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Città della Pieve area


10+ Posts
Unfortunately works limits amount of vacation I can take so want to make the most of what travel time I do have. A 3 week break this year will take me to London for a couple of days, Scotland (back home visiting with friends and family) for a week, villa in citta della pieve with 10 friends for birthday celebrations and then a week on my own travelling around italy.

I know from experience when booking the villa that it's virtually impossible to get timely feedback and decisions from 10 people so as a lover of research, I'm putting together various itineraries and people can choose to do as much or as little as they wish. I don't think anyone realises how much there is to see in Italy and without some research and planning, you see very little. So here's some questions I'm looking for answers to:

Scottish friend is thinking of renting small car for her and couple of others but wary about driving on other side of road and assumes she'll get automatic car to make it easier but isn't aware of how much more expensive that can be. My sister who's driven in canada for years drives same side of road as italy s that's not an issue, however, hasn't driven standard for 20 years so, again, not sure if not automatic how comfortable she would be with it.

if choosing not to rent cars, how feasible is it to use public transport. I am also looking into private van/driver but initial enquiries has prices coming back for vans up to 8 people so would require two if all are participating in particular day(s). For areas an hour or so away, is cab viable/cost effective assuming split 4 ways, when comparing to car rental cost.

Pecorino festival in Pienza is day after we arrive so contemplating that. Depending on vehicle option for getting around, might be feasible to include pit stop somewhere early on in the day before heading there.

Possibly a day in rome and in Florence and assume easiest option is to take train from Chiusi in both instances.

Greve in Chianti Wine Festival - definitely looking at a van/driver for this day so everyone can enjoy the wines.

Thermal baths/spa - definitely on to do list for some and whether that's incorporated with another excursion or is an excurions on its' own as half day with the other part of day enjoying the villa, not sure.

Seems so much to do in the area with so little time. I'm sure there's other things in the area to contemplate that I just haven't discovered yet, but this is the initial thoughts of things that should definitely be an option. Just glad I have an extra week after this.

Thanks in advance for any input and I'm total open to any thoughts/suggestions you have on the itinerary, area etc that aren't necessarily specific to the questions above.


1000+ Posts
I'll probably have very little to add, but my first thought was: have you selected a place to stay? Very often the people who run the villa can answer some of these questions, and could make arrangements for transport. Since I've never organized a group, maybe more experienced travelers will have more/better suggestions. Good luck!


10+ Posts
I'll probably have very little to add, but my first thought was: have you selected a place to stay? Very often the people who run the villa can answer some of these questions, and could make arrangements for transport. Since I've never organized a group, maybe more experienced travelers will have more/better suggestions. Good luck!

Yes,we have the villa booked and have been in touch with owner who is helpful. He can provide pricing for van/driver for up to 8 people and more than that 2 vehicles required which he can arrange. I have him pricing out the greve in chianti trip and also transfers from pisa airport.

I'm interested as well though in feedback from those that may have been in the area as tourists, not locals, assuming what might seem a relatively easy option for someone who drives the roads daily or who speaks the language and uses public transport regularly, might not be such an easy option for someone with no knowledge of it.

P.s. Took quick look at your blog and look forward to reading through it.


100+ Posts
Ciao Fmax!

I think your trip sounds wonderful! I really enjoy Citta della Pieve and it's environs! I first went to Citta della Pieve because of my love for Pietro Vannucci, known as Perugino. Do you know his work? This is his birth place. We were staying in Montepulciano and taking day trips from there. We had a car, as we have always had in this area of Umbria/Tuscany. The plus is you can meander anywhere and everywhere, stopping where you wish, without having to deal with erratic bus schedules & circuitous out of the way routes.

I've never gotten behind the wheel on these travels, as my husband, my brother and various friends preferred to be in control... but, I must say, I (and the drivers) did not find driving in this region difficult ~ now Bari and Naples are an entirely different story:eek:

My only concern with your itinerary is most of the destinations you mention are in Tuscany and you'll be staying in Umbria ~ of course, very close to the Tuscan border, but... and on a hill top with a winding road to descend each day trip out... without a car....Hmmm... The A1 is not far (for those driving) and Chiusi is close for train connections.

Also ten people can get interesting. We were 7 friends staying at La Foce one Spring, with two cars. We managed quite well, following each other over the gorgeous landscape of the Val d'Orcia. By the way, I would recommend a garden tour at La Foce, for those interested in Italian gardens...

You may find some of Bill Thayer's comments about Citta della Pieve interesting. Click on his diary entry, and you'll see that he was taking buses through this area.

Have fun!

Edited to add, after seeing your latest comment: "...might not be such an easy option for someone with no knowledge of it."

The few times I have had to rely on public transportation (bus connection from Chiusi to Montepulciano & back, to then catch the train to Roma) it has been a bit crazy. Lack of language skills & difficulty reading buss & train schedules makes for unexpected adventures and a waste of your precious vacation time. The only positive is... you'll have a good story to tell about your misadventures;)
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I know I am a local (so I probably don't qualify :) ) but I have 10 years experience in hearing traveler stories. Encourage your party to rent 2-3 cars with a GPS. It's guarantee that with such a large group there will be days when someone wants to go out and someone wants to hang around the pool, and the ladies want to go to one or another outlet shopping while the guys want to just go somewhere and have a beer. A bit of independence is key to happiness I'd say!


Forums Admin
We always rent an automatic but it is more expensive. I am not comfortable driving a stick shift. It is worth the extra money for piece of mind. The driving can be intense in Italy, but you get used to it.

I have a few more comments and will post tomorrow. I am tapping this reply on my ipad.


10+ Posts
Heidi, thanks for taking the time to comment. I hadn't heard of Perugino until starting researching the trip. I'll definitely have to check out info on La Foce as I'm sure there's some that would be interested but I hadn't come across it in my research. And I'll check out Bill Thayer's blog.

Madonna, I'll take all the advice I can get. Yes, one of the party was thinking to have a car for flexibility and convenience and its whether we can talk another person to drive whether cars are the route we'll go. I have to check out your blog and the places in Umbria you've posted as I haven't gotten around to doing much research yet. florence and rome were a given to put out as option as most haven't been there, although I have. Pecorino cheese festival is a thought only because its a local event and if easy to get to might be an easy first full day in Italy, for myself, I don't eat cheese unless it's cooked!! I know, that's strange. And Greve in Chianti, well you can never go wrong with a wine festival on your itinerary :)


1000+ Posts
Fmax, from your location you're really better suited to touring southern Tuscany rather than Umbria. Yes, there are a few notable exceptions - Orvieto isn't far, nor Castigleone del Lago, but I'm wondering about the drive time to cities that I'd recommend like Assisi, Spello, Trevi, Montefalco, Bevagna, Deruta if you like ceramics, and of course the ever popular (to everyone but me!), Todi. If seeing Umbria is your focus I'd recommend staying in a more central Umbrian location - I'm basically recommending Pauline's 'concentric circle theory of vacations', which hopefully she will explain! If you don't have specific cities in Umbria, then I'd stay somewhere more centrally located to what you DO want to see.

BTW, when will you be there? We're not too far away for 3 weeks in June/July ;)


100+ Posts
Hi Fmax, have you given any thought to an itinerary more focused on Umbria? It is such a fantastic region with so many wonderful places to visit, brilliant wines and olive oils, fewer tourists and less traffic. Barb posted a great list just above, mentioning such great Umbrian cities such as Montefalco (for its wine) of course Assisi and Spello, Spoleto and Gubbio…..such beauty!

I am also a Canadian although I live in Rome now, and spend a lot of time in Umbria - I am headed there this weekend!

Letizia (Alla Madonna del Piatto) has lots of great advice and offers a brilliant cooking class, if that interests your group. I would recommend renting a few cars for your group, and I don't think you'll find the driving too difficult, especially if you stay out of urban centres. Happy planning!

My blog about life in Italy
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10+ Posts
artnbarb, the villa is booked so whatever we do will be from the citta della pieve location. My friends are not planners and basically anything I put forward as ideas they'll pretty much say yes to. The idea is everyone can do as little or as much as they want but I want them to get the concept that with only a week it needs some preplanning to ensure you get to see what you want to see. 3 out of the 10 are staying an extra week in italy (a totally other logistic to plan) and 3 of us have seen florence and rome before so that definitely isn't something everyone will do. I'm using triporama to co-ordinate all the info and it has a "poll" section that I can use to get an idea of interest on any particular itinerary.

Sandra, I'll check out more of Letizia (thanks for that I couldn't find a name on quickly reviewing her blog) and your blog


10+ Posts
Multi-tasking, I lost the page before I finished my note.

Will be there 2nd week of September. I will have a busy week or so before this so I'm happy to enjoy the food and wines of italy and have a more leisurely time as I know I will make it back to italy in the future. My friends are not so much travellers so I want them to have, if they wish, to experience as much as they can, or want to, in a week. I'm thinking of staying a night or two in florence to start my second week as I believe there's a lantern festival on then that sounds interesting to see.


100+ Posts
Hi Fmax, I don't have a lot of experience in Tuscany or Umbria, but my mother and I spent 2 weeks in a Cetona in August 2011. Cetona is in southern Tuscany, and quite close to Citta-della-Pieve - in fact, looking out my bedroom window, I could look see C-d-P in the distance!

We rented a car and I did all the driving. It was my first time driving in Italy. I enjoyed it immensely, to be honest, but there were certainly times when my good driving skills were required. Mind you, I drove stick, and a couple times had a heck of time starting up steep hills from a stopped position, kept stalling (I'm used to steep hills in Halifax, but not quite this steep!) But you wouldn't have that problem with an automatic. I'd personally recommend having a car to explore this part of Italy.

We didn't venture all that far really...just meandered around. We stayed within the area roughly bounded by Orvieto, Montalcino, Cortona, Perugia (we never actually made it into Perugia, it was just to the edge of where we explored.) I wrote a blog entry of the day we spent in Citta-della-Pieve, it might be of interest to you. And if you open August 2011 in the Blog Archive on the right side of the page - you'll see a list of entries, many of which are about this area. Might give you some ideas.

This is a gorgeous area! I would love to return and spend more time, I feel like I barely scratched the surface on that first trip. Look forward to hearing about your travels!


Forums Admin
We spent two weeks in Cetona in the mid-90s. It is a lovely town. We have only been to Citta della Pieve once, to see the Perugino fresco. We have stayed a few other times in southern Tuscany. There is a lot to see an do in the area.

Anne gave a good boundary for reasonable day trips. You don't want to spend all your time driving. My "Concentric Circles" theory is that you base yourself in one spot for a week and spend most of your days exploring places with a one hour drive. This works well in Italy because there is so much to see. The next time you visit, stay in a different location. The area in southern Tuscany that runs from Montalcino to Pienza to Montepulciano is incredible and you will want to spend a day or two there. Is it possible to have a wine tasting outing there, instead of going all the way up to Greve?

I would not do day trips to Rome and Florence. There is so much to see close by and a lot of time is "wasted" getting to these cities. But if some of your group really want to do this, then put them on the train at Chiusi. But try to convince them to instead visit Siena, Orvieto or Perugia for that bigger city experience. If they have not booked their flights, they could fly into Rome and spend a few nights before going up to the villa.

We did a day trip into Florence from Cetona and the traffic on the autostrada was very slow as we got to Florence, so the train would be a better option.

Use Google Maps or other mapping software to figure out your driving times, so you have a good idea of what is possible.

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