COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Stay up to date with the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.   Learn More >

10-day Itinerary - please give feedback

Old Apr 16th, 2009, 07:13 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 113
10-day Itinerary - please give feedback

Hi. Please take a look and make any suggestion you think will help us. This is for two parents and two teenage daughters coming from the USA. Is it too much? Thanks for looking ;-)

Mon. May 25 Arrive in Rome- Florence Car Rental Drive to Tuscany – Explore countryside -Check in to B&B

Tues. May 26 Florence (sleep in)
Uffizi Museum/Domo
Leather Shops/ Fashion Outlet
Wed. May 27 Florence Accademia - Statue of David
Drive to see leaning tower of Pisa -back to Florence

Thur. May 28 Florence -Sorrento Drive to Sorrento – Touring Siena & Volturra on the way -Check in to Hotel

Fri. May 29 Sorrento Explore town and beach

Sat. May 30 Sorrento-Pompeii-Rome Drive to Rome – Tour Pompeii & Mt Vesuvius on the way -Check in – Apartment

Sun. May 31 Rome 9:00 AM Church - visit friends
2:00 PM Coliseum and Roman Forum
Trivia Fountain and Pantheon
Mon. June 1 Rome Service Project – Earthquake Victims

Tues. June 2 Rome St. Peters Square/Vatican/ Sistine Chapel/ Museum

Wed. June 3 USA Fly Home
PonyUp is offline  
Old Apr 16th, 2009, 07:55 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,740
Do I understand correctly that you are planning on arriving at the airport in Rome, getting a car there, and driving to a B&B in Florence?

If so, don't do it. From the airport in Rome, train to the main station in Rome and transfer to a train to Florence. Driving and parking in Florence are both very difficult.

As you intend to "explore countryside" I can see your desire for a car, but I absolutely don't recommend this.

Is your desire to explore directed to any particular area or towns? Do you have a time frame? Are you aware that most shops and attractions in Tuscan towns close for the greater part of the afternoon?

Does your B&B provide parking?

I see that you are from the US. After flying all night, then negotiating FCO, you want to pick up a car, and head out to one of the busiest highways in Italy. Then you want to get off that highway, do some unspecified exploring, and then get back on, get into Florence, where private vehicles are greatly discouraged, park, and then drive to Pisa and back into Florence two days later?

Please reconsider this plan.

From Florence Pisa you can also train. Driving out of Florence, then back in, will likely involve at least one traffic ticket. Unless you are quite familiar with which roads are accessible to private cars, I think you're making a mistake.

And then, from Florence you want to see both Siena and Volterra in one day, on your way to Sorrento. I don't think this is feasible, unless by seeing those places you mean driving by them. Pick one. Remember midday closings.

You can do all of this trip, except perhaps for Siena and Volterra, easily by train. Cheaper and more safely.

You will have to drop the car off in Rome, I guess. Again, a difficult proposition.

I suggest you simplify.

Arrive in Rome, and train to Florence. Relax.

Take a day to see Pisa by train.

You can also do a very easy bus trip to Siena from Florence. Getting an early start, you can do it in half a day.

You could rent a car in Siena and drive to Sorrento if you really want to do that driving. Or just train there from Florence.

In Sorrento, you could take the train to Pompeii, then to Naples where you will switch trains to Rome.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Old Apr 16th, 2009, 07:55 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 148
Forgive me, but why do you want to do so much tiring driving? It appears that your priorities are to see Florence, see Pompeii, and see Rome. All of this can be done by train. You can arrive in Rome and take the train to Florence (I did this). See the David at the Accademia that afternoon. Have dinner and sleep in the next day. See Florence. Sleep Florence. Take the train to Sorrento. Enjoy Sorrento. Sleep Sorrento. Visit Pompeii. Sleep Sorrento. Return by train to Rome. Spend the rest of the time in Rome.

If you really would like to see a bit of Tuscany, take the train from Florence to Siena or Orvieto, and spend a night there before going to Sorrento. (Siena can also be a day trip from Florence.) Or if Pompeii is an important sight for you, think about going to Naples instead of Sorrento, so that you can visit the important museum there and take the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii. Sorrento is nice but a major tourist site.

Also remember that Italy does not always accommodate tourists. When I visited, there was a (not uncommon) strike and all of the main sights were closed on one of my two main touring days. A bit of extra time in Rome cannot hurt and you could spend weeks there and still be discovering things.
axelrod6 is offline  
Old Apr 16th, 2009, 07:57 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,740
Oh, skip the Fashion Outlet. There are way too many things on your itinerary; the outlets are far and expensive. The exchange rate doesn't favor this. You will miss much too much of Florence already. And Florence is a shopper's paradise. No need to leave for a trip to distant outlets.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Old Apr 16th, 2009, 07:58 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 148
Should have said " Sorrento is NOT a major tourist site." Sorry Sorrento fans.
axelrod6 is offline  
Old Apr 16th, 2009, 08:18 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 113
Thanks for the feedback. I notice your are encouraging the trains. I had thought that with four people it would be cheaper to rent an car. Also, my daughters really want to see Volterra. Those of you who are "Twilight" fans will understand. This is a "must see" for them. Is this really a lot of driving? We're from the western US where we drive a lot.
PonyUp is offline  
Old Apr 16th, 2009, 08:37 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 33,424
Do a search for traffic tickets and you should find several threads about Florence. The tickets are quite expensive (as much as 100€). You aren't allowed to drive in the center and traffic cameras will snap your license plate. They track you throught the rental company.
kybourbon is online now  
Old Apr 16th, 2009, 09:09 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 113
BTW - our B&B is on the outskirts of Florence overlooking the city and it does provide parking. Does that make a difference?
PonyUp is offline  
Old Apr 16th, 2009, 09:26 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,150
It might be that renting a car is cheaper than taking a train for 4 people, but you'll have to price it out, and include your costs in gas and parking (parking the car in Florence will be expensive). I'm a driving-oriented sort of person, but even so, if I'm going from one no-car (as in, I don't need one while I'm there) city to another, we'll take the train instead.

I would seriously suggest that you cut down the number of destinations.

Use mappy.com to calculate some of your drive times. You're going all over the place. Some of the roads won't be the autostrade (highway) - the road to Volterra is not (mappy.com gives the drive time of your Florence - Sorrento day, including detours to Volterra and Siena, at 7 1/2 hours). I live in the western US, too, and am relatively accustomed to long drives, but on your VACATION, do you really want to spend 1/3 (or whatever it would work out to) of your total vacation hours driving in a car?

Your first day is pretty difficult. Driving from Rome to Tuscany while jet-lagged is not a good thing. If you must, and the non-drivers can stay awake to help keep the driver awake, then maybe you could drive to Orvieto, which technically is in Umbria, not Tuscany, but still gorgeous, and about as far south as you can get and still be in the Tuscany/Umbria area. That's about 1 1/2 hour drive. Once there, your group can walk around a bit. This is assuming that your plane arrives early in the day.

Your Sorrento to Rome day. A long time ago, we stayed in Sorrento, then drove to Pompeii to visit. Granted, I'm a big history buff, but we spent most of the day in Pompeii, so had no time to do anything other than drive to Rome after that. Personally, Pompeii (to me) was worth the effort. Another factor on this part of your route. Not safe to leave your car, with ALL of your luggage in it, parked outside Pompeii. We did it because we had to, but we were young and poor and didn't own much of value - but we would have been very sorry if our clothes had been stolen.
Lexma90 is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2009, 06:05 AM
  #10  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,631
Hi PU,
I strongly urge you to rethink this plan.

A: It is a 3-hr drive from FCO to Florence - mostly on the Autostrada. You want to do this in a jet-lagged condition?

B: Why drive from Florence to Pisa when the train takes 1 hr and cost <6E pp?

C: Drive to Sorrento – Touring Siena & Volturra on the way
It's about 5 hr from F to S. How much of Siena and Volterra do you expect to see?
Where will you park in Sorrento?

D: Drive to Rome – Tour Pompeii & Mt Vesuvius on the way -Check in – Apartment
You are going to drive IN rome?

E: You can get to Volterra from Florence by train via Pisa, but it is here that renting a car for the day might be a good idea.

ira is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2009, 08:13 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 113
Okay, I appreciate all your recommendations. So here's a revised version . Please continue to guide me through this.

1. Day 1 - Rent car and go to Orievto. Stay overnight. (our plane arrives at 12:30 pm at FCO)
2. Day 2 - Explore Tuscany with car - visiting Siena and Volterra on the way to Florence - check in to B&B on outskirts of Florence and park car.
3. Day 3 - Take bus into town to see "David" & Uffici Museum (forget Pisa)
4. Day 4 - Drive straight to Sorrento - Relax by the pool (Don't think I can change this hotel reservation - but am trying)
5. Day 5 - Explore Sorrento on foot
6. Day 6 - Drive to Pompeii and explore (Is there no safe place to park a car?) Continue on to Rome - return car rental at FCO and take train into historic center and apartment.
7. Day 7 - Church, colosseum, etc.
8. Day 8 - Service project
9. Day 9 - Vatican, museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's square
10. Day 10 - Take train to FCO - fly home.

Any better?
PonyUp is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2009, 08:25 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,740
Here is the deal: seasoned Italy travelers always tell people that it might not be a good idea to do this or that thing. Then the original questioners who asked for feedback usually say that they have great reasons for sticking to their itinerary as is.

You probably thought this out carefully and have good reasons for doing it all the way you planned; you just didn't tell us in your original post.

A question: how will you get in and out of Florence from your B&B on the outskirts? Driving isn't really an option.
Which outskirts?

On your long driving day, must you do Siena AND Volterra? Wouldn't one be better than both? Are you allowing for afternoon closings?

Where will you park in Sorrento?

Where will you drop the car in Rome?

About costs: I haven't found a reasonable rental rate in Italy in awhile. Having a car can be expensive. Having a car, having a driver speed, having the car confiscated, and having to pay huge fines on the spot, can be really expensive. I have totally rethought the way I travel in Italy after getting aquainted with the highway patrol last spring.

Point to point train tickets can be cheap. 24 euro for the train to and from Pisa, with no highway fees or parking expenses, doesn't sound bad. But it may be easy for you to drive from your place on the outskirts of Florence to Pisa and back. There is parking near the Campo di Miracoli in Pisa.

Anyway, the car could be great, but these are all things that need to be thought about and planned for. Buona Fortuna.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2009, 09:03 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,150
I think tuscanlifeedit didn't see your latest itinerary. That itinerary is better, and it sounds like you're locked in a bit on the hotels. But all of you need to keep in mind that you're moving around a bit more than some people like to.

On parking in Pompeii, it's been almost 20 years since I've been there, so things may be different. There's a good thread on the tripadvisor.com Pompeii forum about parking. Don't envision huge parking lots like outside Disney world. If it's like when we went, there are a series of small, privately-owned lots with confusing signs about how/where to pay.

On driving in Italy, yes it would be expensive to get a ticket there, but just like in the US, drive within the speed limit, with the flow of traffic, all that stuff. Sometimes it's difficult to tell what the speed limit is, but in my experience, that's on side roads, not the autostrada. I've never had any hestitation about driving in Italy (and I'm the driver, DH is the navigator). Caveat to that is, driving in Sorrento was a bit stressful; just be assertive.

On your way from Orvieto to Florence, you could fit in both Siena and Volterra. Be sure your kids REALLY feel Volterra is worth it - it's out of the way from your route. Most people would chose to visit San Gimignano over Volterra, and distance-wise, it makes more sense. If it was my kids, I would get the map out, point out Orvieto, Siena, Volterra and Florence, note the estimated drive times, and make sure you all still want to do that. Also, as my kids are anti-Twilight kids, I don't know what the connection with Volterra is - will your kids just get there, say "yup, I've seen it," or want to spend some time? It's a nice city, somewhat austere, but has a good Etruscan museum and remains of a Roman theater just outside the city walls.

One problem with your itinerary, that I don't think you can change, is that you're spending more time in Sorrento than it's worth, especially since you're spending not much time in cities that have much more to offer (i.e. Florence). Maybe others more familiar with Sorrento will chime in, and point out there's lots to see (and it is beautiful). Or maybe you can visit Pompeii on the full day that your staying in Sorrento - then your luggage will be in your hotel, not in your trunk (though that adds to total drive time).

Oh, last comment about the rental car. Make sure that it's big enough to hold everyone's luggage, but get the smallest size possible. It's easier to drive a (relatively) smaller car on the the narrower Italian roads.
Lexma90 is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2009, 09:19 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,228
For your new itinerary, when you arrive in Sorrento I would turn in the car and use the train to visit Pompeii and return to Rome.
ellenem is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2009, 10:34 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 113
If we turned in our car in Sorrento and took the train to visit Pompeii, where would we put our luggage? Are there lockers somewhere?
PonyUp is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2009, 01:03 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,228
There is luggage storage at the entrance to Pompeii Scavi, where the Circumvesuviana train stops.
ellenem is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2009, 01:04 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,228
There is SECURE luggage storage at the entrance to Pompeii Scavi, where the Circumvesuviana train stops.
ellenem is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2009, 01:48 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 113
In that case wouldn't it be more economical to drive there and store our luggage at the storage place - since we already have the car. Then drive on to Rome and return the car. I must be missing something. I just don't understand why taking the car is such a bad thing.
PonyUp is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2009, 02:37 PM
  #19  
cw
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,648
PonyUp,

I recommend that on your day 5, instead of hanging around Sorrento, get up early and go to Pompeii by train. It's quick, not expensive, and leaves you right near the entrance. Explore Pompeii and upon your return to Sorrento you can shop, walk around, have dinner, etc. You can always drive if you want but sometimes the traffic back-up into Sorrento can be about an hour to go just a few miles.

There are lots of people just strolling about in Sorrento at night so it's fun to get a gelato and sit and people watch.

You can also do some more exploring (or sitting by the pool) the next morning and then drive up to FCO and return the car. You then won't have to concern yourself with luggage.
cw is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2009, 07:37 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 33,424
Why pay for a car in Sorrento when you don't need it? Dump the car as soon as you get to Sorrento. The train between Sorrento and Pompeii is only about 2€ and about another 2€ Pompeii to Naples.

Day 4 - Dump car after arriving Sorrento because parking (and driving) in Sorrento is a hassle and can be expensive. Pool. Dinner in Sorrento and exploring Sorrento (you don't need a full day to explore). The main street is pedestrian only at night and a section of town below the main street is also. A car would be a hindrance.
Day 5 - Pompeii by train OR Amalfi/Positano by bus/ferry OR Capri by ferry.
Day 6 - Pompeii by train if you didn't do it day 5. The luggage storage is at the entrance to the ruins, not the train station, which is just across the road. Train to Naples and on to Rome.
kybourbon is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO