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Piedmont/Tuscany/Umbria/Le Marche Itinerary Help

Piedmont/Tuscany/Umbria/Le Marche Itinerary Help

Old Jul 6th, 2004, 11:00 AM
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Piedmont/Tuscany/Umbria/Le Marche Itinerary Help

OK, I have posted before, but I wanted to touch on this again to gather more opinions. First some quick back story: my wife and I went to Italy 2 years ago for our honeymoon. We arrived in Rome, then went to Florence, bologna and Locarno before hitting points north in europe. I want to take her back for our next anniversary which is October 20th. So we are looking at spending 8 to 10 days in Italy only from Oct. 22nd to November 3rd ish.

This time we think we want to rent a villa or apartment somewhere, and then rent a car and use the villa/apartment as a home base and do little day trips. My issues so far are:

1) What can we expect for weather late october in Piedmont, Tuscany, Umbria, Le Marche?
2) I am a cheap son of a gun, which region would be most cost effective?
3) Are there any events, festivals, happenings that time of year in any of those regions?

Basically, my wife and I seem to be arguing more over where we DON'T want to go in italy and would like to spend more time thinking about where we would like to go. My wife speaks fluent italian, so we don't need or want to be in highly touristed areas.

So far Piedmonte is looking like a front runner, but it is less centrally located than so Tuscany. Umbria looks nice. Le Marche seems very interesting mainly because there is very little reading available about it.

Anybody have two cents they want to chip in on this one?

Thanx,
Chris
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 08:17 PM
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I can't speak to the weather in October - but we had two weeks this May in Italy and fell in love with Piedmont. This was our fifth trip to Italy and certainly our favorite.

Way off the tourist track and we thought as pretty as Tuscany. Did the Cinque Terre thing first but moved on inland to the Piedmont wine country.

If you are looking for an off the track city Turin is amazing. Covered walkways, palaces, etc. everything is being spiffed up for the Olympics in 2006. Incredible food and wine in this whole region. In fact Bra is where the slow food movement started and every place we ate in the area is out of the ordinary. Barolo is the King of Italian reds and after you try it you?ll see why. I have heard it is more busy in the fall during truffle season but in May we were the only Americans in most places we visited. Lot?s of wineries and wonderful undiscovered small towns.

We stayed in a great B&B and vineyard just out of the little town of Nizza Monferrato. Our first day there they had the town festival. Barrel rolling. Yes, barrel rolling down the cobblestone streets. Each winery in competition with the others. Complete with a police escort and ambulance on standby. Amazing gelato, balloons, flag throwing and a mini carnival. What a town.

The B&B Cascina Christiana was great. www.cascinachristiana.com
They have self catering apartments or just regular rooms. We liked it so much we stayed an extra two days. They have a great pool with a view of the vineyard and on a clear day you can see the mountains. Easy driving to Barolo, Asti, Alba and Turin. We even went up to the Val d'Aosta and Mont Blanc on a day trip from here. Not so central if you really want the art of Florence again... but central to the coast and the mountains. Easy enough to get around for any day trips. We even hit Stresa fairly easily.

I'm not sure why more people don't go to Piedmont. We loved it. Go now before everyone discovers it during the 2006 Winter Olympics!
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 09:08 PM
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From what you say, the most centrally located area which should suit you is on the border between Tuscany and Umbria. There are lots of apartments and agritourismo farms available and many of them are very reasonably priced. I'm talking about the area near Cortona and Lake Tresimena.

And...the weather in central Italy in October is WONDERFUL!

Perhaps my website can help you. There are several trips to Italy described there. Here's the URL:
http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/5733/
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 09:24 PM
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It's been years now, but Le Marche is truly lovely, and far less touristed than the other regions you mentioned.

We spent a long weekend in Urbino, and loved it. Absolutely beautiful. The drive up to Urbino (from Umbria) was fabulous-- beautiful hilly countryside. And Urbino is a little jewel. It was far, far less expensive than the places that do get all the tourists too.

But I don't know about spending 8 or 10 days there...I think an itinerary that covered Umbria and Le Marche would be great. Perhaps Perugia or Bologna and Urbino?

Weatherwise, late October gets uncertain-- it can get cold and rainy, but it can also be sunny and beautiful.
I've been to Italy twice at this time of year,and I do love it because it is less crowded, and 80-90% of the time the weather is beautiful. But it could get wet and cold...best to be prepared. I think this would be true of all the regions you are considering...
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Old Jul 15th, 2004, 06:41 AM
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I would also suggest Le Marche as a great, off-the-beaten-path region to visit. It escapes the tourists, but it has many cities that stand up on their own (Ascoli Piceno, Urbino, even Macerata), and many unspoilt hill towns to explore. It has a very beautiful landscape, and is just as central as Tuscany and Umbria (although, unlike Umbria, it has a coastline, and a nice one at that: the Monte Conero area is really gorgeous). October should bring good weather, as well.

As for price, Le Marche is pretty economical, since it isn't as touristy as the other areas (although I don't know about Piedmonte, having never been).

If you want to know more about Le Marche, let me know. I live there, and I really love the area. There is so much to explore, and if you are fluent in Italian, you will get along fine. Another nice area in Italy that you might look up is Abruzzo.
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Old Jul 15th, 2004, 10:03 AM
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We just spent four days in Urbino (my husband was there on business) and I would recommend visiting this area. Urbino itself is a fascinating town and the countryside is beautiful. It is also relatively inexpensive. We had one of the best meals of our trip there for about half the price it would have been in Rome or Florence. Gubbio (in Umbria) is also a wonderful city to visit.

Jackie - good to see you hear again! Thanks for all the help when we were planning our trip. You were right - Le Marche is a wonderful place.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 12:12 AM
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Jackie...... I saw on one of your posts that you recommend Le Marche if you are fluent in Italian... what if you can only scramble a few phrases... would you still recommend it? We have little time in Italy, will spend some if it in Rome and Florence, but were hoping to do something relaxing and off the busy/beaten track. Le Marche sounds wonderful.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 04:43 AM
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ttt
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 05:16 AM
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Jackie in Italy: Where is Monte Conero? Neither of my maps have it, and even the "viamichelin" website can't find it.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 05:36 AM
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I'm interested to hear that people have spent several nights in Urbino and loved it. We spent one night there in June and thought that was a mistake. Of course the city is spectacular to look at, when approaching, the drive there from Sansepolcro was very nice and the museo civico is a must; but the place seemed absolutely dead at night. The only thing going on was a series of painfully amplified speakers in the main square (this was the run up to the European elections) and we couldn't find a single bar or restaurant which appealed. What on earth did you do for four days, Barbara ?!

Having said that, we really enjoyed doing the Piero della Francesca trail (Arrezzo, Monterchi, Sansepolcro, Urbino) - I just wished we hadn't stayed a night in Urbino. We thought Arrezzo was lovely, with lots to do and very few tourists away from the coach parties visiting the frescos.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 06:48 AM
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Monte Conero is a 1,500 foot mountain along the Adriatic coast near Ancona, but the term is also used to describe the general area. One of the most popular towns around there is Sirolo, which has nice beaches.

I stayed in Urbino for two nights, and, like caroline, was not overwhelmed. It's the most monochrome city I've ever seen; it seems like every building is the same shade of brown. The streets are quite steep, and the people didn't seem as friendly as in other Italian towns. I won't say don't go there -- there are things to recommend it, but it's not one of my favorites.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 07:17 AM
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Late Oct.--off the path---festival !
I would go straight to Montalcino and take in their festival the last weekend on Oct. Go to montalcino-tuscany.com for details and apt. rentals.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 03:45 PM
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Chris,
see http://www.montalcino-tuscany.it/sagra_del_tordo.htm
for information on La Sagra del Tordo.
See http://www.lacrociona.com/index.htm
for information on a farm house.
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Old Aug 21st, 2004, 08:01 PM
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My husband and I speak no Italian butloved both Umbria (esp Spoleto) and Urbino. Urbino in May was chilly, foggy and romantic. If there were other tourists, we didn't see them. We had nice meals and especially loved a wine bar near the main square.

But Spoleto...we stayed at the Hotel Charleston. Had amazing meals and the city was fun. We weren't there during the famous music festival but several times stumbled upon musicians practicing in old churches.

The border area between Le Marche and Spoleto was beautiful. We plan to return and visit Norcia.
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Old Sep 11th, 2004, 08:02 PM
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The Marche region is fantastic and relatively under explored. Probably the most interesting town there for food and sights is Ascoli Piceno. Fantastic inexpensive restaurants fascinating town. Hotels there are not great, although you can bargain since you will be there off season. There is one new hotel which was a midieval palace around two blocks from the main piazza. Macerata is ok, though I would give it a miss. Sirolo is cute, but it's best to be in that area when you can swim. Urbino is a jewel, though the food is good, but not great. If you really want spectacular out of the way only italians know about type of place check out Frontone, between Cagli and Pergola. When you get there head up to the Castillo up the mountain. That tiny midieval town has two restaurants, the second of which is spectacular, though a little pricey. Also the restaurants in the Furlo Gorge, between Cagli and Fano are fantastic. La Ginestra is great as well as Mussolini's restaurant across the street. Also in that area my favorite town on the coast is Pesaro. Unlike many Adriatic beaches the sand there is not rocky. The drive from Urbino to Cagli is pretty.
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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 11:48 AM
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I really like the Piedmont region in October. It is truffle season and there are many festivals going on! The Alba white truffles are heaven on earth and what an amazing way to spend the holiday. It is also the region that started the slow food movement and all I can say is to bring your running shoes b/c you will see what fabulous wine and food they have!

The weather can be cool with some rain. Not a big deal, though.

We stayed in a castle hotel that was wonderful. It was located between the cities of Alba and Bras. It was incredibly reasonable at $115/night. We also dined at Il Fastaff (12060 Verduno phone number 0172 470244)and had the slow food dinner of 8 courses with matching wines. Of course, truffles weer showcased. Excellent!

Cheers,
Jan

cheers,
Jan
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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 11:52 AM
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Oops...the hotel was CASTELLO DI SANTA VITTORIA
Via Cagna, 4
S.Vittoria d'Alba - Cuneo

We thought their restaurant was fine until we ate at other establishments in the area. The food is really excellent in this region!

Cheers,
Jan
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Old Sep 28th, 2004, 02:34 AM
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Walkers:

The reason I said that about Le Marche (the fluency thing) is because of the fact that a lot of its cities are just now catching on to tourism, so English isn't as widely spoken as it might be in Tuscany. But, I must say that I started out here not fluent at all, and I got along fine .

I think anyone can visit Le Marche, fluent or not, but willingness to try speaking in Italian--even very limited phrases!--definitely helps (as it does all over Italy), and people will be responsive to that, and friendly. If you really are worried about the language, though, stick to some of the more touristy Le Marche places: Urbino, the coastal towns, Gradara, etc. Macerata is also pretty receptive, and Ascoli Piceno would probably have enough people who speak English to help out.

Anyway, with your schedule, I think Le Marche would definitely be a good choice--it is off the beaten path and has wonderful, undiscovered hill towns !

twoflower: Monte Conero sticks out right in that bend on the coast of Central Italy, right south of Ancona (as Dick Patterson said). It is a wonderful area. I love it, and it has great wines and wonderfully hidden towns folded within it. The coast is beautiful, but exploring the regional park is a must as well, as you can take rugged hikes down to the beach. There is a great little osteria in the town of Poggio, if you can find that! We sort of ran into it.

I think it's interesting the different takes on Urbino. It is definitely Le Marche's main tourist draw--and I think it can be quite enchanting, and the palace is really quite splendid, with its art museum and the inlaid wood room (my parents went on a Monday and didn't even get to see the museum. They left rather disappointed, as you might immagine) . I wish Ascoli Piceno (down south) got as much attention though. And, of course, I love Macerata as well.

The Piero della Francesca trail is something I've been wanting to do forever! You really like Arezzo, caroline? I want to go!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2005, 11:42 AM
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Hi my husband and I spent 3 weeks in Italy in October. The weather was a mixed bag we had a little rain some clouds and sun Coldest day was 11 celsius warmest was 24. Take a light coat with a hood. We loved the Piedmont area. Stayed outside La Morra in an agriturismo called Risveglio in Langa (risveglioinlanga.it) 85 euros/night including breakfast. Franca the owner was wonderful and we ate at some incredible restaurants in surrounding hill towns. The prices were 1/2 to 1/3 that of Tuscany. The towns were quaint and not tourist filled like Tuscany. This is the middle of the truffle season and the Barolo harvest. We also spent 3 nights in Moniglia on the CT at Castello di monleone associated with the Hotel Edera It was incredible. Easy access to the train station and CT towns. If you say there request the Monleone room. There are only 5 rooms in the Castello and this one looks over the town and ocean. Well worth the extra $.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2005, 11:47 AM
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If you decide on Tuscany we stayed at Castello di Velona outside Montacino. We purchased a 5 night package at an auction on LuxuryLink.com. It cost 1/2 of what it would if we had just booked. The Castello is beautiful, lifestyles of the rich and famous for the middle class. We had a suite with private balcony that over looked the surrounding hills and Mount Amiata. A great central location for touring wineries and hill towns.
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