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Tell me the qualities of Umbria and Tuscany

Tell me the qualities of Umbria and Tuscany

Old Nov 23rd, 2002, 04:45 PM
  #1  
Nancy
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Tell me the qualities of Umbria and Tuscany

I have to decide which area to rent a villa in next Fall, I am deciding between Umbria and Tuscany. What are the differences? Is one more scenic than the other? How about "undiscovered" hill towns? Thanks.
 
Old Nov 23rd, 2002, 07:03 PM
  #2  
Rex
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I would submit that Umbria is a good bit less discovered than Tuscany (which was "discovered" by British holiday makers 70 years ago).

On the other hand, I'm sure you can find "undiscovered" destinations in either place. I rented a villa in the town of Ambra (midway between Arezzo and Siena) 4 years ago, and it was a bit TOO undiscovered and remote from the places we wanted to go.

And a whole lot less "discovered" than either Tuscany or Umbria is the province of Rieti. Just east of Rome. Take a look at the three places listed under "Rome countryside" on the webpage http://www.domani-usa.com/rome/index.html

Very enjoyable, and it strikes me as what Tuscany may have been 70 years ago.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 05:27 AM
  #3  
Howard
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Exactly when are you going next fall? We travelled in Tuscany and Umbria in late October this year and were delighted that the small number of tourists there. That includes some of the leading tourist cities, such as Siena and Umbria. So, if you're going around that time, most areas will feel "undiscovered." I wouldn't overdo the "undiscovered" factor.
Where to stay? We split up our stay between Trequanda in Tuscany (about 20 km southeast of Siena) and just outside of Assisi in Umbria and found that it worked well logistically.
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 06:02 AM
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Xenos
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The UK nickname for Tuscany is "Chianti-shire" because of the huge number of Home Counties residents that invade it each year.
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 09:46 AM
  #5  
up
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topping, for Nancy
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 09:56 AM
  #6  
rar
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Umbria may be a lil more mountanous. It's also less touristed. I have more experience in Umbria than Tuscano, so it would be hard for me to judge it without bias, but I did really love Umbria.
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 10:51 AM
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Sue
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Just to second Howard's opinion that one shouldn't overdo the 'undiscovered' factor. After all, for most of us it's all 'undiscovered.'

I was only priveleged to have a brief glimpse of both areas, but I liked what I saw of both. I don't think you can go wrong with either one. Enjoy your trip.
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 02:06 PM
  #8  
Nancy
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Thanks everyone, I will be going the first two or middle two weeks in Sept. I have been to Pienza and like the area, is this typical of Umbria? I am now thinking of around Assisi or Todi, but then again maybe by Cortona. Trequanda sounds interesting. I am going nuts with my travel guide books, it is overwhelming. Yes, I am now forgetting undiscovered, figuring out discovered is hard enough.
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 02:52 PM
  #9  
The Expert
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I don't know about September, but when I was in Cortona this past June, it was overrun with tourists (blame Frances Mayes, I guess). Cortona is a VERY hilly town, so unless you're looking to build leg and/or lung power, I recommend you not home-base there.

Umbria, in general -- Assisi is an exception -- is not too touristed, and the more you get off the beaten track, the less tourists you'll see. www.slowtrav.com lists a bunch of villa/apartment renters that you can choose from.

My family and I spent a week in Panicale (southwest corner of Lake Trasimeno, about 20 minutes from Chiusi and Cortona) and, while there were a couple of tourists there, it was a tranquil, serene Italian hill town. We chose an apartment to stay in from slowtrav.

I think that pretty much any small town in the Tuscan provinces of Siena, Arezzo, or Grosseto will still be fine. We also spent 6 weeks in Montepulciano in 1999, where we stayed in another apartment. At the time, it was heavenly. Spending that long in an apartment (not a hotel!) makes you feel like a local. However, when we returned to MP while we were in Panicale, we did notice a significant increase in the tourist volume. MP wasn't overrun like Cortona was, but it's getting there.

Don't get me wrong: both Cortona and MP are gorgeous cities that you do have to visit, but the "quiet hilltown" stereotype no longer applies to them. Pienza, Montalcino, Sarteano, Lucignano, yes. And Umbria is just a little more out of the way.
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 03:14 PM
  #10  
rar
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In October I visited Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto and Cortona. All were absolute gems, Spoleto being the least touristed.
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 04:41 PM
  #11  
rar
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Oh if you want to see pics of those 4 towns, ya can visit my gallery...

www.pbase.com/overthere/umbria_and_tuscany
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 07:51 PM
  #12  
Nancy
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Oh thank you everyone. RAR, your pictures are beautiful, I think I like Perugia the best. You are helping me narrow the prospects!
 
Old Nov 24th, 2002, 10:00 PM
  #13  
Tuscany
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I wonder why this legend that Umbria is out of the way, that Umbria is undiscovered, that Umbria is the new frontier. Umbria as a matter of fact has a much higher density of population than Tuscany, the latter is far more attractive and offers much more than Umbria, the mountains, the plains, the sea, an incredible variety of landscapes. People that post here mention Montalcino-Montepulciano-Cortona-Pienza-Castellina as if those were THE Tuscan off the beaten path places. Tuscany really offers an infinite number of non touristy towns and villages, thousands...
 
Old Nov 25th, 2002, 03:59 AM
  #14  
Lorenz
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I visited Tuscany April 2001 & Umbria April 2000. Overall I thought the Tuscan countryside was much prettier then Umbria. Tuscany is mostly hills & vineyards. Umbria has both but a lot more plains and general farming land. It also appeared that Tuscany has stricter zoning laws for new developement then Tuscany, in the countryside. As I saw few new/modern looking homes in the hills of Tuscany . In the Umbrian hills I saw a lot more modern dwellings. Both areas have bautiful old towns. But if you haven't been there before either will be beautiful to see.
 
Old Nov 25th, 2002, 06:11 AM
  #15  
Alice Twain
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Xenos:

Chiantishire is the nickname of Chianti in italy too, as a matter of facts. Yet, Tuscany is not only Chianti! I agree with Tuscany (the poster) that Tuscany (the region) has lots more to be discovered: the Amiata area, the Casentino etc. are almost unknown to the foreign travellers, who concentrare on the Chianti area and just forget about the rest of Tuscany. Yet I do not agree with Tuscany (the poster) whe he says that umbria is less attractive and fascinating than Tuscany: the region is gorgeous, similar and yet completely different. If I could chose I would go there (watch out, I love Tuscany so much that I am planning to move to Tuscany one day!), actually I was looking for a place in Umbria where to spend a few days around Christmas, but it looks like I am too late and the cheap places are all gone, so i'll just go back to Radicondoli.
 
Old Nov 25th, 2002, 06:46 AM
  #16  
clovis
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Don't do Cortona. Talk about being discovered. (A fine old town, before the discovery.) If you want Umbria, I would not base around Assisi (tourist and pilgrim central) or Perugia, which has come very unattractive overdevelopment around it, but instead near Spoleto (a wonderful old city, not teeming yet), or Orvieto, which I like MUCH better than Todi -- much more going on, you can park easily, it's FLAT at the tope, and there are gorgeous day trips all around it. From Orvieto you can get down into Lazio, which has great estates you can visit, and untouristed hilltowns, take the train to Rome (1 hour) and still daytrip to anywhere in Umbria, and even back up to the south of Tuscany (the best part, in my opinion).

We are renting a huge floor of a Palazzo in Orvieto for a week next summer.

Good luck.
 
Old Nov 25th, 2002, 07:45 AM
  #17  
zootsi
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Both Tuscany and Umbria are quite beautiful, and northern Tuscany is different than southern Tuscany. Southern Tuscany is more open, with rolling hills, somewhat similar to California wine country. Northern tuscany is hillier and more wooded. Northern Tuscany (Chianti) is more geared to the upscale wine trade- the restaurant prices seem to get higher as you get closer to Florence. Umbria is a mix of some very rural countryside, some working class cities and towns, and some wineries. All three areas have their own charm.
 
Old Nov 25th, 2002, 08:08 AM
  #18  
rar
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I would hardly call Perugia unattractive. Sure if you go into the modern part of the city, you're going to find *gasp* modern buildings. The medieval part of the city, on top of the hill, is absolutely beautiful, and has great panoramas of the countryside around it.
 
Old Nov 25th, 2002, 09:22 AM
  #19  
Nancy
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Hmmm, more food for thought. Where did you find your palazzo, Clovis? It is a decision on whether to stay in town or in the country. A few years ago we stayed in the area around Volterra and it took so long to get anywhere for day trips, that I am thinking city this time.
 
Old Nov 25th, 2002, 09:47 AM
  #20  
Paul
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Nancy, I think trying to choose between Tuscany and Umbria is a wonderful problem to have. I've spent a fair amount of time in Tuscany, loving it, of course, and only on my last trip to Italy decided to spend some in Umbria, and was rewarded with some incredible memories: Montefalco, Bevagna, Spello, three beautiful hill towns (Montefalco especially has incredible views, and is home to a wonderful and potent red wine called Sagrantino); we also took a beautiful, lonely drive up the Valnerina (valley of the Nera river) towards Norcia, and beyond that up into the Sibillini mountains. If you want to see one of the most beautiful natural sights in Italy, or anywhere, for that matter, make this drive up to the Piano Grande, a high, flat plain set amidst a steep surround of abrubt mountains. It's an amazing sight. We were there in fall, but I hear than in spring and summer it is covered with wildflowers.
Umbria struck me as a bit rougher, a bit more mystical, and less trafficked than Tuscany, all of which are, admittedly, very subjective impressions. Have a great trip whatever you decide.
 

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