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Driving in Italy in January

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We are planning a trip to Italy in January. We will arrive January 1 in Rome, and then go directly to an apartment outside of Sorrento. We've been told that we will want a car in Sorrento and Amalfi coast that time of year as there will be less traffic and less public transportation available. We are also staying outside town and up a steep hill - the owner of the apartment says that a car is advisable. Our itinerary thus far is below. Advice requested!

Jan 1: Arrive in Rome and drive rental car to apartment outside Sorrento. We think it will be nice to have a rental car that time of year for touring around. Yes?
Jan 7: Naples? Were hoping to spend one night there but not sure we want to drive here. Perhaps just stay another day in Sorrento and take ferry to Naples for a day trip? Or drive to Naples and drop off car at a rental location, then use public transportation to get into the city and then back to Rome next day?
Jan 8: Drive back to Rome, drop off car, and head to apartment in Rome for remainder of stay using public transportation

We have itinerary pretty well figured out, just have some concerns about transportation:
1. Is driving Amalfi coast road and between villages and towns while staying in Sorrento really as dangerous as some posters claim? We would like the convenience - and surely there will be less traffic in January.
2. Drive from Rome airport to Sorrento fairly basic?
3. What to do about Naples? We know it is difficult to drive there, but it seems logical to spend a night there in the middle between Rome and Sorrento apartments. I have left one day open just for this reason.

Last question: Reliable car rental company in Italy? Pickup at Rome airport and drop off in different location?
Thank you!!!

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