2 Week Italy Honeymoon Itinerary Review

May 17th, 2013, 03:28 PM
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2 Week Italy Honeymoon Itinerary Review

2 Week Italy Honeymoon Itinerary Review

Hello All!

I just made a first draft itinerary and I would love some feedback from other experienced travelers. Insight from folks with experience in a Tuscany/Rome/Amalfi Coast route is especially welcome

Some may think we have too little time in Rome. The thing is, our desired accommodation in Praiano only rents on a Saturday to Saturday basis and Tuscany is my priority over Rome so the squeeze got put on Rome. Our travel plans are for August 30 thru September 13 2014.

08/30: Arrive in Siena mid afternoon – explore Siena on Foot (will have landed in Rome that morning & taken bus from there)

Day one: Day trip to Florence via bus from Siena

Day two: "Taste of Tuscany" food & wine tour

Day three: Rent car & tour hill towns

Day four: Transfer Siena to Rome via bus – explore Rome on foot

Day five: Long day of guided tours of as many of the major sights as we can fit in

Day six: Take Rome food tour, check out Trastevere (as it is a short walk from our hotel)

Day seven: Transfer Rome to Praiano using public transport to Sorrento then private driver to Praiano)

Day eight thru thirteen: Relax & Indulge ourselves in Praiano (will use the local & SITA buses to visit other towns on coast, take a boat tour, maybe hit capri, and maybe do a trip to Pompeii)

Day fourteen – Transfer Praiano to either Sorrento or Rome for overnight airport stay

09/13 – Depart Rome, USA bound

Now having written this out, I wonder if I should add one day to Tuscany and transfer to Rome on Day Five, since I need an airport stay overnight on 09/12. We could leave Praiano early on the 12th in order to squeeze in another half day and full night in Rome on the tail end?

Is going thru Sorrento the best way to transfer from Rome to Praiano? I have no desire to spend any time in Sorrento, it would only be included for logistics. Also, would that be a good time to mix in Pompeii? I've also read about Pompeii via Salerno, which we could do on one of our several days based in Praiano - I assume SITA will get us from Praiano to Salerno easily? Or water taxi?

Too, is there anything in particular I should know about visiting these places during the end of august/first half of September? I understand it could be HOT, but is there anything else?

Finally, does anyone know what my chances are of catching the Ravello music festival between 09/07 & 09/11? I would die to go to an evening concert on the Villa Rufolo terrace!

Thank you so much!
yehyehgirldetroit is offline  
May 17th, 2013, 04:18 PM
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I've stayed at the Airport Hilton at Fiumicino twice for early morning departures. It's not how I'd want to end my honeymoon.
bon_voyage is offline  
May 17th, 2013, 04:39 PM
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Do you just magically appear in Siena on 8/30 or do you fly into Rome first? Can you fly home from Naples?
bobthenavigator is offline  
May 17th, 2013, 04:56 PM
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If you're flying out of Rome, you need to be in Rome the night before. But no need to be at the Rome airport.

Likewise, if you change your tickets to fly out of Naples, you need to be in Naples the night before your flight.

Sorrento Is NOT the place to spend the night before your flight home.
Mimar is offline  
May 17th, 2013, 06:10 PM
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Thank you for the replies.

I should have been more specific, by "airport stay" I didn't mean Flumicino. Agreed, not a desirable way to end a honeymoon @bon_voyage & @Mimar. I just meant Rome proper, close enough vincinity to airport because Praiano is is not a reasonable commute to make a same day flight out of Rome.

@bobthenavigator & @Mimar, flying out of Naples is a possibility. However, from my (limited) experience the flight from Naples to Detroit likely requires 2 stops. And I have left the amalfi coast for Naples airport EARLY in the morning before & it was a bit like someone yanking you out of paradise using cold, steel instruments only to deposit you in Detroit (I love Detroit but It could not be more different than the Amalfi Coast). Since I would rather stay closer to the airport the night before I would opt for Rome. I'm not opposed to Naples, I'm interested to see it someday, but not as a mere stop over. There's also a money factor as multi-city flights generally cost more. Though the land travel might add up to the same cost? The bus tickets could be expensive, I have not researched ground transfer at all.

Also @ bobthenavigator, we fly to Rome first, then get on a bus to Siena as soon as possible. Again, there's the option to fly into Florence but when I compared air travel stops with land transfers, it seemed logical to just choose the land transfers - thinking we skip an extra run thru customs, possible lengthy layovers, less chance for lost luggage & we'll at least be immersing ourselves in our country of destination, even if it's on a bus. But - that was my logic, and maybe I'm totally off.

So, given further explanation - can I improve on this?
yehyehgirldetroit is offline  
May 17th, 2013, 06:11 PM
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And, thanks again for your time & you feedback.
yehyehgirldetroit is offline  
May 17th, 2013, 06:19 PM
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yeh, I myself prefer just one connection from the US to Italy, so I understand your choice to not opt for flying through Florence or Naples. They don't work with Detroit very well, do they?

I'm not sure that Salerno is the better choice for Pompeii. I tend to think it's not, but there are others here that know more than I.

In my experience, Pompeii is best reached from Naples or Sorrento and I might suggest going to Pompeii on your way to Praiano. More later, my dinner is here.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
May 17th, 2013, 07:45 PM
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Yes, I would train as far as Sorrento and then hire a driver to your location in Praiano. The SITA bus routine is not easy--often crowded and people pushing. Do not miss Ravello
Here are some pics to get you excited:

bobthenavigator is offline  
May 17th, 2013, 10:42 PM
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First thing you need to know is that you are arriving in Italy at one of the busiest times of year for public transportation, because it is the end of the Italian holiday season, when people need to start heading back home. To the greatest extent possible, book in advance what you can, most especially that bus trip from FCO to Siena.

Also, have you checked to see if you can rent a car for just one day out of Siena? In summer, it is often a 3-day minimum rental.

Will the Palio be going in Siena at that time?

You also might consider this heretical thought: Take Florence out of your Tuscany itinerary and add a day to Rome so in case you really, really want to do a day trip to Florence, you can do it late in your trip, not the second day of your trip.


Just skip Rome. Focus on enjoying Tuscany. One long day of sightseeing and a food tour might not be as nice for you as a 3 day car rental in the wine country. If you really, really really want to see something in Rome, make the effort your last day in Praiano to be up and out early, and have a glamorous day in Rome before collapsing to sleep at midnight. You can sleep on the plane on the way home. It's a daytime flight.
stevewith is offline  
May 17th, 2013, 11:32 PM
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We had a month in Italy last year and hired a car which made getting around much easier.
Why not spend a few days in Rome then get a rental at Ciampina airport and head south to Praiano. We stayed at the Pensione Pelligrino in Praiano which has stunning views from your private terrace and the food on the terrace restaurant is great. Also there is onsite car parking.
Then with the car it will be a lot easier exploring Tuscany
duddite is offline  
May 18th, 2013, 08:02 AM
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If Rome is your departure city, I would put the entire Rome stay at the end together instead of random days in the middle.

In season, Marozzi runs a bus from Rome Tiburtina (where you also catch the bus to Siena) to Praiano, no changes although the times might not work for you.

There are a lot of places that don't require a week rental. I think I would drop a bit of time on the coast as your Tuscany/Rome parts are really rushed (you really didn't allow time to even visit Siena except arrival day where you will have come off an overnight flight and long bus ride - you will be too tired). Praiano isn't the easiest town for transport either since it will require a bus to get anywhere and doesn't have other options.

You might also consider starting the trip in Praiano, then Tuscany and end in Rome.

Since this trip is so far off, I would look at flying into Naples, Pisa, Florence and Rome. You might avoid some backtracking and the expense isn't much different by the time you factor what additional buses/trains cost.

>>I've also read about Pompeii via Salerno, which we could do on one of our several days based in Praiano - I assume SITA will get us from Praiano to Salerno easily? Or water taxi?<<<

I think your logistics view of getting around this area from Praiano by public transport is a bit skewed. To get from Praiano to Salerno you would have to catch a Sita bus to Amalfi (30 minutes?), catch another Sita bus to Salerno (about an hour), catch a train to Pompei. There is a bit of gap in train service between Salerno/Pompei from about 9 until 11 so if you don't arrive in time, you will be hanging out in the Salerno train station a couple of hours. This Pompei station is not the one on the local commuter line between Naples/Sorrento which is right next to the entrance of the ruins. This station is about a mile away from a smaller entrance (doesn't have all the amenities of the other entrance) so you would need to walk or taxi from the train station. This entrance is also a distance from many things you might want to visit inside Pompeii (Pompeii is huge).
kybourbon is online now  
May 18th, 2013, 09:41 AM
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Wow, thank you everyone for all the input, it's very kind to share your time & expertise!

Stevewith, I would love to skip Rome on this trip but Rome & Pompeii are my fiance's only requirements. Thanks for the head's up on how busy the buses/trains will be. I had thought that the bulk of this return travel would be over by the last couple days of August but it doesn't sound like it. Still though, the flight schedules are pretty bad, I did look into them & it's of no use flying into Florence. We will just have to suck it up on the crammed buses/trains & book in advance! I also didn't know about a 3 day minimum car rental which is very helpful to know. What a great incentive tool for convincing fiancé to spend more time in Tuscany! Why do you advise against a day trip to Florence on the first day of waking up in Italy? Is it just too busy of a thing to do on day 1 & we should do something more leisurely while getting our bearings? Is it because of the busy bus system at that time of year? Some other reason?

Tuscanlifeedit, thanks for confirming my thought of hitting Pompeii during the transit day from Rome to Praiano. And no, Florence & Naples don't work at all with Detroit! Btw, I read your Pais trip report & wow! And it made me ask my fiancé this morning, "how about we do 7 nights Paris & 7 nights Praiano?". He doesn't think it's a good idea...though my powers of persuasion aren't too bad. I am dying to see Tuscany though.

Duddite, we do not wish to drive in any major cities or on the amalfi coast. We will only drive in Tuscany, and use public transit or a private driver the rest of the time. But thanks for your explanation, I admire your courage in driving the coast!

Taking all of your tips & suggestions into account I tweaked the itinerary a bit:

8/30: Arrive Siena mid afternoon, explore Siena on foot

Day 1: Day trip to Florence via bus from Siena (to be confirmed)

Day 2: Tuscany Food & Wine tour (have read good things about http://www.winetourintuscany.com/). Also pick up rental car on this day.

Day 3: Explore hill towns in rental car

Day 4: Explore hill towns in rental car

Day 5: Return rental car & transit to Rome via public transit. Explore Rome on foot.

Day 6: Tours of all the sights on fiance's list (Colliseum & Vatican top his list). Maybe check out Travestere if time allows.

Day 7: Transfer Rome to Sorrento by train/bus. Meet private driver to take us to Pompeii then on to Praiano.

Day 8 thru 13: Praiano & coastal exploring

Day 14: Early transit from Praiano to Rome. See any sights missed on first stop (through hopefully there aren't any & we can have a more leisurely & indulgent last day) Have a glorious last meal in Italy.

09/13: Depart Rome for Detroit

Is going through Sorrento the best way to get to Praiano from Rome & include a stop in Pompeii? What about going thru Naples? Rome-Sorrento-Pompeii-Praiano vs. Rome-Naples-Pompeii-Praino? Sorrento & Naples just being transit hubs, not destinations.

With the revised itinerary I will need advice in what to do, where to stay & where to eat in Rome our last night in Italy. Someplace special & sweet. In this scenario I'm treating the last stop in Rome as a dedicated vacation day & not just a place convenient for catching a flight. Our flight out of Rome on the 13th departs at 12:50 pm, so we can really do it up the day/night before without torturing ourselves too much.

What do you all think of this version of the itinerary? I feel better about it but want to improve on it if possible.

Thanks again!
yehyehgirldetroit is offline  
May 18th, 2013, 10:13 AM
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Kybourbon, Saving Rome entirely for the end sounds great to me, however it doesn't work with the Saturday to Saturday rental terms with our chosen Villa in Praino.

I wasn't sure how long the travel between Praiano & Salerno took (I've never been further down the coast than maiori before) but I don't think my concept of travel on the coast is skewed in general. We don't have very big aspirations for travel or sight seeing while we're there. We will be cooking some meals at home, and there are plenty of restaurants in Praiano for the days/nights we eat out. A local bus will get us to Positano in 15 minutes, we'd like to go to Arienzo beach, and maybe have dinner at La Spanda. And we might like to visit Minori. We will probably book one water excursion in advance & the rest we will play by ear & do what we feel. This is the real "honeymoon" part of the trip. Who knows, we might not leave the villa except to get supplies.

That Marozzi direct bus is a great tip, thank you! I did not think such a thing existed, that is super good to know.

Doing the trip in reverse is a possibility, it still works with our villa rental in Praiano. And maybe it's better for the busy end of holiday transit that Stevewith noted, it seems like we'd be going the opposite direction of those folks?

Also, as for only seeing Siena on arrival night - we will also have a couple hours in the following days to wander there before or after our other excursions, I just didn't include that in text. I also am not ruling out skipping Florence if that would be best, and it's seeming like it might be.

I am so appreciative for all of you, I did not expect this kind of feedback.

yehyehgirldetroit is offline  
May 18th, 2013, 10:27 AM
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No. The main Palio is always July 2.
StCirq is online now  
May 18th, 2013, 10:30 AM
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Oh, we'd also like to visit Villa Rufolo while staying in Praino. A water excursion & Villa Rufolo are the only real "must do's" while on the coast.
yehyehgirldetroit is offline  
May 18th, 2013, 03:11 PM
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There are two major horse races run every year in Siena, one in July and one in August, and both events are equally crowded. People planning August travel to Siena should look up the precise dates and what surrounds the events.


Yes, regarding Florence your second day, I think you might be much too jet-lagged, tired from travel and wedding and hot to enjoy a visit to Florence.

I honestly think you need to work it out with your fiance about the importance of experience Pompei, the Colosseum and the Vatican on this trip. As your itinerary is now, it will be a real nuisance to try to get from Praiano to Pompei for a day trip -- so much so that it is easy to imagine it turning into an argument. Likewise, one day of trying to rush through everything he wants to see in Rome so you get your wish of a final day in Rome that isn't about finishing up what he wanted to see sounds like possibly ending on a note of disappointment or irritation.

I'm probably not the only one curious to see a link to this villa in Praiano that is making you completely contort your honeymoon so you can fit the landlord's desire not to show up at the place more than once a week. That entire area is so filled with beautiful villas, dozens of which have flexible rental policies, unless both you and your fiance have both set your hearts on this villa and no other villa, I suggest being open to other suggestions.
stevewith is offline  
May 18th, 2013, 04:47 PM
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Hi Stevewith,

I realized that we can depart Detroit one day earlier than planned, which adds one day to the overall trip.

I did look up the date for the dates for horse races by the way - one is in July and the other is August 16th, so we should be clear of all related events.

Since we are not planning to go from Praiano to Pompeii for a day trip we don't have to worry about any arguments there...I'm not sure where that came from?

This is what we've settled on:

08/29 Arrive Siena mid afternoon
08/30 Explore Sienna
08/31 Tuscan Food/Wine Tour
09/01 Explore Hill towns
09/02 Explore Hill towns
09/03 Take Bus to Rome, wander around on foot.
09/04 Dedicated Rome sight seeing day
09/05 Rome food tour? More wandering? Do what we feel.
09/06 Bus to Sorrento. Private driver to Pompeii, then to Praiano villa.
09/07 thru 09/11 Praiano
09/12 Transfer to Rome, have a great last dinner
09/13 Fly home

The villa in Praiano simply hits all targets. It is large, bright, warm, nicely decorated, loads of natural light, traditional architecture, private, air conditioned, has good wifi signal, has well equipped kitchen with awesome window, breezy bedrooms with French doors that open to terrace. The terrace is a large, beautiful outdoor terrace over sea with plentiful high quality lounge furniture, table & chairs, bbq grill, lanterns, flower garden, lemon trees, and a shower. It's also in Praiano, which is my preferred town. Last but not least & maybe the most important and rarest feature is it's relatively easy access from the road. Many, many places on the coast have an insane number of steps you must use to come & go everyday. Not this place. It is also near a beach, market, bus stop, restaurants & cafes. The caretaker is very helpful & gracious. I do have my heart set on it. It was the inspiration point for this trip. I chose this place and we are building from there.

I could still use advice on the transfer from Rome to Praiano with a stop in Pompeii. Do you know if it's better to go from Rome to Naples then private driver to Pompeii and onto Praiano or is it better to go Rome to Sorrento then private driver to Pompeii and onto Praiano? I'm having a hard time finding this specific answer online or in guidebooks.

There's plenty of other advice I'll need in time too but this is it for now I think.

yehyehgirldetroit is offline  
May 18th, 2013, 05:39 PM
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Better to go Rome to Naples then private driver to Pompeii. We were just on the Amalfi Coast in March and we used Gerry of Sorrento First Choice for all our transportation needs and he was great. We also had him take us to Pompeii and he provided us with a guide while in Pompeii who was great.

I have to agree with what others have said about potentially eliminating Rome (and I LOVE Rome). I realize you are putting it in because it is your fiancee's must see but you are really shortchanging it and him by really only spending one day there and trying to fit in both the Vatican and Coliseum/Forum in one day. It, of course, can be done but frankly not advisable, especially with how hot it will be. I would strongly consider taking some days from Tuscany and adding them to Rome if Rome is a must.
jgg is offline  
May 19th, 2013, 07:34 AM
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Actually I like your most recent iteration of your itinerary -- given your requirements. One small suggestion: after you arrive in Sorrento, you could take the Circumvesuviana to Pompeii (Pompei Scavi), check your bags, tour Pompeii, take the CV back to Sorrento and then meet your driver. I'm assuming the bus arrives close to the train station as does the SITA buses.
Mimar is offline  
May 19th, 2013, 09:25 AM
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>>>There's also a money factor as multi-city flights generally cost more. Though the land travel might add up to the same cost? The bus tickets could be expensive,<<<

I don't find that to be the case usually. It's always close in price and sometimes cheaper to fly into a lesser airport. Since you are in a Delta hub, check flying into Pisa (Delta has a non-stop JFK/PSA). Pisa has a bus from the airport to Siena which departs around 1 pm. Flying into Florence would be closer (easy Sita bus connection to Siena), but there are no non-stops from the states. You might also check departure times from Pisa if you reverse your itinerary, but the JFK flight might cut back in Sept. to 3-4 days per week instead of daily.

Buses aren't expensive. The Sena bus for Rome/Siena is about 20€ and makes about 10 runs per day. Marozzi Rome/Praiano is about 22€. I imagine the Pisa/Siena bus is similar price.


Where are you staying in Siena?

Perhaps you should also consider starting in Rome (less travel on arrival day). Spend one long day transferring from Siena to Praiano?

>>>09/06 Bus to Sorrento. Private driver to Pompeii, then to Praiano villa.<<<

Not necessary. If you take the Marozzi bus to Sorrento it makes a stop at the entrance of Pompeii before reaching Sorrento (about 45 minutes before Sorrento). You can store your luggage at the ticket area. The bus makes a brief stop on the autostrada halfway between Rome and exiting for the coast (AutoGrill - snacks/bathrooms) and makes one or two stops in small towns after leaving the autostada before reaching Sorrento.
kybourbon is online now  

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