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Planning for Italy 2012, focus on Rome & Amalfi Coast...suggestions?

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The travelers: 40's and active

Travel experience: France/Paris the past few years; like apartments but OK with hotels; we don't usually use many hotel services
she-visited Italy before (Milan, Venice, Lake Garda, Rimini) he-never been

Language: non parlo Italiano

Time: Absolutely not August; late September/early October-would like to avoid massive crowds

Where: I have dreamed of the Amalfi Coast for years, Rome...open to other suggestions that make sense

What we enjoy: food and wine....we love Prosecco, Parmesan and Prosciutto; places we can explore on our own; prefer to go on our own vs groups or guides

Logistics: we will need help there...most likely fly in or out of Rome; maybe into Rome and out of Naples...we are spoiled by living in Atlanta and rarely have to make connections; neither of us drives a stick shift (uh-oh) and we have never driven outside of the US

So, where are your favorite cities in the AC? Where would you stay?
Best way to get from Naples to AC (or vice versa)? Best way to get from Rome to Naples (or vice versa)?
Where to stay in Rome? I know nothing about Rome (in Paris, we love the 6th or Ile St Louis). We don't want to be in the party central part of town, nightlife not important, great restaurants are important. Hotel or apartment?

Will worry about restaurants, sites to see, great shopping a bit later. Your ideas are appreciated. I have always gotten great advice from Fodorites regarding France, so I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Italy (I feel like I am cheating on the France Fodorites)!

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