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Can't choose between 2 itinereary options in Italy

Can't choose between 2 itinereary options in Italy

Feb 3rd, 2015, 06:59 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2015
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Can't choose between 2 itinereary options in Italy

I need advice! I'm traveling to Italy in early October and can't decide how to arrange my trip. I originally wanted to fly into Venice and work my way down, then departing from Naples, but now that I think about it, I would really like to have the most direct flights possible. And that's not going to happen if I fly out of Naples. This is my first trip to Europe, so I want to make the 'traveling' part of the trip as seamless as possible.

Option 1:

Fly into Venice -- Florence/Tuscany -- Rome -- Sorrento -- fly home from Naples (all of these flight options are early morning, so I would need to leave Sorrento by 7am and they all involve layovers in other European airports which I'm not too comfortable with).

Option 2:

Fly into Rome (arrive at 10am) and take the trains down to Sorrento and arrive by 2pm to start my trip with some beach time -- Rome -- Tuscany/Florence -- Venice (short, direct flight home). Both flights on this itinerary only involve 1 layover in the US and none in Europe.

I would obviously prefer the 2nd option, but am I backtracking too much with this route? Are there logistical things I'm not considering? All travel will be done by train except I will rent a car in Florence to drive into Tuscan countryside.

Thank you!
alex_hall_54 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 07:26 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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It is "usually" best to spend your last night in your departure city.
Departing from Venice for an early flight can be a PIA.
Naples airport is very small in comparison with many airports, and is very easy to get around, and to get in and out of. However, I would not want to deal with trains from Sorrento the morning of a flight out of Naples. Just go to a hotel in Naples the night before and have a short taxi ride to the airport

How many days do you have? You have a lot of travel distances. I hope you have enough time for it.

Coming from the US, you may be unhappy with the mostly rocky/pebbly beaches around Sorrento. If you are thinking beaches like you find in the Carolinas and Florida, you will not find any, so it is not a good place for beach time for you. The landscape there is gorgeous though, beautiful cliffs along the sea. Look at some images of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast to get an idea.

If you plan to sight see, places like Pompeii, Positano, Capri, etc., Sorrento is a great base for that. By October, tourist season is winding down on the AC, so it will be less crowded, but considerably cooler. Ferries may be more limited. If using them, you would need to check schedules.
Sassafrass is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 07:30 AM
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Option 2 simplifies your flight to Europe, but getting from the Rome airport to Sorrento isn't perfectly straight-forward. You need to take the train from the airport into Rome, switch to the train to Naples, then switch again to the local commuter train to Sorrento. That's a lot if you're arriving jet-lagged and sleepy after a long overnight flight. And it's best to buy the train tickets not ahead of time but in the airport train station, to allow for a flight delay or a long line at immigration.

Traveling in October, it does make sense to go to the Amalfi coast area first. It's a summer resort; hotels and restaurants will be shutting down. So the earlier the better. Likewise there will be fewer tourists in Venice later in October.

I'd fly into Naples and take the bus from Naples airport to Sorrento. If you can afford it, get a driver to take you to Sorrento. A change of planes is simpler than than 2 train changes, especially if you can check your bags through.
Mimar is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 07:33 AM
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May I ask why you are uncomfortable with layovers in European airports? They are really just like airports anywhere.

I like option 1 because Venice is an easy place to recover from jet lag and the order just makes sense to me.

Option 2 would not appeal to me, flying into Rome and then while travel weary hassling with getting the train to Naples, then the Circumvesuviana to Sorrento. Also most flights from Venice to North America leave very early in the morning.

If this option appeals more to you, why not fly into Naples? That makes more sense to me.

One other thing, when renting your car to drive into the Tuscan countryside do it at the airport or one of the Tuscan towns rather than Florence to avoid running into the ZTL and the ensuing fines.
raincitygirl is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 07:34 AM
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"they all involve layovers in other European airports which I'm not too comfortable with."

Since you don't explain your discomfort, perhaps there's a personal reason. It's difficult for a stranger to address that without more info.

IMO, if you can afford them, open jaw tickets are the best. I've learned the hard way. A wonderful trip to me is seeing everything you want to see without the hassle of complicated travel days or airline schedules dictating the course. Since I use a lot of miles for personal travel and I refuse to limit myself to early morning departures, I'm often restricted to flights with short layovers, especially out of Venice. IMO, as long as you avoid CDG, a layover flight out of Venice can be a piece of cake, especially if you transfer in Zurich, Frankfurt, or Munich. I've never had a problem with missing luggage and I always check at least two bags.

When I travel to Italy, I tend to separate my visits geographically. If Venice is on the itinerary, I don't venture south of Rome. If Positano, Capri, and Sicily are the goal, I don't go north of Naples. When you include long distances in your itinerary, you have to allow for the travel time and what the hassles of travel do to your body.

You don't mention the length of your trip, but if you have plenty of time to wear yourself out with travel and then recover, then organize the itinerary that will make you happy, and ignore the ramifications.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 07:41 AM
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Both have upsides and downsides, so I would go with your idea of what makes a great introduction to Italy, and a great trip.

Either you can imagine yourself landing in Venice and fiding yourself in a totally different world of gondolas and waterways, no cars, exotic fishy foods and endless photo ops, and then making your way backwards in time to the Greek like areas south of Rome


You land in Italy and are embraced by a world of sunshine, pizza, lemons, blue seas and bougainvillea, the site of a volcano and ancient ruins at your doorstep.

If you pick starting in Venice, put some money aside for a taxi ride to the airport from Sorrento (or switch to Naples for the last night as suggested). I wouldn't worry about a European layover on your way home, but would highly recommend you make this trip "carry-on only" when it comes to luggage.

If you pick starting in Naples, I think there is a bus you can take from FCO airport in Rome to Sorrento, but I am not sure of timetables. But I would suggest taking the train as far as Naples and then getting a taxi to Sorrento, just to have a nicer trip.
sandralist is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 08:34 AM
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I think that based on the time of year you are going you should definitely do Amalfi Coast first - the later you go the more likely you may run into cool weather and fewer ferries/closings of htoels and restaurants.

I would fly into Naples to do this - and return from Venice.

But, if changing planes in europe is really an issue you could fly into Rome and arrange for a car and driver to take you to the AC. Much more convenient than multiple train changes - but also much more expensive. I don;t know the price offhand - but believe I have seen others quote something like 300 euros. Is avoiding a connection in europe worth that?
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 08:52 AM
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Go ahead and check the ferry schedules, but there will be no restaurant or hotel closures in Sorrento or the Amalfi Coast at that time of year, and I doubt you will run into transport issues either. But double check. However, I disagree that guestimating weather should be a determining factor in which plan you choose if you are going in the early part of October for a trip of less than 2 weeks. In fact, your chances of acqua alta in Venice increase the longer you wait, so there is really little point in trying to thread the needle like that.
sandralist is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 09:04 AM
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Since several people referred to weather in the Amalfi as being cooler, you might want to look at the actual temperatures for the past 5 years. The Amalfi is quite hot in the summer, so cooler can actually be pleasant, especially for a sightseer climbing staircases. If you are planning on swimming, it might make a difference to some people, but wouldn't to very many North Americans.





sandralist is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 09:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
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I agree it is better to stay either North of Rome or South of Rome to maximize your experience. We have done both itineraries. I will tell you what we did and it worked great for us....saw a lot and did not get overly tired nor exasperated with travel! We stayed in some hotels and in some agrotourisismos.....great experience....loved them

#1 - We flew open jaw from the U.S.to Frankfort, then home from Rome. We purchased a separate ticket from Frankfort to Milan for less for 4 people than we would have paid for one if purchased in the U.S.
*took train to Lake Como, stayed two nights
*took train back through Milan to Venice
*train back to Florence
*rented a car in Florence and drove through Tuscany, Vinci, Volterre etcl
*drove car to Rome airport and turned it in, stayed several days in Rome then flew from Rome home.

On the second trip...we were meeting friends and my husband and I went early because we wanted to see Cinqueterra regions and Pisa. We met friends in Rome, rented a car and went south west from Rome....to Padula, around to Maretea then Agropoli, Positano, Almalfi Coast, Sorrento, Capri, Naples, and then back into Rome to fly home. I will be happy to send you our entire itineraries, hotels, Beds and Breakfasts, etc. if you could use it in any way to make plans. We love to see the countryside and meet the people who live away from the large cities! if you would like me to send you what I have, let me know your email address.
bernieann is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 10:05 AM
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Thanks everyone - I guess my reservation about European airports may just be around the language barriers. Although I'm quite ignorant here - for all I know, there may be signage in English as well as English speaking employees. It just makes me a bit nervous, especially if I'm dealing with a short layover and have trouble finding my way.

I'll be there October 5th- October 18th so that's good to know about the weather. I was planning on spending 3 nights in each of my 4 destinations.

I think I will look at flights into Naples.
alex_hall_54 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 10:13 AM
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Don't worry about the language barrier, there are always people who speak English to help you, plus the signage is usually such that you can understand easily. (symbols etc)

We were in Naples, Sorrento and the Amalfi 2 years ago in early to mid October and had really lovely weather. All the beach clubs had put away their equipment but our hotel in Sorrento had it's pool still open and we spent some very enjoyable afternoons there.

Enjoy your trip.
raincitygirl is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 10:22 AM
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Language barriers at European airports?

Unless you are changing planes at tiny airports, international airports require no local language knowledge. All passenger facing position people speak fluent English. I prefer to change planes at better designed European airports over nightmare airports in the U.S.

There are airports requiring longer layovers like LHR or CDG as well as those needing shorter layovers like AMS or MUC. The difference has to do with how the terminals are laid out and connected and has nothing to do with the language.
greg is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 10:25 AM
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Also if you are that worried you can go online and find a layout map of your layover airport and orient yourself beforehand but really, no need to worry.

I agree with Greg, I have had more problems in American airports than I have in European ones.
raincitygirl is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 10:29 AM
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A couple of years ago, we flew from DFW to Heathrow, took a bus to Gatwick and then flew to Naples; a driver picked us up and drove us to Amalfi and spent 4 nights there. Then the driver picked us up again, took us to Pompeii and waited for us to tour the site and then dropped us off at the Naples train station. From there to Rome (4 nights) then to Florence (4 nights) then to Milan for one night and home from there. We had wanted to include Venice, but it was out of the way and so we left it for another trip (although we had been there a couple of times before and really like it.)
pctraveler is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2015, 10:31 AM
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Thank you so much, everyone. This makes me feel much better about our travel options.
alex_hall_54 is offline  
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