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Umbria - Final Review

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Aug 30th, 2013, 03:09 PM
  #1
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Umbria - Final Review

I'll be leaving with my wife for Umbria in a little over a week.

I'm still trying to nail down the Umbria day trips.

We'll be base in Perugia for about 5-6 days and will have to allow time there.

We will not have a car.

Since my wife suffers from motion sickness (she has gotten better over the past several years due to wristbands, pills and closing her eyes) so we try to take trains as much as possible with a few buses sprinkled in.

Originally, Assisi was left of the list as I expect it's a very religious town and over-run with people. Now I'm having second thoughts.

My list currently consists of (probably not all but will have to choose):
Spoleto (by train and city bus from the station)
Spello (by train - how would we get from the station?)
Gubbio (by bus and I'm concerned about this bus ride)
Todi (either private train and then city bus or bus all the way)
Trevi (train but then what?)
Assisi (still not sure about merits of this town. Train then shuttle bus)

Some of the above are on the same train line and close together. Maybe a few can be combined on the same day? Or are some almost identical copies of one another and can be omitted?

Comments on the above and how to get to the town would be greatly appreciated.

As I mentioned at the start we leave in just over a week.

Thanks
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Aug 30th, 2013, 03:56 PM
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Spoleto. We stayed in Spoleto for a week with a car. We had a couple of great meals and some enjoyable interactions with locals who were very friendly. We walked all over the town, but there is an escalator. I'm sure you know about the main sights, but we especially enjoyed walking the Giro dei Condotti at the top of the town and seeing the ancient Roman theater.

Spello. Tiny. Charming. Photo-worthy. OK, we've had lunch, now what do we do?

Gubbio. Loved this town. More friendly locals here. Your wife probably couldn't handle the "Bucket of Bolts" (Funivia Colle Eletto) cable lift to the top of the hill beyond the town, but this was one of our most unique experiences and the views are spectacular. All of the main sights can be easily seen in a day, but we have most enjoyed just wandering around. There are ruins of another Roman theater at the bottom of the town, but I think they're more interesting seen from a distance as opposed to up-close. Nice ceramics shopping.

Todi. This town felt a bit more sophisticated/refined, but I can't say exactly why. We had a lovely, leisurely lunch on a restaurant terrace with a fabulous view to the east. I could have sat there for hours. We bought some very nice Italian-made table linens.

Trevi. Accessed by bus from the train station. We probably spent the least amount of time here. It has its charms and views like everywhere else, but we just weren't tempted to hang around.

Assisi. The basilica interiors are simply amazing, and the valley views are gorgeous. We ducked into a few other churches but really enjoyed the Temple of Minerva and the ruins underneath the temple and the facing Piazza del Comune. More good shopping for ceramics here.
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Aug 30th, 2013, 04:25 PM
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The bus to Gubbio might not agree with your wife and no way she will get on the "bucket of bolts". The drive is over a small mountain (or at least that's the route we drove).

Most of the other towns are right off the highway (interstate type) and even if they are hill towns, the roads leading to them are pretty flat/straight and the hills aren't very high. Of your list, I haven't been to Todi though so I don't know about the route to reach it.

>>>Originally, Assisi was left of the list as I expect it's a very religious town and over-run with people. Now I'm having second thoughts.<<<

Assisi seems to be crowded around the one church which is where a lot of day trippers are dropped off by bus. If you wander on back through the other parts (there are other churches besides the basilica), you won't see much crowds.
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Aug 30th, 2013, 04:32 PM
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For the ride from Perugia to Gubbio, go to maps.google.com. Once you've searched the route, click and drag the little yellow man to a point on the route. You'll be seeing the road in Google's "Streetview" mode.

I meant to add that I wouldn't go to Assisi on a Sunday.
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Aug 31st, 2013, 09:19 AM
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After lunch in Spello, one can take a walk along the path that follows the ancient Roman aqueduct that runs from Spello to Collepino. The walk is through very old olive groves and the views are spectacular.

There are numerous Roman ruins in Spello as well as the fresoes in the Duomo.

I am not a particularly religious person and I don't identify as a Christian, but I must tell you that I was really taken by the Basilica in Assisi. It is fascinating indoors as well as outdoors.

We were there when some people were singing in the one of the chapels. Between the visuals and the sound of the singing I got a major case of goosebumps.

I actually don't remember that much religious hucksterism going on to be honest. We were there mid week in June and it was not particularly crowded either. Walking up to the Rocca above town is also a nice side trip. It is a steep walk, but the views from the top are worth it. Assisi also has some very good restaurants, which is always important to us.
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Aug 31st, 2013, 09:28 AM
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What I think we'll do is go to the towns I suggested:
Spoleto
Spello
Gubbio (my wife may not take the funicular. I may or may not)
Todi

Spoleto, Spello, Trevi and Assisi are all on the same train line and very convenient to each other.

If we've had enough of Spoleto we can go to Trevi or Assisi and back to Perugia from there.

From Spello we could do the same and stop in Assisi and return to Perugia from there.

Perugia is only about 20 minutes by train from Assisi. We could leave any time between 8PM and 10PM and still be back in Perugia for an evening walk.

Todi and Gubbio are loners so when it's time to return we'll spend the time in Perugia.

Any comments on this plan?
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Aug 31st, 2013, 10:10 AM
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Sounds good, but you might 'load' your priorities at the beginning in case your wife throws in the towel after a couple of day trips.

I would make every effort to see the basilica in Assisi, but that's me.
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Aug 31st, 2013, 10:43 AM
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Combining Spello and Assisi makes a lot of sense.

Be sure to walk to the upper part of Spello near La Bastiglia, the convent and back down around by the Roman Arch. It is particularly pretty in this area of town.
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Aug 31st, 2013, 11:02 AM
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Thanks Jean and wekewoody.

wekewoody, you were posting at the same time as I was. I hadn't read yours at the time I was writing.

Jean, I'm not sure I have any priorities of one over the other. We'll be in Perugia the afternoon and evening we arrive plus 5 complete days.

That should leave us a full day in Perugia plus parts of several other days. That should work out.
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Aug 31st, 2013, 01:39 PM
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Another question. Advice.

If I had to drop one of: Todi, Gubbio, Spoleto or Spello

which would you suggest and why?

Thanks.
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Aug 31st, 2013, 02:30 PM
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For me, the choice might boil down to the time/timetables and logistics involved in getting to a place.

Not to pick on Spoleto (which I loved), but if you look at the train timetables (and depending on the day of the week) getting to Spoleto from Perugia involves choosing between a very early start from Perugia, a long-ish wait in Foligno, or a somewhat late-ish arrival in Spoleto. I'm not a fan of super early starts while I'm on vacation, but not getting to Spoleto until noon would make me think twice about the whole idea. On the up-side, there are late trains from Spoleto to Perugia.

FWIW, the idea of seeing two towns in one day always sounds doable, but you need to see if the train timetables will work.
And then decide if your wife is up to those multiple bus rides to and from train stations.
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Aug 31st, 2013, 03:38 PM
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Thanks.

Short bus rides shouldn't be a big problem.

Funny about your times.

As long as there's a later train I don't see us taking any train too much before 11AM.

- - - -
What might work is going to Spello first and then going on to Spoleto.

I'm not sure if there's a bus or cab that goes from the train station to the town.
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Aug 31st, 2013, 03:51 PM
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The more I look at it, the more I may have to drop one of the four.

Everything works but nothing well.

I don't want to be running all the time and not seeing anything.

Back to deciding what to drop.

Spoleto, Spello, Gunbbio or Todi.

Since Spello is so close to Perugia, I wonder if going around 4 in the afternoon is a bad idea. The sun doesn't set until 7:30PM and there are many direct and short trains back to Perugia.

Depending upon what time we get back from Todi we could do that. Or, we could add Spello to a Perugia day and that would give us another half day in Perugia. More leisurely.


We could return 8:30 or 9PM. It's only about 30 minutes.
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Aug 31st, 2013, 04:18 PM
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We spent almost two weeks in Spello as a base.

I would go their for lunch and an afternoon amble around town. We liked La Cantina.
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Aug 31st, 2013, 05:52 PM
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We usually get locked into our plans and don't want to undo and start over.

Realistically, we're not going to get up, get ready, have breakfast and catch a 9AM train or bus. Maybe once if necessary but not every day on vacation.

So, looking at schedules for Spoleto, Spello, Gubbio and Todi (the top 4) the next bus or train is approximately 11AM.

Assuming we'd normally be ready to go by 10AM, that means we'll start dragging things out to make the 11AM. That hour will always disappear.

With that in mind I'm thinking that we could spend the first 2 or 3 hours of the day wandering Perugia and take the:
13:20 bus to Gubbio
13: or 14: train to Todi
13:48 train to Spoleto
10:27 train to Assisi and then continue to Spello at 14: or 14:30

We don't have to do all of the above but doing a few would work fine and give us a more relaxed trip.

We could spend 2-3 hours wandering Perugia on daytrip days.

This is inadition to the afternoon and evening of the day we arrive in Perugia and one complete day in Perugia if we want it.
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