Umbria / Le Marche

Old Jan 24th, 2017, 04:31 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Umbria / Le Marche

We are travelling to Italy in May; our itinerary at the moment looks like this;

Matera - 3 nights

Ascoli Piceno - 3 nights

Spoleto - 3 nights

Gubbio - 2 nights

San Leo - 3 nights

Bologna - 4 nights

I am a little concerned about the middle section of the trip where we had planned to make day trips or stop enroute to many of the towns affected by the 2016 and 2017 earthquakes. We were going to do day trips/stop into places like Gola dell'Infernaccio, Castellucio, Montefalco, Sirolo, Portonovo, Recanati, Perugia, Pioraco, Camerino etc. Whilst there is something to be said for not abandoning the region in what is an extraordinarily difficult time, it is a long way for us to travel and a significant expense, so I'm just putting it out there for discussion. My inclination is to leave it as is, but interested in your opinion on whether we should change our itinerary? Are there any day trips or places we should now avoid altogether?
AussieHubbyWife is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2017, 08:00 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,963
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
May is a long way off. You can wait before you lock in anything for those mid-trip dates, book what you feel is safe earlier and later, then fill in what you can when it gets close. Worse comes to worst you can even wing it - there will be rooms available in small towns off the beaten path.

This is a good source for news of the region: www.abruzzoweb.it
michelhuebeli is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2017, 12:30 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,364
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I second Mike Knoll: not the whole area is affected and things will have completely changed until May.
May is low season and it will be possible to find accommodation on the spot.
neckervd is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2017, 02:03 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,957
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I live in Le Marche and can perhaps give an account of the damage.

Castelluccio has had a great deal of damage to the buildings in the town. However, no one goes to Castelluccio to see the town itself, which was rather ugly as I remember. The draw there is the beautiful scenery. The plain won't be in full flower yet in May, unless there's a very early and warm spring, but it's beautiful at any time of the year.

I don't know about the Gola dell'Infernaccio. However, in general the damage was to buildings, mostly to old buildings that were not constructed according to modern standards of safety. There could be rockfalls on some of the paths, but I would expect that those will be cleared away in a very short time.

There has been a fair amount of damage in the province of Ascoli Piceno, again, mostly to small outlying hamlets. I haven't heard of great damage in the city itself.

Camerino has a surprising amount of damage in the town itself, considering its distance from the epicenter. I'm sure there will be scaffolding and orange tape in some of the streets. I haven't been there since the earthquake, but we have a house nearby. One of our neighbors has a son in the university there. I know that one of the university buildings in the center is out of use because of damage, and classes were moved to a different building. Maybe I can find out what's going on. I know that the university was closed last week because of the very heavy snowfall, but it's open again.

Perugia has had minor damage. Montefalco has had some damage. None of the towns (Sirolo, Portonovo, Recanati) on the coast has had significant damage.

If your main interest is scenery, you'll find all the scenery you want, because, as I said, the damage was mostly to buildings.

If you're interested in quaint little towns, you'll find that some of the tiniest ones are the most affected, because it just takes one fallen house to send all the rest of the people away; in these towns the mutual dependence is essential to survival, and neighbors often depend on one another for their very survival. Some of these towns already had abandoned houses before the earthquake, because people have moved to places where there are grocery shops and other services. All of the towns of any size are still going strong, and would be thrilled to have visitors to help them get back on their feet.

Many churches have been closed because of damage. Often this is just a precaution, lest a piece of plaster fall on the head of someone in the congregation. If you wanted to visit the insides of churches, you'll find a fair number of them closed, but on the outside, often there will be no noticeable damage.

Churches and towns often err on the side of caution in specifying the damage. Part of this is just normal caution, part is the hope of getting greater assistance from the state for reconstruction, and part is fears of liability lawsuits.

We were in the affected area for the several earthquakes in August. We've since made one trip to see our house since the October earthquake, which affected the area (including Camerino) more than those in August. Driving through the area, we didn't see any signs of damage. Even in the town where our house in located, we didn't see any outward signs of damage.

Our house looked fine, and inside the only damage we noted was fallen plaster and the like. On the outside of the house, there is a worrisome crack, and because of this the house has been declared uninhabitable. My husband, who is an engineer, isn't terribly worried about it, and we plan to stay there again this summer, even if the repairs haven't been finished yet.

<i> ... and things will have completely changed until May. </i>

The wheels of reconstruction in Italy grind exceedingly slowly. I would expect almost nothing to be changed by May. Our summer house was damaged in 1997 and 1998 by a series of earthquakes in Umbria. We didn't get authorization to begin the repairs for over 10 years; we had to submit plans, which had to be approved by various government agencies before we could even lift a hammer. The roof had partly caved in, and we had to keep buckets and basins in place, and emptied every time it rained to avoid totally damage also to the interior. I remember that in 2003, when there was a terrible heat wave in Italy, we decided to stay in the badly damaged house for a few weeks to escape the heat. From our bed, we could look up and see the stars.

Then we did the repairs without waiting for the reconstruction assistance promised by the state, which only came through a few years ago. We could afford to pay for the work, but many families can't, and those people will wait so long for the work to be done that they will have made new lives for themselves somewhere else and never move back to the places where they used to live.

The town of Nocera Umbra was right at the epicenter of one of those earthquakes, and the entire historic center was evacuated. It's still practically a ghost town almost 20 years later.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2017, 02:49 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
bvlenci - thank you so much for the comprehensive response. This gives us exactly the information we were looking for and we really appreciate all the effort you put into responding.
AussieHubbyWife is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2017, 04:37 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,957
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So, are you still coming? May is usually a wonderful month in these parts.

I just remembered that sometime after that 2003 summer, we hired someone (illegally) to go up on the roof and cover the gaping holes to prevent further interior damage. We weren't even supposed to do something like that until the reconstruction plans were approved.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2017, 05:27 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 29,589
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi, AussieHubbyWife,

I do hope you are able to make this trip. My late husband and I made Perugia, Spoleto and Bologna bases in the two trip reports below. You might want to see if it's possible to combine any of towns on your list the same way. For instance, we visited Gubbio from Perugia. Have a great trip.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...in-and-bus.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ellagio-tr.cfm
TDudette is online now  
Old Jan 25th, 2017, 05:45 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,957
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
On AussieHubbyWife's itinerary, Camerino and Pioracco could be combined with a single base. The three coastal towns (Sirolo, Portonovo, and Recanati) could also be combined. If you're interested in beach time, which is not always a possibility in May, Sirolo is, I believe, the only one of these towns with a sandy beach. Portonovo is mostly stony, and Porto Recanati (at least the part that I saw) was entirely pebbles. A friend of ours who goes to Porto Recanati says she prefers pebbles, because she doesn't get sand in her hair, in her shoes, and in all those uncomfortable body parts.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2017, 08:43 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
After some thinking (and for the moment), we are still planning to leave the itinerary as is, with a few minor adjustments to the day trips and places we will visit enroute.. We will keep an eye on things and if anything changes, we can adjust the plans.. But this is the trip we have been planning and would be great if we don't have to change it..
AussieHubbyWife is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2017, 10:15 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,957
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm sure you'll have a great trip, and I can't wait to see the trip report. I could probably help you with some more specific things, especially for the Camerino area. Just ask, and hope I see your post.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2017, 11:06 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For our drive from Ascoli Piceno to Spoleto, we don't want to take the most direct route and would like to take the majority of the day getting to our destination. Which route would you recommend and any particular location for a nice lunch enroute?
AussieHubbyWife is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2017, 07:55 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,957
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Driving is slow in that part of Le Marche, and the population is spread very thin. You'll mostly be seeing scenery, and little hamlets with only a little cluster of houses. A lot of people have summer homes in the area, but the rest of the year there aren't many residents. The number keeps going down, too, as the old people die and the young people move away.

There are two possible inland routes, one going north to Belforte del Chienti before turning west, and one going south, passing through northern Lazio before turning north again.

There is also the possibility of heading to the coast, before turning inland further north. This is the route suggested by Google Maps, although the other two don't take more more time. All of these routes should take no more than 3 hours without stops.

I know the northern route best, and, besides, the southern route passes through the epicenter of the recent earthquakes, so there would be more visible damage in the little towns on that route. You will pass through some damaged towns either way, but I think it will be less on the northern route. I would suggest heading even further north, to San Severino Marche. There was a good deal of earthquake damage in San Severino, but the town covers a very large area, and I read that most of the damage was in outlying villages. I know that there is some damage in the town itself, but it still would be worth a stop, I think. It has a very beautiful piazza, but then so does Ascoli Piceno.

Heading west from there, you could stop to see Camerino. One of my favorite restaurants in the area is Pappafò, in a beautiful spot on a hill near Camerino. I just checked, and it seems they're open. Camerino is a very beautiful little city, with an ancient university. It did have earthquake damage, but, again, I still think it would be worth a stop. The Romanesque church of San Venanzio is on the road into town, and is worth a look, even though I think you can't go in; I read that the damage was minor, but, as I said, they're closing churches with minor damage as a precaution. The outside is nicer than the inside, anyway. I read that thirty people have had to find alternative lodging in the city, which isn't much for a city of that size.

After returning to the point where you turned to go to Camerino (heading in the direction of Castelraimondo) at the traffic circle, head west, on the road to Pioraco and Fiuminata.

Not far from the traffic circle, there is a castle called Castello di Lanciano. They have very limited visiting hours, mostly on Sundays, but it's worth a look since it's right there. On the opposite side of the road, there is a hotel/restaurant/spa called Borgo Lanciano, constructed in what used to be the service quarters of the castle. The restaurant is one of the best in the area, but I have a slight preference for Pappafò.

Pioraco is a delightful little town, in a very scenic spot, where three rivers come together at the foot of some cliffs. There is an ancient lake bed which makes a long plain just to the west of the town center, and this is now a large park, mostly used for playing fields and playgrounds.

The town of Fiuminata is really a collection of villages that covers a wide area. The town center is in the village of Massa, and there are shops and restaurants there. We've been there since the earthquakes, and there isn't much visible damage. Just on the other side of the main road, there is the village of Castello, which is one of my favorites of the tiny villages that make up Fiuminata. There is an old castle there, that was pretty much crumbling before the earthquakes. You can't go inside any of the buildings, but you never could.

Soon after leaving Fiuminata, you cross into Umbria, and do a lot of zigging and zagging as you cross the Apennines. After a while, you'll pass near Assisi and Spello, and if you want to visit either of these towns, now might be the right time. Assisi really needs a few hours if you want to visit the basilicas, but a quick visit to Spello, one of the prettiest towns in Italy, wouldn't be amiss.

The road between San Severino and Foligno (and maybe beyond) is part of an ancient variant of the Roman Via Flaminia. Here and there you can see some ancient remains, but most of them are not well signed, and I've sometimes gone on wild goose chases looking for Roman bridges. (There is a tiny Roman bridge (pedestrian) in Pioraco, but the actual roadway of the bridge is of a later date.)

Are you willing to go well out of your way? If you want to make a lot of stops, then the three-hour drive might be what you want. If you mostly want to drive and maybe see a different part of Le Marche or Umbria, then you might want to do more driving and less stopping.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2017, 08:07 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,118
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
From Spoleto, we went to Cerreto di Spoleto, then on to Visso to arrive in Casteluccio. That route often takes in Norcia, which I think now would not be a desirable lunch destination.

We had a nice lunch in a little restaurant in Visso, but you must be careful of hours there, make sure you arrive at lunch time, not 2 pm. We just made it; otherwise it would have been a long hungry drive.

Not sure if anything at all is happening in Castelluccio; when we were there, there was a 'food truck' selling grilled sausage sandwiches. Something about place and time, but that was the best sausage I have ever tasted!

This route was more about the scenery, as there aren't many towns. It took us some time because we stopped often to take photos.
sundriedtopepo is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2017, 11:07 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,957
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We bought some wonderful pecorino cheese in Casteluccio, probably from the same food truck. As I said, the town has had extensive earthquake damage in the past six months. However, the food truck sold mostly to visitors, so if they come, it will surely be there too.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Jan 28th, 2017, 12:34 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think we will take the Northern route; we'll take off at a reasonable time in the morning from Ascoli Piceno, to end up in Camerino for lunch. I had a look at Pappafo's menu and it looks great. So, unless anyone else has another suggestion (or if it is closed), that is likely where we will end up. It will be a Sunday when we are travelling so fingers crossed.
AussieHubbyWife is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
bvlenci
Europe
5
Oct 27th, 2016 03:44 AM
ESW
Europe
9
Oct 15th, 2014 07:44 AM
dina4
Europe
29
Sep 15th, 2010 07:55 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -