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Family vacation to Amalfi Coast and Tuscany

Family vacation to Amalfi Coast and Tuscany

Old Dec 26th, 2009, 07:12 AM
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Family vacation to Amalfi Coast and Tuscany

For our 40th. anniversary, we are taking our 3 daughters and husbands to Italy for a family vacation the middle of Sept. We'll be flying in and out of Rome and would like to spend 3 days at the Amalfi Coast and 4 days in Tuscany. We'll be traveling by train so would like rooms within a reasonable walking distance of stations. We've been to Italy 4-5 times but never with a group of this size.
Any suggestions of places to stay would be appreciated.
carmar is offline  
Old Dec 26th, 2009, 07:26 AM
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Hi C,

We very much enjoyed our stay at www.lesirene.com in Praiano - about 6 km E of Positano. There is bus and ferry service from Sorrento to Salerno along the coast.

Lots of folks, if not most, recommend having a car for Tuscany.

ira is offline  
Old Dec 26th, 2009, 08:11 AM
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Hi carmar,

Congratulations on 40 years! Your family is lucky to get trip like this. I have just a couple of suggestions.

If all of you haven't traveled together before, have everyone make their wish lists of what they hope to do and see on the trip. This will help you decide where to stay most centrally for sightseeing.

Also, you are definitely going to need cars in Tuscany, if you are staying in the countryside. Very few of the towns have a train station near at all and buses are inconvient! I think you will need 2 full sized cars for sure - and that's if everyone packs only a 21" roller AND the car has plenty of luggage space. This will give everyone more options and not have to be glued to the hip at all times.

You might want to look into an apartment/villa rental with a group this size. It would probably be less than 4 hotel rooms. At any rate don't wait too long to make reservations, 4 rooms in the same hotel could be difficult closer in.

Places I've stayed that I would highly recommend:

Palazzo Piccolomini**** Orvieto (Umbria)
Palazzo Bocci**** Spello (Umbria)
Hotel Residence San Sano*** (Chianti)
Il Giglio*** (Montalcino)

Il Giglio in Montalcino is especially well located for sightseeing in that area. You can easily visit Sant'Antimo, Pienza, Montepulciano and Monte Olivetto from there. All are less than 20 min. drive.

I've also stayed at Ira's recommended Le Sirene in Praiano and just loved it. However, with a group your size and with potentially varied interests, you might want to stay in a larger town with more transportation options, restaurants, shops and nightlife. Positano, Sorrento, Amalfi would all be good if those factors are important to you.

Praiano is just my style, but the only trans option is the SITA bus or private driver. You would have to go to one of the other towns to get a boat option.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Old Dec 26th, 2009, 08:35 AM
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With that group, your mode of transport will be important. There are no trains to the Amalfi coast. Sorrento and Salerno are your only train options. I would stay in Sorrento with your short time---convenience to Pompeii and Capri.
For Tuscany, you do want at least 2 cars/vans with luggage. I would get them in Sorrento and drive to your Tuscany location--which is an entirely seperate discussion.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Dec 26th, 2009, 09:19 AM
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Are you planning on staying in hotels? It might be hard to find 4 double rooms available in smaller hotels. And, whereas a villa would be nice for you all to be together, especially in Tuscany, most villas large enough for 4 couples rent for a week minimum. And are rented well ahead of time. But look at www.slowtrav.com for reviews and lots of information.

So start planning now. Or maybe hire a travel agent to do it for you.

2 of Dayle's recommendations are in Umbria, not Tuscany. And I don't find Orvieto (which is up on top of a mesa) a good base for daytrips.

I'm afraid everybody's right about needing to drive to fully enjoy Tuscany (and Umbria). If you limit yourselves to Florence and Siena, public transportation will suffice. You could do daytrips by train from Florence to Pisa and Lucca as well as Siena (by bus). Or stay in Lucca and do daytrips to Pisa and Florence.
Mimar is offline  
Old Dec 26th, 2009, 01:31 PM
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>>>train so would like rooms within a reasonable walking distance of stations
kybourbon is online now  
Old Dec 26th, 2009, 05:42 PM
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As other have mentioned there are no trains on the Amalfi coast - only buses or ferries. And relatively few will be within walking distance of stops (towns along the Amalfi coast are fairly vertical , being cut into the side of a cliff.

Agree Sorrento might be a better choice - since you have easy access to Pompeii and Naples (train), towns down the coast (bus or ferry) and Capri (ferry).

Also agree that in Tuscany to stay in/near the small hill towns you will need cars to get around, since for many of them public transit is limited. You could stay in Florence and train or bus out to see a few - but I think fares for 8 people could end up being fairly expensive versus cost of renting a couple of cars (or a van - if you can get one big enough for all of you plus luggage.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Dec 27th, 2009, 06:05 AM
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I also suggest you start by polling your group to find out if everybody is going to be happy campers with a single "style" for this week in Italy -- or if some people would prefer doing lots of sightseeing to relaxing, some would prefer the privacy of a hotel or would rather share a villa, some have their heart set on seeing a Michaelangelo -- or some want Pompeii or Capri or neither.

While staying in a villa may be just the ticket, do be aware that most villas in Tuscany are not where you can walk to a restaurant at night -- which either means staying "home" and cooking or piling into separate cars with two designated drivers and heading to a restaurant (where you will have to book in advance for that size group) and driving back.

Also, with a large group with two sets of cars, it's going to be hard to coordinate sightseeing.

You might consider instead staying in a fair sized place (like Siena), or check out staying in hills above Firenze (Florence), around Fiesole -- which can be reached by cab rides and bus rides from the heart of Florence yet you are in the wine/olive hills.

But first figure out if everybody is going to Italy to spend time together in a pretty place and could care less about sightseeing or what.
stepsbeyond is offline  
Old Dec 27th, 2009, 06:07 AM
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PS: Where did you go in Italy your previous 4-5 visits?
stepsbeyond is offline  
Old Dec 27th, 2009, 09:17 AM
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Yes, I know 2 of my hotel recommendations are in Umbria - that's why I noted that they are im Umbria.
Dayle is offline  
Old Dec 28th, 2009, 08:22 AM
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But, Dayle, not everyone is clear that Chianti is a provincia in Tuscany, Montalcino is a town in the Provincia of Siena in Tuscany, and Umbria is an entirely separate regione. Especially when the OP specified Tuscany.

That said, I agree the OP might like Umbria as well -- or better -- than Tuscany.
Mimar is offline  
Old Dec 28th, 2009, 02:10 PM
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Staying in Florence might be a better option-everyone can do their own adventure. We took a daytrip with www.walkaboutpass.com
we visited Siena, San Gimanagno, lunch at an organic farm, and Pisa. It is also easy to do daytrips from Florence to any of the above places or some of the Chianti regioin.

We took a train from Naples to Florence-we also had a driver take us to the the train station in Naples-95 euro for 6 adults with luggage.
Lindateach is offline  
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