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Which town would you use as a base? Orvieto, Assisi or Perugia?

Which town would you use as a base? Orvieto, Assisi or Perugia?

Aug 11th, 2006, 05:43 PM
  #1  
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Which town would you use as a base? Orvieto, Assisi or Perugia?

I would like some opinions on which of these 3 cities I should use as a base from which to travel around the area. Please explain which one you like and why. I need help. Thank you. Laurielou
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Aug 11th, 2006, 06:10 PM
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Should we assume you will be drving?
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 11th, 2006, 06:41 PM
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I would use Perugia because I think the city is absolutely fascinating and unique. It is also not very touristy. It used to be a big tourist destination, but it is no longer chic -- so perfect for me!

I also like university towns. Not only do you have the energy of young people (instead of middle-aged tourists) but you have lots of casual, affordable restaurants. Perugia is a great eating destination, with marvelous Umbrian food plus chocolates!

And of course Perugia has fabulous artwork, including one of the most beautiful and enjoyable art museums in all of italy. I'd rather spend days at the art museum in Perugia than take another trip to the Uffizi.

When I stayed in Perugia I stayed at the bottom of the escalator that goes up to the top of the city, and I had my own parking space. But I understand that it is simple to stay at the top of the city and park by the escalator.

I've never been to Assisi. One reason I haven't is because I have heard that it is crammed with tourists, tour busses and pilgrims. I hope to go sometime in the dead of winter to look at the art. But I want to avoid the crowds (even if it is impossible to avoid the tacky touriist stands).

Orvieto is a nice enough town with its spectacular cathedral, but if I am going to have the inconvenience of stayting in a large hill city in terms of visiting other towns, I'd rather base in Perugia.

There are other Umbrian towns you could use as a base if you plan to do a lot of day trips. However, actually staying in Perugia gives you the best of both worlds. Nighttime in Perugia is fascinating, with a great variety of things to do and places to eat.
nessundorma is offline  
Aug 11th, 2006, 06:59 PM
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I, personally, have based in Orvieto on two trips to northern Italy. I have stayed at a hotel that is located just near the top of the escalator from the parking garage (if you are driving your own rental car). Traffic can be a factor getting from the old hilltop town of Orvieto down to the highway for your trips to nearby towns.

I would also consider Perugia as a base. But again, if you stay in the old city, you may have traffic concerns. IMO, your base should be determined by the selection of hilltop towns on your list of places to visit.

I would not base myself in Assisi. I agree that it is too over-touristy and more difficult for parking (IMO).

If you are interested in the Chianti area, you might want to look at Sienna as a base. We were just based there on our last Italy visit, this past spring. It was a good choice for us.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2006, 07:03 PM
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Hey Nessundorma, Thank you for that advice. I would prefer a city with less tourists so Perugia will be my choice. Do you know someone there I could contact about holiday rentals? I need a 2 bedroom apartment. I love university towns. Perfect for me. Thank you for taking the time to pass all that information on to me. It was a great help. Laurielou
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Aug 11th, 2006, 07:06 PM
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Hello Simpson, Thank you for your advice. Because of you and Nuss. I have decided to use Perugia as a base. This is a great website. People like you are a great help to so many of us who need information. Thank you again. Laurielou
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Aug 11th, 2006, 07:22 PM
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You can start here:

http://www.vrbo.com/78898

http://www.perugiaonline.com/apartme...gia_rooms.html

But be careful that you book inside the "historic center" since Perugia is surrounded by suburbs, and you don't want to be there.

I also recommend that you start on the Slow Travel website that specializes in apartment rentals and which also has a regular poster who is something of a Perugia expert, and I believe one who owns a restaurant there called Alter Ego. Even if people can't recommend specific apartments, they can probably help vet the location of the ones you find.

Good luck! Don't fail to go to the art museum. It's so beautiful and informative about the history of Italian art. There are good eats everywhere, including memorable pastries and hot chocolate at Sandi's on the Corso Vannucci.
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Aug 11th, 2006, 08:07 PM
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Nuss, Thank you for all the good information. I won't miss the museum. If you think of anything else, pass it on! Laurielou
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Aug 12th, 2006, 06:28 AM
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You didn't say if you were driving so I thought I would mention that driving in and around Perugia can be very confusing/busy and parking can sometimes be a challenge.
CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Aug 12th, 2006, 02:34 PM
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My best pizza (of many many trips to Europe) was at the Cafe Perugia, in the old city on the top of the hill. It's just to the right, on a little side street, as you get close to the main square, walking from the escalators that take you up to the old city. There should be tables and chairs sitting outside, which signals a restaurant (obviously)... They also had a nice wine list besides the fantastic pizza.
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Aug 12th, 2006, 04:33 PM
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Another great pizza spot in Perugia is the off the Piazza IV Novembre, a sharp left if you are *facing* the Corso Vannucci. It is best located by the long line that snakes out the door.

I almost wrote "another suprisingly good pizza place" because when you go to Perugia you think it is a surprise to find such great food from other regions in Italy, in addition to the great Umbrian cuisine. But the truth is that Perugia is quite a cosmopolitan city, and the food is adventurous. It's something of a relief because elsewhere in Umbria most restaurants adhere quite faithfully to Umbria's earthy cuisine. Much of it is tasty, but variety -- especially when it is well done as it is in Perugia -- is quite welcome.
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Aug 13th, 2006, 01:52 PM
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It was surprise to come back to my posting and see some more messages. Thank you all for the information which will be put to good use. Yes, I think we will have a car and perhaps I may reconsider staying in town. If anyone has more to add to the parking problemm, please let me know. I also read on "slow traveler" that Perugia would not be a safe city at night because of drugs. Does anyone want to comment on that? Again, thank you all for your time in replying. Laurielou
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Aug 13th, 2006, 05:42 PM
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I would vote for Assisi.

Reason: The hotels there are less expensive than the alternatives.

You can park your car in one of the designated areas.
metlc is offline  
Aug 13th, 2006, 05:52 PM
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I'm stunned that anybody would consider Perugia unsafe. I certainly wouldn't be surprised to learn that drugs are sold in town since it is a major university center. But the kind of crime that makes tourists unsafe?

There are several major parking lots at the base of Perugia. My strategy would be to pick one near the escalator. I would ask the people renting apartments what is available in terms of parking.

If it turns out you don't want to stay in Perugia, then I would recommend Montefalco, Spello or Bevagna, or perhaps Todi or Spoleto, or else an agriturismo located in a central spot in Umbria. I wouldn't pick Assisi, because of its touristy aspects, and I think Orvieto is less central than other places you could find. I would expect parking or traffic problems in Todi, Spoleto and Orvieto, as well as Assisi.

nessundorma is offline  
Aug 13th, 2006, 05:56 PM
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From Perugia Online:

"By comparison to the rest of Italy, Perugia (and Umbria) has a very low crime rate, but even this city is not entirely without its crooks. Consequently, it always pays to be careful. It makes good sense to have all your important papers and documents copied so that in the event of theft or loss they will be replaced as quickly as possible."

I realize Perugia Online might not be the most unbiased source -- but still.

nessundorma is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 01:18 PM
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Here is another reason to stay in Perugia.

Perugina gives a great tour of its chocolate factory. There was an excellent New York Times article on this. The tour takes you onto the factory floor and includes unlimited Baci chocolates.
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Aug 16th, 2006, 01:41 PM
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We loved Umbria. To be honest we didn't visit Perugia. Not because we didn't want to, but because traffic was a crazy mess, and this was in March! Hubby didn't want to deal with it so we skipped Perugia. But I love the area around Perugia. Personally, if I had my choice, especially with a car, I would stay in Spello. A small, quaint little town, not overrun with tourists. Spello is very close to Assisi and many other great hill towns in the area.

Good luck!
Tracy
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Aug 16th, 2006, 01:45 PM
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If you were interested in staying in an agriturismo, we stayed at a wonderful one while in Umbria in March. Our apartment in Le Case Gialle was wonderful. The apartments are on an organic olive oil farm, and the owners are so friendly. We were about a five minute drive to Bevagna, fifteen minute drive to Montefalco and very close to Assisi, Spello, Trevi, Todi, Deruta and others. The agriturismo is not in an actual town though, so it depends on what you are looking at. If you are interested in checking it out, the info is below. It gets high reviews from many on this board.

http://www.lecasegialle.com/index_ing.htm

Tracy
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Aug 16th, 2006, 03:33 PM
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I second Spello as a base. Lovely town!!
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Aug 17th, 2006, 06:46 AM
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Another vote for Spello! A small jewel of rosy-hued stone, with many good restaurants. Assisi is 10 minutes away. Easy access to Montefalco & Bevagna.
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