trip, we flew LH via FRA to Venice & LH from Florence via FRA to home using FF points. This time we will be purchasing our tickets. So, we will be watching the rates out of various airports: Rome or Florence/Pisa. Thanks for the list of airline options!
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