20th Anniversary trip to Italy

Old Mar 31st, 2010, 02:01 PM
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20th Anniversary trip to Italy

Hello,

After 20 yrs of marriage my husband and I are finally going to celebarte with some long overdue European travel-- a total of 13 days. We will start with 3 days in Rome, then its off to Florence for another 3 days. We know we'd like to end in Positano-- but we are not sure where to go in between.

My idea is to go to Tuscany after Florence--possibly the Chianti region-- and make our way to Positano from there. However, upon investigation, I see that this may be difficult if we don't have a car.

Some issues that have come up-- how to get from one place to another? Do we train and bus, do we rent a car? Positano is not reachable by Train- the closest stop I believe is Salerno/Sorrento/Naples area. My husband would like to rent a car but it would have to be automatic which is more costly. Last time we traveled Europe, Spain and Portugal-- we met with some frustrating circumstances, driving difficulties etc. I

We have six days to travel after Florence, mid-August is the timing. From Positano we need to be able to get to Rome airport. Which begs another question-- do we leave the day before the flight and stay near the Rome airport? Or, do we take the extra evening in Positano and make our way directly to Rome first thing in the early morning?

I would appreciate any suggestions as it has been so long since we've planned a trip.

Thanks!
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 02:10 PM
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May I suggest leaving Rome directly upon landing and traveling straight to Florence? You would then end your trip in Rome, saving a good deal of time and money. Getting a train from FCO airport to the main terminal in Rome, then on to Florence, isn't really difficult. We can all help with that.

Most small towns in Tuscany are best seen by car, but if you want to stay someplace like San Gimignano, you could do that by bus and perhaps by hiring a driver for a day or two. Visits from SG to Siena are easy by bus, as well as connecting to some other towns.

Since it is August, maybe you could just pick a resort-like place and chill there, but then you wouldn't really be seeing Tuscany.

What if you only got the car for three or four days? It would cut costs.

You can't get to Positano by train, but you can easily get as far as Naples or Sorrento by train, then bus or ferry or hire a driver to get you to Positano.

Then, from Positano, work your way back to Rome and spend your final nights there. It would eliminate the airport hotel, too.
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 02:25 PM
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Good advice above. Seeing 4 destinations in only 13 days may be tough. Consider flying into Naples and home from Rome, but do end in Rome. If you do not want to drive then do day trips into Tuscany from Florence--by private driver or by train. Good luck !

Fly into Naples--to Positano--4

Train to Florence via Naples ---4[ day trips into Tuscany]

Train to Rome---5
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 02:30 PM
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Hi; Do you have you flights already? If not, consider flying into Pisa and go directly to Florence. When leaving Florence, rent a car to visit Tuscany for 3 days and then 1 day in Orvieto. Drive to Rome [about an hour] and leave the car off before entering the city. Then train to Naples and Sorrento. When leaving Positano, fly home from Naples. Richard
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 02:54 PM
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P.S. Actually, you could fly into Florence and then out of Naples. Richard
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 02:56 PM
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If you don't already have your flights, listen to bobthenavigator. If you already have round-trip in and out of Rome, definitely continue on to Florence on arrival and keep all the Rome days together at the end. This eliminates a hotel change. At any rate, with such a short time, three destinations are better than four, and as noted you can do a daytrip or two from Florence to Tuscan towns.
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 08:52 AM
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Our first trip to Italy, we did Florence, Tuscany and Rome in two weeks (total, including travel time, so 12 nights of hotels). I think adding Positano makes it hard and would recommend Positano as your excuse for your NEXT Italy trip. It's hard to do too much in a few weeks, too much traveling, not enough time to enjoy where you are.

We stayed in Florence, Lucca, Siena and Rome, 3 nights each. From Lucca, we did a day trip to Cinque Terre. We had a car, except when we were in Rome. I think a car is a must in Tuscany.

Assuming you already have airfare in and out of Rome, you could pick up a rental car in Rome, head to Tuscany, or Florence and then wind your way back to Rome - ditch the car at the airport and taxi to your hotel.

We're going on our THIRD trip to Italy (above was the first, the second was northern - Venice, Ravenna, Verona, the Dolomites, and Bellagio) in May. We WILL see Positano as this trip is to the south, Naples, Capri, Amalfi etc. I'm a strong believer in not too much at one time.

Alice
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 09:24 AM
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Carleen,

I would recommend NOT visiting Positano and the Amalfi Coast in mid-August. That is absolutely the most crowded time of the entire year. It's the 2 weeks when every European is on vacation too.

I've visited the Amalfi Coast twice. Once in March when it was deserted and peaceful. Heavy rains with thunder and lightening at night, but pleasant days. Very good for seeing Pompeii, which isn't on the coast, I know. The second trip was in mid-Sept and even then it was way too crowded and difficult to get around by SITA bus for my tastes.

If I were to visit again anytime between June and Sept, I would pick a lovely villa or hotel with a pool and not even try to go anywhere at all!

I'd recommend keeping this trip to Rome, Tuscany, Florence in whatever order you end up with. I agree you need a car or a driver for Tuscany.

Congrats and buon viaggio!
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 12:46 PM
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Hi, Thank you all for your input. The reason I am starting and ending in Rome is because I will do 8 days first with my sisters -- beginning in Venice, then Rome-- where my husband will then fly down and meet me. We thought to start with 3 days in ROme-- which will be an additional 3 days forme, then 3 days in Florence. From there we are free for 7 days so I thought Tuscany would be the logical next step.

The reson I thought to end in Positano is because my sister has already been there and says it is amust see! Considering that we have not traveled since our honeymoon 20 years ago, I doubt I will get back to Italy anytime soon.

Your ideas have given me food for thought. Perhaps I need to abandon Positano and the outrageously expensive hotel and stick to one other region after Florence like Tuscany or Cinque Terre.

Either way I need to end in Rome for return flight home... I see it's back to the 'traveling' board for me.

Thanks to all!
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 01:46 PM
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Seven days in Tuscany/Umbria works well, but would suggest a car for those days. Here is a little information on both areas. Richard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/tuscany or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/umbria
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 05:01 PM
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Now possibly rethinking our whole plan- perhaps giving up Positano--sob, sob-- because it is very far, very expensive and very crowded- though admitedly very beautiful.

Seems more plausible to do Rome 3 days( we will already be there), Florence 3 days, Cinque Terre 3 days, Chianti region 3 days,(because they are not so far apart) then back to Rome.

We will take a car in Florence and do all by car.

Option B: Rome, Florence, Chianti, Positano, Rome.

Option C: Rome, Florence, drive the Amalfi coast towards Positano.

Still welcoming feedback and hope to make a decision soon.



Very torn. T
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 05:26 PM
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You can easily rent a car when leaving Florence and head to the Cinque Terre area. Then to the Chianti area. We have driven that area a few times and it is doable. Option B is a long drive. Option C a longer drive. Check the distance and see if that's acceptable. viamichelin.com
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 06:49 PM
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Why do Rome twice--start in Florence.
Get the car as you leave and then do CT and Tuscany.
Drop car in Orvieto and then train into Rome.
One less hotel change.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2010, 05:52 AM
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I don't think you need 3 days in Cinque Terre - you could either make it a day trip, or stay one night. It's beautiful, and you can do some great hiking, but there's not a lot there. You could consider Siena, which is fabulous and/or Lucca or other towns in Tuscany.

I agree with Bob about starting in Florence, ending in Rome, if you have that flexibility.

Alice
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Old Apr 2nd, 2010, 10:08 AM
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Hi Carleen,

I really like your plan of Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre and Tuscany. I'm one of those who likes to mix major cities, art and architecture with countryside, scenery and wine tasting!

I do agree that heading straight to Florence to start with your husband is best. Also, you really don't need a car for the Cinque Terre. You can easily go by train. However, you want to check rates. Often a 3 day rental is about the same price as a whole week. Ask about parking access and charges for where you decide to lodge in the CT. If you do take a car, I would recommend choosing a larger town. Monterosso is the largest and flatest of the CT towns. SML would not be hard to park in either.

We stayed in Santa Margherita Ligure, a lovely "resort" town (but very Italian) just north of the Cinque Terre towns for 3 nights. It's also just a 10 minute boat ride to Portofino and an hour by train to the furthest southern CT town, Riomaggiore. We hiked back from Rio Maggiore to Vernazza, then pooped out, had a gellato and returned the rest of the way via train.

Our hotel in SML was the Hotel Laurin, a Best Western, but certainly not an American type of BW. Great location and we had a ocean facing room with a huge private terrace. Perfect!

Another day we took the earliest boat over to Portofino, wandered and did some window shopping (extremely expensive shops), then parked ourselves at a harbor side ristorante and had a very long lunch with lots of wine. Watched the huge yachts wiggle into the tiny port.

Spent the afternoon wandering around SML and really liked it. Beautiful town with a lovely seaside public park where the local passagiata takes place. Perfect again!

If you decide to do 3 days in CT and are going by train, take a stop off in Pisa and see the Duomo and Tower. We had to change trains in Pisa anyway and the next one left in 3 hours. Just enough time to enjoy the Piazza dei Miracoli (SP?) and return. We checked our bags at the staion and walked both ways. There were no buses or taxis to be found when we were there, although they do run. We wanted the exercise and it took us about 20 minutes to walk to the Tower.

For my personal preferences, I would take a day less in Florence and add that to the Tuscan countryside - definitely!

Hope this helps!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2010, 02:57 PM
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Thanks to everyoe who gave their input. Under different circumstances, I agree with all who said we should mgo direct to Florence but this is not doable as I will already be in Rome and that is where my husband is landing.

I have spoken to many people about Positano and evn though it is a crazy time of year to be there, everyone said it is not to be missed-- and as I mentioned before, it is almost certain that I will not return to Italy any time in the near or even far future, seeing as it has been 20 years since our last trip!

So, off to Positano we will go to spend the last 4-5 nights of our trip. We have rented a car for the day we leave Florence and willhead off the Castellina in Chianti for 2 nights before heading to Positano along the Amalfi coast.

We have a 2pm plane home from Rome on August 21, 2pm and the plan now is to leave from Positano at about 6 a.m. and head to Rome Airport where we'll drop off the car. Our goal is to be at the airport by 11 a.m..

If anyone has made the drive from Positano to Rome and knows from experience that this is not possible- please advise!! Then we will leave the day before, stop in a nice little place midway for the evenong and make the rest of the journey to Rome the next morning.

I'm certain that wherever we go it will be beautiful and the experience of a lifetime-- I'm tryng not to become overwhelmed by the logistics of it all while still planning a wonderful, memorable trip.

Thanks again to all who have taken the time to respond. It has been very helpful.

Carleen
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Old Apr 2nd, 2010, 03:02 PM
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Hi; If you leave at 6am, it should take you four hours. You will definately be there by 11am. Have a great trip.
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