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Flights are booked for Italy (Rome) - Now need a plan!

Flights are booked for Italy (Rome) - Now need a plan!

Old May 6th, 2022, 07:26 PM
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Flights are booked for Italy (Rome) - Now need a plan!

So we are going to be in Italy from October 8 -22. We land in Rome around 3pm on the 8th and we return from Rome at 3pm on the 22nd. Kids are 11, 10, and 9.

We will ultimately end up in Lucca from the 16-21. Doing day trips and relaxing around there at that time.

I am thinking the 8-16 we'd probably look to be in Rome and Naples. How many nights would folks suggest in Naples or that general area? We want to take the kids to Pompeii. What other areas could we visit there? I have a pretty good handle on what we'd like to do in Rome, and I know we won't get to eveything whether we spend all of the time in Rome or carve a few days out for Naples/Pompeii. I wanted to do Amalfi coast, but I'm thinking maybe in a few years when kids are older.

Help! suggestions welcome.
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Old May 6th, 2022, 09:06 PM
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Looks like this without traveling to the Amalfi Coast. 11 days for sightseeing, 4 travel days.
October 8, arrive Italy, get into Rome from airport, get to hotel, perhaps a short walk, dinner
October 9-14, (6 actual days for Rome or Rome and Naples, sight seeing)
October 15, travel to Lucca (at least 1/2 to 2/3 day from Rome, hotel to hotel)
October 16-20 (5 actual days around Lucca)
October 21, travel back to Rome (at least 1/2 to 2/3 day, hotel to hotel)
October 22, Depart Rome for airport by 11:00 am, depending on when you need to check in and go through security for international flight.

There is a lot to see and do on the Amalfi Coast, but kids might not enjoy sitting on a bus along the Coast and you would need to check what ferries are still running mid-October. I would certainly not do Pompeii with kids as a day trip and would have to think seriously about traveling to Naples for an overnight to see Pompeii.
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Old May 7th, 2022, 06:32 AM
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Seeing Pompeii itself is about a half day. The travel and time overhead for that visit makes it seem impractical. If the kids and you are really interested in the subject, you might want to add Herculaneum ( a few hours) and the Archeological Museum in Naples. Adding them means 2 sight seeing days in the Naples region, plus a total of 2 travel half days at each end. You could gain this time by reducing the time in Lucca, but it sounds to me that you are fairly strongly committed to that part of your planned trip.

Perhaps you could fill the desire for sights of ancient Rome by staying in Rome itself and skipping Naples. There are, of course, the Colosseum, Forum, and Palatine Hill. There are guided tours available that make seeing this complex both easy and much more informative than do-it-yourself. The Palazzo Massimo has many Pompeii-ish things to see, also. Then there are other ancient sites within an hour of Rome by public transit. If you want to consider this option, it's guidebook time. My experience comes from our trip ten years ago, but ancient history hasn't changed since that time. My verbose trip report is at

The Peabody Papers: A Mostly True Tale of AJ and Mrs. P's Visit to Italy

You have plenty of planning time. We're here to help.

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Old May 7th, 2022, 09:07 AM
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It's a shame you're not flying home from Pisa or Florence as the last day getting back south will be pretty much a wash and you'll have another hotel change. Lucca is less than an hour's drive from the Pisa Airport and about an hour from the Florence Airport. Even Malpensa/Milan is slightly closer to Lucca than FCO/Rome.

If you didn't want to go all the way back into central Rome or stay at an airport hotel, you could drive to Bracciano for the last night (about an hour's drive from FCO). You could stop at the Gardens of Bomarzo on the way, either Rome to Lucca or Lucca to Rome. It would add about 30 minutes to the drive time.

https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/2...en-of-monsters

You have seven full days after arrival at FCO and your departure to Lucca (assuming you check in there on Oct. 16th). For a city with as much to see as Rome, that's not as much time as you might think. And, if there is jet lag, Oct. 9th might not be a very useful day.

If Pompeii is a priority, I'd go there as a day trip from Rome rather than change hotels again. You know your kids' energy levels, and if you think they'd be up for a long day of walking, I say go for it. You can decide at the last minute, based on energy and weather (don't go if rain is in the forecast). While the Naples archeology museum and Herculaneum could add to everyone's knowledge, I'm sure the kids would rather seek out some Neopolitan pizza. They can nap on the train going back to Rome.

If you decide the logistics and demands of a day trip to Pompeii are too much, there are a couple of easy day trips from Rome using public transportation... Orvieto, Frascati, perhaps Tivoli and Villa Adriana.
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Old May 7th, 2022, 09:49 AM
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They could even have booked going into or out of Naples and into/out of Pisa or Florence, but booking tickets before itinerary is completed, and not looking into “multi-city” tickets often creates the biggest waste of travel time for people. Most just think only of big, already known cities and think they are saving money with the RT from there, forgetting how much it will cost in time and land travel. Sometimes, people can change flights. If the OP can do that, it would allow more sightseeing time.
We have used Naples airport and find it easy to reach and easy to navigate. If I want to see the Amalfi Coast or Pompeii, I would certainly try to use Naples.
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Old May 7th, 2022, 10:18 AM
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To be fair, other airports aren't always a realistic option depending on where you live and esp. when traveling with little kids. For me, living on the West Coast, options between LAX and Pisa, Florence and Naples aren't great (usually longer flights, one or more connections, marginal airlines) and often make going back to FCO or MXP look appealing... My preference would be to build an itinerary that covers less geography and doesn't lead to "lost" days in transit.
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Old May 7th, 2022, 11:09 AM
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Jean, absolutely correct on all counts.
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Old May 7th, 2022, 02:46 PM
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Others can certainly add/subtract from this but DH and I were able to bus and train very easily from Florence and Pisa. Florence's driving zones rules always comes up. Siena is a must see but the stations are not convenient to the historic district.

A long day trip to Pompeii was possible from Rome but a visit to the archeology museum in Naples afterwards is valuable... depends upon your family.

Oops, this is the wrong thread! Sorry.

Last edited by TDudette; May 7th, 2022 at 03:13 PM.
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Old May 10th, 2022, 01:40 PM
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You might consider taking your kids to Ostia Antica, on the outskirts of Rome, instead of to Pompeii. It's a very well preserved ancient Roman port city, even larger than the Pompeii site.

We took my granddaughter there several years ago, and she was thrilled with it. I've also taken young nieces and nephews there, and it was a highlight of their trip.

I would recommend hiring a guide for the site, as the signage isn't great, and it's not easy to locate things on the map.

Most kids love seeing the bar and the ancient Roman public toilets (side by side seating!) You can also go up to the second floor of some buildings and look out of an ancient Roman window.

It's also much less crowded than Pompeii. You can get there by a little commuter train from central Rome
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Old May 11th, 2022, 04:57 AM
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We spent 4 nights in Lucca, marvelous city, not overwhelmed by tourists. The historic center still has its surrounding defensive walls. The top of the walls are very wide, 20 feet or so. You can rent bikes and ride all around--the kids will love this.

Instead of going to Naples just to see Pompeii, consider taking a quick, 1 hr train ride from Rome to Ostia to see the ruins of Rome's seaport. Different story from that of Pompeii, but still the feeling of walking through the remains of an ancient town.
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Old May 12th, 2022, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
They could even have booked going into or out of Naples and into/out of Pisa or Florence, but booking tickets before itinerary is completed, and not looking into “multi-city” tickets often creates the biggest waste of travel time for people. Most just think only of big, already known cities and think they are saving money with the RT from there, forgetting how much it will cost in time and land travel. Sometimes, people can change flights. If the OP can do that, it would allow more sightseeing time.
We have used Naples airport and find it easy to reach and easy to navigate. If I want to see the Amalfi Coast or Pompeii, I would certainly try to use Naples.
Unfortunately, the multi city itineraries were substantially worse and more expensive. and with the way prices have been rising, I wasn't sure about waiting it out any longer. The itinerary of EWR>Naples and Florence>EWR also was at different times of day, so they weren't actually saving me any real time because I'd arrive in Italy much later and need to depart from Italy much earlier, so the time was mostly a wash. The downsides of having to travel back to Rome to return to EWR were actually outweighed by the other options near Lucca.
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Old May 12th, 2022, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Jean View Post
To be fair, other airports aren't always a realistic option depending on where you live and esp. when traveling with little kids. For me, living on the West Coast, options between LAX and Pisa, Florence and Naples aren't great (usually longer flights, one or more connections, marginal airlines) and often make going back to FCO or MXP look appealing... My preference would be to build an itinerary that covers less geography and doesn't lead to "lost" days in transit.
this is what we found. there was one EWR>Naples; Florence>EWR itinerary that worked out "okay" - but it included a fairly long layover and my wife was skeptical how that would go.
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Old May 12th, 2022, 07:32 AM
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Every additional step/flight between destinations is an opportunity for delay, missed connection, flight cancellation....

But I think the bigger lesson in this exercise is that an itinerary that covers less geography means less time lost in transit, more time sightseeing. Staying somewhere in southern Tuscany, as opposed to Lucca in northern Tuscany, would make for better logistics. Are you absolutely committed to Lucca?
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Old May 13th, 2022, 02:15 PM
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Are you leaning towards skipping Naples yet? If you would like to do the Amalfi Coast another time, do Naples and Pompeii that other time as well.
There are so many things to do in Rome, between Rome and Lucca, and around Lucca, that your time will be amply filled. Ostia Antica has been mentioned. Tivoli for the Villa d’Este, Hadrian’s palace. Bomarzo monster garden. Etruscan sites. Via Appia. Nero’s Golden House in Rome.
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Old Jul 11th, 2022, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by FTOttawa View Post
Are you leaning towards skipping Naples yet? If you would like to do the Amalfi Coast another time, do Naples and Pompeii that other time as well.
There are so many things to do in Rome, between Rome and Lucca, and around Lucca, that your time will be amply filled. Ostia Antica has been mentioned. Tivoli for the Villa d’Este, Hadrian’s palace. Bomarzo monster garden. Etruscan sites. Via Appia. Nero’s Golden House in Rome.
we can cut naples/amalfi. but my wife wanted to see it and the kids keep talking about Pompeii.

Here's what I was thinking:

October 8 - land in rome, travel to Sorrento - do 3 day itinerary from Sorrento: Pompeii, Positano, and relax in Sorrento or do day trip to Capri. (like this: https://www.sorrentoinsider.com/en/e...erary-sorrento)

October 12 - 15 - four day itinerary for Rome. (https://www.ourescapeclause.com/4-da...ome-itinerary/)

October 16 - travel to Lucca, arrive at house, and relax.

While in Lucca - 1 day trip to Pisa, 2 day trips to Florence. 1 day relax in Lucca

Pros - we cover a lot of ground, but it doesn't seem like "too much" - though we will be tired.
Cons - It definitely doesn't allow for much improvising, and we will be tired.

I think if we cut out Sorrento, we'd do 5 solid days in Rome, maybe head to florence before Lucca, then do a more relaxing stay in Lucca, with just a day trip to Pisa and maybe enjoy a trip to a vineyard and some other local things to do.
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Old Jul 11th, 2022, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean View Post
Every additional step/flight between destinations is an opportunity for delay, missed connection, flight cancellation....

But I think the bigger lesson in this exercise is that an itinerary that covers less geography means less time lost in transit, more time sightseeing. Staying somewhere in southern Tuscany, as opposed to Lucca in northern Tuscany, would make for better logistics. Are you absolutely committed to Lucca?
My uncle rented a house in Lucca, and everyone is gathering there at some point - so yeah, Lucca is sorta a definite here.
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Old Jul 11th, 2022, 06:09 PM
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I like to list itineraries this way:

Oct. 8. Land FCO. Transit to Sorrento (3 trains, nearly 4 hours -or- connecting flight to Naples Airport, car service to Sorrento)
Oct. 9. Day trip to Pompeii, possibly some time in Naples (train 40 mins. to P, 40 mins. to N, 1:15 hours return)
Oct. 10. Day trip to Positano, possibly other AC towns (bus and/or ferry per timetables)
Oct. 11. Free day. Capri? (ferry per timetable)
Oct. 12. Transit to Rome (2 trains, 2:45 hours)
Oct. 13. Rome.
Oct. 14. Rome.
Oct. 15. Rome.
Oct. 16. Transit to Lucca (3 trains, 6 hours).
Oct. 17. Day trip to Pisa (train, 30 mins. each way).
Oct. 18. Day trip to Florence (train, 1:20 hours each way).
Oct. 19. Day trip to Florence (train, 1:20 hours each way).
Oct. 20. Lucca.
Oct. 21. Lucca in morning. Transit to FCO in the afternoon (2-3 trains, 4-4.5 hours).
Oct. 22. Fly home.
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Old Jul 11th, 2022, 11:04 PM
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If it were my family, I would visit Rome last as this minimises the chances of missing your flight home and avoids an extra hotel change which may arise from staying in Rome the night before your departure home. Even though Sorrento to Lucca is a long journey, I would do Sorrento - Lucca - Rome. Other than that, I think your itinerary sounds good.
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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by bradykp View Post
we can cut naples/amalfi. but my wife wanted to see it and the kids keep talking about Pompeii.
Ostia Antica is less famous than Pompeii, but in my opinion just as impressive, and a lot less crowded. There are lots of things that especially appeal to kids, like the bar (where you can stand behind the counter, as my granddaughter did, and pretend to be an ancient Roman barista). Or the ancient Roman public toilets. Or the amphitheatre, where you can sit in the seats.

It would pay to hire a guide for Ostia Antica, as the site is vast (bigger than Pompeii) and not terribly well signposted.
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