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John H. Nov 30th, 2002 09:42 PM

Seeking feedback on Tuscany and Umbria itinerary
Hi, all,<BR><BR>Looking for feedback on the following 17-day, 16-night Tuscany/Umbria itinerary for late summer/early fall 2003. <BR><BR>We are a group of 6 adults (3 women, 3 men), desiring a balance of city/culture/shopping with time also to enjoy the more rural scenery and character of the region. I have constructed this after looking through many of the previous threads here and several guidebooks. Any thoughts/feedback are appreciated.<BR><BR><BR>1] Florence/Lucca (3-4 nights in total): <BR><BR>Arrive Florence by air 6pm from US - stay 3 or 4 nights in Florence. Have been to Florence for 3 days previously; will likely do day trip to Lucca (and Pisa?) this time.<BR><BR>2] Rest of Tuscany (5 or 6 nights in total):<BR><BR>Does it make sense to stay 2 nights in Chianti area (maybe Castellina in Chianti) to see some of Chianti, San Gim and/or Volterra) and then 3 or 4 nights south of Siena (e.g., stay in Pienze, Montalcino - see Pienza, Montalcino, Montefollonico (La Chiusa restaurant), Montepulciano, Cortona, perhaps Lake Trasimeno)?<BR><BR>or<BR><BR>Should I pick a single base for 5 or 6 nights (maybe just outside of Siena)?<BR><BR><BR>3] Northern Umbria (4 nights in total): <BR><BR>4 nights in Assisi area (base for Assisi, Gubbio, Perugia, Foligno, Spello)<BR><BR>4] Orvieto, Todi (?), Rome (mainly for shopping, as we have all been there before)- 3 nights in total):<BR><BR>- Spend 3 nights and allow for day trip in to Rome? or,<BR><BR>- Spend one night here and 2 in Rome itself?<BR> <BR><BR>5] Fly out of Rome roughly noontime<BR><BR><BR>I am especially looking for any feedback on:<BR><BR>- what to change in terms of timing and/or base locations. [I am looking to get the high-level itinerary settled so that I can start to book lodging]. Also, if it makes sense, we could add one day on to the front of the trip. <BR><BR>- city and lodging suggestions for the Todi, Orvieto, Rome part of the trip in particular<BR><BR>Many thanks in advance.<BR><BR>John H.<BR>

pt Dec 1st, 2002 12:33 AM

I would post the same query on the slowtrav message board for expert advice.<BR><BR><BR><BR>pt

rar Dec 1st, 2002 04:02 AM

I would also suggest going to slowtrav but your itinerary does look good

Jill Dec 1st, 2002 05:21 AM

John,<BR><BR>I have not been to Umbria so have no suggestions there. However, with regards to Tuscany - a day trip to Lucca and Pisa would be enough. Pisa can easily be done in 2-3 hours then I'd go on to Lucca, rent bikes if you like, but on foot was just fine for us. Also if you enjoy architecture and horticulture, you must visit the nearby villas on the outskirts of Lucca (Villa Reale is amazing).<BR><BR>As for the rest of Tuscany, I would opt for one base near Siena, you can rent a farmhouse (agriturismo) usually Sat - Sat., in every price range imaginable. I will say that even a moderate price will get you fabulous accommodations (with a pool, ideal for relaxing after a day of travel) and will far surpass any experience you would have at a hotel. A Base near Siena will allow you to explore most of the region easily - San Gim., Volterra, Chianti, Fiesole, Arezzo, Montelcino, Pienza, Montepulciano, Cortona.<BR>I also agree with checking out the site, and michelin for some wonderful food rec's.

Howard Dec 1st, 2002 06:47 AM

Jill has given some good advice. <BR>We stayed in Trequanda (about 20 kms southeast of Siena and just north of Pienza) and found to be a great location. I strongly recommend the place. It could easily be your base for your entire Tuscany stay. Check out its website:<BR><BR>There's also a good description of the place on<BR><BR>The views are to die for!

Howard Dec 1st, 2002 06:53 AM

In Assisi, we had a great experience staying at Castel San Gregorio--a real castle--just outside the city! Its excellent dining experiences was a real plus. For info, check out:<BR><BR>Unfortunately, they have neither a website nor an email address. You can get its address, phone and fax numbers from the above website.

John H. Dec 1st, 2002 02:34 PM

Thanks for your replies.<BR><BR>John H.

John H. Dec 2nd, 2002 09:00 AM

Any other suggestions appreciated -- will post to slowtrav as well. Thanks.<BR><BR>John H.

me Dec 2nd, 2002 10:44 AM

Don't know your hotel budget, but a nice 4* hotel in orvieto is the Palazzo Piccolomini, and in Rome, 3* Santa Chiara. Both of these hotesl are very nice and are well-located.<BR><BR>Your itinary sounds great. i wish i could go!

John H Dec 2nd, 2002 01:02 PM

Thanks, me -- I had been looking at the Palazzo Piccolomini for Orvieto. Will check out the 3* Santa Chiara for Rome.<BR><BR>John H.

John Dec 2nd, 2002 01:30 PM

John<BR><BR>We opted for the tranquillity of Todi.<BR>Smaller &amp; less touristed than Orvieto &amp; Assisi.<BR><BR>The Fonte Cesia is the only hotel within the town walls. We loved it.<BR><BR>

BOB THE NAVIGATOR Dec 2nd, 2002 02:32 PM

John, You have a very good start. Stay at one location in Tuscany--you have a good suggestion from Howard--but there are many more to consider. I like your overall plan--good time to go and you have the time to do it well.

Trish Dec 2nd, 2002 06:57 PM

We also stayed at the Hotel Palazzo Piccolomini this past October. The rooms are small, but very nice, beautiful hotel and great location. We did not stay in Todi, but next time we visit Italy we definitely will, it is a wonderful town.

John H Dec 2nd, 2002 07:48 PM

Thanks for all of these additional replies.<BR><BR>I will look into staying in one location around Siena - - the only problem may be finding some place where I don't have to do a Saturday-to-Saturday stay. In this regard, an agriturismo may be better/more flexible than a villa. [FYI: We are planning to stay at an agriturismo for 4 nights in Umbria, before heading to Todi/Orvieto and/or Rome].<BR><BR>Jill/Howard, thanks for the lodging suggestions. Jill, my only concern with cinelli colombini is that the apartments that have two bedrooms seem only to have a single bath -- that would be catastrophic, lol. Will check out additional villas/agriturismo sites, and would welcome additional suggestions, especially for places just outside of Tuscany.<BR><BR>Bob/others, would you suggest staying north of Siena (Castellina in Chianti, for example) or south of Siena (e.g., Montalcino or Pienza) if we were to have a single base for the 5 or 6 nights? <BR><BR>Again, great feedback, for which I am grateful.<BR><BR>John H.

Howard Dec 3rd, 2002 12:18 PM

John, at the Cinelli Columbini, we (2 couples and a year-old child) stayed in what they call Il Colle Villa, which was a five-room suite (including a kitchen). It would be able to accommodate the six of you. And, it has two bathrooms.

Bob Dec 3rd, 2002 12:36 PM

The replies you are getting to base out of Siena are good. <BR><BR>We stayed in a villa outside of Siena with another couple for one week in 1999. It was a great location to drive to all the sites around the area. My one regret is that we made Florence a one day trip and we should have booked some more time to stay in that city. You have it about right. I have to insert here that you should read the Ross King book (short) called BRUNESCHIS DOME about the building of the cathedral in Florence before you go. I read this recently and now have to return to Florence with a new appreciation for all the work that went into the construction. Great read!<BR><BR>The one day to Pisa/Lucca is fine also. I did Lucca 2 times in a 6 month period on 2 different trips and still have not found the allure of this city. Nice walls. Many posters rave about it, but I looked twice and did not find it. Once we were on our own and once with a guided tour.<BR><BR>Our trips are always more relaxing when we eliminate as much hotel change as possible. It looks to me like you are doing the same.

BOB THE NAVIGATOR Dec 3rd, 2002 01:19 PM

John, Stay south--easier access by roads and less crowded. Look at these:<BR><BR>Find Palazzina Cesira<BR><BR><BR><BR>Bo th are new, priced well, and in the villages for good access to shops etc.<BR>Have fun--I love south Tuscany.

John H. Dec 3rd, 2002 01:34 PM

Thanks, all.<BR><BR>John H.

Dayle Dec 3rd, 2002 01:42 PM

Hi John,<BR><BR>We also stayed at Palazzo Piccolomini in Orvieto. It was very nice &amp; a great 3 days base. So much to see in Orvieto itself, the underground tour, the duomo, the Etruscan tombs, wonderful shopping and fabulous restaurants &amp; wine.<BR><BR>Did day trips from Orvieto to Todi, Deruta and Civita di Bagnoreggio - a must see.

topper Dec 4th, 2002 08:23 AM


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