Hi All, I'm in full blown analysis paralysis and need to split 7 nights between Tuscany and Umbria - can't determine which region deserves the 1 extra day.
My husband and I have been to Italy before (and driven) but he hasn't been to Siena and really wants to go. We also really want to see Assisi and more of Umbria.
We've pretty much decided on Assisi and Siena as our 'bases' but I cannot determine which area to spend 3 nights in and which to spend 4 nights in.
We will rent a car in Orvieto and make our way up to Lucca. After leaving Orvieto we want to see Civita di Bagnoregio, Todi & Trevi on our way to base #1 (Assisi).
Our must sees in each area are:
Umbria - Assisi (entire day), Spello & surrounding area, drive up to Urbino & San Marino if time allows
Tuscany - Siena, Montepulciano, Pienza, San Quirico and then see Volterra on our way to Lucca.
All assistance and insights are greatly appreciated! Thank you!
I would spend a night in Perugia, it's close to Assisi and is a vibrant hilltop city with jazz and chocolate festivals, stunning streets and views as well as artworks by the Renaissance artist Perugino and his pupil Raphael.
I can't tell you which is the more scenic, more interesting, or most photographed, but my partner and I just spent three weeks in Tuscany [late Sept. - mid Oct.]. We drove everywhere, and then when we had a week or so in one spot, we took the trains. I'm not much of a museum/basilica person, so my focus was more food, wine, people and the lay of the land.
A highlight for me was Montalcino, a small hilltop village that's been around for over a 1,000 yrs, together with a small Enoteca/Osteria called Osticcio. This is the heart of Brunello wine country in Italy. The food was simple, the wine was fabulous, and the view out over the valley to the east was splendid at Osticcio.
I would suggest that you consider adding an additional 20-25% time allotted for driving. Your interests appear to be spread wide between Orvietto and Lucca for only 7 days.
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Montalcino is worth a look. Although it's unbelievably busy and touristy, visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa is worth considering too. Visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds and book your place if you want to climb it!
Civita di Bagnoregiois breathtaking. Get there early morning if you can, and you may be able to see the fog surrounding "The Dying City" and burning away as the sun rises. You'll also beat the busses. If you're going to Pisa, you may want to hit Livorno as well. Beautiful and way less touristy. Orvieto deserves at least half a day. Be sure to spend time at the cathedral (or take a formal tour) analyzing the frescoes surrounding the doors (the interior is stunning as well). Orvieto is fun to explore. Lots of hidden alleys with really cool mom and pop shops. We had a memorable lunch at a small cafe in an alley that had no more than four tables... So charming. If you're really adventurous, look into a thermal hot spring or "bagno" to hit on your trip. There are many to explore there. We had Spello on our itinerary, but couldn't fit it in... But I've heard nothing but amazing things. Enjoy your trip!
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