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Mar 7th, 2012, 06:51 PM
  #1
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Need advice

We are going to spend three weeks in Spelo, Umbria Do we need to hire a car to go and see all the gorgeous towns around or can we get along with the local bus services and or Taxis. It would not be a good idea to drink wine with our lunches and drive!!!? . After living in Asia for a long time we are hanging out for lovely italian foods.
Please help, hire or not hire party of four.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 07:08 PM
  #2
 
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I love Spello, but 3 weeks is a long time for that area. I would pick another location or two, and I would have a car.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 07:22 PM
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Three whole weeks in Spello? Is this some sort of rental? If not, move around a bit to at least a couple of other places, and yes, rent a car. You don't have to drink at lunch. Drink at dinner.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 07:25 PM
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It's perfectly possible to drink a single glass of wine and drive - and you do need a car to visit all of those hill towns. The buses are designed for locals and are often few and far between - as in 1 or 2 buses a day between towns.

Don;t know Spello - but admit that 3 weeks sounds like a lot.
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Mar 10th, 2012, 04:41 PM
  #5
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Thank you ALL!!! We read the story here of the two guys who stayed in Casa Spello, last year, and had such a good time,eating,drinking and going around to all the small towns,
that we booked in straight away.We are a party of four, can we get into a small car? We all have Australian licenses, can we use them or do we need an international license?
Are taxis very expensive? Or hire a private tour guide?
We haven't been to this part of Italy yet so we don't know much about it except what somebody called gmai or something like these letters, written in Fodors, a very, very good travel story.
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Mar 10th, 2012, 05:01 PM
  #6
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I have the right story! By iamq : "These are my favorite things"
Thank you Fodors News!!!!!
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Mar 10th, 2012, 06:16 PM
  #7
 
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A really small car will not hold 4 adults plus luggage - so are you taking the train to the town - and need the car only for local trips.

Taxis from one town to another would be a significant cost - obviusly depending on distances. Also, many of these town don;t hae alot of cabs - so you would have to arrange in advance.

As for a private guide - there are lists below if you want to check. But a private guide with car for the day (large car to hold 5) would be several hundred euros.
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Mar 10th, 2012, 10:06 PM
  #8
 
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You can make your decision when you are there,. There is a train station in Spoleto that you can use for some day trips, plus buses to small villages. But there is also a car rental office in Foligno, which is just a few minutes away by train.

If you are coming to Umbria for the food, it really helps to have a car so you can visit some famous gastronomic destinations nearby. Norcia is one, Amatrice is another, Montefalco is famous for its wine. The Nera river produces great trout, and there are restaurants that specialize in it along its banks. Perugia has fabulous chocolate, but use public transportation to get there.

I live in Italy and one of the reasons I do is that I never get bored with it. From a base in Spoleto, you have the opportunity to see many truly incredible things, even if you don't rent a car. The art museum in Perugia is one of the most wonderful in Italy, and Assisi is a world-class historic sight. But even if you just take a few bus rides into Umbrian villages most tourists just whizz past looking for "interesting towns to hit", you can be very happy and you'll feel 3 weeks wasn't enough.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 09:05 AM
  #9
 
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With 3 weeks, I suggest renting a car. You can take the train to some destinations (Perugia, Assisi, Trevi + taxi, Spoleto) but a car will allow you to enjoy so much more. Three weeks will allow you the time to really explore the region. There are many towns and villages not on the train line. There are also some buses, but the schedules may not work well for touring. Rent a car, get a good guide book and have a great trip.

Good companies for car rentals are Kemwel and Auto Europe. You can call them to get advice on car size.

You do not need an International Drivers License. You need an International Drivers Permit (which is a translation of your DL) + your Aus DL. Research where to get the IDP in Australia. Here in the US they are available from the local AAA office and cost $15. Getting one takes about 10 minutes.

Here is some good information about driving in Italy and public transportation-

http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/instructions/index.htm

Here are links to my favorite guidebooks to use when exploring Umbria-

http://www.amazon.com/Umbria-Heritag.../dp/8836528376

http://www.amazon.com/The-Rough-Guid...5&sr=1-2-spell
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Mar 11th, 2012, 09:21 AM
  #10
 
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Here is a great trip report you may enjoy-

http://www.slowtrav.com/tr/tripreport.asp?tripid=1084
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Mar 14th, 2012, 11:33 PM
  #11
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Thank you so much for all the help, very much appreciated.
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Mar 15th, 2012, 01:35 AM
  #12
 
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Umbria is my favourite provence in Italy. 3 weeks is a long time, but there is so much to see, and so relaxing that I can stay a whole year, visiting agriturismos, eating well and touring countryside, towns and cities.

I would DEFINITELY hire a car in Umbria, you would not be able to see half as much without one, and visit the beautiful towns and villages it has to offer without one. Staying 3 weeks in Umbria would give you time to travel all around the provences, and even visit Tuscany. In my opinion Umbria has different type of scenary, which makes it so nice. At the very north you can see the Appenine mountains in the background and still have the lovely rolling hills scenary. On the west, it is more wild, with more wild trees and bushes.

You can visit so many places, like go near the Lake Trasimeno, Perugia, Assisi, Todi, Citta di Castello, Deruta - where they make the world famous ceramics, the waterfalls in Marmore, etc etc. The food is equisite in the agriturismos there, so abundant and authentic - if you are touring around check out agriturismos like Locanda del Borgo in Pietralunga, I Capricci di Merlon near the Lake Trasimeno, and L'Antico Forziere in Deruta, and Agriturismo Ristorante Calagrana, we were in that area during our last holiday in Umbria.

Countryside on the outskirts of Assisi is lovely, we had accomodation up a small hill called Il Maniero, very very good food, but try to prebook or take note of their tel. nos and book before you go so that you can make sure that they wouold be open on the day.

You would never get the real feel of Umbria without a hired car, that's for sure, and you would waste so much time waiting for buses etc. The best thing about having a hired car is that you can stop at any villiage or town you wish at your own leisure, particularly in your case since you are going to stay for 3 weeks. You would even have time to visit some towns and cities in Tuscany, if you do not mind the driving.

Enjoy it,a three-week holiday, with its great scenary and best food ever is shee bliss.
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Mar 15th, 2012, 01:41 AM
  #13
 
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Forgot to add - you can ask any agent, or go directly to the car hire company website for information about licence. We always love to use Avis in Italy, so reliable and never overcharge or block money in your credit car. We also buy full excess insurance, which is available at rental office on arrival. We always pick up car from their airport offices, so very convenient.

Since you would be touring Umbria and would be a party of four, it would probably save you money in taking taxis, since long drives would prove to be very expensive for sure, so they take you to different villages and towns and cities. We always rent a mid-size car, you would be more comfortable whilst travelling and it would also be a stronger car.
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Mar 15th, 2012, 01:43 AM
  #14
 
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SORRY I meant hiring a car would prove cheaper THAN taking taxis, besides being much more convenient. You can never visit the many villiages and towns by taxis.
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Mar 19th, 2012, 07:33 PM
  #15
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Thank you Anna, yes we are going to hire a car. I hope we can do it in Spelo, as we hired a private driver to take us from Rome airport to Spelo. We arrive to Rome at 8AM from Hong KOng, the other party will get there at 12.30 from Australia. We will have a five hour wait and hang around the airport. We will be dead tired won't be able to drive.Yes Avis is the best. We will have to get used to drive on the other side of the road but I don't think it will be a problem.
Thanks again for your advice. Cheerio, Lulu.
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Mar 20th, 2012, 06:03 AM
  #16
 
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I don't think there is a car rental available in Spello. You'll need to take the train to nearby Foligno and rent there at the train station. Very easy.
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Mar 20th, 2012, 08:52 AM
  #17
 
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You are very welcome Lulu. Foligno is only about 8km away from Spello and is very accessible, so you should have no problem. There is an Avis booking office at the train station in Foligno, I have just checked it out for you from their website.

I can imagine you would be dead tired after a long journey and would not feel like travelling, although of course it would cost much less than having to hire a private driver. We always pick up the car from Fiumicino airport, and we find it so convenient, but again we would not have had such a long flight as you are going to have, probably with very little sleep. You might want to drop off the car at the airport after your holiday, Avis allows you to do that, and it is so very very convenient. The road from Assisi area where you are staying to Rome is very easy to drive and not that far.

I would go for a midsize car, it would give you more room and more space for luggages, check carefully luggage space, as sometimes even though they are marked as mid-size, they would still have restricted luggage space.

Enjoy your holiday!!
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Mar 20th, 2012, 07:37 PM
  #18
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Thank you Anna. The private car will cost us 250.Eu. Only 125.00 per couple, so it is quite cheep, I think?
And thank you for the Avis tip, I could not find them in Foligno.
We will take the private car back to Rome, as the two of us will be staying in Rome for a week before returning to HK.

In July we will be moving to Istanbul to live. I hope I can return you kindness by letting you know of all the goodies this wonderful town can offer--if you want or need it---

Cheerio Lulu.
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Mar 22nd, 2012, 07:31 AM
  #19
 
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You are very welcome Alorzija. If you are not on a tight budget, and you prefer not to drive to and from Rome, then the price of the private driver should be worth it, even coming back.

Just in case you are thinking of driving yourselves back to Rome, the drive is a very easy one, especially since by the end of the holiday you would have well got used to driving in Italy. (not in central Rome of course, but my husband did manage that as well) and the fuel from Spello to Rome would probably cost you only about 50 Euro, and no extra charge for hired car if you return it at the same time that you pick it up, otherwise you would have to pay for an extra day (Avis even gives you an hour grace for free). Maybe you could leave car at Fiumicino or closer to central Rome like near the train station (private driver from Fiumicino to Rome would cost about 70 Euro).

But again it is all a matter of opinion, the decision of course is yours. Of course it is even more comfortable to be driven, although a hired car is the next most comfortable way to see places and to arrive exactly in front of accomodation. We would never travel any other way now that we got used to it, unless it is a cruise (which we never did yet).

Enjoy your trip. I will certainly ask for information on Fodors if we ever visit Asia or Istanbul, or any part of Umbria that we did not visit, thanks for offering advice. These last few years we were just stuck at holidays in Italy, I can never get enough of this country, especially Umbria, the people there are so nice, educated and friendly, the food delicious, and the scenary, in my opinion, one of the best of provences in Italy. I look forward to reading your review.

Take note of the restaurants I suggested, and check reviews in Tripadvisor of other restaurants (often in Agriturismos or relais hotels) in Umbria in the areas you want to visit, so that you would know beforehand the very best (not necessarily the most expensive, but the ones that serve the best food).

Enjoy your holiday!!!!!
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Mar 22nd, 2012, 07:34 AM
  #20
 
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Me again - You said you could not find Avis in Foligno? - Maybe you did not type the name right? Try again, as I found it on the Avis website.
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