Trip Report Umbria

Old May 12th, 2017, 08:10 AM
  #1  
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Trip Report Umbria

My mother, daughter (16 yrs) and I took a trip to Umbria the third week of April. We had 10 days on the ground. This was not as planned as I usually like, I booked in Feb because I saw a deal from Fleetway Travel (a UK company) for $1000 USD pp for flights, lodging at the Relais Il Canalicchio for 7 nights in Umbria and car rental. I added on 3 nights in Rome to the end making the trip 1200 pp.

I did a terrible job of labeling notes so I won't do a day by day but rather highlights.

We landed in Rome and picked up the rental car. I forget the name of the car rental company, but it was something akin to Interrent or some other generic name. I was a little concerned about this. In order to get your car, located 17 kms from the airport, you have to call the shuttle bus to pick you up.

I couldn't get through and had to ask several people to help at the TI office. Finally we got it and were on our way. Check-in was via a kiosk skyping with an agent. Strange but it worked. The drive from Rome to our hotel was about 2 hours through nice countryside.

The Hotel - Relais IL Canalicchio

Apparently a family from Rome bought a medieval hilltop village and renovated it into apartments and a hotel to become this property. It is a pretty cool place as some of the original structures are there dating from the 1400's. The views are spectacular.

It is located on the top of a hill and our little Fiat Panda struggling at times to make it, but we did. After a panicked 10 minutes trying to figure out if I was supposed to drive up the cobblestone land with building on both sides, we figured out that the main entrance was just around the corner and very easy to drive in and park.

We checked in and got a room in the annex section, which was nice enough. A large bedroom, a living room, bathroom, and kitchen area (although we never got the keys to unlock the "kitchen" - a hot plate and sink). There was a nice balcony overlooking the very nice pool and the gorgeous countryside. Again, the views were spectacular.

My mom got a room in the section nearer the reception and was more like a hotel room, whereas ours was more like an apartment. Her room was lovely though.

We found that whenever we ran the shower there was a sulfur smell that wasn't the best, but not the worst either.

The dining room was lovely with large windows so you can enjoy the view. The food was ok. We ate dinner here twice and had breakfast each day (nice buffet). There was also a nice bar area, and lounge area with a fireplace, which was nice because it was quite chilly our first few days.

The spa was ok, The cooking class was fun, we made 3 courses. The only thing was they claimed this was included but actually charged 30 Euro pp. When I inquired the woman at the desk replied well you did eat lunch didn't you? I found that off putting but it was the only time a staff member was anything less than lovely.

Overall I enjoyed this hotel. It would be great in the summer when you could enjoy the pools if you wanted a relaxing getaway. There is nothing close however. The hotel runs daily excursions, which I found expensive and was glad we had a car. Most of our excursions were between 45 min to 1 1/2 hrs away, which we found doable.
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Old May 12th, 2017, 08:32 AM
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We did the following day trips:

- Orvieto

Orvieto was great. We did a lot of shopping buying mostly pottery. We visited the church and did the Orvieto Underground tour. My daughter especially enjoyed the underground tour, which goes through several caves. The guide was really good giving us a lot of info on Etruscan culture and history.

On the way home we stopped at the Etruscan Necropolis on the outskirts of Orvieto. It was really cool. We were the only people there, it was quite interesting. You can see the tombs, laid out like a town with streets and individual structures with the person's name inscribed above them. The Etruscan language is really interesting and I'm glad we got to see it in its original setting.

-Civita

We went here on a whim. This is a unique little hill town. No cars are allowed and there is a foot bridge to get to it. It cot 3 Euros to enter the town.

We accidentally parked in the bus lot instead of the much closer car lot. In retrospect I was glad because it looked like treacherous driving to get to the car park.
Anyway, it was about a 20 min walk to the bridge. Then a 20 min walk across the bridge (pretty steep).

Once there though it is remarkable to get such a good sense of what life must have been life in medieval times. A shopkeeper let us see her basement where the original well could be seen as well as the original olive and grape presses. Of course, the views are breath taking.

- Assisi

I loved Assisi!! It is very picturesque with flower lined cobble stone lanes. I read a lot about St Francis before leaving, so I was excited to see the Francis sites. We visited several churches including St Francis Basilica, which had incredible security. We also did a few walks around in the beautiful countryside.

- Florence (I know too far!)

Florence had so much security I checked Twitter to see if something had happened (the Paris shootings would happen the next day). This was my 4th visit to Florence and I never saw anything like it. There were military police with machine guns in front of every tourist attraction and in just about every square we walked through as well as all along the river.

We did not plan Florence ahead. I thought I had talked my travelling companion out of it, but we ended up there. I'm waiting to see if I will get any ZTL tickets. I did my best to find parking on the outskirts, I didn't. We ended up in a garage across from the train station and I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have been driving there but what's done is done.

Since we did not plan, we didn't go up the Duomo because we didn't have advance tickets and it was sold out. We did go inside. Also, my DD wanted to see the David so I bought tickets for a guided tour to skip the line, which was enormous. The guide was THE WORST. She was odd and kept yelling at us if we were paying strict attention to her.

The David is however magnificent of course so it was worth it in the end.


- Perugia

I had no idea what to expect from Perugia and I was pleasantly surprised. I found it to be a great little city. We took a mini-bus tour (just us) and saw the craziest driving maneuvers I have ever seen.

Perugia has great views, an interesting history and a lot of interesting architecture. We saw the famous fountain and went in a few churches, did some shopping, and visited the chocolate store.

-Rome
In Rome we did the big sites as mom had never been. We did the Vatican tour, the Pantheon, a Colosseum and Roman Forum tour (great guides at both!) and St Peter's. Of course we also "did" the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. Mt darling daughter got to pick a Rome restaurant and of course she picked -- The Hard Rock Cafe haha. Even I have to admit, as much as I loved every bite of pasta, that burger was good.
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Old May 14th, 2017, 05:44 PM
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Great report! I especially appreciated the "panicked 10 minutes" moment. The stuff of travel.
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Old May 14th, 2017, 06:10 PM
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I've been to Civita a couple of times (travel companions wanting to go) and they weren't charging at the time. An older lady used to want people to pay her a few euro to see her garden/view.

Did you get to any of the small towns near where you were staying?
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Old May 15th, 2017, 10:41 AM
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Thanks 5alive! kybourbon - we had pizza in Castelleone and did stop in a few of the smaller towns near us such as Collazone and Deruta. The towns surrounding Canalicchio, although charming, are mostly residential and tiny - not much to see as a visitor. If we had longer I might spend some more time exploring, but we wanted to hit the major things on our list (Orvieto, Assisi, Perugia, etc) without too much rushing around.
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Old May 16th, 2017, 07:48 AM
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>>>The towns surrounding Canalicchio, although charming, are mostly residential and tiny - not much to see as a visitor.
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