Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   My Week Near Arezzo (

santamonica Aug 20th, 2013 08:07 PM

My Week Near Arezzo
DW and I are going to Italy. No kids. It's a change of life thing.

A big bunch of people used to play volleyball and softball together 30 years ago and have stayed friends and now we're renting a big house in Umbria. The nearest city is Arezzo, in Tuscany. We spend 3 nights at the Hotel Santa Maria in Rome and a week in the villa near Arezzo. There's a pool and a tennis court.

I look forward to seeing frescos, sitting in plazas, and walking through olive groves. Maybe a day at the lake. Not too much driving. I've never been to Rome. We leave sept 10th.

Please let us know if you have suggestions. We depend on the kindness of fodorite strangers.

kybourbon Aug 20th, 2013 08:12 PM



Are you flying in and out of Rome?

santamonica Aug 20th, 2013 08:31 PM

Ok, piazzas. I need to study Italian. Speaking Spanish loudly probably won't work. We're flying in and put of Rome (fCO).

Jean Aug 20th, 2013 08:31 PM

You'll need more time in Rome. Are there any more days after the villa? Where are you flying home from?

I assume you'll make reservations to visit the Piero della Francesca fresco cycle in Arezzo.

Cortona is a short (and cheap) train ride away. Perugia and Orvieto are farther but very doable.

It's a shame you'll miss the monthly Arezzo antiques market.

LunaBella Aug 20th, 2013 09:48 PM

Ciao Santamonica! No need to worry, it's actually piazze in the plural in italiano, not "piazzas"! Plazas was just as good of a try as piazzas, in that case.

At any rate, Arezzo is so charming and easy, I really enjoyed my time there. I was only there for a day but I had such a nice time walking the back streets, seeing the freschi and also visiting the home of Giorgio Vasari and the lovely park there. Also, even if you do miss the antiques market, there are lots of antique shops around town. I was a solo traveler to Arezzo in the winter and the day I went, I felt like I was maybe the only tourist! Just for that alone I loved it, plus I really enjoyed the movie "La Vita E' Bella" so it was a special place for me to visit.

santamonica Aug 21st, 2013 07:09 AM

I'll need to make reservations for the fresco in Arezzo and the Sistine Chapel. DW is thinking maybe we should get a guide to show us Rome, especially since we won't be there long. We arrive Rome on the 11th in the morning and rent a car at the airport with another couple on the 14th and drive to the house near Arezzo. Anybody have suggestions for Rome guides/tours? Thanks!

TDudette Aug 21st, 2013 10:55 AM

Reservations for Borghese also if you will have time to visit it.

I can't help with Rome guide but ShellD's TR has info that might be helpful:


Have a great time!

(PS-We had lunch with very tasty fried sage (salvia?) leaves at Osteria del Borghicciolo, on Corso Italia 35. My notes say we passed sign "Pieve di Santa Maria" nearby)

santamonica Aug 21st, 2013 01:14 PM

Thanks tdude!

annhig Aug 21st, 2013 01:40 PM

I'll need to make reservations for the fresco in Arezzo and the Sistine Chapel. DW is thinking maybe we should get a guide to show us Rome, especially since we won't be there long. We arrive Rome on the 11th in the morning and rent a car at the airport with another couple on the 14th and drive to the house near Arezzo.>>

so you have just slightly less than 3 days to see Rome?

that's quite tight given that you could spend a life-time there and not see everything.

firstly, the sistine chapel. to see it you have to go through the Vatican museums. Nowadays you can get through the museums [if you want to] and into the Sistine chapel in about an hour and IMO you don't need a guide to help you do that - just buy your tickets on line and turn up. if you use the back door out of the sistine chapel [marked groups] on the left, you can get into St. Peter's without queuing again to get through security.

but if you are going to spend money on a guide, do it at the forum. tours usually include the Colosseum too. Context Italy gets very good reviews here and elsewhere.

on the 11th, i suggest that you restrict yourselves to familiarising yourselves with Rome by taking a walk around the centro storico - Piazza Navona, Campo Dei Fiori, Pantreon, Trevi fountain, etc, etc, that way if jetlag strikes, you can just go back to your hotel and take a rest.

then on the 12th and 13th, see the Vatican and St. Peter's on one day, perhaps seeing Trastevere afterwards, and the colosseum and forum on the other with the Capitoline museums if you've got the energy.

socialworker Aug 21st, 2013 02:13 PM

Nothing to add here, just sighing and feeling a tad jealous! Sounds like an all-around wonderful trip!!

pebbles99 Aug 21st, 2013 02:38 PM

We have used for close to a decade.
Family and friends as well. Fabio has become a part of our family.
You will not fine better service and care.
Check his company out on tripadvisor.
Have a great trip.

santamonica Aug 21st, 2013 05:51 PM

Thanks all. Good tip Ann. I'll check back, and report how it's going when the trip gets going. The trip report referenced by Tdude suggested a 2 hr VIP tour starting at the airport the day we arrive. That's pretty aggressive sightseeing. Our hotel is in Trastevere.

wekewoody Aug 21st, 2013 06:50 PM

We did the Roma Antica tour with Context Travel and loved our guide Olivia Ercoli. She is a fantastic guide with knowledge and a very keen sense of humor. We started at the Palatine Hill and worked our way down to the Forum and then the Colosseum. My favorite part was Palatine Hill. It was a worthy use of 4 hours.

ctoner Aug 21st, 2013 07:31 PM

Wow, brings back great memories! Stayed in Anghiari near Abrezzo! We did fly into Rome and stayed at Hotel Isa, which was recommended from Ira, a fodorite on this forum. (Thanks, Ira...we have sent many friends there and have LOVED it! I will get back to you on our Rome tour guide, as I have to consult my journal, but a tour is a brilliant idea! In the end, you will get the best exposure to this magical city that you probably wouldn't get on your own. Good luck!

annhig Aug 22nd, 2013 01:09 AM

santamonica - the tour that wwoody recommends is jsut the sort of thing that I wish we'd done. The forum in particular I found very difficult to follow, the efforts of Walter [aka Paradise Lost] not withstanding.

As you will be arriving from the US, having a limo tour as you arrive might be a very expensive waste of money as you doze in the back!

IMO much better to get to your hotel and dump your bags, and then go for a leisurely stroll, stopping for breakfast/beer/wine/coffee/gelati as the mood strikes. Oh yes - and spremuta! [freshly squeezed juice, usually orange or lemon].

there are some lovely things to see in Trastevere as well - Santa Cecilia being the foremost. Do pay the few € extra to go down into the crypt and see the mosaics.

santamonica Sep 8th, 2013 01:21 PM

I have been practicing Italian. Already I can say "per favore, dove e via venetto?" I have put pimsler units 5-8 on my iPhone so I hope to be fluent by the time the plane lands in Rome at 8:30am on sept 11th. We take the F1 train to our hotel in Trastevere. Then we see what we want to do. We haven't booked tours yet because we don't know how tired we'll be. Three days, including the first day of being tired. We'll probably do 1/2 day walking tours on the 12th and 13th. Then a week in Umbria. Then home. We were planning then to be in Paris for a week before coming home but DW needs follow up doctor appts after surgery in August. United was kind enough to reimburse our $500 in change fees for rescheduling the return.

wekewoody Sep 8th, 2013 02:52 PM

Have a great time.

ciao bello!

kybourbon Sep 8th, 2013 05:27 PM

>>>We take the F1 train to our hotel in Trastevere. Then we see what we want to do.<<<

Be sure to validate your ticket before boarding and be ready to hop off at Trastevere (at the door with your luggage) as the stop is only 1 minute. If you miss it, the next stop is Ostiense and you can hop the tram back to Trastevere.

As for walking tours, the Rome Tourist Board has several itineraries depending on interest.

Also, the dreaded Rick Steves has walking tours of Trastevere and the Jewish Ghetto that you can download free on his website or podcasts on Itunes. You can just print his tour maps if you don't want the actual audio.

santamonica Sep 8th, 2013 07:22 PM

Thanks for the info. My wife tells me she slept with Rick Steves. She goes on to explain that when she was 17 or 18 she and her high school girl friend traveled in Europe and met up with a nerdy guy who needed a place to stay and slept on their couch one night. Her friend, who does exaggerate sometimes, insists the nerdy guy was Rick Steves. My wife assures me nothing happened. I've never questioned that, although listening to the audio tapes may uncover repressed memories.

Next update from the airport. I wonder if United will give my wife an upgrade if I tell them about her surgery. Or about Rick Steves.

socialworker Sep 9th, 2013 06:09 AM

Have a great time!1

So sorry to hear that your DW needed surgery.....I hope her recovery goes well. I am glad that she has Italy as a wonderful way of putting any cares out of her mind, but I am sorry that you will miss Paris. You will just need to schedule a trip to go back... :)

The villa looks heavenly. (Reminds me of the one in the Liv Tyler movie, "Stealing Beauty".) And I hope if she did sleep w/him that the memory stays repressed!!

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:33 PM.