New Ideas for Tuscany/Umbria

Apr 5th, 2006, 10:50 AM
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New Ideas for Tuscany/Umbria

We're visiting Italy (again) this fall, and I'm looking for ideas for the middle portion of our trip - look at it as an opportunity to relive your travels in the area!

We'll be spending 3 full days in Venice at the beginning, and 5 nights in Rome at the end (we've been both places several times previously). I definitely want to spend one day, after leaving Venice, visiting Verona and Padua. But other than that, I've been having a great time day-dreaming about what to do with two nights (2+ days) in between Venice (Verona, actually) and Rome.

What would you suggest? I'd kind of like to visit somewhere new, but there are so many places we've been that I would be happy to return to! We've visited pretty much every town on a tourist's radar in Tuscany (especially love Volterra, San G., Lucca, Siena; last trip included revisits to Montepulciano and Montalcino; enjoyed Pitigliano as wel), and travelled less extensively in Umbria (Perugia did not click with us, but we liked Gubbio, Spoleto, Todi). I'm considering Bevagna and Montefalco.

We love art/culture, much people-watching, and good (though not high-end) food.

Looking forward to your suggestions...
Lexma90 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 12:58 PM
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Good idea--stay in centro Umbria in either Bevagna or Spello and include Montefalco and even Torgiano--I assume you have seen Assisi.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 02:54 PM
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Yes, we were in Assisi prior to the earthquake, and enjoyed the city more than we thought we would!
Lexma90 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 03:01 PM
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have you seen the mosaics in Ravenna?
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 03:29 PM
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I'd offer, for your consideration, the area of Umbria known as "Piano Grande" and the hilltop village of Castelluccia. Also there's Norcia and Scheggino.

If you're going in the Spring, the beauty of the wildflowers will be memorable.

I'll admit this is not "art/culture, much people-watching, and good (though not high-end) food." But IMO, it'll be a welcome contrast to your city visits.
TuckH is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 12:24 PM
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Thanks for the Piano Grande suggestion - don't think we'll visit there this trip. I looked up pictures of it, and I was struck by how much it reminded me of the landscape in in Park County, Colorado, which is near our home. See this link:

(no I don't know how to do tiny url yet)
Lexma90 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 12:43 PM
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There's a resemblance to the picture you linked to, but the Piano Granda has a far more mystical appearance. Hard to describe. I don't think two days is enough to take you into Le Marche, but since you travel so extensively in rural Italy, you should look up what it has to offer in a guidebook sometime.

I also suggest you consider Ravenna if you haven't been there yet, as well as Urbino and the smaller towns in the hills of Montefeltro, which is a different way and much less touristed way to get into Tuscany.

I would think you pretty much already know what to expect from a stay in central Umbria. I would add Spello and Orvieto to your list if you decide on Umbria.

nessundorma is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 12:43 PM
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ooops. No "buts" about it. Hit the key too soon.
nessundorma is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 01:07 PM
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I always recommend that anyone going to Padova see the Scrovegni Chapel...just stunning and memorable...we were there in October, then drove on to south of Florence where we picked up the panoramic road, Strada di Sette was a Sunday and at many times, we were the only car on the wind through vineyards and olive grove after olive grove...not much left of the original Roman bridges, of course, but lovely none the less...this joined the Strada de Vino..more beautiful scenery and little traffic...we arrived at the wonderful little town of Montone, where we spent the night..then on to Bevagna and Montefalco for the next leg of out trip...All three of these towns were a delight...quiet and few tourists..we are returning in October and I look forward to them with much anticipation.
Traviata is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 01:16 PM
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...and I suppose you are aware that the fun about the Cappella degli Scrovegni can even be increased if you compare them to the other great Giotto cycle, the one in Assisi's S. Francesco basilica - just as we're talking about Umbria. Giotto's frescos are definitely better in Padova, but as far as overall impression, S. Francesco wins, thanks to the architecture, and thanks to the contribution of so many other great painters.
franco is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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I have spent literally hours in the Cappella degli Scrovegni.

Needless to say, this was before the frescoes were restored and one was limited to 15 minutes in the chapel.

I'm all for restoration and conservation, but there is something drastically wrong with allowing only 15 minutes in a chapel that has at least (I've never counted them...) 30 highly detailed - from the point of view not only of painting but of human psychology - frescoes.
Eloise is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 01:32 PM
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Yes, you are right ,of course, about the basilica, but, there is always that tug isn't there?? The intimacy of a cappella vs. the grandeur of a cathedral....
Traviata is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 01:34 PM
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Hi Lexma90, Do you need reservations for Scrovegni Chapel? While you are in the Padua area, Vicenza is lovely. Palladio's La Rotunda is gorgeous. Also, from Venice, I've read about a boat/bus tour of a river with Palladio homes along it-can't recall specifics-sorry.
We stayed in Spoleto and trained around-while we liked Assisi alot, Orvieto "grabbed" us more. Duomo spectacular on the outside. Sounds like you'll have a great trip report!
donco is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 01:37 PM
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While reservations may not be absolutely necessary, I would not plan to go to Padova without them...only 25 people go in at one time, and there were 25 before us, and 25 after us..a steady stream of visitors...and this was late October...
Traviata is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 05:16 PM
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Thanks for reminding me that I'll want to make reservations for the Chapel in Padova.

I'm not sure we'll fit in Vicenza or any of Palladio's villas this trip. But if you're interested, I read a very appealing book about Villa Cornaro, called "Palladian Days : Finding a New Life in a Venetian Country House," by Sally Gable.

We visited Ravenna on our last trip to Italy - I'm now a devotee of mosaics! The Eyewitness guide to Rome has a walking tour of buildings (churches) with mosaics; I'm looking forward to visiting all of them during our time in Rome.

I did consider Le Marche, but we decided that on this trip, we want to spend a lot of time in Rome, so the parts in between Venice and Rome are less time in rural areas than we usually do. It's on the list though (why is "the list" getting longer, not shorter?)

Piano Grande only kind of looks like Park County, I know (for one thing, Park County is not as green, though it does have many cows and horses). But there's one picture of Piano Grande that I kept seeing, of a road cutting sideways across the mountains, that reminds me of the road we often take to go over Kenosha Pass from Summit Co. skiing back to Denver.

Lots of great ideas, and I do love considering all the possibilities!
Lexma90 is offline  
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