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Norcia's Piano Grande - worth squeezing in limited days?

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Tokyo, Japan
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Norcia's Piano Grande - worth squeezing in limited days?

Hello, we decided to revisit Tuscany again this October after falling in love with it 6 years ago. Anghiari, La Verna, Siena, and Cortona were very memorable.

So, it will be:

Rome Fiumicino Airport - pick up rental car to

Norcia, Umbria (2 nights)

Anghiari, Arezzo (2 nights)

San Gimignano (2 nights) to Pisa Airport

Originally, we hadn't planned on going to Umbria, but upon seeing YouTube videos of the Piano Grande, we were hooked. We like the wide plains and wild horses in the video. The question is, is Piano Grande worth visiting in late October or will the landscape be similar to the rolling fields of Tuscany?

Thanks very much in advance.

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1. Re: Norcia's Piano Grande - worth squeezing in limited days?

Aria-

Norcia and the Piano Grande are mountainous as opposed to the rolling hills of Tuscany and would provide a different landscape. However, you will be doing a lot of driving with your itinerary. Also, from FCO to Norcia would be at least a 3-hour drive. Depending upon how long your flight is to FCO, you may not want to drive that far upon arrival. I do not know if there are any wildflowers blooming in the Piano Grande in October. Others may have input on that. Wonderful Umbrian towns such as Orvieto, Amelia and Todi are closer to FCO and to Arezzo. The countryside in that part of Umbria is similar to Tuscany, but somewhat more wooded.

Enjoy.

2. Re: Norcia's Piano Grande - worth squeezing in limited days?

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Le Marche, Italy
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3. Re: Norcia's Piano Grande - worth squeezing in limited days?

The Piano Grande is spectacular when in full bloom, which is usually sometime in June, depending on the year. We once caught it at its peak in early July. There wouldn't be much blooming in October, but the area is beautiful at any time of the year. The town most people use as a stepping off point is Castelluccio, on the Umbria/Marche border. Castelluccio is part of the town of Norcia, but it's really nearly a full hour's drive further east of the center of Norcia. In these thinly populated areas, town governments often cover a vast area.

I don't think there are any wild horses there, although at higher altitudes in Umbria and Le Marche, there are often herds of horses that pasture in the mountain meadows. These are not wild; they have owners and are used for trail riding. You will also often see cows ranging free in the mountains, and sheep at lower altitudes.

About an hour northeast of Castelluccio, in Le Marche, the Gola del Infernaccio is another natural womder. Here is my photo album of that area:

https:/…GolaDellInfernaccio

I reluctantly suggest that you skip this trip in October. It would be a very long drive from the airport, and rather distant from the other things you want to see. At these high altitudes, you might encounter bad weather, even snow, in October, and it wouldn't be fun driving there in bad weather. The roads are narrow and twisty. You should plan to return to the area in June or early July, when it's usually really splendid, and spend several weeks in the Sibillini National Park, which is partly in Umbria, but mostly in Le Marche.

Tokyo, Japan
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4. Re: Norcia's Piano Grande - worth squeezing in limited days?

Thank you to you both. I'll skip Piano Grande on this trip then and hope I can go in June some years from now.

Is it better to train from Rome Airport to Florence then hire a car from Florence/ Arezzo that we will drop off at Pisa Airport (car drop-off at different location doable?) or get the car from Rome Fiumicino then drive all the way to Anghiari. Any beautiful towns along the way that would make up for the wide plains of Piano Grande? We're into beautiful vistas/ quaint villages. Not so much into museums or churches. Grazie.

Le Marche, Italy
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5. Re: Norcia's Piano Grande - worth squeezing in limited days?

My own preference after a long flight would be to take the train to some place near my destination before renting the car. It's really up to you, though. Leaving the airport is fairly easy; it's near the ring road that bypasses Rome.

You might consider visiting the regional park of the Alpi Apuane in Tuscany. I've never been there, but I've heard it's a very beautiful area. It's part of the Appennine mountain chain, which is the same range of the Piano Grande. It would be about a 2-hour drive northeast of San Gimignano, and from there to Pisa would be about a 1-hour drive. One of the main towns in the Alpi Apuane area is Carrara, famous for its marble. Michelangelo preferred Carrara marble for his sculptures.

Tokyo, Japan
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6. Re: Norcia's Piano Grande - worth squeezing in limited days?

Thank you. We are both flying in from Europe to Fiumicino. This is a month-long trip that covers the Swiss Alps, Amalfi Coast, Matera, Santorini-Athens, and Prague. Hoping to see some unique Tuscan towns.

7. Re: Norcia's Piano Grande - worth squeezing in limited days?

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