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vetralla Nov 30th, 2007 02:16 AM

Guidebook writer's tips for Umbria:
-check out the Genius Loci country Inn, run by an Italian-American family in Bevagna
-prettiest towns: Bevagna,Spello, Assisi.
-best shopping: wine, local foods, truffles, olive oil, textiles including beautiful hand loomed runners, tableclothes,etc.
-best guide, Anne Robichaud

Joanada Nov 30th, 2007 06:45 AM


Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions. I have just booked the hotel Palazzo Bocci, in Spello as it sounds really nice. We are there for 3 nights , all we can spare for this trip. Want to see Gubbio and Norcia if weather permitting, April 10/11/12.

Have lots of books on the area to learn. Also will have lunch and see Spolento on way to Norcia.

Thanks again, Joan

Judi Nov 30th, 2007 06:56 AM

We loved Palazzo Bocci as well; I'm sure you will enjoy your time there.

Our favorite restaurant in Spello was La Bastiglia.

Happy travels!

Ralstonlan Nov 30th, 2007 07:06 AM

Read Maitaitom's trip report.
It is an inspiration for a trip to Umbria!;tid=34691579

maitaitom Nov 30th, 2007 07:14 AM

"Read Maitaitom's trip report.
It is an inspiration for a trip to Umbria!"

Or at least a good primer on how not to fill up your rental car. Thanks Ralstonian for the nice words.


Ralstonlan Nov 30th, 2007 07:20 AM


I speak only of the truth! Your trip report was my inspiration for our week in Umbria in '06.

zoecat Nov 30th, 2007 01:59 PM

Just a note about Norcia-

If you go to Norcia, you must visit the Piano Grande, about 45 minutes away. It is spectacular! I am not sure you can also visit Spoleto the same day. You really could spend the entire day in and around Norcia. It is a beautiful area.


Joanada Nov 30th, 2007 02:30 PM


I read the last post about Norcia. What is Piano Grand? A place or monastery?

If your time is limited would you go to Norica (do you actually see peaked mountains) or would you concentrate on the towns in the Spello area?

Thanks again, Joan

zoecat Nov 30th, 2007 04:25 PM

Hi Joan,

The Piano Grande is a huge valley located above Norcia. You take a winding road up a mountain to get there. Google it and you can find more information. I believe the guidebook Rough Guide for Umbria also has some info.

Norcia sits in a valley surrounded by mountains. I would say that the mountains are nice, but it's the combination of the mountains, the valley and the town that make Norcia special. With 20+ trips to Italy, my day trip to Norcia and the Piano Grande was one of my favorites.

I also enjoyed visiting the towns near Spello (and Spello itself). Gubbio (although it's about an hour from Spello) is great and there are not many tourists. Same with Trevi (15 minutes from Spello). You will enjoy Montefalco, Bavagna, Todi and of course, there's Assisi. There are also lots of smaller towns that I enjoyed. The Touring Club of Italy guidebook is terrific for suggested walks through the towns.

I plan to spend 5 days in Umbria this May, staying just outside of Bavagna. Last year I stayed 7 days and felt I just scratched the surface of exploring Umbria.

I'm not sure how many days you have, but with just a few days I think you would enjoy the towns near Spello. If you feel like an adventure and a day different from the rest, you could visit Norcia and the Piano Grande. Make sure it's a sunny day though.

maitaitom Nov 30th, 2007 04:31 PM

"The Piano Grande is a huge valley located above Norcia"

And to think I always thought The Piano Grande was the home of Elton John, Billy Joel and Liberace!


Jean Nov 30th, 2007 05:53 PM

Notes on Gubbio.

There are two roads to Gubbio, from Foligno and from near Perugia. The one from near Perugia is more scenic and less traveled by trucks. I would use the Perugia route in the morning so that you can enjoy the scenery. In the afternoon, you'll be driving toward the setting sun and it can be very glary on a sunny day.

When you reach the town, look for signs directing you to the Roman amphitheatre. You'll find a large, free parking lot adjacent to the ruins and easy entry to the town across the street. The ruins are open for up-close exploration.

We had a very nice lunch at Ristorante Picchio Verde (named after the local endangered green woodpecker), via Savelli della Porta 65, Gubbio. We were the only tourists; the rest were locals. The servers' English was limited but sufficient. 25 euros without wine.

Jean Nov 30th, 2007 06:13 PM

I'm not sure how realistic it is to stop in Spoleto for lunch on the way to Norcia. Consider time spent over lunch and just making your way there and then to Norcia. If you wander through parts of the Spoleto (all the best bits are near the top), you'll run out of time. However, if you can get a very early start and discipline yourselves, I highly recommend:

Osteria del Trivio
via del Trivio, 16

If you get to Todi, I highly recommend:

Ristorante Umbria
via S. Bonaventura, 13

rosetravels Nov 30th, 2007 06:30 PM

Hi Joan - we went to the Piano Grande as well and it was one of the most memorable places we visited in Italy. We spent the night at the town on the hill in the middle of the high valley. I think it's called Casteluccio. Really fascinating and beautiful.

vincenzod Dec 1st, 2007 12:01 AM

A tip in Bevagna for dinner and to sleep, also: PIAZZA ONOFRI.


Joanada Dec 1st, 2007 11:51 AM


What wonderful information . Norcia and the piano grande sounds great. I would think sunny day for it for scenery.

This is just two other questions for the area.
Any one been to Corona, and is it worth it from Spello?
Or is it the same scenery as around Spello?

Going from Rome anyone been to, Pitigliano? Probably not, as out of the way and not sure how far from Rome.

Thanks again, Joan

zoecat Dec 1st, 2007 02:00 PM

According to, it's a little over 2 hours from Spello to Pitigliano and then 2 hours from there to Rome. I would consider these minimum drive times. You could leave Spello around 7:00, arrive in Pitigliano around 10:00, wonder, have lunch, then head to Rome. It would be a long day and a short visit. I love Pitigliano.

Another idea which would maximize your time better and still be very rewarding would be to visit Spoleto, Todi or Orvieto on your way to Rome.

You asked about Corona, but I'm thinking your meant Cortona. Similar scenery to Spello. It's a beautiful town, with more tourists than Spello.

Joanada Dec 1st, 2007 02:25 PM


Thanks, it was Corona. Yes, I am sure it is more touristy, especially since the movie filmed there.

The smaller towns might be nice too, in the area, Montefalco, Trevi and Bevagna.

And they are fairly close to Spello.

Thanks for all this info. I made notes from them all.


We will be leaving April 8, so hope we don't run into too much rain in the area. :)

Joanada Dec 1st, 2007 02:30 PM

Cortona, sorry about that. lol Joan

Dayle Dec 1st, 2007 04:58 PM


I agree, I wouldn't drive all the way to Cortona, when Orvieto and Todi are on your way to Rome. Cortona is nice, but Todi is a lovely, untouristed hilltown. Orvieto is one of my very favorites!

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