Untours Cafe



Join our discussion on Umbria, a spectacular region dubbed 'Italy's Heart'.

Website: http://www.untours.com/umbria
Members: 28
Latest Activity: Nov 29, 2012

Discussion Forum

Cooking classes in Umbria

Started by Jim Greene Nov 29, 2012.

Driving in Umbria 4 Replies

Started by Nancy Bickham. Last reply by A. Key Oct 20, 2009.

Comment Wall

Comment by Philip Allin on May 18, 2008 at 4:50pm
We spent two weeks in Umbria with a granddaughter in 2003. It was delightful! While visiting Todi I met a young craftman who did classic wood inlays (intarzia). We later collaborated on a piece combining his inlay talents with my woodcarving: Escher's "Reptiles." He did the flat part while I carved the lizards that rise out of the design on the desktop.
We have many fond memories of that time in Umbria.
Comment by Tim on June 22, 2008 at 5:05pm
Hoping to some day be able to say we've been to Umbria and Tuscany, experiencing life as it is lived there.
Comment by Laurel Brown on June 23, 2008 at 8:49am
My husband and I will be visitng Umbria this fall, for two weeks, staying a week in Castliglion Fosco and another in Todi. Can anyone tell me about their experiences visitng Narni, as well as Monti Sibbillini?
Comment by Ron Anderson on June 25, 2008 at 10:07pm
We found the Monti Sibillini to be a beautiful and wonderful place. We had no idea, I confess, that we would encounter snow-capped 8000+ foot peaks in the heart of Italy. Great scenery and lots of wildlife (a group of wild boar with many little ones in tow crossed the road right in front of us!). It is a bit of a hike from Todi (2-3 hours drive) but worth it. I would especially recommend the drive up the Nera river valley (Valerina, or Vallo di Nero) on the SS209 which has an amazing collection of hill towns, worth detouring into if you have time. The Marmora falls (Cascata delle Marmore) near Terni is an interesting geological and engineering wonder (they are litterally turned off and on according to schedule by large hydraulic valves). Fairly nearby, just to the north, is a nice family-style hotel restaurant, very popular with the locals, the Hotel-Ristorante Rossi in Casteldialgo (near Arrone), where we had a wonderful and inexpensive lunch. We very much liked the towns of Norcia and even moreso the little town of Castelluccio which is at the base of the biggest of the Sibillini, Monte Vettore. Another high point was the Abbey of St. Eutizio in Piedevalle, which we discovered is headed up by a priest from Detroit! Right next to the abbey is a wonderful little restaurant, the Ristorante Bianco Fiore, a great place for lunch and if you are inclined a great starting (or finishing) point for a nice hike up on the hills on part of a long hiking trail that goes all the way to Norcia (a very long trek).

We did not make it to Narni, it was on our list but we didn't have time (next time!) but fairly close to Todi I would recommend the little hill town of Cesi, San Gemini, and the Roman ruins at Carsulae. Orvieto is a must, of course. Closer to Castiglion Fosco is the interesting hill town of Panicale. I would certainly also recommend Bagnoregio Civita, just south of Orvieto, probably one of the most unique hill towns accessible only by a long bridge over a gorge. I could go on. We loved Umbria.
Comment by AndreaSz on July 11, 2008 at 10:37am
We are in the final days of The Spoleto Festival of performing arts. The Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds) is part of the lifeblood of Spoleto. This renowned arts festival draws performers and audience members from around the world. And even in non-festival times, it informs the character of this beautiful medieval hill town, giving it a cosmopolitan air.

The festival is currently going on, but this year is not without controversy, as Italy's cultural minister took control of the festival from the hands of Francis Menotti, son of the of the festival's founder, the late Gian Carlo Menotti. Some speculate the festival may lose a little of its edge, but many are hopeful that it will be run more effectively in the end, and that it will recover some of the prestige it has lost recently.

Here's a NYTimes article about it.

And the new website for the Festival.

You'll see the old site is still controlled by Francis Menotti!

Two worlds indeed!
Comment by Ann Marie L. Gombus on July 18, 2008 at 12:09pm
I'm headed to Umbria, Spoleto, on September 2nd for 2 weeks with Untours. This is my first trip out of the USA. Pictures and descriptions of the Umbria area, cities and sites are breath taking. I am looking forward to all the new experiences ahead of me. I've been reading and incorporating the useful tips other Untour travelers have given here at the Cafe' and look forward to a fun filled trip. One question I have is about phone service. Can I use a cell phone? Do I need a special phone/service? I haven't checked with my service, yet, to see if I'm covered. Should I do that first?
Comment by AndreaSz on July 23, 2008 at 10:50am
Ciao! Nice to see you in the cafe. It looks like no one has answered your question. Your US cell phone probably will work for Italy, but with a very high per-minute rate to call home and to place "local" calls in Umbria. Check with your service provider for coverage and rates; it could be a good option for emergencies but not for regular communication while you are traveling.

Your apartment has a land line, so your friends and family here in the US can reach you on it and you can use it to call home or locally.

If you wanted, you could buy a low-cost cell phone in Italy. Low end models run about 60 euro, plus a SIM card (10-20 euro) which gives you a phone number in Italy and pre-paid credit. That's a costly option but good if you plan to return to Europe, because you can purchase SIM cards for other countries in Europe and use the phone again.
Comment by Clyde Bollinger on July 25, 2008 at 10:56pm
Cell phone service in Italy operates on the GSM 900/1800 frequencies. T-Mobile and ATT are the two primary USA providers using GSM. Generally speaking, you can expect to "roam" at an increased per minute cost in Italy with either of these services. There are others but not as well known. An unlocked GSM quad-band cell phone can be purchased on eBay and a local SIM can be purchased in Italy. This will give you "local" phone service just the same as your neighbors will have. A good place to start for info. is www.telestial.com.
Comment by Elaine on July 26, 2008 at 12:12am
I recently returned from a 3 week trip to Europe which included a two-week stay in the Umbrian region of Italy. I was amazed at the beauty of the Umbrian countryside with the poppies in bloom. We stayed on an organic farm that produced olive oil, wine, spelt, and lentils. Our host and hostess were wonderful. Learning to drive in the countryside was an adventure, but I would do it again in a minute. My favorite hilltowns were Trevi and Civita di Bagnoregio. We painted in five different hilltowns on five consecutive days. Then we were on our own. We did a day trip to Florence and spent a day and night in Rome. It was a grand adventure with wonderful memories to last a lifetime.
Comment by Elaine on July 26, 2008 at 12:18am
With regards to the cell phone question--I used my AT&T (Cingular) phone to calll the states with no problem and good service in Umbria. The cost was $.99 per minute with the international plan that I added before I left the states. The cost was $4.95 per month. Call your cell phone provider for details. Be sure to ask how to make the phone call--ex: what prefix nos. to add before dialing your home no. Good luck!


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