Where to stay for 2 weeks in Italy?

Jul 26th, 2010, 07:36 AM
  #1  
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Where to stay for 2 weeks in Italy?

I will be in Italy from the end of August to end of September this year. I'll be there for a total of 3 weeks but will be spending one of those weeks in Rome and Naples (yes, I know you could easily do a week in either city but I don't want to spend much time in cities as I live in one of the biggest in the world right now).

For the remaining 2 weeks I would like to spend the time in 1 place. I am stuck on where to go. I've looked into somewhere in Le Marche or Umbria but I don't know that what I'm looking for is there. Seems like the towns are too small or too big. Ideally it would not be a big city, but rather a small town/ village with a good atmosphere and architecture, a decent selection of restaurants and small shops, and good surrounding scenery (countryside with vineyards). This is me forcing to slow my pace down, so I need a place that's not going to bore me stiff in 2 weeks and has options for daytrips. I do not want to have to rent a car the whole time but will for a few days for day trips. I know there are many options in the wonderful vast country - but I can't narrow it down. Please help!
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Jul 26th, 2010, 07:51 AM
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Well, if you don't think Umbria or the Marche are fitting into your description of your needs, then I'm afraid there's nowhere you'd be happy. Both regions actually seem to be designed for the kind of vacation you are looking for. Umbria is (unfortunately) already more touristy, but also more beautiful than the Marche. (I don't say the Marche are not beautiful, on the contrary. But Umbria is just so STUNNINGLY beautiful... unfortunately, more and more people are discovering it.) In Umbria, any town in the Bevagna - Montefalco - Trevi - Spello - Foligno - Assisi area would fit your criteria, as well as Todi, Spoleto, Lugnano in Teverina, Amelia, Narni, Città della Pieve... In the Marche, Iesi would perhaps be my first choice, or Urbino. Urbino is of course the more important sight, but in a less central location as far as daytripping. For a more extravagant choice (with possibilities to daytrip in the southern half of Le Marche, plus across the border into the wonderful, perfectly untouristy Abruzzo region), Ascoli Piceno.
Which of these to choose depends on your preferences, about which you might want to tell us more - "good" atmosphere, "good" architecture and "good" scenery is not overly precise and may mean very different types of architecture, atmosphere and scenery to different people.
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Jul 26th, 2010, 07:59 AM
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My first thought was Siena or maybe Arezzo or Greve. Lots of wine, many daytrip possibilities including Florence. But those are in Tuscany. Too many tourists? The flow should be ebbing by September, and the multitude of visitors means lots of transportation options.

I can't think of an appropriate town in Umbria. And Le Marche doesn't have a lot of train connections.

Other possibilities: Ravenna (great mosaics) with trips to Ferrara, Bologna, Rimini; some place in the Piemonte.
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Jul 26th, 2010, 08:03 AM
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I would go to Lucca. A medium size city with the ambiance of real daily life in Italy and good day trip options. And, good food.
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Jul 26th, 2010, 08:06 AM
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In response to Franco, Foligno is more like a city, a utilitarian city. I thought of Bevagna; it's a good base for daytripping by car, but it has no train station and not a very big selection of restaurants. I don't like basing in a hill town when daytripping by car. And the lack of a train applies to most of Franco's Umbrian suggestions. But maybe you weren't looking to make train trips?
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Jul 26th, 2010, 08:38 AM
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Spoleto in Umbria pops immediately to my mind for:

Ideally it would not be a big city, but rather a small town/ village with a good atmosphere and architecture, a decent selection of restaurants and small shops, and good surrounding scenery (countryside with vineyards)

to which I would add Spoleto has quite good train connections for quite a number of eye-popping day trips, and if you get a car on occasion, the driving for a solo driver is particularly easy in most of Umbria. Easy rental offices in Foligno and Orvieto.

I think this is a particularly good website for showing you Spoleto and its surroundings.

http://www.bellaumbria.net/maps-road-map_eng.htm

And here are pictures of Spoleto

http://www.google.it/images?client=s...w=1104&bih=702


You're not going to get any views from Arezzo or Lucca, and I think the train connections are not as dandy. You don't have the same density of interesting sights -- nor the same immediate access to great wine and chocolate. Were I to pick a town without views, I'd probably choose Ferrara in Emila-Romagna over Arezzo or Lucca, since the day trip possibilities there without a car are fantastic -- almost unlimited really - and the food is top notch. Nice too that if you get a week of rainy weather, Ferrara has plenty of porticoed streets to keep you dry.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/200...nvents-holiday

Have fun picking!
zeppole is offline  
Jul 26th, 2010, 08:42 AM
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I agree with Bob about Lucca, except for one thing. Lucca has GREAT food.
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Jul 26th, 2010, 08:43 AM
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You might get a picture of Spoleto reading this:

http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog...5753/tpod.html
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Jul 26th, 2010, 08:49 AM
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I doubt even Franco prefers the food of Lucca to that of Umbria, I also prefer the food of Le Marche and Tuscany's Arezzo to that of Tuscany's Lucca -- and think Emilia-Romagna beats them all. I like the wine and chocolates of Umbria better than all the other choices thus far listed

let us just say Jen158, that the subject of Lucchese food has been occasionally controversial on Fodor's (and elsewhere, actually).

But thus far everyplace mentioned -- including Lucca -- has a "decent selection of restaurants" (although in truth, although you need is one that you like and can afford).

You will be getting an apartment, yes? With a kitchen?
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Jul 26th, 2010, 08:51 AM
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Mimar, you're right of course if thinking of public transport. All of my recommendations would only work with a car, cause even if you'd stay in a town with a train station, most daytripping destinations would have none.
However, Foligno has 57,000 inhabitants, that's not what I'm calling a city. And calling it "utilitarian" means that you overlook the center. Admittedly, the outskirts of Foligno are far less than pretty, but the center is wonderful, unspoiled, untouristy, excellent everyday shopping (some wonderful alimentari e.g.), real people living there, who are doing real work, and there's also a stunning Romanesque cathedral facade. I love Foligno. That's a place where it must be great to live.
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Jul 26th, 2010, 08:55 AM
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zeppole, of course, I adore Umbrian food and prefer it to most other regional cuisines. And Umbrian red wine... Jen158, if you're also interested in wine (beyond vineyards): Umbria is one of Italy's two great red wine regions (the other one is Piemonte, of course), while Le Marche is Italy's one and only serious white wine region.
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Jul 26th, 2010, 09:04 AM
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franco,

You dont think Friuli-Venezia Giulia is a serious white wine region?
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Jul 26th, 2010, 09:29 AM
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Not really. Of course there are SOME Friulian whites that I do like, but the region as a whole is representing what I loathe when it comes to white wine: overly intense, overly concentrated wines that lack freshness, acidity, bouquet - more or less everything else than structure. Wines that, to be sarcastic, taste as if "made from concentrate" (like industrial fruit juice), or as if boiling down the original wine had been involved in the production process. I think the problem is not the climate in the first place (of course, Le Marche are farther south than Friuli) but the prevailing style of winemaking (we might call it "too Tuscan", so that everybody knows what I'm thinking of - most, not all! - Tuscan reds). The few Friulian whites that I did like were strong instead of concentrated, had body instead of structure, and were not eager to hide the grape variety's flavour behind an overkill of alcohol. Since I know you are going to Friuli soon, I would try this producer: www.specogna.it - I know only their Picolit, but that's a truly superb wine.
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Jul 26th, 2010, 09:33 AM
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I'll let you know what I drink and think!
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Jul 26th, 2010, 09:35 AM
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(And Alto-Adige too, plus a splash of the Veneto.)
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Jul 26th, 2010, 09:51 AM
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Yes, now I plead guilty: my praise of Le Marche was unfair towards Alto Adige and Veneto, where excellent white wines can be found, though even there, I think the reds are certainly of higher quality (how many lousy Prosecco or Soave for one good one?). It may be only a personal thing, but if I think white wine, I think France - Germany - Austria - New Zealand. But there's that one Italian exception: I LOVE Marchigiani whites. The Verdicchio grape is one of the greatest white grapes anywhere IMO, and quite certainly the most underrated.
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Jul 26th, 2010, 09:59 AM
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I like Verdicchio too and I confess that some of my love of the white wines of Alto-Adige is that they are so close to Germany's and Austria's whites.

The Veneto's Custoza is a white I like, I think because it is slightly lemony to me, which I like in this climate.
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Jul 26th, 2010, 10:00 AM
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Excuse us, jen158! We're just chatting while you take your time to think!
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Jul 26th, 2010, 10:06 AM
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Ditto for the Bianco di Custoza. We are in real danger of digressing now... no, it's too late anyway, and we have already digressed, so damn it: have you ever had imbriago al bianco di Custoza, a latteria-type cheese aged in Custoza pomace? Yummmm.
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Jul 26th, 2010, 10:39 AM
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All this chatting about Veneto & Friuli made me think of another option for Jen158: hills, small towns, sights, vineyards: what about Bassano del Grappa - Asolo?
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