Subject: Re: From Rome airport to Sienna by car
Hi Judy, Lisa has written that the drive from Rome to Siena is not a problem, however if your friends are arriving in Rome from North America they will be jet lagged and will have at least two hours from time of arrival until they get their car rental organized. There is a lot of walking in Da Vinci Airport. Driving directly to Siena may be too taxing and a bad idea.

We have done this same trip many times from Toronto to Roma and have finally settled on Spoleto for our first night in Italy. It's a lovely town and about a 90 minute drive from Rome if you know the way (we always get lost, take a wrong turn, etc.). Orvieto and Assisi are too far for North American travellers to drive to after an overnight flight.

Our experience, after having done this many times, is to ask the rental car agent the best exit off the ring road (you can often find yourself driving around Rome many times) to the northboound autopista, destination Milano. It's actually quite easy to manouevre if you follow instructions.

Spoleto is often overlooked because it isn't quaint but the town is very friendly and I would recommend the Hotel Gattapone. It's a bit expensive ($300 Canadian dollars) but what an experience. They will come home raving about it for reasons they will have to tell you when they come back. It is a very, very special place. Spoleto also has wonderful food shops for cinghiali (wild boar) and pecorino (sheep's milk cheese) - a fine introduction to Italian food. Here's a site for you

http://www.annesitaly.com/Tours/spoleto.html

I have checked and can't find a website for the hotel itself - just come up with the usual Italy hotel sites. Will continue to look on your behalf, because this is a hotel well worth staying in. Other Ziners may have more luck.

Orvieto is a great place to station yourself on day 2 or 3. Assisi takes some getting used to, although I have always enjoyed it. Siena is, to my thinking, way too touristy and big if you've spent any tine in Tuscany or Umbria but it all depends on what you are looking for in a holiday. Last year we spent three weeks in Tuscany and Umbria and found Siena jarring - traffic, people, noise, etc. But we had rented a country house 30 miles from Orvieto and became accustomed to cows, dogs and hayfields. That was heaven.

Lucy- chacun a son gout - in Toronto