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Getting to Sorrento via Rome, Do I Use Planes, Trains, or Automobiles?

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Actually, we aren't renting a car, but I liked the title. Mrs. Peabody and I are planning our trip to Italy in May. We leave from JFK, we have to use Alitalia (ticket vouchers), and we have decided to go to Sorrento and Rome. Sorrento for decompression and as a nice base for Pompeii, Capri, Naples daytrip. Rome for the rest of the vacation. We have done plenty of travelling but do not speak Italian.

To get to Sorrento, it seems our options are to fly into Naples with a change in Rome and then either get transport to Sorrento from the airport or get to Naples and take the Circumvesuvio train. The airfare from NY is about the same as just going to Rome. The considerations I see are, first, the time needed for a transfer from international to local air, and second, the most efficient way from Naples airport to Sorrento. For instance, is there public transport or cost-efficient taxi or shuttle directly from the airport to Sorrento? Carry-on only packing seems beneficial, but there are the risks of forced gate checking of the carry-ons and of slow passport control on entry to the country, not to mention transatlantic flight delay. If this is the choice, what is the necessary stopover time at FCO?

The other alternative is to fly to Rome, then train to Sorrento via Naples. Can this be done in a way that would simplify the trip or would there be too many links in the chain if we have to get from FCO to Rome proper to trains to Naples, etc.

Considering fatigue from travel time and jet lag, we would like the simplest plan that has the minimum risk of starting a vacation on the wrong foot and without being required to foot a huge cost.

I realize these are rather specific pieces of information. I hope there is someone here with the knowledge to help.

Thanks!

AJ

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