Tuscany/Umbria Trip 2010

Oct 27th, 2009, 10:52 AM
  #1  
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Tuscany/Umbria Trip 2010

My husband and I are going to Italy for about 2 1/2 weeks for our 5 year anniversary in May of next year. We've both been to Rome, Florence and Venice before, so we are spending most of our time exploring the small towns in the countryside.

I've pasted my itinerary below. I've booked the hotels and flights, but nothing else so far. For those who have spent time in southern Tuscany and/or in northern Umbria, if you could let me know if you think I'm missing any winery, town, activity or restaurant, or if any place I have is a must or is not that great so we can skip it, that would be great!

I know it looks like I have a lot of stuff each day, but I tend to plan that way, and then when we get there, we just edit it down to what we feel like. On more than on occasion on past trips, we have ditched all our plans on a day and just hung out at the hotel/inn if we felt like a lazy day.

Thurs. - Fly to FCO

Fri - Arrive FCO, get rental car, drive to i Capricci di Merion in Tuoro sul Trasimeno, Umbria, stay in Puccini room, either dinner at hotel (make sure its open) or if up to it, dinner in Cortona at Osteria Teatro

Sat - visit Foligno, lunch at Il Bacco Felice, and visit Deruta in late afternoon, dinner at L'Antico Forziere in next town over, Casalina

Sun – then to lunch in Montefalco at L'Alchimista, Montefalco wineries and/or Spello, and visit Cortona in late afternoon, stay for dinner at La Bucaccia.

Mon – truffle excursion in the morning and visit Assisi in the late afternoon, dinner at either hotel or at Osteria Teatro in Cortonoa (whichever didn't do on the first night)

Tues – drive to La Locanda di San Francesco in Montepulciano, Tuscany, stay in room 1 or 4, explore Montepulciano, lunch at Gambe di Gatto, dinner in town at Cittino

Wed – Avignonesi winery near Montepulciano, lunch at winery plus another close by winery, then dinner in Monticchiello at La Porta.

Thurs – visit Brunello winery (Poggio Antico or Fattoria dei Barbi), have lunch at winery or nearby, dinner in town at Le Logge del Vignola.

Fri – explore Montepulciano, lunch at La Grotta, dinner in Trequanda at Conte Matto

Sat – drive to La Bandita, stay in the pig sty suite, lunch in Pienza at Latte di Luna, explore Pienza, stay for dinner at il Rossellino

Sun - cooking class at La Bandita, dinner at Trattoria Da Fiorella in Pienza.

Mon – explore Montalcino in the morning, lunch at Il Grappolo Blu in Montalcino, visit abby for gregorian chants, and brunello winery nearby, dinner at La Bandita.

Tue –lunch in Sant'Angelo in Colle at Il Leccio, visit wineries/tasting rooms in Montalcino, or brunello winery Altesino, visit San Quirico d'Orcia in late afternoon, stay for dinner at Trattoria Al Vecchio Forno

Wed – lunch at Antica Fattoria Del Grottaione in Montenero d'Orcia and visit winery nearby, visit Foce Gardens for 3pm tour, back to Montalcino for more exploring in town or just hang out at La Bandita, dinner Montefollonico at La Chiusa.

Thur – visit other Brunello winery didn’t visit before, have lunch at winery or nearby, dinner at Osteria del Leone in Bagno Vignoni.

Fri – 5 year anniversary!!! Lunch in Cetona at Ristorante Osteria Vecchia, then drive to Orvieto and return car, take train into Rome, stay at il Palazzetto, in one of the rooms with the view of the Spanish Steps, drinks/snack at Enotca Antica, Dinner at Tavernetta 48.

Sat – explore Rome, lunch at Cul de Sac wine bar, and dinner at il Bacaro.

Sun – fly home
Tahaa is offline  
Oct 27th, 2009, 03:56 PM
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One suggestion about wine tasting in and near Montalcino - the enotecca at the Fortezza has wines from more Montalcino area wineries than you could ever taste! I found their staff very knowledgeable and helpful. After visiting one or two wineries, if you really want to do a broad tasting, maybe this would be a good option!

Also, I would try to visit Sant'Antimo early in the morning. I went for the 9am mass and really enjoyed the simple beauty of the church, with all of about 15 people. After that, it was "visiting hours" until afternoon and the tour buses just rolled in.

Not sure if Grappolo Blu is open for lunch. I had all 3 dinners there when I stayed in Montalcino. Loved it!

At first I questioned why you were moving lodging just between Montepulciano and Pienza as they are so close. Is it just for the cooking class?

Had a wonderful lunch at Osteria Teatro in Cortona. I would also highly recommend Il Molino in Spello, but they are only open for dinner.

I only drove through Folino a couple times and dropped my rental car there on the way to Rome. Didn't look like a city (biggest around) I would especially want to spend time in.
I would choose visiting Spello instead any day!

Buon viaggio! Sounds like a lovely trip.
Dayle is offline  
Oct 27th, 2009, 10:27 PM
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Your trip sounds amazing and actually not too jam packed. I would highly recommend eating dinner one night at Osteria dell' Acquacheta in Montepulciano. Just by looking at the website you can tell it will be fun (unless you are a vegetarian in which case do not read the paragraph below).

http://www.acquacheta.eu/

It was one of my favorite dining experiences in Tuscany. The food is great, the atmosphere fun and the owner is a riot. He came and sat at our table at one point with a baby pig head, which apparently was a special treat but not on the menu. He offered my friend and I some, thinking we didn't have the balls to try it but I did! This is also where I was introduced to one of my favorite sweet treats; ricotta with honey and figs.

We also enjoyed Le Logge for dinner. Regarding Grappolo Blu, I remember eating lunch there in 2006 but maybe hours have changed.

Have a great trip!
JenV is offline  
Oct 27th, 2009, 11:58 PM
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Tahaa - take me with you?? LOL. Your plans sound absolutely fabulous and I have been to many of your planned activities. One suggestion - we returned a few weeks ago from southern Tuscany. Had a great lunch at Gambe di Gatto - fabulous young husband and wife team. However be aware that they are not always open when they say they are. We were there for a Saturday lunch and enjoyed it SO much we asked about their closing day and they said Wednesday. OK. So when we were there again for a Friday lunch the place was closed. Not only was I disappointed, I felt bad because we had specifically told them we were going to return and here we were not returning. Anyway, we ended up al Aquacheta for lunch instead and I also highly recommend. It was a fabulous experience. Not like JenV describes (and good thing too because we would NOT have gone for baby pig head!!) but the food was great, atmosphere eccentric and the owner is indeed a hoot.

One warning about that - he comes to figure out your bill on the paper placemats in front of you. He does NOT calculate correctly. Watch that. I am not saying it is on purpose, it may be part of his eccentricity. But I check all bills when given to me and this was not corret. When I mentioned this, he wrinkled his forehead and recalculated to the correct amount! Enjoy and have a great time!!
Flame123 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2009, 09:08 AM
  #5  
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Thanks everyone. Dayle - I know, I struggled with picking two places so close to one another, but we really loved the look and reviews of both places, and wanted to have the "in town" experience as well as the countryside experience, so we decided to just do both. We also knew that we wanted to spend the bulk of our time in southern Tuscany (10 nights), so we figured it was enough time that we could move lodging once without it being too much of a pain. And thanks for the recommendation for Spello. We'll definitely check that out.

JenV and Flame - I will add Aquacheta to our list of restaurants. It sounds really fun!
Tahaa is offline  
Oct 28th, 2009, 09:26 AM
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bxl4373 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2009, 10:23 AM
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DRJ
 
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What a wonderful itinerary. Couple of things:

I'd try to dine at La Bastiglia at the top of Spello. A very adventurous kitchen. For two very different wineries for Sagrantino: Arnaldo Caprai is a big, slick operation between Montefalco and Bevagna and Paolo Bea is quite small and is on the edge of Montefalco. Both do good tastings. And I've stayed at Fattoria Barbi and enjoyed their kitchen. Good tastings there, too.
DRJ is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 05:42 AM
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Great plan! We really liked La Costa in Montefollonico, between Pienza and Montepulciano. http://www.lacosta.it
juls_blanche is offline  
Nov 15th, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Hi Tahaa, I live in Montepulciano area.
For your second Thursday: you are supposed to sleep in Montepulciano and go to Brunello wineries in Montalcino ( 40 min + 40 min): why don't you visit other wineries of Montepulciano when there? Avignonesi is an interesting winery, but, for its dimensions and its property ( Belgian), it cannot be considered representative of our reality.Between the best producers, following the specialized press: Poderi Boscarelli, Tenuta Valdipiatta... Poderi le Berne is a small producer which can also be an interesting option.
Also, I would not suggest a dinner in Cittino when in Montepulciano:it's really a "sad " place, with neon lights, average food. I would not go there even if someone pays me to eat there...
In town maybe you can consider other places as Trattoria di Cagnano ( not unforgettable for the ambience, but honest prices, good pizza and other local food) or the restaurant of Caffè Poliziano ("Il Grifon D'Oro"), with its panoramic terrace on Valdichiana..
La Chiusa in Montefollonico is a place where locals do not go:they are famous mostly for the VERY high prices, not justified by the quality of food or by the level of the service. In Montefollonico "La Botte Piena" is a pretty place, with a small outdoor area. Not so formal as La Chiusa, but with a good rate quality/price.
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Nov 15th, 2009, 06:23 PM
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