Read what other Viator.com travelers think about the Assisi and Cortona Day Trip from Siena. What they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved, it's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.
Apparently on the day of this trip the Pope was visiting Assisi, so the city was closed and we couldn't get in, of which I was informed a day in advance (they said we would visit a different twon instead). Then on the day itself after we visited Cortona and had some free time there, we drove to Assisi. It seemed that our guide and driver had no idea how to get into town, but they tried hard, and eventually we parked outside Assisi and took a shuttle and visited Basilica of San Francesco. We even ended up seeing the Pope as he was transferred from one church to another :-) Under the cirsumstances - I think that this tour went very well, so I give it 4 stars out of 5. I don't know how the tour goes under normal circumstances.
I truly enjoyed this day. The guides were very good and I learned a lot. I had been ready for this, having read a little about both places, knowing some history and the layout of the towns. The connection from Siena worked well.
This tour was WAY too rushed and could have done with a lot more attention. First Cortona. We got there at 9:30 and set loose on our own to explore. No map, no orientation, and absolutely no reference to the choice of paying for a local guide as described in Viator's summary of the tour. We were there for just over an hour which was basically enough to have a quick coffee and walk around aimlessly. Assisi was better. We had some free time there for lunch and to wander unattended. The free time would have been better after the guided tour, so that we had some kind of idea about what we wanted to do with our free time. Our driver for the day said it was set up this way because Santa Chaira is closed until 2pm. So 2 we had a guided walking tour ending in 25 minutes to tour the Basillica of San Francesco. 25 minutes, seriously? Three levels of floor to ceiling masterpiece paintings, a huge complex and San Francesco's tomb in 25 minutes? Again this was WAY too rushed. Perugia was a third a final stop on the tour. Why did we do this? It is not even mentioned in viator's description of the day. Again we were set loose for an hour, pointed in the direction of the main square. I and others on the tour thought that it would have been much better to spend the extra time in Assisi. Our driver was a nice person. Overall the day had too much frustration over being rushed. I recommend to readers that if any of these towns are of interest to you as a day trip, do a maximum of two in one day and do it on your own. You could easily spend a full day in Assisi alone. That may be true for Cortona and Perugia too, but I didn't see enough to say for sure.
I was never advised that I would be the only person being picked up in Siena and that the tour originated in Florence. A wonderful young man picked me up in Siena and brought me to a meeting place outside town where I joined the rest of the group. That part was fine. The rest of the day went downhill. We got virtually no narrative between Siena and Cortona (maybe 5 minutes at the most, two times). We got to Cortona and were dropped at a church at the highest point. After a few minutes there we walked down a very steep hill with the "guide" (no narration) to the center of town where we were dropped again and told to meet in the center in 40 minutes. We were given no history or narrative. Prior to the tour we were never advised to wear good walking shoes or to be aware of the physical strain that the visit might entail. One older woman was having a tough time of it. Many women were wearing sandals. We were never told where we might find a public bathroom. Basically, we weren't told anything. On the road to Assisi again we had maybe 5 minutes of narrative at the most. In Assisi a local female guide joined us and she was very professional, friendly and knowledgeable. Even though this was supposed to be a tour in English, everything also had to be repeated in Spanish all day. That didn't matter much with our tour escort as he didn't say that much. However, for the guide in Assisi it was more of a challenge. I'm sure it cut back on the amount of information we received and it had to be far more difficult for her. On the way back, I was advised that the bus was going to drop off the group in Florence first, then me. I was told it wouldn't take any more time. That was an out and out lie and it caused huge problems for me upon my return to Siena. I later spoke with two others on the tour who were even more angry than I because they, too, were not told about this diversion to Florence on the return. Give this one a miss.
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