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Ballarat Nov 10th, 2009 08:56 PM

My wife and I intend spending the month of May 2010 in Italy.
We intend to spend a week in Montepulciano. We are considering also spending a week in Umbria. Having read a number of posts, Umbria appears to have some interesting towns. We would welcome suggestions on which town would make a suitable base of our stay in Umbria for one week that would allow us to visit other towns either by train, bus or hire car (preferrred in that order) Spoleto, Assisi, Orvieto and Spello sound as if they should be included in places to visit. Our interests like most fodorites include history, food and wine, architecture, art and scenery. We are both in our seventies so not looking for agri, hiking or adventure! We have in the past spent time in Italy's larger beautiful cities but would prefer this time to see more of the smaller towns.
Molto grazie!

Peteralan Nov 11th, 2009 01:03 AM

We had a week in Montepulciano for a week before Umbria too and loved it. Did not go to Spoleto but loved the other three especially Orvieto. If you don't have a car and are depending on public transport, you should also consider Perugia.

bfrac Nov 11th, 2009 04:16 AM

If you really want to see the small towns then I would recommend renting a car. It is the best way to reach them and driving is easy in the countryside and I found parking to be easy in Montepulciano and all of the other hilltowns we visited.

caroline_edinburgh Nov 11th, 2009 04:50 AM

Assisi is lovely but not a good base for touring by train as the station is a few miles out.

tcreath Nov 11th, 2009 04:59 AM

I really liked the towns of Montefalco, Bevagna and Spello. However, I'm not sure how these locations would be very helpful without having a car. I think you could certainly see quite a bit in Umbria without a car, but so many of our favorite towns (in addition to the above, we also really liked Deruta, Assisi and Trevi, among others) either did not have a train station, or the train station was not directly in town.


DRJ Nov 11th, 2009 05:50 AM

Tracy is correct. Umbria, with the exception of Perugia, is predominatly small towns. To visit those small towns without a rental car would require lots of time and inconvenience. Please click on my initials for more information regarding Umbria than you could possible need.

zoecat Nov 11th, 2009 06:39 AM

Without a car, I feel that Perugia would be your best base for exploring Umbria. Perugia has a train station accessible by bus from the old/upper town and a bus station within walking distance from the old/upper town.

From Perugia, some of the towns you can visit by train or bus-

Assisi (+ a taxi or bus from train station), Spello, Trevi (+ a bus or taxi from train station), Spoleto (+ a bus or taxi from the train station), Cortona, Todi, Deruta, and Gubbio. You can also visit some towns on Lake Trasimeno (train + boat).

Without a car, it will be difficult to properly visit towns and countryside from Montepulciano.

I suggest a car for this trip. If you do rent a car, skip Perugia as a base and stay in or near Spello, Assisi, Spoleto, Bevagna or Montefalco. I actually think by using a car you will have a more relaxing, stress-free, rewarding vacation.

joannyc Nov 11th, 2009 06:54 AM

Loved Assisi!!!

Have dinner at Medio Evo (Via Arco dei Priori 4, Fab food and the best gnocchi with gorgonzola that I've ever had!

Ballarat Nov 16th, 2009 01:14 AM

Thanks for your helpful comments. We are now flying in to Milano instead of Roma due to difficulties in getting suitable dates for flights.
Would be grateful to hear comments on Milano to Montepulcione and as indicated earlier we will be trying to do that by train and bus.
We have secured accommodation with Giacomo at Politians, which is recommended by a number of Fodorites. Certainly Giacomo has been very helpful already.

zoecat Nov 16th, 2009 06:36 AM

Take the bus from just outside the MPX terminal arrival doors to the Milan Central train station.

You can train from Milan to Chiusi and then take a bus from there or rent a car from there to get to Montepulciano. The Chiusi to Montepulciano bus leaves from right outside the small Chiusi train station.

Train schedules can be found here-

The train schedules for May 2010 will not be posted until nearer to May. You can get an idea of schedules now by entering a date for next week that corresponds to the day of the week you plan on traveling.

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