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Six of us traveling around Umbria: Public transport or car??

Boston, MA
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Six of us traveling around Umbria: Public transport or car??

* In May 2012, I am traveling to Umbria with 5 friends. We range in age from 40-65 years old. We do not want to rent a car, and would prefer to stay in the center of a town that has the best access to public transportation (The towns we are considering are Perugia, Assisi or Spoletto).

* I have spent at least 20 hours researching on Trip Advisor, but I am not having much luck finding the answers to my specific questions. I'm hoping that some of you can offer sage advice for our group.

* My questions are:

1) Would it be better to rent a villa, or a large apartment, in one particular town that has very good access to public transportation, and use this as our base? If so, which town do you recommend?

2) Is it better to stay inside the walled town, or just outside the walled town?

3) How accessible, and close to your recommended town, is their train/bus station? Is it close enough to walk to?

4) If we use one town as our base, would it be better to: 1) Use trains and buses to travel to and from the various towns we want to visit each day, 2) Hire a driver with a van to take us around, or 3) Take a tour on a bus to some of the surrounding small villages? We are thinking that using public transportation will be cheaper, and less problematic than renting a car, but our group is not in complete agreement about this. We want to spend our money wisely. But, we will only be in Umbria for one week and many of us in the group want to avoid very long train rides each way, each day, when we travel to and from the different towns that we visit.

5) Instead of using one town as our base, would it be better to choose 3 or 4 different towns, and stay 1-2 nights at each town, so we only spend only a few hours traveling via public transportation every other day?

6) In your experience traveling around Umbria, would it be better for us to rent our own car to drive to the various small towns and villages? In comparison to the price of train and bus tickets, and paying for day bus tours, would this end up being the more affordable option? Or, if it were more expensive to rent a car, would it save us time traveling to and from the little towns of Umbria?

7) How reliable are the train and buss schedules? And, can you offer examples of how long would it take to travel between certain towns?

* Any advice that you can offer would be greatly appreciated, as it will help us to decide what would be best for our group for our upcoming vacation. We all traveled so well together in May 2010, when we visited the Amalfi coast. On that trip we stayed in Sant Agata di dui Golfi, in the hills above Sorrento. And from that town, relying on public transportation each day to take us to and from the various towns of the Amafi coast was very easy, affordable, time efficient, and enjoyable.

* Thank you all in advance for your advice.

Sincerely,

Karen

Montreal
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1. Re: Six of us traveling around Umbria: Public transport or car??

1. Perugia, for best connections.

2. Inside the walled town, for better atmosphere, sightseeing, dining.

3. There are escalators, elevators and a MiniMetro as well as buses to get from the lower town to the upper town.

4. Use buses and trains. "Very long train rides"? Perugia to Assisi is about 20 minutes, to Spello about 30 minutes.

5. Not in my opinion.

6. Buses and trains are inexpensive; escorted day tours are expensive, but I don't think you need them.

7. In my experience, very reliable. You can go to http://www.umbriamobilita.it/it and look up times: Servizi extraurbani for buses, Servizi ferroviari for trains.

If you got around from Sant'Agata sui Due Golfi, you can get around from Perugia.

Edited: 14 August 2011, 19:58
GAC
Los Angeles, CA
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2. Re: Six of us traveling around Umbria: Public transport or car??

From Perugia, you can get to just about anywhere in Umbria by bus or train. The one place which would be a bit of a pain (as a daytrip) would be Orvieto (which is in the far southwest). You could even get as far as Narni or Amelia (although these would be a very long daytrip).

If you use the Umbriamobilita website, you should be able to program more than a week's worth of daytrips out of Perugia. If you stay in central Perugia, you would be within walking or mini-metro distance to both the bus depot and the two train stations (Trenitalia and Ferrovie Centrali Umbre).

Boston, MA
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3. Re: Six of us traveling around Umbria: Public transport or car??

Thank you both so much for your advice. I am feeling more positive about relying on public transportation now, and more positive about Perugia..

I've not had much success finding a large apartment for rent in the center of Perugia yet. We needs 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. But, don't want to spend more then $3,000. Do you have any recommendations on apartments w/in the city, or websites that list these? Or, do you think it would be better for us to stay at a B&B w/in Perugia? If we rent an apartment, it needs to be w/in walking distance from public transportation.

This is giving me hope. Where there's a will, there's a way.... I do believe!

Thank you!!

Karen

Umbria, Italy
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for Sunshine Coast, Umbria
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4. Re: Six of us traveling around Umbria: Public transport or car??

I would not consider trapsing around Umbria without a vehicle. It is not a problematic area to park as even outside the walls it is only a short journey to almost all centres.

The good trips to all areas can be planned daily as weather and Sangiovese sickness suit ?

Boston, MA
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5. Re: Six of us traveling around Umbria: Public transport or car??

What's Sangiovese sickness? Is that another name for a hangover from drinking too much good Italian wine? ;-)

Umbria, Italy
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for Sunshine Coast, Umbria
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6. Re: Six of us traveling around Umbria: Public transport or car??

somewhat simular ........ the previous nites excesses is the hard work of touristimo-ing which requires fortitude. The term non-agrotourism should be feted about this style of travel as the narcolepsy precludes early rising on the de-stressed.

The Umbrian malaise is a caused by the Montefalcon Tsetse Fly an early onset psychosis that lurks upon the unwary setting unmanageable timetables .........invariably delaying an early start to touring

Dublin, Ireland
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7. Re: Six of us traveling around Umbria: Public transport or car??

Hi,

Thrilled for you looking forward to your trip in may 2012. This year we went to Taormina in Sicily and had a lovely time. We wanted to go to Positano June 2012 but its too expensive. I looked at your post saying that you stayed in Sant Agata di dui Golfi and you were able to travel from there every day around Sorrento , it sounds a dream, any chance I could look at your plan. Sorry about jumping in on your plans but Positano is so expensive. Just a chance. Thanks a mil. x

Wollongong
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8. Re: Six of us traveling around Umbria: Public transport or car??

Hi Karen,

my husband and i spent 3 months in italy in 2009 and the highlight was the 2 weeks we stayed in Spello. We rented an apartment which worked out wonderfully. It was situated in the 'centro storico'. We found Spello a fascinating town; beautiful, cobbled windy streets with beautiful hills behind the town. It's often passed by as Assisi is only 8kms up the road. You can walk to Assisi along a quiet farm road, 'La strada tra le ulivi' i think. Spello has a train station at the edge of the town and trains go every hour, approx. We never had any problems with the trains.We had to buy the tickets at the tabac near the station as the ticket machine was broken then. We just loved Spello. We visited Assisi, Perugia, Lago di Trasimeno, Spoleto, foligno (more industrial) but the transport hub. We also took a train to Ancona for the day for a swim! In fact, transport was quite easy and we had wonderful trips out most days. I loved Spello in the evening, never tiring of those medieval streets. But in the morning there's alovely cafe with a garden to sit and be mesmerised over the valley. In fact the umbrian valley is just lovely; it arcs around and you can see the towns at the base of the hills.

We had friends who stayed only a couple of days who had a car. They raced around and were gone. We savour the slow approach to travel and enjoyed all our interactions through public transport.

Have a great trip.

Koorianda

boston
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9. Re: Six of us traveling around Umbria: Public transport or car??

Time for me to add my two cents: Stay in Perugia for the above reasons.

the hotel DOMUS MINERVAE is very inexpensive but charming and well located just 1/2 block from the escalators up to the old town (at the top there is still at 3 block walk up hill) or down to the mini-metro. The mini metro goes UP from the Cupra stop to the very top of the city at one end of the long main street, or DOWN to within one block of the train station.

From Perugia you can get either a bus or train to Assisi, Bevagna, Spello,

Foligno. A bus to GUBBIO is a must!, and also to URBINO.

HOWEVER, I just returned from a three week trip to Umbria and the Marche and for two of those weeks my friend and I rented a car (a Ford Focus) I had NO trouble whatsoever getting up to the wall of most of these towns.

( many times you cant bring a car into the old part of town). If you go in May you will miss most tourist traffic.

After 3 days in spoleto, we took the train to Perugia andI rented the car (Hertz) right next to the train station. Getting out of Perugia was the hardest part of the trip. (IT took 15 minutes). The country side is spectacular, and being able to stop to take pictures, or to

have a little roadside picnic was wonderful. ON the map I had, even the big fat -looking lines turned out to be just 2-lane roads many times. With the car we went to Bevagna for 3 nights and from there took day trips to Montefalco, Deruta, Foligno, and Spello.....no problems!. We then drove through the Sibillini National Park to Casteluccio (be forwarned....there was not a wildflower in sight on May 21st), across to San Benedetto del Tronto,

Senigalia, Urbino, Gubbio, and back to Perugia where we stayed the last 3 nights. From there, after the car was returned we took a day trip to Assisi.

I must tell you I am 64, and I rented a Manual transmission because it was LOTS cheaper, but I only gave up driving a stick shift here at home about 10 years ago, so it was no big deal. The hills can be real steep, but there is little traffic, so it wasn't nerve wracking. I will admit to "spinning out" a couple of times on a steep gravel driveway. Didn't do the GPS thing, At my age a Map is a much simpler tool. I hope you and your gang will thing about the advantages to renting a car: no time table, go to small villages,

start and stop when you want, etc.. My best to you, I would love to tell you more about our trip and maybe send you some other info about what we saw and where we stayed. If you DO get a car, I would suggest you stay in a small town instead of Perugia.

Edited: 23 August 2011, 01:58
London
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10. Re: Six of us traveling around Umbria: Public transport or car??

looking to stay in Perugia next year . Do you have details of the apartment you stayed in