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Help with a 10 day itinerary in Italy!


Jan 18th, 2015, 04:24 PM
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Help with a 10 day itinerary in Italy!

My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon for early September in Italy. We've seen a few whirlwind itineraries but with it being my fiance's first trip to Europe, I'm looking for something a bit easier. We looked briefly at a tour company but we're pretty independent travelers and they were quite pricey. I've found a wealth of information on here from different trip reports so I really appreciate it! I've loved hearing everyone's opinion on different locations.

We're thinking of spending the first 5 days in Rome then taking a train to Naples and spending the rest of the time exploring Naples, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast. We will have 10 days on the ground excluding the travel days. We're planning to look at Airbnb and other hotel sites as most Marriotts, my preferred brand, weren't centrally located except for one in Rome.

First, are we completely insane for skipping Venice/Florence? I've seen that as a must-do on an Italy trip but I know we'll go back and we don't want to spend too much time traveling.

What is the best (in your opinion of course!) day trip out of Rome? We will go to the Vatican but I was debating if we should do another bus trip to another city.

Are open jaw tickets a must? They were pretty expensive out of Boston (approximately $400 more each). We were planning to take the train to and from Rome.

What is the best city as a "base" on the Amalfi Coast? We were planning to either stay in Naples or spend 2-3 days there and 2 days in another city.

Thank you for all of your help!
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Jan 18th, 2015, 04:44 PM
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Not insane at all, actually very sensible.
If you are arriving and departing from Rome, go directly to Naples or your base on the AC. Put time in Rome at the end where you will be catching the flight home,
Day trips from Rome: Orvieto, Ostia Antica, Florence.

I like Naples, so if you want to visit the Archeological Museum, fine. However, it is not an easy intro to Italy for some people, and you will already be spending time in a big city.
You could spend the day in Naples on the return to Rome.
If you skip Naples, you could tour Pompeii on the return day to Rome.
Sassafrass is online now  
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Jan 18th, 2015, 05:47 PM
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Agree that this is a very good plan for a honeymoon.

For staying near/at the AC you have a couple of choices depending on what you plan to see/do.

Sorrento is a larger town on the Bay of Naples that has good transit connections - train to Pompeii and Naples, bus or taxi down the coast road to the small villages and a lot of ferries/hydrofoils to Naples, Capri and down the coast. Since it is larger there are more hotels and restaurants to choose from and the center is fairly flat. The beach is not much so you need a hotel with a good pool.

The smaller towns down the coast - probably Positano or even Amalfi - are much more quaint but transit to and fro can be onerous since there is only the very slow bus on the coast road and a limited number of ferries. These town are cut into the side of a cliff and getting up and down can be many, many (hundreds) of steps.

Some beaches are OK - many are pebbles or even rock - nothing like US or Carib beaches. These towns are better f you want to stay put, relax, do a couple of hikes and can organize a ferry (but there aren;t many) to and fro Capri.

We prefer Sorrento - but we generally don;t like very small towns - and have a favorite hotel there. Also prefer more restaurants and shops and easy ferry access.
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Jan 18th, 2015, 06:47 PM
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If planning to stay in Sorrento, I suggest looking into flying in and out of Naples and proceeding to Sorrento directly, assuming the flights work out vs. Rome/Rome. On the afternoon before your flight, the train from Rome takes a little over an hour.

Sorento you take a Circumvesuviana train to Naples and from there get a train to Rome.
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Jan 18th, 2015, 07:06 PM
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RonZ,s idea of Naples RT rather than Rome is excellent!
The airport in Naples is smaller and right in the edge of the city. You can get a bus directly to Sorrento from the airport, or take a quick shuttle to the central train station or get a driver to anyplace else you want. It would be much less arduous than going from the Rome airport into Rome for the train, etc. and less costly than a driver from Rome, for certain.
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Jan 18th, 2015, 08:34 PM
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Where are you coming from?

If it's the US, there are no direct flights to Naples, but plenty to Rome. I think flying in and out of Rome may be your best choice. Perhaps you can get to Naples with just one stop, but if it requires any more than that, it wouldn't do for me.

I like the idea of two stops for your honeymoon. I don't love Naples, but I do like the Amalfi Coast area, and I agree that the Archeological Museum in Naples is wonderful. I also don't like Pompeii much; to me, although it has great historical significance, it is just too tragic. Not my idea of a honeymoon destination; more suited to a school trip.

If you want to see an ancient site consider visiting Ostia Antica while in Rome.

Also Paestum, which can work on your way to or from the AC. Fast trains between Rome and Salerno can get you within very easy range of Paestum, the Amalfi Coast and Capri.
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Jan 19th, 2015, 04:17 AM
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We're flying from Boston and have also looked at flights from Newark/JFK to see if they were cheaper. I'm going to have to spend some more time researching the open jaw tickets as they get astronomically expensive the way I'm searching. It is currently around $1300 vs. $800 round trip so we'd rather use the money touring in Italy if we have extra days available to travel. We have two full weeks off so it doesn't seem bad to spend a few days traveling.

JFK to Rome - $485 one stop, $2344 non-stop
Newark to Rome - $644 one stop, $2344 non-stop
Boston to Rome - $549 one stop, $2457 non-stop
Boston to Naples - $549 one stop, no non-stop

Naples to Boston - $726 one stop, no non-stop
Rome to Boston - $736 one stop, $2309 non-stop
Rome to JFK - $646 one stop, $2063 non-stop

Round trip - Boston to Rome - $765 round trip one stop, $1428 round trip non-stop

Another research point is the trains from Naples to Rome. I've tried exploring the UK version of the Italian train schedule but had trouble finding the approximate prices. My best estimate was around 50 euro per person. It seems like that plus another hotel in Rome would still not counteract the more expensive open jaw tickets.
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Jan 19th, 2015, 06:45 AM
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Are you using the "multi-city" tab to search for your flights rather than two one-ways? Using that function, open jaw pricing does not usually differ so widely. (However flight prices are not what they used to be...)
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Jan 19th, 2015, 07:58 AM
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My boyfriend and I did this trip in May 2013. We found really low airfare roundtrip from Newark via London to Rome, so we did backtrack a bit to make that work, but it worked out well for us:

-spent 3 nights in Rome at start of trip, visited Vatican City and the Vatican Museums, Colosseum and Ancient Rome areas, and did a lot of strolling/eating/window shopping

-took train to Salerno, ferry to Positano, stayed in Positano for 5 nights in an apartment. We loved being in Positano, walking the hilly streets, shopping at markets, eating at the cliffside and beachfront restaurants, and taking things slowly. We had daytrips to Amalfi and Ravello: Ravello was spectacular. Couldn't make it to Capri as the sea was too rough

Because we were more interested in natural beauty and coastal areas, we did not visit Pompeii, and do not regret that: it would not have worked well on this trip.

-we rented a car and drove to Naples early in the morning, which was nice to get all of those Gulf of Naples views. Train back to Rome for 1 night - I visited the Galleria Borghese (boyfriend took a nap) and attended a small opera production and had dinner. We had a nice breakfast and leisurely morning; our flight left Rome at 3:20 PM, which was slightly tight to change in London for our 6:15 PM flight home, but we did make it.

I looked up our train tickets: from Rome to Salerno we paid 81 euros for two seats, and from Naples back to Rome we paid 58 euros for two seats. Both were for FrecciaBianca trains.

We really loved our trip overall, and since we were hoping for a relaxed, romantic getaway, we both treasured the time we had on the Amalfi Coast. Both of us enjoyed our time in Rome, though neither of us would call it our favorite city, but the coast was really magical and just what we were looking for.

Have a great honeymoon!
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Jan 19th, 2015, 08:53 AM
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I live between NY and Boston also and fly to Italy once or twice a year. I like AerLingus from BOS to FCO. Stops in Dublin but it's a pretty painless flight with good times. I took that same flight the last two summers, and am booked on it in March and again in July. Haven't found anything else that comes close in terms of price and convenience.

I would go straight to Sorrento on your first day. It will be a long day but the rest of the trip will be great. You land at FCO, take the Leo Express train from the airport to Roma Termini (every half hour, takes half hour) and then get a train to Naples. You can buy your ticket from Rome to Naples when you buy your Leo Express ticket - you can buy them both at the airport train station. Once you get to Naples you go downstairs in the station to the Circumvesuviana local train to Sorrento. It's a commuter train and less comfortable (no AC) but it's only an hour and then you are there.

Sorrento is the best base since you are also interested in seeing Naples. You could stop in Naples on the way back to Rome but then you have to leave your luggage and I just find it easier to do it as a day trip even though it means taking that commuter train an extra trip (it's cheap). But by basing in Sorrento you can easily to day trips to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello by bus and/or ferry, day trip to Capri by ferry. I love Sorrento itself.

I would put your Rome days at the end of the trip so you are there the night before your flight home.

If you click on my name you'll find two trip reports to the AC (one in 2010, one in 2014) with links to my photos.
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Jan 19th, 2015, 07:16 PM
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Thanks for the help! I will check out those photos.

Is Capri a must do? I wasn't suoer excited about it from what I've read so far. I love inspiredexplorer's description of Positano, sounds wonderful!

The multi city also really cut costs. Turkish Air currently has the cheapest rates so I'm off to research that too.
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Jan 19th, 2015, 11:52 PM
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Jan 20th, 2015, 05:13 AM
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With Turkish Air you loose an entire day. Flight gets in at midnight, not 11am. Couldn't go to Sorrento that day, couldn't do anything that day. Return is even worse. Not worth $300-400 to loose two entire days of vacation - not to mention all that time on planes and in airports.

Capri is gorgeous, but very crowded during the day time with day trippers and cruise shippers. I would first visit Amalfi, Ravello and Positano, and if I had another day free consider Capri.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 05:39 AM
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"Is Capri a must do"? Not IMO. We've been on the island a couple of times, but it still doesn't grab me much. We found it very expensive and very pretentious and doesn't have that much to recommend it. There's a small over-hyped cave called the Blue Grotto and a couple of nice walks across from the main town, but still nothing that special..

The AC is much more beautiful and compelling than Capri. Positano is an absolute gem in comparison.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 06:09 AM
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I suggest you to visit Rome first and then to spend some days visiting Amalfi Coast. You can stay in Salerno or in Cetara, from there you can take a train or a bus to visit Naples and Pompei, Sorrento. I strongly raccomend to visit Capri, it's also very romantic and visit also Ravello! It's amazing!
I live not far from Amalfi coast and I can give you a list of hotels/b&b and help you to arrange your trips.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 06:50 AM
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I second the idea of flying into FCO and taking the train to Naples and the circumvesuviana local train to Sorrento. We day tripped to the Amalfi coast and Ravello by cab. Pricey, but much quicker than the bus. We went back a second day by bus just to Positano. We also took the ferry to Capri. We don't think Capri is a must, but the ferry ride was nice.

We spent a long day in Pompeii. Not for everyone, but we loved it.

Then a cab to Naples, visiting the museum there. We actually spent 7 nights in Sorrento.

We then took the train to Rome and spent a week there. Rome is full of wonderful things to see, but is also a crowded, busy, grubby city. We stayed at the Waldorf, high in the hills overlooking the Vatican. We used the Waldorf's shuttle to get closer to the tourist sites, walking back several miles most days. Sitting in the Waldorf's executive lounge was a relaxing treat. Many people would prefer to stay in a more touristy spot, but we loved the sense of being there but off the beaten track.

Our trip was much longer, giving us a week in Tuscany, a night and day in Florence, and 4 days in Venice. We flew home from Venice, which was very easy.

We felt that we could have easily skipped Venice and know that we barely skimmed Florence. If we had fewer days, we would have ended in Rome. It would have been easy enough to skip Rome the next time.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 08:22 AM
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Great honeymoon. I'd start by going to the AC--we stayed in Sorrento and found it ideal for our purposes--can easily get to Capri (f you're so inclined), Pompeii, Naples (by Circumvesuviano train) and places along the AC. But don't skip Pompeii, even if you don't have any interest in archaeology. I think I'd stay in Sorrento for the entire time rather than spending half the time in Naples proper, as cometoitaly says.

I wasn't overwhelmed by Capri, but my spouse loved it,so. . .But if neither of you finds it inviting, then don't go.

BTW--the Vatican is really part of Rome--that is to say, is so near that you can take the subway to it. Plan to go on Monday, if you're going to be in Rome on Monday--most everything else will be closed-- and buy tickets in advance at the Vatican website
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Jan 20th, 2015, 08:37 AM
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IMHO, Capri is wonderful, but day tripping there isn't the optimal way to experience the island. A couple of nights are almost necessary, I think to get to the spots that make it incredible. Capri Town is a crowded and expensive tourist destination. However, getting out of Capri Town provides opportunities to visit natural and historic wonders.

So if anyone reading this thread is thinking about basing in Capri for a couple of days or more, please don't be discouraged. I think a little sense of adventure goes really far on Capri.
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Jan 21st, 2015, 03:56 AM
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Isabel, the time to Rome on Turkish Air is about the same (15 hours) as anything except for non-stop. I haven't fully researched the multi-city to see if we can do non-stop.

I had actually hoped if we had the 15 hour layover to go outside in Turkey. My aunt did it 5+ years ago and loved it (though she is a go-go-go traveler). I tried starting another post to get more perspective on that as I know some airports are impossible to get in and out of in a reasonable time (Boston take 1-2 hours to get in and 1-2+ to get out for international flights).
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Jan 21st, 2015, 05:04 AM
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Also, the only reason I'm still favoring Naples is that they have a Marriott right in the downtown and I have a lot of points to use. I didn't see any located further down the AC so I will definitely consider splitting our time between Sorrento or Positano and Naples!
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