Tuscany/Umbria road trip itinerary ?

Old Jun 30th, 2008, 11:17 AM
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Tuscany/Umbria road trip itinerary ?

I am coming from Cecina ,just south of Livorno, on October 10, and have 10 or 11 days to get to Sorrento by Oct 21 at the latest.
I am by-passing Florence & Rome this trip.
I would like to spend the majority of that time seeing Tuscany/Umbria.
I have a couple of good places to stay in 1)Siena. 2)Monteriggioni 3)Trasimemo Lake, 4)Orvieto 5)Assisi
I was thinking of going straight to Siena for the nights of Oct 10, 11 & 12 and picking up my rental car on the 13 -monday (rentals closed sundays) then basing myself in 2 other locations before booking it south to return the car in Sorrento.
I do have a great place to stay on the beach just south of Rome for one night to break up the trip - not sure if I will use it.
I will be solo this trip, but donít intend to spend all my time in solitude!
What would you do?!! Other accommodation ideas or locales? wine tours-there are so many - itineraries -places not to miss? pick up car somewhere else?
my list so far of places to see includes (in no set order-thatís why I need you!)

Montepulciano
Orvieto
Volterra
San Gimignano
Pienza?
Montalcino
San Quirco?

Thank you
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Old Jun 30th, 2008, 11:29 AM
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Your other two locations should be Assisi (for Umbria) and Montalcino or Pienza or San Quirico or Montepulciano (for Tuscany).

Monteriggioni is practically next door to Siena and Orvieto is too far south for a base (good for a stop on your way toward Sorrento).

For your nights of Oct 10, 11 & 12 - you should have a car to get to San Gimignano and Volterra, etc.
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Old Jun 30th, 2008, 11:32 AM
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Sounds like fun to me--I would love to tag along.

I would get the car in Livorno and stay 3 places but not in Siena. Get the car and drive to Volterra first but stay near San Gimignano---I like Hotel Pescille just south of town. See Siena as a day trip from here, and Monteriggioini the same day.
Then, head to south Tuscany and stay in Pienza or san Quirico---I really like Palazzo del Capitano for location. Plan 3 days from this location.
Then, drive to Umbria, seeing Cortona in transition, and stay near Bevagna. I like both Genius Loci and Le Case Gialle here. See Assisi, Spello, Montefalco etc from here---and perhaps Perugia.

Drive south to Sorrento, but I would do it in one day and stop at Orvieto in transition.
Hope this helps !
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Old Jun 30th, 2008, 04:05 PM
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yowza
two big hitters on my one post
Thank you - now my turn for more research - you have given me lots to digest.
Bob I wrote a post to you about the Lakes District a week ago. My first 10 days of this trip will be Lake Orta (based of course on your recs) & Varenna - no car though. I will do a one day of sightseeing of Lugano with a hired driver on my way to being taken to Como.
Then I am taking the train to Santa Margherita for 3 nights and a week in Chiavari, through the CT and on to a 10 day farm stay near Cecina.
Which brings me to your next helpful tips.
This is going to be a great trip - I can feel it.
I wish you could come too.
Also thanks Tuck for your input.
Best wine tours anyone?
A great way to mingle.
Thx again
bellalinda is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2008, 04:15 PM
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bellalinda,
I have a very large file of places to see in Tuscany it is too large to post. If you are interested e-mail me.

Henry
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Old Jun 30th, 2008, 06:31 PM
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bellalinda,

Have you driven alone in Italia before? Are you taking a GPS? (I would certainly recommend the latter.)

Personally, I would opt for seeing Southern Tuscany, Lazio and onto Sorrento. I would probably drop my car in Orvieto and take the train to Sorrento from there.

Instead of staying in Santa Margherita Ligure for 3 nights (since it can easily be visited from Chiavari while you're there for the week and looks and feels a lot like every other pretty Ligurian seacoast town), how about going instead to Parma for 3 nights, and doing Modena as a day trip from Parma?

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Old Jun 30th, 2008, 07:40 PM
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Hi bellalinda,

What a trip!! I am SO jealous. Do Bob's suggested itinerary. Perfecto! I've visited all the towns you mention in Tuscany and Umbria. Stayed in Orvieto, Assisi, and Spello, Montalcino.

Only one suggestion. Maybe visit Gubbio on the way to Assisi instead of Cortona. Cortona is lovely, very steep. I suggest Gubbio because it is quite different from most of the other hilltowns I've seen. Very different feel.

In Orvieto, try the Orvieto Classico. In Montefalco, the Sagrantino di Montefalco. Two of my favorite wine discoveries.

Buon viaggio!
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Old Jun 30th, 2008, 10:42 PM
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Thank you Henry -i have some sifting to do...
Zeppole - I drove from the Dordogne to Impruneta outside Florence last year and then North to Switzerland, but mostly on the big roads.
I also had my 20 year old boys with me as navigators, so this will be different.
I checked the train schedules from Orvieto - a thoughtful suggestion, but I would have to change in Naples, and the whole trip would take a minimum of 5 hours.
Driving direct myself actually seems less grueling.
And what's all this about Parma?
I'm actually trying to avoid big cities, and my time in Chiavari will be more about a working routine than a sightseeing one, so I thought SM would be fun first.
I do have 4 days after Chiavari unaccounted for, but I am still drawn to those "pretty Ligurian seacoast towns" you were mentioning - maybe Lerici, although these places are quite pricey.
Yo people, I am on a budget, especially if I want it to last into November.
Hi Dayle, thanks for your input - I will toast you in Orvieto.
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Old Jul 1st, 2008, 04:51 AM
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bellalinda,

You can find many pictures and much information about the sights and pleasures of Parma online. Its center may be smaller than Chiavari's.

Chiavari is a fairly large, flat town that doesn't sit directly at the water's edge but has a very pretty centro storico and easy train and bus connections. Santa Margherita Ligure is a yacht harbor, and quite upscale. I doubt Lerici is any more expensive than Santa Margherita Ligure. Like neighboring Portofino, there is little left of Santa Margherita Ligure that isn't meant for daytrippers, but it's got more of a singles scene than Portofino.

Chiavari should make a good working base, since it's got better infrastructure and modernity than other Ligurian towns, and its historic centro is worth getting to know. Since you are going in October you can probably wait until you're there to pick your next port of call. A less expensive place might be Levanto, a prettier place (in my mind) than Lerici is Portovenere, and for a pinspot of a Ligurian fishing village, try Tellaro.

One place you should definitely check out is Sestri Levante for tranquility if you find yourself wanting a pretty seaside place for a relaxing drink or gelato at sunset at the end of your working day.

There are lots of b&bs in Liguria that could help you cut costs. But you are still somewhat "in the season" in the early part of October.

Even though you are on a budget, I would still recommend a GPS since you don't have navigators. By the time you get to Orvieto, you'll have a good idea of whether you want to continue driving or spring for the 5-hour train trip.
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Old Jul 1st, 2008, 05:03 AM
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I have a trip report driving through Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche if you want it. E-mail me at [email protected]
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Old Jul 1st, 2008, 10:08 AM
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Hi Zeppole
Again, I thank you for your input.
The only reason I am in Santa Margherita is because I found a fabulous place to stay for under 60euro, and yes it does have an ensuite and includes breakfast.
Too good not to spend 3 nights there exploring.
I was also considering Levanto for after Chiavari, which will give me good access to CT. It's so hard to know if I will be tired of the area by then, but I don't think so.
Sestri Levante was definitely on my list for a visit, but I hadn't considered Tellaro. Portovenere is out of my league. I guess we have veered away from Tuscany, but believe me, I am grateful for the discussion -it's all really helpful. I will ask about GPS.
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Old Jul 1st, 2008, 11:41 AM
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Pick your locations first based on their merit and then find a place to stay. The reverse seldom works.
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Old Jul 1st, 2008, 12:21 PM
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You're not likely to be unhappy in Santa Margherita Ligure -- unless you're place is right next to a noisy spot or a gas station -- and if you are, it is so easy to get someplace else during the day, don't worry about. Some rather special places in the area are Pariggi (which you can walk to if you're energetic) and San Rocco di Camogli, which either requires taking a 10 minute bus ride to Ruta and changing for the little local bus to San Rocco -- for a spectacular view all the way along the "other" Riviera (Ponente), or you can take the train to Camogli and catch the bus there. If your knees can take stairs, enjoy the long walk down from the top of the mountain back to Camogli via the staircase (about 2000 steps, or 20 minutes). Even the walk up is fun if you're in reasonable shape. (Stopping allowed). Go on a clear day.

Some other unusual perches that I think are underrated: Castelnuovo di Magra and Boco di Magra. But both are off the train line.

There are also boats that leave Santa Margherita Ligure, and if you plan a visit to Portofino, it is definitely the way to go.

Sorry I can't give you much advice about Tuscany. I've spent very little time there, apart from the major art centers. Off the beaten track in Tuscany, the places I liked best were in the Maremma, and in particular San Galgano and, on a clear day, Massa Marittima.

http://www.massa-marittima.com/galgano_en.htm

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Old Jul 1st, 2008, 12:47 PM
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PS: You won't get much of a change of scene moving from Chiavari to Sestri Levante. They are so close to each other, you can simply zip over to Sestri Levante to enjoy lunch or the tranquiility of the twillight on the bays.

After the flatness of Chiavari (and Sestri Levante) you might prefer some of the drama of a higher perch, without or without sea view. Moneglia might work out for you or Sarzana. Amelia might be worth checking out for bargains, and Montemarcello (although the latter attracts the well-heeled.)

The bus system in Liguria works very well, although it tends to shut down after 8pm. If you stay beyond the train line, make sure your town has an affordable restaurant that is open for all the nights you are there.
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Old Jul 1st, 2008, 12:52 PM
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I'm sorry -- I should have spelled that "Ameglia"
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Old Jul 1st, 2008, 02:16 PM
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Zeppole,
you are an amazing wealth of information.
I'm so glad we got onto the Ligurian coast topic.
Bob, I think I get it about SM otherwise I wouldn't of picked it
LOL
some of us like to pick great locations AND get sweet deals, and my great find in SM is in an oasis of calm a short stroll to the sea, but I will leave you to your 4*s
The driving itinerary you gave me more than makes up for the last comment.
still love ya
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