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Home Base in Umbria Suggestions

We will be doing 2 weeks in September, flying into Venice and out of Rome. Just 2 of us, no kids. Our first trip to Italy.

Day 1 - Fly to Venice
Days 2 - 5 Venice
Days 5 - 9 Florence
Days 9 - 13 ???
Days 13 - 14 Rome
Day 15 - Fly home from Rome

We are looking for suggestions as a good home-base in-between Florence and Rome. We are hoping to do spend a day in different small towns in Umbria each day (days 9 - 12). That list is yet to be determined (Assisi, Bevagna, Foligno, Gubbio, Montefalco & Spello have been suggested) but will depend on where we set up camp and available transportation. We are very much foodies and into wine, art, culture and architecture. We have little interest in the big "tourist" type focal points and want to take our time. We will be traveling light by train and bus (no car).

We have been leaning towards using Spoleto as our home-base due to its medium size, bus and rail access, but I am very interested in hearing others suggestions. I know this is subjective but where did you all spend the most time in Umbria and what places did you enjoy the most?

I appreciate any input you all might have.

Posted by
50 posts

Can't help with selecting a base, but will suggest making Spello a definite visit. We were there eight/nine days to wind down our month-long trip. We returned home a week ago. It's an easy walk (10 minutes for me) from the old town to the train station and the back streets/alleys are as pretty as all the photos suggest.

Posted by
77 posts

Perugia is lovely. I'll admit I only visited on a day trip, but I've always wanted to go back and spend more time. It's bigger than the above mentioned towns, but still feels quite small compared to the other cities on your list. We were based in the area around Umbertide at the time.

Posted by
1765 posts

I've been to Assisi, Foligno, Gubbio, Spello, Perugia and Spoleto. I vote for Spello.

Posted by
1855 posts

We chose to spend several nights in Perugia as I had read it was a hub for transportation in the region. We visited Spoleto, Assisi, and Gubbio easily on different day trips. The Tourist Information office was helpful in selecting the best transport ( bus or train ) to each location. A hotel near a minimetro stop in Perugia made it easy to access the bus or train. Safe travels

Posted by
87 posts

I stay in Orvieto--easy to walk around and has a wonderful 3 mile walking loop at base. Great food & wine too, Lots of hotels and apartments.

Posted by
254 posts

Another vote for Perugia. You can easily day trip to Assisi, Gubbio, Todi, Spello, etc.

Posted by
10054 posts

We spent 5 nights in Spello 10 years ago as I was drawn to its charm. The train station is a 20 minute walk from the center, but I think there is a bus, and at the time we visited one taxi! Loved the atmosphere, food, and the people. At the time we visited there was little English spoken although that may have changed as it seems to be throughout Italy the past few years. Gave me a chance to try out my novice Italian. We used Spello as a base to see Perugia, Spello, and Assisi.

Posted by
96 posts

Perugia seems a nice town. More a base than a destination. I think they have a small airport if that appeals to you as well. All of the smaller towns you mention are worth a trip. Assisi was our highlight.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all for your input. For those that stayed in Perugia, did you spend much time in Perugia or just use it as a convenient locale to get to other destinations? I am hoping the place we stay for those few days has a lot of character and some evening value when we return from our day trips. Spello seems wonderful, but I worry that 4 nights there might make it seem too small. Does anyone have any thoughts on Foligno? It seems a bit of a travel hub in the area as well, smaller than Perugia.

Posted by
848 posts

Last November–December we stayed in Umbria for almost 5 weeks. Four nights in Orvieto (no car, no day trips, we last stayed there more than 20 years ago and found it just as great now, several wonderful restaurants), then Perugia for 9 nights (no car until last couple nights, lots of day trips by train). We enjoyed Perugia despite having bad colds (tested negative for covid but who knows?) the entire time and despite the art gallery's being closed (which was one major reason we planned to stay there so long. Several good places to eat and also interesting neighborhoods. Trains were easy, parking was free and OK but it was most of the way down the hill behind our apartment.

Then we stayed in Gubbio for 6 nights and loved it next best to Orvieto. Lovely town that seems less tourist-oriented than Spello, several really good restaurants, the birdcage lift to the top of the hill was very cool, parking was super easy and close to our apartment. We did a few day trips and, while it's not really close to the other towns people go to visit, it wasn't at all bad.

Then 6 nights in Spoleto, which we originally chose for its location and practicality, but it turned out to be the surprise fun and interesting place to stay of the trip. The churches, the aqueduct, the general lively atmosphere, the restaurants, plus our apartment had its own parking space a few yards from the front door. We always stay in the historic center of a town or city and inside the ZTL but right on the edge of it.

The rest of the time we stayed in Norcia and Narni, both of which we enjoyed a lot but neither would be a really convenient town to stay in or do day trips from for most people.

So, yes, Spoleto is probably your best bet.

Posted by
1855 posts

We stayed in Perugia, and the reply describing it as perhaps more of a base than a destination sounds about right. It was nice enough but for whatever reason we didn’t do much sightseeing there. I really don’t know why to this day, unless we were scurrying around to the other towns we visited. It was also toward the end of a month long trip in Italy..maybe we were less frantic to find every possible sight. It is the home of the Universitá per Stranieri..the University for Foreigners. There were lots of American students, it was graduation time, and there was a festive air about town. As retired teachers we enjoyed the company of these students and had a great time engaging with them and their experiences. The transportation was the draw that took us to Perugia. Others prefer small towns or villages but that isn’t our cup of cappuccino for the reasons you may have alluded to. We stayed at the Hotel Sant’Ercolano in the medieval historic area. Quite modest but friendly staff, a pleasant little breakfast and a balcony looking across to Assisi. And steps away from the Pincetto minimetro stop. Perugia and its hotels and restaurants etc. are up there; the train and bus are way down there. The minimetro was a great perk.

Posted by
7703 posts

We spent two weeks in Spello and can’t wait to return. We loved walking up and down it’s charming streets every day. For it’s size , Spello has many excellent restaurants. And little coffee shops. Amazing views across the valley to Assisi. It is an excellent base from which to visit other towns in Umbria.We visited Todi, Perugia, Bevagna, Montefalco, Norcia , Castiglione del Lago, Lake Trasimeno, and more. were not enchanted with Spoleto.