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Umbria/Rome Itinerary in late May-- Your help appreciated!

Umbria/Rome Itinerary in late May-- Your help appreciated!

Dec 30th, 2018, 08:57 AM
  #1  
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Umbria/Rome Itinerary in late May-- Your help appreciated!

Good afternoon and happy new year Fodors friends-
Your invaluable advice requested again. My husband and I have 7 nights in late May in Italy before heading to Paris for 8 nights.
We land in Rome at about 2 pm on the 24th of May after a transfer from CDG.

BACKGROUND-- In 2017, On our last trip (the goal of which was to see as much of Tuscany as possible without a car), we transferred from FCO to Pienza by car, spent two nights there and two in Cortona with day trips, cooking classes, wine tasting etc in Siena, Montepulciano and Monterrgiano before returning for three nights to Florence. LOVED all-- and while not as flexible or budget friendly as driving on our own, which is not an option, it worked really well. Of course didnt scratch the surface of Tuscany but was very happy!

That said, want to see as much of Umbria as possible (interested on food, wine, ceramics, art-- am obsessed with the idea of Umbria) but am also contemplating a few (3) nights in ROME as we haven't been there since 2008 with our then tween children. That said, I would be grateful for suggestions as to :

1. Ordering the trip in terms of cities (e.g. =- do Rome first or last?, understanding that we will fly to Paris at the end of our time- the only flight as yet unbooked)
2. Picking a town for one or two nights in Umbria (if even necessary ) that we could day trip from --we found a fabulous company (TuscanPrivateDriver)on our last trip, that really helped with so much. We stayed at La Bandita in the amazing Pienza, and loved the experience, which is why I would love to spend even one night immersed in Umbria rather than solely rely on day trips from Florence
3. Advising as to must-see towns in Umbria that might work geographically (already have Deruta, Spello, Spoleto on my short list based on advice here)
4. Anything else that might be helpful-- we so loved Florence and while small, i think we could easily spend at least 3 more nights there -- love the hotel we stayed in in 2017 and just didn't get to see everything we wanted to on the last trip.
In hindsight I oerhaps should have allowed one extra night in Italy and one less in Paris, but have already booked an apartment and in the end, there never seems to be enough time in Paris!

I realize this is a lot-- any advice so appreciated-
Laurie
laurie23 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2018, 10:21 AM
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Hi laurie23, DH and I visited some of the cities you have mentioned in the 2 separate trip reports below. We almost always took public transportation. Hope this helps.

Perugia and Rome by train and bus

Turin, Spoleto, Bologna and Bellagio TR

PS, please share the name of the driver/company you liked. Ours was Autonoleggio Stefano Mogini - Perugia Some time has elapsed so double-check.

Have a super time and please report back!

Last edited by TDudette; Dec 30th, 2018 at 10:21 AM. Reason: typo
TDudette is offline  
Dec 30th, 2018, 11:51 AM
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Book your long-distance trains as early as possible - about 90 days before and reap huge discounts over full price - www.seat61.com has tons of tips on doing that yourselves online - general info BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com. If you would end in Venice you could take the overnight train from there to Paris - quite an experience - www.thello.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 30th, 2018, 12:50 PM
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It's not clear how many days/nights you intend to spend in Umbria. You spent 7 days in Tuscany on a previous trip, and Umbria is a larger region. It also sounds like you won't be driving yourselves but relying on a local driver. That will definitely save you time overall, but I hope you'll be able to tell the person where you want to go, what sort of places you want to see, and not just go to the most tourist-popular towns that the driver has on a default itinerary. FYI, we find driving in Umbria even easier than in Tuscany, with the exception of Perugia.

A few Umbrian towns you didn't mention... Orvieto, Assisi, Gubbio, Todi, Bevagna. Also, Perugia and the small towns in the Lake Trasimeno area, but I don't think you have time to even contemplate them.

Bevagna felt the most like an everyday Italian town. There are only a couple of sights to see in the town, so I think it remains a bit off the tourist parade. Todi is a prosperous town with some interesting craft shopping, Medieval buildings and an underground cistern system you can tour. Gubbio has great ceramic shopping, museums and other sights, plus the wonderful "bucket of bolts" birdcage lift to the mountaintop above the town (Basilica Sant Ubaldo). Unless you specifically want to see/buy Deruta ceramics, I'd substitute Gubbio which has its own ceramic industry and is a town with more things to do/see than Deruta. Assisi's basilica shouldn't be missed, even with the busloads of tourists. Orvieto may be too far from the rest of your plans, but it has some wonderful sights (esp. the basilica) if you have the time.

We've stayed in Orvieto, Spoleto, Montefalco, Perugia and Umbertide. I think Spoleto makes a good base for a relatively short visit to Umbria, has several sights of its own worth exploring and a good selection of restaurants, but I would decide/prioritize a sightseeing itinerary before picking a base town.
Jean is offline  
Dec 30th, 2018, 01:37 PM
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Thank you so much for your insights so far! I look forward to inhaling your trip reports TDudette and thank you Jean for the info on other villages. Clearly i have a lot of research to do, and as you correctly pointed out, little time to spend there overall hence my concern about how to best spend our seven precious nights in Italy. It sounds like Spoleto may indeed be a good place to spend a night or two-- and any hotel/inn reccs greatly appreciated.

TDudette, the company/driver we used was Private driver, luxury car service, sightseeing tours, transfers in Tuscany and the driver/owner (I think) was Simone Violi. He has several cars in his fleet apparently but we only met him. The nicest person, I believe from Cortona, and drove back to our hotel in Florence the next morning just to drop off a small package we had inadvertently left in his car.
laurie23 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2018, 03:42 PM
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Go to Deruta to buy Italian ceramics at Umberto Grazia, founded in the 1500s. We bought quite a lot there and they shipped home for us.Stay in Spello for a beautiful experience. We were lucky to spend two weeks there. Loved it and explored a lot of Umbria from this base.
we had a car.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Dec 30th, 2018, 04:38 PM
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We have stayed at the Hotel San Luca in Spoleto and would stay there again. The decision was influenced by the hotel's location at the bottom of the town with easy driving ingress/egress and parking, but that would probably also make it a good for a driver picking you up, dropping off. It's close to the town escalators.

The building | Hotel San Luca

Based on our experiences at the San Luca, we stayed at their 'sister' hotel near Montefalco. Hotel Villa Zuccari. If you'd rather stay IN Montefalco, the Palazzo Bontadosi looks great.

Four stars hotels in Umbria

https://www.hotelbontadosi.it/eng/?page=hotel
Jean is offline  
Dec 31st, 2018, 04:30 AM
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We spent 3 nights in Spello (with a rental car) this May, which was our "base" for "eastern" Umbria (as part of a longer trip covering Le Marche as well - more here Visiting Le Marche and Umbria). We enjoyed Perugia, Assisi, Trevi, Montefalco, Bevagna and Spoleto, apart from charming Spello itself. Orvieto (which we’ve visited on a prior trip, so didn’t go back – close to Rome) and Gubbio (which we visited whilst dawdling around Le Marche – further north from Perugia) are also very interesting but at two extreme ends of Umbria as you’ll see on a map, so the logistics will be challenging in such a short time.

Some useful reading here, which helped our planning
Fourteen Perfect Days: A Two Week Itinerary for Umbria - Brigolante holiday rentals in Assisi, Umbria Brigolante holiday rentals in Assisi, Umbria
Italy - Haunting Beauty of Umbria
ANUJ is offline  
Dec 31st, 2018, 07:42 AM
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I second Spello as a base. We spent two beautiful weeks there exploring Umbria.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Dec 31st, 2018, 08:10 AM
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laurie23, for some reason, you have two identical threads with the same title and text. At a minimum, you need to check both for replies, but you should probably ask the moderators to merge the two threads.
Jean is offline  
Jan 1st, 2019, 05:21 AM
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Jean you are entirely correct. I inadvertently posted it twice and cannot find a method in the FAQs for merging the two threads-- there doesn't seem to be an "ask moderator" link unless I'm missing it somehow. I know how annoying this can be!
laurie23 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2019, 05:25 AM
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Thank you both-- I am looking forward to reading the trip reports and clearly need to pull out a map. Im also considering adding a day in Italy, although we have an apartment rental already booked in Paris for 8 nights That said-- I also realize that I have two identical posts (inadvertently) on here and don't want to miss any of this valuable info! Have not had any luck as yet finding a solution to merging them!
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Jan 1st, 2019, 05:42 AM
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We’ve stayed twice in Spello for a week at a time and are staying there another week this coming May. We have found it to be a convenient base from which to tour most of Umbria. Admittedly; it can be a little quiet in the evenings, but that’s okay with us. We rent an apartment so I can’t recommend a hotel.

Bevagna is also appealing to us, as is Spoleto. As for ordering your trip, I’d probably go to Umbria first, then Rome and then Paris. If you need to get around by train, then Spoleto and Spello are good options.

In Deruta, we’ve purchased ceramics from several places, including Grazia Deruta and FIMA. They’ve shipped them to us for a reasonable fee. They’re some of my most treasured items.

Umbria is lovely. As you can see, we keep going back!
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Jan 1st, 2019, 08:52 AM
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indyhiker- thank you for these insights. Im beginning to feel the same way about flying to Paris from Rome-. And to that end, beginning to wonder if we should skip the extra nights in Rome after all, and focus on Florence/Umbria--
laurie23 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2019, 10:46 AM
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I’m sorry that I missed that you were also visiting Florence on this trip. Perhaps if you posted your tentative itinerary, it might help us help you decide.

I like Rome, but our next visit will be more definitively in the low season. It’s just so crowded—even in May. We’re pairing Umbria with Naples in May.
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Jan 1st, 2019, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by indyhiker View Post
I’m sorry that I missed that you were also visiting Florence on this trip. Perhaps if you posted your tentative itinerary, it might help us help you decide.

I like Rome, but our next visit will be more definitively in the low season. It’s just so crowded—even in May. We’re pairing Umbria with Naples in May.
Hi Indyhiker-- I was thinking about somehow dividing the 7 nights among Rome and Florence, with a night or two in Umbria. Last trip we spent two nights each in Cortona and Pienza and the last three in Florence before flying to Paris. I think that may just be too much for 7 nights (including Rome as well I mean) but I was potentially thinking about 5 nights Florence and Umbria (which is what led me to this forum) and the final two nights in Rome before flying to Paris, but at this point its all flexible, except for the fact that we are landing in FCO at 1 pm on the 24th May.
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Jan 1st, 2019, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
Book your long-distance trains as early as possible - about 90 days before and reap huge discounts over full price - www.seat61.com has tons of tips on doing that yourselves online - general info BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com. If you would end in Venice you could take the overnight train from there to Paris - quite an experience - www.thello.com.
Thank you PalenQ-- you've always provided so much train help!
laurie23 is offline  

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