We visited Rome, Tuscany and Venice this May. Absolutely loved it all. Would like to return next year and visit Umbria and Abruzzo. We are looking for suggestions for town to visit in both areas. In Abruzzo, we would rather be near the Adriatic than the mountains.
I would definitely visit Orvieto in Umbria. It's a great town. There are some interesting things to do there (vist St. Patrick's Well, the underground tour & climb to the top of the Torre del Moro). When the sun hits the facade of the Duomo it's absolutely spectacular.
There are good reasons that Orvieto and Assisi are both such popular destinations in Umbria. Here are a few from our trip to Orvieto this past May and here are a few from our trip to Assisi in 2008. I highly recommend both places.
I twitter follow the Life In In Abruzzo blog which is a good source http://www.lifeinabruzzo.com/
Assisi is most definitely worth a full day and overnight, perhaps 2 nights and a full day. IMHO, it should be a must-see on any trip through Umbria. Deruta is great for custom ceramics if you're into that sort of thing (viewing or buying). They have an ancient kiln still in use. The town itself is charming as well.
Another vote for Assisi. Charming town, amazing fresco cycle in the main church, very moving lower church and tomb of St Francis.
Thanks for all of our responses. Still looking for info on Abruzzo.