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Amalfo Coast: Tell Me About It

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Dec 20th, 2015, 08:30 AM
  #1
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Amalfo Coast: Tell Me About It

I know: stunning views and I gather getting there is half the fun. But what else did you like about it that made it worthwhile?

The issue: probable trip to Europe in 2017. It will include Venice, Verona, Milan with possibly opera performances in all three; a possible veg out by the lake in a favorite "palatial pile" hotel in Lausanne for a few nights; a flight to London for possibly more opera and definitely West End shows.

We could add Amalfi to this mix; or we could add Sicily (would rent a car). We have, in the past, loved Greece (both mainland and islands).

Thoughts most appreciated.
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Dec 20th, 2015, 08:45 AM
  #2
kja
 
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WAY too many highlights in both areas to cover in a brief post, especially because they are all covered well in the better guidebooks to the area (e.g., the Rough Guide).

Musical highlights, for me, included the Ravello Concert Series:
http://selectitaly.com/browse/things...oncert-society

and a performance of chamber music at Naples' Opera House.
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Dec 20th, 2015, 09:17 AM
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Loved the Amalfi Coast, but loved Sicily even more.

For my TR on the AC: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...om-s-italy.cfm

For Sicily: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ing-sicily.cfm
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Dec 20th, 2015, 09:32 AM
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Exactly when will you be there? We have been a couple of times in May and loved it. But in midsummer, esp August it can be elbow to elbow people in all of the smaller towns, Capri and Pompeii.
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Dec 20th, 2015, 09:36 AM
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The Amalfi coast has spectacular scenery, but it's gotten way too crowded for me. I'd consider Sicily which is beautiful in a different way, less crowded and plenty to choose from in terms of what to see. We just spent some time on the Cilento coast and in Maratea and there were some stunning views much comparable to Amalfi coast, blissfully uncrowded and lovely to explore.
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Dec 20th, 2015, 09:36 AM
  #6
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Thanks for the responses and I will be sure to look at the provided links later today.

The time frame will almost undoubtedly be late June/early July at the latest. We do not necessarily avoid August due to the number of "other" tourists (yes, we most certainly are that) but I appreciate your bringing up the very valid "crowd" issue because it is something to consider IMO so thank you.
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Dec 20th, 2015, 09:42 AM
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You haven't said what it is you love about Greece, but if it was sites of antiquity, then if you go to the Amalfi, consider staying in a location where it would be simple to make an excursion to Paestum, which are the best preserved Greek temples in all of Europe.

I found a tour of the opera theater in Napoli delightful and would have gone to the opera there had it coincided with my being there.

Re other comments, Pompei is never "elbow to elbow" unless you limit yourself to the tick list closest to the entrance. Nytraveler has just declared she has been several times in May, so anything she thinks she knows about other time of years is probably just more projecting anxiety.
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Dec 20th, 2015, 09:49 AM
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The earlier the better for Sicily - heat rather than crowds would be a consideration.
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Dec 20th, 2015, 11:14 AM
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Thanks for the additional responses. Just realized my mistake in the thread title and am sure someone is having a deserved laugh about the "Amalfo" Coast.

To answer the question posed above re Greece: enjoyed both the weather in high summer as well as the antiquities and classic sites. We were part of a very small (14 people) tour with an excellent guide which was ideal for us at the time.

I have been told about, and have seen interior pictures of, the Naples opera house. It is highly rated by many and attending a performance would probably seem like a plus.

I need to read the links provided earlier as well as do more research on Sicily but am beginning to think it may be more worthwhile for us than Amalfi would be.
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Dec 20th, 2015, 12:39 PM
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Paestum, which are the best preserved Greek temples in all of Europe.>

Agrigento in Sicily must be a close 2nd?
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Dec 20th, 2015, 02:27 PM
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Sicily will be hot but not all that much hotter than the Amalfi and if you rent an air-conditioned car for Sicily and are sensible about not sightseeing barren ruins and salt farms at high noon. You can actually be cooler than you'd be without a car in the Amalfi, constantly marching up shadeless staircases or queueing for buses on the asphalt, or not arriving in Pompei until midmorning because it is so far from the coast. The overhead sun in that area is fierce during the longest days of the year.

That said, if you or anyone in your party is very heat-sensitive, you need to get lots of reassurances about quality air-conditioning in hotels in Sicily. Late June/July can bring African desert heatwaves blowing into Sicily, and the temps don't drop all that much at night. I'd make a point of looking for modern accommodations, whether hotels or agriturismi.
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Dec 20th, 2015, 03:13 PM
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Thank you, Sandralist. IMO adequate air conditioning is part of the "charm" of any hotel I stay in. "Air conditioning" means heat in the winter and cooling in the summer.
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Dec 20th, 2015, 07:59 PM
  #13
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FWIW, I visited Sicily in May and found parts -- especially the ruins -- almost unbearably hot. But then, I readily admit that I am extremely sensitive to heat, and it was a bit warmer than usual. I visited the Amalfi Coast immediately thereafter, and found in noticeably more comfortable. That easily could have simply been the weather.

Also FWIW, I gave Sicily only 2 weeks, and regret it to this day -- I sincerely wish I had given it at least 2.5, if not 3, weeks. I gave Naples and the Amalfi Coast a week, and while I didn't give Naples nearly enough time (just 2 days), I was comfortable with the rest of that part of my timing.

But, of course, what worked for me might not work for you at all -- it really depends on what YOU want to see and do.
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Dec 20th, 2015, 08:17 PM
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I forgot to mention that if you do go to Sicily, the grand opera house Teatro Massimo in Palermo is very much worth touring. It was built with a roof that can be raised in sections, like wings, to cool off the interior of the theater by letting the heat escape upwards to the outdoors. However, even with that "air conditioning," I think there are no performances in summer -- but I could be wrong.
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Dec 20th, 2015, 08:40 PM
  #15
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IMO, it was most certainly a "plus" to attend a musical performance in Naples's Opera House! Just me in a center front box, 2nd tier IIRC.

If you decide to go to Sicily, yes indeed, tour the Teatro Massimo. And look into performances at the Greek theater in Siracusa -- its a glorious setting in which to experience a production. I think some of the other Greek theaters in Sicily stage performances during the summer, too.
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Dec 21st, 2015, 10:47 AM
  #16
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With all of the other traveling in your itinerary, IMO a relaxing time in Naples and on the AC would make more sense than driving around Sicily for 2 weeks.

A few things I love about the Amalfi Coast: amazing views, fantastic food, interesting wine, a good selection of beaches, time on the sea, architecture and history, relaxation.

I rent an apartment in Positano for 8 days at the end of June each year, so I am admittedly biased. I am heat sensitive and find the Amalfi Coast warm but not unbearable. Sure, there are other tourists, but there are plenty of ways to avoid them. Day trips via ferry to Capri, Amalfi/Ravello and Salerno/Vietri are relaxing and enjoyable. A few days in Naples, for the Opera House, Pompeii, etc. would also make logistical sense.
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Dec 21st, 2015, 01:48 PM
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Tough question, Dukey: your choices all have their own merits. Having visited many of those places and loved them for what they offered, perhaps an approach might be to ask yourself what do you prefer (predominantly): charm in spades or a different Italian culture than what mainland Italy possesses.

Sicily is vibrant, insular, and its citizens are fiercely proud. I found that my conversational Italian didn't hold up too well, although it wouldn't have passed muster in much of Italy's small towns. I adored Sicily for its ruins, food, people & ambience. We rented a car and had no difficulty at all driving around the country. Roads there are well-maintained and apart from the occasional traffic tie-up, it was a breeze.

Amalfi and Ravello, in particular, won my heart with its Moorish influences, lush grounds and concerts. Although we rented an apartment in Positano, it was the day trips away from Positano that were truly wonderful.
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Dec 21st, 2015, 02:13 PM
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I would say there is plenty of charm available in Sicily. Notably Ortygia and Erice, and the coasts.
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Dec 21st, 2015, 02:57 PM
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Even cutting peop; a lot of slack for their necessarily brief descriptions of Amafli v Sicily based on brief visits, some overly cartoonish pictures are being drawn that need some perspective.

The Italian culture of Campania is as distant from the culture of the northern half of the Itallian boot as Sicily is from "the mainland." In fact, Sicily and Naples once jointly were a southern kingdom, and they still feel bonded and share more food and other cultural similarities than does the south to places like Verona. So if you are coming from Verona, you don't need to go to Sicily to feel like you've gone into a different Italian orbit.

The choice is not between charm and something else for those who don't find anything particularly charming about the experience of the Amalfi coast in summer (or even outside summer). Some travelers find it charming. Quite a few do not. Many people who travel to the Amalfi, Naples and Paestum adored it precisely for for its ruins, food, people & ambience. Noting too that what one my heart about my last trip to Sicily was the "Moorish influence" that is such a promient feature of not just Palermo but other parts of Sicily.

Finally, logistically, getting to Sicily might be easier in summer if one starting from in Verona or Milan. One short flight and there you are, walk out of the airport terminal and into a rental car, you're on your way in a largely traffic jam-free island. Amalfi scenery has stayed stunningly beautiful in part because it so damned complicated to get to it.

The truth is that they are both fabulous destinations, each with their own assets and downsides to consider in high summer. You started out asking about the "Amalfo", but maybe what you should really be considering is the summer opera in Macerata and the Rossini festival in Pesaro. If your dates work, you could do both, and probably have a blast in that part of Italy.
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Dec 21st, 2015, 03:07 PM
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" Amalfi scenery has stayed stunningly beautiful in part because it so damned complicated to get to it."

You jest, right? No shortage of people when I was there in springtime, and sounds like it is quite crowded in summer.

Fly into Naples, hire a car and driver if you're flush, for most of us, take a bus into town and the Circumvesuviano to Sorrento. Stay in Sorrento if you're planning to visit more than the AC.
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