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HistoricOlympia Mar 3rd, 2006 08:21 PM

Need help planning itinerary for 8 day trip in Tuscany/Umbria
 
My husband and I are taking our first trip to Italy at the beginning of May. We will have 8 days to explore. We fly into Rome and we fly out of Bologna. We would like to explore the Tuscany and Umbria regions. Any suggestions about itineraries? Also, we don't know if we should just travel by train or if we should rent a car for part of the time. Please help!

krisabug27 Mar 3rd, 2006 08:27 PM

First of all I would suggest searching these boards for Tuscany itineraries, cars in Tuscany, etc. You'll get an infinite amount of information to look through...it's hard to recommend itineraries, etc. not knowing your budget, things you like to do, etc.

Look at San Gimignano in Tuscany. We will be staying here for 4 days in May and have heard nothing but good things about it. Not necessarily the best hub for Tuscany public transportation but we decided to go against the grain. For better public transportation around Tuscany, stay in Siena.

Have a wonderful trip!

knoxvillecouple Mar 3rd, 2006 09:58 PM

Krisabug is right. At a minimum use the search engine here and you'll get hundreds (if not thousands) of hits. I'd advise looking first at relevant trip reports. But do this quickly, since May is just around the corner.

If you're going to spend all of your time in Umbria and Tuscany, you'll most likely want a car for Umbria (easier to get around than public transport) and probably for Tuscany too. The downside of a car is driving into small (and larger) towns and cities, since in many cases you'll have to leave the car at the town/city outskirts and walk, walk, and walk. With 8 days, I wouldn't try to stay more than a couple of places and explore those two cities and do day-trips out of them - this reduces the number of times you check into and out of hotels.

We stayed near Orvieto in Umbria, and many people here will suggest Orvieto at least as a day trip. Others in Umbria include Perugia and Assisi (and Spoleto and others).

Although we had a day-trip to Florence, that was the only place we went in Tuscany, so I can't help you there.

Happy Trails,

KC

NYerr Mar 3rd, 2006 11:08 PM

We rented a car and stayed in a hilltop Relais called Relais Il Caniliccio (my spelling may be off). It was a castle perched high up and great. Awesome pool. It was convenient to Deruta for great pottery shopping. There are high end pottery makers and low end so do you research if this interests you. Most of our purchases were from Umbaldo Grazia and took 3 months to arrive, it is all made to order.

It was also convenient for a half day trip to Orvieta and a fabulous lunch there.

People also use Sienna as a base and there are many good choices of lodging.

Dayle Mar 4th, 2006 07:07 AM

Hi Historic,

If it were me, I would train to Orvieto, spend the entire day there, maybe stay overnight. Pick up car the next morning and drive to the southern Tuscany area (short distance).

Stay 3 nights in either Montepulciano/Pienza/Montalcino area.

Drive over to Spello spend 3 nights there at Palazzo Bocci (you may be too late to get res). From Spello you can visit Assisi, Montefalco, Bevegna. Spello is lovely.

Return car to Foligno and train back to Rome for your last night, assuming an early am flight.

If it helps, search for my trip report "Dayle's Solo Trip to Italy". This was my 3rd trip and I loved everywhere I went. But then, I've loved everywhere (except for Milan, just ok) on the other trips too!

Buon viaggio!

JennyGrant Mar 15th, 2006 05:23 AM

Try www.montefalcons.com for Umbria and Toscana Rustica, not sure of their website for Tuscany.


nessundorma Mar 15th, 2006 06:03 AM

Unless you have a total aversion to cities or have mobility problems, I strongly urge you to visit Perugia, an astonishing city of history, architecture, art and food. The city layout itself is a marvel, dating back to the Etruscan era, and its art museum is one of the best in Italy, since this part of Umbria was really the center of artistic training for so many Italian artists, who fanned out across Italy when they were hired to decorate the cathedrals of Rome, Firenze, etc.

My advice for touring Umbria is to get a car. Orvieto is a good place to do it. But to base yourselves in an agriturismo near Assisi. You can read about the small towns and see which ones you would like to visit. When it comes to visiting Perugia, I would suggest that you park your car at the Assisi train station and take a train to Perugia, only because navigating the paths up the hillside into Perugia by car is confusing.

You should tour Umbria first and then Tuscany. You can drop off your car in either Siena or Firenze, and take the train to Bologna. While a car is useful for visiting the small towns, it's a real nuisance in Siena and Firenze, but both are reachable by train, and can be done as day trips from each other.

tcreath Mar 15th, 2006 06:24 AM

I can't give any real advice yet, as we are leaving for Umbria on Saturday, but I thought I would share our basic plan. We are spending the first 5 nights in Umbria, near Bevagna, in an apartment (le Case Gialle) and plan on visiting Assisi, Montefalco, Gubbio, Perugia, Deruta, Spello, Spoleto, Orvieto, Todi, Trevi and others. We prefer to base ourselves in one location for longer periods of time, but obviously that decision doesn't work for everyone. We are renting our car at Fiumicino and driving to our apartment. After the five nights are up, we are dropping the car off in Foligno and training the Rome for the remainder of the trip.

Good luck!
Tracy

Traviata Mar 15th, 2006 06:29 AM

Tracy,

You have likely already included it, but if not, think about Civita..so close to Orvieto..at this time of year, there should be very few tourists which will make it even more special...

nessundorma Mar 15th, 2006 06:43 AM

HistoricOlympia, if there is a train station in Foligno, it would also be possible to park your car there to take a train to Perugia. It depends on where you have based yourself.

tcreath,

Perhaps I've mentioned this before, but Frantoio Brizi in Montefalco is a great place to taste olive oil and even see the oliver oil works. It has an enoteca as well, and it's on a beautful quiet street in Montefalco, the area of several convents.

p://www.frantoiobrizi.it/index_e.html

tcreath Mar 16th, 2006 10:55 AM

I just found this post and wanted to thank nessundorma and Traviata for your comments!

Traviata, I really want to visit Civita, and my husband really wants to visit Pitigliano. Both are near Orvieto so hopefully we can make a really long day of it and do them with Orvieto, but Orvieto is at the top of the list and I guess we will just see what we have time for. Thanks for the tip though!

Nessundorma, thank you so much for the info and the link! I am printing out the information right now to bring with us.

HistoricOlympia, I hope you received some good information on this post. Best wishes with your itinerary. I will post my trip report (although I'm certainly not as entertaining as some members on this board!) when I get back; hopefully it will be of some use for you.

Tracy

Traviata Mar 16th, 2006 11:43 AM

Tracy,

I understand...sooo many places to see..sooo little time...I have been to all three and as a personal opinion, I'd rank them 1. Orvieto, 2. Civita, and 3. Pitigliano, but, it is a hard choice between 2 and 3...Pitigliano is much more atmospheric and historical, especially the old ghetto, and seeing the tufa walls is impressive, but then, Civita is really charming and the topography leading up to it is very unusual....to me, better to see two and see them well rather see three in a hurry...Pitigliano really closed down between noon and three-three thirty..Civita seemed "closed down" all the time!!! Ah, but, the view....

tcreath Mar 16th, 2006 01:38 PM

LOL Traviata....you certainly hit the nail on the head! When I first booked our five nights in Umbria I was worried that we would have *too* much time. Imagine that! Thank you for your opinions. I really really want to see Civita so I'm hoping to squeeze that in, even if for a short visit. We plan on getting to Orvieto early in the morning so we have a better chance of seeing everything. If only all decisions in life were like this... :)

Tracy

Sniktaw Mar 16th, 2006 06:52 PM

I would spend a nite in Todi, a couple in Cortona, one in Pienza and possibly one in Montalcino. By all means, rent a
car.


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