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Is this Tuscany/Umbria itinerary doable?

Vancouver, B.C.
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Is this Tuscany/Umbria itinerary doable?

Hello,

We will be based out of Siena for seven nights in Sept., 2012. Our plan is to spend the first & last day in Siena. We have 5 days with a rental car and hope to visit other Tuscan and Umbrian towns. We have roughed out the following itinerary and would appreciate any of your opinions of it. Are we doing too much on any of these days? Should we combine any of these towns differently?

Are there any "must sees" that we may have missed in these areas? Please help us to make the best of our time.

Day 1

- Siena to San Gimignano

- San Gimignano to Volterra

- Return to Siena

Day 2

- Siena to Montelcino

- Montelcino to Pienza

- Pienze to Montepulciano

- Return to Siena

Day 3

- Siena to Arezzo

- Arezzo to Cortona

- Return to Siena

Day 4

- Siena to Perugia

- Perugia to Assisi

- Assisi to Orvieto

- Return to Siena

Day 5

- Siena to Greve in Chianti

- Greve to Castellina in Chianti

- Return to Siena

Thank you in advance for your help.

Saint Marys, Ohio
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1. Re: Is this Tuscany/Umbria itinerary doable?

Virtually anything is doable, but the question is, "Do you really want to do it." The day 4 trip I think will be quite long. If you're going to spend any time at all in Perugia, Orvieto, and Assisi, it's going to be a long day.

Were it my trip I would trim it down because we like to take our time, sit in a piazza, and enjoy the towns. Not just zip through them to say we "saw" them.

Edited: 13 February 2012, 00:37
San Jose, California
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2. Re: Is this Tuscany/Umbria itinerary doable?

Day 2 you might only get to two of the locations. Day 4 looks like a nightmare. That is a total of approx. 5 hours just in driving - probably really more. Use www.viamichelin.com for times, routes, costs and distances. Each of those locations really deserves a full day. You might want to reconsider that day. Pick one location and do that. Orvieto is right of the A1 Autostrada on the way to Rome. If you are coming or going from Rome perhaps you put off Orvieto to the day you are traveling to/from there.

lost in Ohio
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3. Re: Is this Tuscany/Umbria itinerary doable?

I agree with the other posters.

Take Day 4 -- What can you really see in Perugia, Assisi and Orvieto all in one day that you will take home with you and remember? Not only is there a lot of driving, but you arent going to have time to really experience anything. Also remember, you cannot drive into the center of town and park next to the Central Piazza. In each of the places you mention, you are likely to have to park outside the town and either walk in or take a tram or funicular. That will eat up lots of your time if you want to see anything.

It's interesting that you plan 2 full days for Siena but give Assisi, just an hour or two. Ditto Orvieto.

To quote someone else -- see less but see better. assume you will return.

To quote me -- pick out one town per day and take enough time to actually experience it. It still wont be enough time, but it's a start.

enjoy

Montepulciano, Italy
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4. Re: Is this Tuscany/Umbria itinerary doable?

It's so, so difficult, isn't it? It's possibly the biggest "problem" we have around here, ie that of far too much to see. I experience it myself when guests come to stay waving their list of "must sees" forgetting the fact that they're on vacation and supposedly here to relax. Always bear in mind it can be very tiring for the person driving all day so, where possible, try to share it with one doing the morning, the other the afternoon. I personally find it more relaxing on main roads rather than country lanes but you may be different. You don't say when in September but even later in the month it should still be light until around 7. Now to your plan:

Day 1 should work OK as I sometimes do something similar and we're 35 mins further south. As always, I would urge you to get to SG as early as physically possible (it's infinitely more enjoyable before 10 / 10.30) and then drive over to Volterra to arrive in time for lunch.

Day 2 Again, possible, and personally I would make the effort to see all three (it may again require an early start) as it's difficult to decide which one to leave out.

Day 3 This works well and is a trip I make often with visitors but it's another long day out from where you are. Also, it may not appear so on a map but Siena / Arezzo takes longer than you think for the middle stretch (Castelnuovo to Monte San Savino) is really slow and windy. Go this way in the morning when you feel fresher, come back via the Perugia / Bettolle / Siena road.

Day 4 I'm afraid seeing all three towns from Siena is an absolutely non-starter, even if you overlook my personal (very low) opinion of Perugia. Assisi is packed year round from March through to November - it's busier even than San Gim as it sees so many religious pilgrims in addition to regular tourists - so is another of those towns you really need to hit very early, especially if you're driving and need to find somewhere to park. I can see the appeal though for the town is so pretty with astonishingly beautiful works of art. Forgetting Perugia and arriving earlyish at Assisi (say around 9), I guess you could fit in an hour at Orvieto on the way back but, if it were me, I'd also want to stop at Todi on the way (which is another gem) as you drive right by it and from there the road is windy and slow, though very beautiful. I took Christmas visitors here and they were begging to stop every five minutes to take photos as we drove along Lago di Corbara. It's a dream of a drive.

Day 5 This works fine, in fact, it's a leisurely day out in comparison with yesterday.

You don't say where you're flying in and out of for one option could be you see the Umbrian towns on your way up or down if you're flying via Rome. It's a detour to Assisi (coming north you'd get off at Orte) but Orvieto is easy as it's just off the A1.

Vancouver, B.C.
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5. Re: Is this Tuscany/Umbria itinerary doable?

Thank you all for your very helpful information.

So now we have decided to take Perugia off of our day 4 itinerary and are debating on removing Montelcino from day 2 to try to have just 2 destinations per day max. We are early risers so will be heading out early each day. We do love to relax and enjoy so perhaps will only see one of these destinations each day.

You are correct Lastraneria, it is very hard to choose. I have read about Todi also and had contiplated including it as well. Perhaps we will do as you have suggested. It will still be a busy day though. Thank you for this valuable information.

We are coming to Siena from Lucca and are flying out of Florence. Perhaps we should have booked a few of these nights in Umbria but were trying to avoid moving around too much as many other posters had suggested.

Thanks again to all of you.

Montepulciano, Italy
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6. Re: Is this Tuscany/Umbria itinerary doable?

Seems a shame to miss out on Montalcino. You only need an hour there, it's 30 mins drive from here on to Pienza, which can again be explored in an hour or so max. Another 15 mins on to Montepulciano. You could fit them all in and I would, if you can, for they're all very different from each other.

north carolina
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7. Re: Is this Tuscany/Umbria itinerary doable?

One consideration is that you will not just see the towns, but also see a lot of beautiful scenery as you drive. From the way that you have planned, I guess that the driving/seeing is just as valuable to you as the time in towns. So, with day 4 fixed, the trip looks fine. We would not spend that much time on the road, but it is a credible plan.

Day 4, even with Perugia out, still looks too busy to me. The drive from Assisi to Orvieto will take a while.

And why are you so eager to be away from Siena, it is much more than just a stop-over town.

But anyway, I appreciate your detailed planning, and if you really enjoy the time in car, then i think you will have a wonderful time with many rich memories.

Vancouver, B.C.
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8. Re: Is this Tuscany/Umbria itinerary doable?

I agree about Montelcino, Lastraniera. We will try to get there.

We were not eager to get away from Siena, Roadgard as we chose to stay there for 7 nights because we thought we would enjoy it. Our intention was to enjoy the restaurants there in the evenings so my husband could try the wines without having to drive. We had allowed the 1st and last days there as well.

We should have booked maybe 4 or 5 days in Siena and somewhere in Umbria for 2 or 3 days but were trying to avoid moving around. But trying to choose which places to see is very difficult for sure!

If one was to choose between Orvieta or Assisi, which would be most recommended? Maybe day 4 we could visit Montelcino and Orvieta?

Or perhaps we will just enjoy Tuscany and return to Umbria another time. We have always wanted to return to Rome one day!

Thank you all again for your help and suggestions.

Montepulciano, Italy
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9. Re: Is this Tuscany/Umbria itinerary doable?

Personally, I couldn't possibly choose between Assisi and Orvieto as they are both stunningly beautiful with so many marvellous things to see. However, from a practical point of view, Assisi is quite a long drive, I usually only ever visit in mid-winter as it can be very crowded, and unless you arrive early, you have to park some distance away. I can understand why you are tempted to add Orvieto on to your southern Tuscan hilltown day but it's not really practical and would make an extremely busy day. If it is possible for you to return to central Italy another year, I would concentrate on Tuscany this time and plan another trip to Umbria, which merits a trip of its own of ideally a week.

north carolina
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10. Re: Is this Tuscany/Umbria itinerary doable?

If the religious and historic attachment are most important to you, then Assisi may be a must-see, however it will also be much more crowded with tourists - very crowded. Orvieto would be very beautiful and fun and less stressful.

Edited: 14 February 2012, 19:43