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Winter in Umbria

Winter in Umbria

Old Nov 13th 2019, 8:22 pm
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Default Winter in Umbria

Following some advice on here (thanks to those who replied) I'm coming over to Umbria in December to get an idea of what it's like at that time of year before I commit to a longer period. Although I know it well at other times I have never been in the winter itself. My question is, where would be a good place to stay that will give me some restaurants that will be open at that time of year and some local life? I am concerned by some opinions online that places such as Bevagna, Spello and Montefalco etc might be desolate. However that's very subjective and depends if you like crowds of people. To me the fact that there won't be loads of tourists is a good thing. I also want to eat where the local do and get a real feel of what it might be like if I come over and rent on a more permanent basis. I stayed in Bettona in the summer and have been to all the above and the usual suspects of Spoleto, Todi, San Terenziano, Fratta Todina, Orvieto and many in between. As those in the know...have you suggestions as to where to stay so that I get access to some local life (local shop, restaurant, bakers) but experience the reality of winter in mid December. Thank you!
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Old Nov 13th 2019, 8:59 pm
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Default Re: Winter in Umbria

There is the Umbria winter jazz festival at Orvieto at the end of December. From Orvieto you can always hop on a train to Rome or Florence. Otherwise Perugia is the best bet.
https://www.umbriatourism.it/it_IT/-/natale-umbria

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Old Nov 13th 2019, 10:34 pm
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Default Re: Winter in Umbria

It might be best to stay in the sort of place that you want to live. We were in Orvieto yesterday and it's always livelier than some of the other similar sized towns. Always plenty of restaurants open etc and when the jazz festival is on it's busier than normal, but not too crowded. New Year's Eve in the cathedral piazza is a fun and authentic Italian experience if you are planning on staying that long...BUT I wouldn't want to live there. I wanted to be somewhere smaller. Likewise Perugia is great, and I like the Xmas market there, but too big for my tastes. Each to his or her own of course.

I don't think the smaller towns are that bad. They're quiet and peaceful yes, but not totally abandoned like the places on the coast where nobody really lives all year round. You should still be able to find bars and restaurants and shops that are open...maybe not all of them but enough.
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Old Nov 14th 2019, 8:23 am
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I was thinking about someone relying on public transport. A dark, cold and rainy week in Bevagna might put you off Umbria for life.
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Old Nov 14th 2019, 8:38 am
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Default Re: Winter in Umbria

Originally Posted by philat98 View Post
I was thinking about someone relying on public transport. A dark, cold and rainy week in Bevagna might put you off Umbria for life.
Ah, yes, you have a point. Didn't think about that.

Actually on this topic of how quiet it can be, it can be a bit depressing (personally I think November can be the quietest). After a couple of years of being here in winter we've decided that in future we will join the exodus and head of somewhere south (Sicily, Puglia, Greece, etc) for a long'ish break every winter.
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Old Nov 14th 2019, 2:38 pm
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Default Re: Winter in Umbria

Maybe Castiglione del Lago. Within 30 or so miles you have a circle of interesting visits. Arrezzo, Cortona, Perugia, Chiusi, Pienza. Siena 50 miles and on main train line Rome - Florence.
Micro-climate around the lake avoiding the rain, snow and cold of the mountains.
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Old Nov 16th 2019, 6:26 pm
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Default Re: Winter in Umbria

Thanks for your advice. Orvieto is interesting and I’ve been there in summer but must admit I prefer smaller places. Essentially was hoping for smaller town with a cafe, somewhere to buy produce or go to a market and hopefully a restaurant or two. Will travel in a car to other places. Assuming car hire is a good idea that time of year! I appreciate the weather might be depressing etc but then I’d be leaving the Uk so I already know depressing quite well!...and at least it’d have all the benefits of Italy. Thanks for advice. Any ideas as to a good Xmas market. Perugia I know of but is there a smaller one worth going to?
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Old Nov 16th 2019, 6:38 pm
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Have you been to Narni and Amelia? They have markets at the weekend. Otricoli is quite interesting too.
There is a big market at Campello sul Clitunno on the first sunday of the month.
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Old Nov 17th 2019, 2:50 pm
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Default Re: Winter in Umbria

Originally Posted by travelling hopefully View Post
Thanks for your advice. Orvieto is interesting and I’ve been there in summer but must admit I prefer smaller places. Essentially was hoping for smaller town with a cafe, somewhere to buy produce or go to a market and hopefully a restaurant or two. Will travel in a car to other places. Assuming car hire is a good idea that time of year! I appreciate the weather might be depressing etc but then I’d be leaving the Uk so I already know depressing quite well!...and at least it’d have all the benefits of Italy. Thanks for advice. Any ideas as to a good Xmas market. Perugia I know of but is there a smaller one worth going to?
If I were you I'd try Chiusi. Lars Porsenna of Clusium / By the nine gods he swore / That the great house of Tarquin / Should suffer wrong no more. It's in Tuscany, actually, but only just, and there are lots of small Umbrian towns in each reach. What's more the people are super-friendly, there's at least one excellent restaurant (which gets mostly local people), and there's a market. Not sure wha day. Also an excellent small museum, good communications (rail, bus, road), and it isn't dominated by the tourist industry like Orvieto. For how shall man die better / Than facing fearful odds / For the ashes of his fathers / And the temples of his gods ?

P.S, Bevagna and Montefalco are both depressing in winter. So's Spello, but less so - it's only a few miles from Foligno. And so's Spoleto. (I haven't been to Spoleto during the festival, but I imagine it's full of the sort of people I don't want to meet.) I know Bettona, but only in the summer, when it's lovely. It's very small, and in winter I'm afraid it might be a bit dead. Perugia's definitely OK - friendly people, plenty of life (of all sorts - not just students), an outstanding archaeological museum and art gallery, very good food, etc, but it may be too big for you. Better just to go there occasionally, if you need something.
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Old Nov 17th 2019, 4:35 pm
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Default Re: Winter in Umbria

Originally Posted by Sancho View Post
If I were you I'd try Chiusi. Lars Porsenna of Clusium / By the nine gods he swore / That the great house of Tarquin / Should suffer wrong no more. It's in Tuscany, actually, but only just, and there are lots of small Umbrian towns in each reach. What's more the people are super-friendly, there's at least one excellent restaurant (which gets mostly local people), and there's a market. Not sure wha day. Also an excellent small museum, good communications (rail, bus, road), and it isn't dominated by the tourist industry like Orvieto. For how shall man die better / Than facing fearful odds / For the ashes of his fathers / And the temples of his gods ?
A visit to the archaeological museum including the Etruscan tombs followed by lunch at the La Solita Zuppa would make for a very good morning.
Orvieto still has some character. I always go to a jazz concert on New Years Eve. The trip up from the station in the furnicular is enjoyable and there is a friendly atmosphere in the town.

Last edited by philat98; Nov 17th 2019 at 5:17 pm.
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Old Nov 19th 2019, 10:42 pm
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Default Re: Winter in Umbria

Thanks for all the Ideas. Wondering if the bad weather may cause it all to be postponed. Hope not. However seeing some footage of floods and landslides etc all over Italy are there any in the Lazio and Umbria Region that I ought to worry about? Am getting the train from Rome and then from Perugia to Florence to fly back to UK..and driving around Perugia for a few days...at least that was the plan! Are you all coping ok?
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Old Nov 20th 2019, 4:41 pm
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I wouldn't worry about flooding in Umbria. After a rainy November we must be due some sunny weather in December.
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Old Jan 26th 2020, 10:22 pm
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Default Re: Winter in Umbria

Just to follow up...I did visit in December. Drove from Rome to Spello and then took the train to Florence and back to the UK from there. It was only for just over a week but the weather was glorious apart from a couple of days. I visited Orvieto which was mega quiet (this was before Winter Jazz though), as was Bevagna. However I loved the area even in Winter and found Spello suited me more than even I thought it would (stayed in an apartment). It was very quiet but this suits me fine. In fact all the hill towns I went to seemed to take on a quieter more reflective mode, with only locals for company. Bliss. I should add that I am a country girl who lives the quiet life, so if you want lively then maybe this wouldn't suit everyone. So... to anyone else who might think of going then to see if it's for them, do. I loved it so much with the valley mists and superb watery light, I'm now planning my return before the good weather starts again. Thanks to all for their advise.
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Old Jan 27th 2020, 3:57 pm
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You were lucky with the weather. Usually November is dry (when they harvest olives) and December wet but it was the reverse last year. We sometimes get a bit of snow in January but not this year.
Anyone interested in painting landscapes would like Umbria.
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Old Jan 28th 2020, 3:49 pm
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There is this absolutely beautiful, quaint and stupendous view from the little village of Montecchio in the hills near Orvieto. You can catch a bus in The Piazza del Duomo in Orvieto to Montecchio and this bus ride is one of the most fantastic forest and hill view rides you can get of the Umbrian terrain and beauty.

There is a large bar in the center of Montecchio, a small veg market and food shop and as I said the country walks and the stunning view is well worth the trip. It is full of classic italian authentics. Well, in 2012 it was.
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