4 Weeks in Italy

Old Sep 17th, 2019, 08:55 PM
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4 Weeks in Italy

Hey All,

We are travelling in May 2020 for our honeymoon + My 40th to Italy. I would be grateful for any tips and recommendations on how to get about and places we should do. We dont want to hectic of a trip and really woudl love lots of coastal time. as big lovers of food we are looking for some (Non touristy) things around food. Wineries, regional food etc

So far this is what we are thinking
  • Arrive Rome
  • Rome - Siena
  • Siena - Florence
  • Florence - Naples
    • Heard mixed reviews on Naples so unsure if we should stay or just use to transit
  • Naples - Sorrento, Positano, Capri, Ravello + Amalfi - Back to Naples
    • We are thinking of doing a week here, are we best to base ourselves say in Positano and go to other destinations as day trips, or shoudl we stay in multiple locations?
  • Naples - Sicily
    • Again thinking about a week to tour over Sicily
    • Our travel agent has suggested a car from Naples to go to Amalfi -Puglia - Sicily but we are unsure if we A: want to do a car for that distance and B: leave the east cost for another trip?
  • Sicily - Malta
    • We are unsure if to do Malta as we are so close or do more of Italy before going home to save on travel costs.
Would really appreciate some tips and advise
Olivie1980 is offline  
Old Sep 17th, 2019, 09:43 PM
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kja
 
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May is a lovely time to visit Italy! Some thoughts:

Originally Posted by Olivie1980 View Post
  • Heard mixed reviews on Naples so unsure if we should stay or just use to transit
  • Naples - Sorrento, Positano, Capri, Ravello + Amalfi - Back to Naples
    • We are thinking of doing a week here, are we best to base ourselves say in Positano and go to other destinations as day trips, or shoudl we stay in multiple locations?
    Personal choices and preferences!

    I adore Naples -- I find it dynamic and energetic and if a bit scruffy in parts and a bit gritty in parts, it is nonetheless filled with treasures and interest and life! But other people see it differently. If your goal is to visit a laid-back, relaxing, tourism-dominated location, Naples is less likely to suit your fancy than some other locations in the area.

    Depending on what you want to see and do, 7 to 10 days could be perfect for Naples and the Amalfi Coast. But it really does depend on what YOU want to see and do, and at what pace, and how much time you will spending going back and forth to a base or -- alternatively -- moving from one location to another.

    Likewise, whether to stay in one place for all of your time in the area or to change locations depends on your interests. If you choose to spend some time in Naples and your interests in the coast are sufficient, I think it would be worth considering time in Naples before or after time elsewhere in the area -- but others would say that in that case, you should base in Sorrento or perhaps Salerno, either of which would let you avoid relocating. (I don't mind relocating, and actually prefer to do so when it suits my interests, but many people seek to keep the number of changes of hotels to a minimum. Again, a personal preference / travel style issue.) Capri can be seen as a day trip from Naples or the Amalfi Coast, but can be much more delightful after day trippers leave, so some of us choose to spend a night or two there, too. And if you do spend time in a place on the Amalfi Coast itself, some people think Positano the best place, but you have many other options -- Amalfi, Atrani, exquisite (but expensive and less convenient) Ravello, underrated (but a bit less convenient) Salerno.... No bad choices among this array, IMO, just some difficult choices.

    Originally Posted by Olivie1980 View Post
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      • thinking about a week to tour over Sicily
    With a week, one can see a very limited number of Sicily's highlights, perhaps EITHER those on the west OR those on the east. Seeing even the highlights of the entire island typically takes 2.5 to 3 weeks, and because the island is not well suited to base locations, typically requires staying in at least 3, of not 4 or 5, locations.

    Originally Posted by Olivie1980 View Post
    • Our travel agent has suggested a car from Naples to go to Amalfi -Puglia - Sicily but we are unsure if we A: want to do a car for that distance and B: leave the east cost for another trip?
    Interesting: I don't think you have time to include Puglia on this trip! In fact, I think your current plan is overly ambitious. It is possible to visit most of the locations you have mentioned without a car, though parts (not all) of Sicily and parts (not all) of Puglia are more efficiently visited with a car.

    I would strongly encourage you to consult a good guidebook or two before making any commitments, and would also suggest that you can learn a great deal by reading planning threads and trip reports on this forum.

    Hope that helps!
    kja is offline  
    Old Sep 17th, 2019, 10:22 PM
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    Everyone has their own idea of what a not-hectic trip looks like.

    If this was my trip, and I wanted a slower/less hectic pace, the month would probably have run out before I got to Sicily because I would have spent time in the countryside in Tuscany/Umbria. If I was visiting Siena, I would want to spend several days exploring the small villages and hill towns that are right there, rather than making a longer journey to Sicily or Puglia.

    But it's your trip, and you should travel however and wherever you wish. I agree with kja's suggestion to read some guidebooks before you commit to an itinerary.
    Jean is offline  
    Old Sep 18th, 2019, 04:04 AM
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    For your Amalfi/Naples area portion, we spent 6 nights in Sorrento, using that as our base for the area. Very well connected by trains and ferries to get around. Took day trips to Naples, Pompeii/Vesuvius, and Amalfi coast. One day for the Amalfi coast, we hired a private driver that was recommended by friends who spend time there every summer. He picked us up in Sorrento, and drove us to Positano, Ravello and Amalfi, making it very easy to see all three and not worrying about parking, bus/ferry schedules. We wanted to check out Positano some more, so then on another day we took a ferry there and back from Sorrento. And really loved exploring Sorrento as well, it's a lovely town. We then spent 3 nights on Capri. Had originally planned on doing just a day trip, but so many people said how wonderful it was at night when the day-trippers left, so decided to stay for 3 nights, and it was absolutely amazing. As for Naples, as kja posted, it really depends on what you are looking for. We are from a big city, and really loved being in the small towns to get away from the hustle and bustle, so did not love our day in Naples but certainly glad we went to see it for a bit (and have some great pizza!). Enjoy the trip!
    almesq is offline  
    Old Sep 18th, 2019, 04:11 AM
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    If I wanted to go to Puglia from Naples I would recommend the train and hire a car in Puglia, the train route through the mountains is pretty wonderful and it is just more relaxing. Puglia in May is lovely, not all tourist spots will be open but those that are will appreciate your custom the more. Check out Seat61.com to get an idea of how to use trains in Italy.

    While some areas around Naples are really pretty, Naples itself is gritty. I'd use it in transit.

    I'd see Sicily as another holiday destination, I like the place but too much in one trip.
    bilboburgler is offline  
    Old Sep 18th, 2019, 04:20 AM
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    You have several areas that you are looking at and even at a fairly quick (hectic is in the eye of the traveler) pace you wouldn't want to do them all. Four weeks sounds like a long time - and it can be a wonderful amount of time for Italy - but you will still have to be selective.

    Amalfi Coast/Naples - I think about a week is perfect for this. I've done three trips to the area, my favorite was 8 nights based in Sorrento with day trips to Positano/Amalfi, Ravello, Capri, Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum and Ischia. There are some benefits to spending a night or two in Capril and Naples but the downside is moving hotels and the extra time involved in that. But about a week or a bit more for that area. You do not need or want a car for this area. At least not in May. Parking is terrible and you can't drive a car any faster than the bus can go. Boats and buses are part of the experience.

    Sicily - Most people feel close to two weeks is necessary to see even the highlights of Sicily. We spent 11 nights on our trip there and thought that was good. But however you get there from the mainland (fly, ferry) it's going to eat up most of a day each way so if you do choose to go there I'd allocate more than a week. A car is good for Sicily.

    Puglia - Yes it's "close" to the Amalfi Coast region but there's quite a lot to see so I wouldn't bother with the time to go over there if you can't spend close to a week. Matera on the way over, plus some time in Lecce and vicinity plus at least one other base (we did Polignano al Mar). You really do need a car for Puglia as well.

    Malta - again, you need close to a week. A bit more wouldn't be overkill. I think you can get there by ferry from Sicily, so combining the two could work, but you'd need a least two weeks for the two of them. I based 7 nights in Valletta but wish I had spread out and had two bases - and more time.

    Siena/Florence - I have based in each of them (different trips) and loved both. But I have also done Siena as a day trip from Florence and that is not bad. One idea is about a week based in Florence with day trips (Siena by bus, Pisa/Lucca by train, wineries/Tuscan hill towns - either rent a car for a day or do an organized tour). Or a few days in each.

    Rome - you could spend the whole month there and not see everything. But give it at least 4 days, anything less and you wind up feeling really frustrated. On a month trip I'd give it 4-5 days, or a week and do a day trip or two (Orvieto is great, it's also great for an overnight).

    But what I have just described would take at least 6 weeks so you really need to look at each area and see what you feel you can skip this trip. The other option is to shorten each by several days and do them all but I think that would result in too much travel time vs time at the destinations and would be frustrating. But you know your travel style and some people would love this "taste of " option.

    Here's my photos of Italy to maybe help you decide which places you really want to go.
    https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/f739967755

    Last edited by isabel; Sep 18th, 2019 at 04:26 AM.
    isabel is offline  

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