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Tuscany similar to Umbria?

Milan, Italy
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Tuscany similar to Umbria?

I stayed in Assisi for four days last Spring and walked all over the countryside, took the train sometimes between the small towns (thought it only ran a few times a day, so I had to plan well) and absolutely LOVED it! Once you got out of Assisi into the smaller towns there were few to no tourists, wineries, cooking classes, ancient churches and beautiful views.

I'm thinking about taking a trip to Tuscany next year but am wondering if the things I loved in Umbria are also in Tuscany? I've heard you "have" to rent a car in Tuscany, but hate to drive (thus why I walked 8km between towns in Umbria and took the train back). I love history, but hate tourist traps. Would anyone who's been to both places recommend Tuscany to me? Or are the things I loved about one part of my stay in the Italian countryside not relevant in Tuscany?

Montepulciano, Italy
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1. Re: Tuscany similar to Umbria?

I'm in both places often as I live almost on the border of the two regions. They are very, very similar in a lot of ways - small medieval hilltop towns rich in art, quaint shops and places to eat, strong pride in local wine and produce, beautiful countryside (though Umbria is more mountainous as it has the long, high spine of the Apennines running through it) - and the type of vacation you had in Umbria can be readily found in Tuscany. Assisi must see as many visitors - if not more - than many of the popular Tuscan towns, it's certainly somewhere I only ever visit in the winter months so as to avoid the crowds. So if you coped with that well, you shouldn't have any problems here plus you're OK planning your days around public transport timetables and don't mind a good walk even in the drizzle. But where to stay? Why not somewhere like Buonconvento south of Siena in the Arbia valley, full of history as it was an important stop on the ancient Via Francigena. A modest sized place in the valley, the medieval heart consists of a labyrinth of narrow lanes concealed behind the town walls. Although there is now a small expatriate community in the old town, it sees very few tourists. There are several excellent places to eat and, best of all, it's on a good bus route and a small railway line that will take you into Siena (limited time table). You can bus to next door Montalcino, perhaps walking back as it's all downhill. You could bus to San Quirico (which is truly lovely and still unspoilt (grazie a dio!), the "capital" of the Val d'Orcia and another option to consider as a base) and on to very popular Pienza. If you miss the train you can bus into Siena. There's a little local minibus that plies the villages up on the Crete (Chiusure, San Giovanni d'Asso, Asciano) and takes you passed the magnificent abbey at Monte Oliveto Maggiore (frescoed cloisters, monks chanting), from which again you could walk back as it's all downhill (wonderful walk too). Heading towards Siena, the Arbia valley villages are places that most people rush through but the old towns are all worth exploring, Monteroni and Lucignano especially. (It's a shame you're not here now for the sunflower fields surrounding that village are currently amazing.) Staying here you could easily see several of region's "must sees" as well as the just as interesting smaller places and get a taste of authentic Tuscan life.

Edited: 20 July 2011, 03:13
Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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2. Re: Tuscany similar to Umbria?

Nothing more to be said. Lastraniera has put the case for Tuscany perfectly and suggested a stunning part of the region to stay in and explore. Do make the trip to Siena as well as exploring the towns and villages of that area.

Ohio
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3. Re: Tuscany similar to Umbria?

After staying and exploring in both Tuscany and Umbria this spring, I would compare them as Tuscany is like a "well manicured coif ", while Umbria is like "naturally curly hair"!

Milan, Italy
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4. Re: Tuscany similar to Umbria?

Thank you all so much! (I left Assisi during the day, when all the day-trip tourists were there, and it sounds like I could do the same in Tuscany)! So glad to hear about the trains between cities. Will look into all of those towns! So excited to start planning!

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5. Re: Tuscany similar to Umbria?

sinaigirl-

You nailed it. Love the image.

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6. Re: Tuscany similar to Umbria?

sinaigirl-

You nailed it. Love the image.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Tuscany similar to Umbria?

Hello, both Tuscany and Umbria are very nice places but while Tuscany is an international very well known destination, Umbria is still a place with regional tourism. I would suggest you have a look at these two travel guides that may help you when visiting these regions:

http://www.tuscany-by-divino.com/

http://www.umbria-by-divino.com/

8. Re: Tuscany similar to Umbria?

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