Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

First trip to Italy - 25 yrs old - Help with itinerary?

First trip to Italy - 25 yrs old - Help with itinerary?

Jan 26th, 2009, 01:41 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 6
First trip to Italy - 25 yrs old - Help with itinerary?

Hello everyone!

I am a Chicago native currently living in Hamburg, Germany. I'm planning a solo trip to Italy in May/June of 2009. I've spent a lot of time browsing these forums, so I hope I am not asking about something too similiar to a previous post! Any advice, guidance, tips would be really appreciated

Day 0 - Fly into Venice late evening
Day 1 - Venice
Day 2 - Venice
Day 3 - Afternoon train to Florence
Day 4 - Florence
Day 5 - Florence w/ day trip to Siena
Day 6 - Morning train to Rome
Day 7 - Rome
Day 8 - Rome
Day 9 - Afternoon train to Naples/Bus to Amalfi Coast
Day 10 - Amalfi Coast
Day 11 - Almafi Coast
Day 12 - Bus back to Naples, Fly out of Naples

How does that sound?

Thanks in advance for any help!


jeannie0520 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 5,824
You are to be commended on the decision to go solo. I think the itinerary is very doable and reasonable. With 3 nites in each city, you will be able to see and do many of the highlights in each area. Which is obviously your objective.

The only thought I'll throw out is this. Venice is one of my favorite cities in the world. I just love it, especially when I have someone with me to enjoy its rommance. But if I were travelling by myself there, as I once did, I could get a good feel for the city and see some of the highlights in one and a half days. That would free you up for three full days in Rome where there are so many neat things to see and do. You'll have to really hustle to see a lot of that city in two full days. But if you have a passion for Venice and want to see the art in the various churches, then stick with your original plan.
dcd is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 02:56 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,572
dcd has wisdom - be sure you've studied travel DVDs and guidebooks to decide if Venice in just under two days will reveal enough to you - it might if you keep moving, and Rome is huge and you can't rush around.

But other than those considerations I think that you can have a lot of fun and learn a lot from these brief stays in the various places - as long as you prepare by reading up, so that you can grasp the essence as soon as you get there.

Try to find a copy of Tim Parks "Medici Money" - it is great preparation for Florence and, to a degree, for Rome also.
DalaiLlama is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 03:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,518
A bit tight but I like it. Especially since you start and end in Europe. Have fun !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 04:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,422

My only comment is, if you live in Europe, surely you will be able to get another trip to Italy?

Why not spend your 12 days in 3 destinations and save the rest for the next trip? You really get more for your time and money when you move around less.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 06:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,419
Good job, I think, for a first trip at that time of year. A bit rushed in Rome, but that is Okay.
Sassafrass is online now  
Jan 27th, 2009, 04:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 6
Thank so much to everyone! Your replies are really helpful. So, now I am considering hacking off one of the cities (or daying a few more days)

So now I am thinking just Venice, Rome and then some smaller areas near Naples.

I know that Venice is a bit out of the way now, but it is very cheap for me to fly there from Hamburg and I would love to see the city.

My revised thoughts are:

Start in Venice = 2 days
Train to Rome = 4 days
Train to Naples = 1 day w/ Pompeii
Train coast area = 4 days w/ Capri and Amalfi Coast
Train back to Naples = fly home

I'm a bit new to Italy's geography.. is Capri and Sorrento considered part of the Amalfi Coast? Would it be easy to take a train or bus from Naples to Sorrento or Capri and then somewhere in the Amalfi Coast area?

And just one last question! Where does one stay in the Amalfi Coast? Is there an area that is "best"? Any hotel recco's would be wonderful

jeannie0520 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 05:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,699
There is a commuter train line (Circumvesuviana) that runs between Naples and Sorrento (Sorrentine peninsula, not Amalfi coast). Travel time is about 70 minutes and cost is about 4€. Pompeii on this train line about half-way between them with the runs right across the street from the Pompeii Scavi train station. You could easily stay in Sorrento instead of Naples. From Sorrento you can catch a bus to the towns along the Amalfi coast (you can buy a day pass to use for 6€ per day). You can also catch ferries to Capri, Amalfi, Positano, Naples from Sorrento's port.

You can reach Capri from Naples by ferry or hydrofoil.
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 27th, 2009, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 5,824

I'm getting the impression you're new to this trip planning process. So I'll give you some links to sites that should help you plan.

For places to stay, tripadvisor.com is very helpful. This is a traveller to traveller site loaded with helpful info. I rely on it when choosing accomodations and have never been disappointed. This site lets you find the best bang for the buck places. Accomodations are listed under 2 tabs, one for hotels and one for Inns/B&Bs (bed and breakfasts).

For general info on the cities you'd like to visit, fodors.com, frommers.com. ricksteves.com, lonelyplanet.com are all excellent resources.

With respect to your itinerary, I'd use these online resources to read up on each city/area you'd like to visit for purposes of discovering which ones appeal most to you. Some of these sites offer a link to proposed 1. 3 or 5 day itineraries which can help you figure out how much time to spend in each destination.

If you have the option of adding more days to your trip, I'd recommend that in lieu of cutting out Florence, unless Florence has no appeal to you.

Also, the Amalfi Coast (AC) is a very romantic area where there's no A list of things to see and do. It's more of a place to soak up the ambience and enjoy the scenery. Great for honeymoons. For solo travelers, it might not hold the same kind of appeal. But again, read up on it and decide how much time you'd like to spend there.

Using the search feature on this site will lead you to many threads addressing your questions.

If you want to see Florence, I have some suggestions. First, there's a way to see the highlights of that city in one day using this company's Florence in a Day tour, which is actually 3 tours. We really enjoyed it.

Also, while Siena is a neat city to visit, it will be a RPITA getting there and then back to Florence. It might be more practical to spend the night in Siena and take the train from there to Rome.

As far as what's considered the AC, here's a map or 2:


Getting to the AC is always a challenge because there are no trains past Sorrento. So its busses, ferries and hydorfoils. See:


As far as where to stay on the AC, most people going for 3-4 days pick one city from which to base their actvities. I chose Positano because of its central location, beauty and easy access to all modes of public transportation.

Sometimes the availability of affordable lodging dictates where one stays. You're very wise to be looking into that now, as the best value places fill up fast. I'd start making reservations as soon as possible.

Through trip advisor, I found a great place in Positano which has very friendly owners, great location and a great price, Residence La Tavolozza. It's No. 1 rated on their site and comes with great reviews:

Here are some recommendations from Rick Steves' site, which includes the email address for Residence la Tavolozza which is the only way to book a room there (there are only 6 rooms available):

As far as things to do in the AC, here's one thread with some suggestions:

Many folks take a day trip to Capri although the reviews are mixed on that. It seems that it's a lot of hustle and bustle. Most recommend staying there, if possible, to get a better feel of the island.

Good luck planning!
dcd is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 07:28 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,453
dcd has given you some excellent advice.

The only point on which I disagree with him/her is the day trip from Florence to Siena. It is most definitely not a RPITA. There are express buses that take you right up into the city:

Also, getting to Rome is much easier from Florence. From Florence, there are fast trains with no stops. From Siena, you have to change trains at Chiusi.
Zerlina is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 07:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 6
Wow! Thanks so much for such detailed responses! This is extremely helpful and really appreciated.

dcd - Thank you especially. This is all very good advice. I will take a look at these links and have another think about my trip.

You are probably right on going to the AC solo. I would like some quiet coastal time as a relaxing end to my trip though. Maybe I should base myself in Sorrento for the remainder of the trips, with a few day trips to Pompeii and perhaps Positano.

Thanks again!

Day 0 - Arrive Venice
Day 1 - Venice
Day 2 - Venice
Day 3 - Train to Rome
Day 4 - Rome
Day 5 - Rome
Day 6 - Rome
Day 7 - Train to Sorrento
Day 8 - Sorrento/Pompeii
Day 9 - Day trip to AC
Day 10 - Possible day trip to ?? or random exploration
Day 11 - Train to Naples
Day 12 - Fly out from Naples
jeannie0520 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,699
Don't let traveling alone keep you from the Amalfi coast. It's not necessary to be a couple to enjoy as was suggested.

I also agree that it's very easy to daytrip to Siena from Florence (except on Sunday). You can catch a bus almost hourly and the travel time is about an hour. There is also a bus from Siena to Rome (travel time is 3 hours).

If you are planning to stay in the Sorrento area, there is no need to stay in Naples the night before to catch your flight unless it's very early. There is an airport shuttle bus that runs from Sorrento to the airport. Cost is 10E.

There is also a bus from Rome to Sorrento which lets you avoid having to change transportation in Naples. On weekdays it leaves Rome at 3, but I think weekends it's early (7am?). Cost is about 18E.

Curreri also offers a bus from Rome to Sorrento (Mon - Sat) which departs Rome at 2pm and the cost is about 15E.

Both bus companies use Rome's Tiburtina train/metro station for departures and the train station in Sorrento. Both makes stops at Pompeii Scavi also. Your luggage goes under the bus so you don't have to worry with it.
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 27th, 2009, 09:17 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,435
Hate to be the contrary voice, but I believe it would be a mistake to drop Florence. Rome, Florence and Venice are the "must-see cities" in Italy.

Unless you have some compelling reason to visit the Amalfi Coast, I would cut that instead. In lieu of that, you could take a day trip to Pompeii from Rome, or an overnight in Naples or Sorrento to see Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Naples.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 09:27 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,453
By all means, go to the Amalfi Coast if you like.

But if you take an early bus from Rome and can leave Sorrento for the airport the morning of your flight, you have 4.5 days in Sorrento, two in Venice and 3.5 days in Rome.

If you have any interest at all in art and history, I would suggest giving one of those days to Venice and one of them to Rome.
Zerlina is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 5,824
I didn't mean to imply that Jeannie shouldn't go to the AC. Only that in weighing where to go in Italy and for how long, she should consider the length of time she will need to spend in each place to accomplish her objectives.

To me, Vencie and the AC are similar in that both are beautiful, romantic and unique. But if one is on a tight schedule trying to fit in as much of Italy as reasonably possible in 12 days and doesn't mind being constantly "on the go", one needn't spend 3 days in either place to capture and appreciate their essence, if that's the objective, although 3 days in either place would certainly be nice!

Jeannie, there's no "wrong" decision here. The tough part of trip planning is figuring out where to go and how much time to spend once you get there. And making those kind of choices is usually the product of some heavy duty reading. Then you'll have a better idea of whether you want to do a mini-whirlwind seeing as much as feasible or going at a more leisurely pace which will force you to cut a city/region.

When I travelled solo, I liked to stay busy. But that's me. If that's not you and if you'll have the opportunity to travel to Italy again, it might make sense to go at a more leisurely pace, leaving some cities/region for the next trip.
dcd is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 01:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 6
Thanks all so much again! So much good wisdom

After even more thinking, I've decided to reduce the hustle/bustle and KISS-- Keep it short and simple! Now I think I will have only 3 destinations and as little travel as possible.

3 days in Venice
4 days in Rome
4 days in Capri

So I will be flying into Venice and flying out of Naples, which seems pretty easy.

I will save Florence for my next trip!

Now I will start researching hotels. I have already found some great reccos on this site. Hopefully I am booking far enough in advance if I start now for May!

Thanks again!
jeannie0520 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 04:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 134
Check www.capri.com/en/orari-traghetti for the ferry schedule from Capri to Naples as you may have a problem if your homeward flight is early morning.
auldyins is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 05:25 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 5,824
Sounds great Jeannie!

As you either have discovered or will discover, Capri ain't cheap. For lodging, time is definitely of the essence to get the place you want. We'll be staying here which, relatively speaking, is reasonable: http://www.capri.com/en/c/aiano
See also: http://tinyurl.com/cexqtj

But there are only 3 rooms.

Here's another one that looks real good;

Here's a useful site regarding the ferries and hydrofoils to Capri:

In fact, that site has other helpful info also about the island.

Things to do on the island:

dcd is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 06:43 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 6
dcd- Thanks a lot for these links. Can't tell you how helpful this is. I just looked up ferries and think I'll be okay. My flight is at 1pm in Naples.

I have definitely discovered that Capri is expensive! But I did read some great reviews on Hotel La Tosca (voted #1 on Tripadvisor.com so hopefully they know what they're talking about!) and I already check it out. They have availability on my dates for only 90 euro/night, which sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

I was thinking while there, I could do a day trip to Pompeii and maybe Sorrento. Or just stay on the island

Final question- Does anyone have any suggestions for day trips from Venice or Rome? I was thinking 3 days Venice, 5 days in Rome so a few day trips would be a nice way to break it up. I was thinking Tuscany (Cortuna) for the day from Rome.. but from Venice, I'm not sure.

jeannie0520 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422
You'll probably discover once you are in Venezia that you're not eager to leave, but if you want to get out on the lagoon, one of the most fascinating half-day trips is to the island of Torcello, reachable by vaporetto. Verona and Padova are also easy day trips by train, depending on your interests.

A simpler day trip than Cortona would be Orvieto or Tarquinia. People who can get up early also have been known to take a train to Chiusi and then a 30 minute bus trip to Montepulciano, but check the bus schedules carefully to make sure you don't miss the last one home.

Pompeii is one of the truly spectacular sites in Europe. I'm tempting to suggest that you simply give yourself a night there (or in Sorrento, which affords fairly easy access to Pompeii) , stealing a night from Capri.

If you miss it, and you are interested in antiquity, Ostia Antica is a simple commuter train ride from Rome (in the direction of the airport) and you should consider that as a day trip if you find yourself falling under the spell of ruins while in Rome.
zeppole is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:16 PM.