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itinerary for tuscany and umbria

Moffat Beach
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itinerary for tuscany and umbria

Hi all, we need some advice about our itinerary for September...

We are staying with a group of friends for one week in a villa only 3kms outside Florence and plan to do everything from there by public transport (train or bus to Siena, Lucca etc) or tour (eg wine tour as a group to avoid driving under the influence etc).

Then we all go in different directions so my husband and I will take a car on 17th Sept and drive southwards, first to Montepulciano.

We want to end up somewhere north of Rome to drop off the car and then bus or train into Rome on 23rd Sept.

Still can't decide whether to stay in Assisi after Montepulciano - some say it's gorgeous and worth the crowds... others say it's too touristy and you can visit from somewhere quieter. I'd love some advice about this, and where to stay if not in Assisi.

to make it clear - here's the itinerary thus far

9th - Bologna (fly into Milan and train to Bologna to stay the night)

10th - train to Florence and go to the villa

11th - wine tour in Chianti for the 60th birthday of one of the group

12th - 16th - hang out in Florence, visit Siena, Lucca and any other close places we should not miss (suggestions??)

17th - pick up car and drive to Montepulciano where we will stay for 3 nights

18th - hang out in Montepulciano

19th - drive to other towns in the area (back to Montepulciano to stay)

20th - drive to.... Assisi or ????

21st - stay Assisi or Orvieto (Orvieto market day next morning)

22nd - drive to other towns around Orvieto stay Orvieto

23rd - train/bus to Rome - stay near Termini

24th - sight see in Rome - stay near Termini

25th - flight to Rhodes from Ciampino

We really don't want to drive into Rome but have had some trouble finding car hire (at a reasonable price) which will allow us to drop off in Spoleto or Orvieto - can drop of in Orvieto through www.driveawaybookings.com so that looks like a good option.

Any comments or suggestions would be great!

Also any suggestions of how to eat at a reasonable price in any of these places. Don't want to scrimp on the experience but we actually prefer little local eateries rather than flash restaurants anyway.

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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1. Re: itinerary for tuscany and umbria

Sounds like everything it pointing towards Orvieto really, which really is a magnificent town. For your day trip from there Todi is quite lovely. Make sure you have read up on the driving regulations in Italy to avoid potential fines. See here:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187893-c140065/Tusca…

Both Montepulciano and Orvieto have ZTLs

Moffat Beach
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2. Re: itinerary for tuscany and umbria

Thank you - my husband is getting a bit nervous of all the driving warnings - fines for this and that, crazy drivers etc... is it as bad as it sounds? We have ridden motorbikes all over (India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam etc etc) and driven in Spain, Turkey, New Zealand, US and Japan (as well as at home in Australia of course). Is Italy worse than anywhere else?

Hate to show my ignorance but what is a ZTL?

Sydney
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3. Re: itinerary for tuscany and umbria

I was a bit anxious about driving in Italy last year, but really its not that bad. I didn't get any fines, but watch out for the speed cameras as you come in to a lot of the small towns/villages. They dont look like the cameras we have in Australia, in fact they look like over sized garbage bins! You'll find lots of local eateries in the towns, just walk off the beaten track and look for locals. We just loved our time finding these little out of the way eateries, and a lot cheaper than we expected.

ZTLs are basically Limited Traffic Zones. The idea is only permitted cars can travel in these areas during certain times or at any time. Most of these areas also rely on cameras to enforce the law, so you driving into a ZTL,a picture is taken,and you will be ticketed.

Edited: 06 July 2011, 13:21
Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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4. Re: itinerary for tuscany and umbria

It really isn't that bad and the drivers are not crazy. The article will tell you all about ZTLs and parking regulations etc, so if you know what you are looking for, then it will be fine.

UK
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5. Re: itinerary for tuscany and umbria

We returned last month from Tuscany and Umbria where we drove a hired car from Orvieto through that region to Bologna. Throughout I emphasied to my husband, who was the main driver, that ZTLs were to be obeyed but it wasn't until we had parked in Montefalco and started walking uphill into the town with many cars passing us that he questioned my information. Seeing a policewoman, who just happened to speak excellent English.he sought her advice. She explained that yes it was possibkle to drive into town that day but tomorrow (a Sunday) you were not allowed and we would be fined. She went on to explain that every town had a different rule and that we should read each sign carefully as we enter..

Given that we would approach these signs with many distractions we decided to park and walk in future.

Moffat Beach
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6. Re: itinerary for tuscany and umbria

THis is all very encouraging - I do love the freedom of having our own car and being able to stop wherever and whenever we like.

So now I am wondering if we will be able to visit Assisi on a day trip from Montepulciano... or is it a bit too far?

Do you think we need to book ahead for the 3 days before we head to Rome or can we be assured of finding reasonable places to stay along the way to Orvietto (20th - 23rd September).

Also - do we need a gps for driving. WE have both a Tom Tom and a Garmin here is Australia but maps are pretty expensive and it's only for 6 days. Is it worth it or are maps just as good?

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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7. Re: itinerary for tuscany and umbria

I think it could be done, the drive is about an hour and 3/4 each way.

I would book ahead, September is still high season and you don't want to waste your precious time trying to find decent accommodation.

Some people like the reassurance of a GPS, but it certainly is not necessary. The Italian touring club maps are very good.

Maine, USA
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8. Re: itinerary for tuscany and umbria

I read a post on another thread indicating that returning a car to the Termini train station in Rome was quite easy. Note that he did not say it was easy to drive through Rome.

Granted it was only one post, but I have seen nothing to the contrary and unless I do, that will be my plan.

Moffat Beach
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9. Re: itinerary for tuscany and umbria

I wrote personally to economycarrentals.com (couldn't work it out on their website) and they are arranging a car hire so that I can drop the car in Orvietto. Driveawayholidays will do it too. Seems so much less stressful to drop the car in this lovely little town and then get on a direct train to Termini. It takes about 90 mins and costs the princely sum of $14.

Le Marche, Italy
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10. Re: itinerary for tuscany and umbria

If I understand your itinerary correctly, you have three nights (20th -22nd) and that you definitely want to spend one of those nights in Orvieto; your question is whether you should spend all three there, or spend two in Asissi. You might want to consider spending one or two nights in Spello, a little jewel box o f a town very near Assisi. That would allow you to visit Assisi easily and go back to a smaller town at night.

Assisi is indeed a lovely town. I'm sure that it's not crowded in the early mornings or the evenings, as most of the visitors are day trippers. We live within a few hours' drive of Assisi, so we visit there for the day rather than spending the night.