Help with itinerary for Italy

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Oct 7th, 2009, 10:39 AM
  #1
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Help with itinerary for Italy

I'm planning a trip for early May 2010 with my husband. We will be about 3 weeks in Italy. These are the areas we would like to see, the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, Lake Como, Venice and Rome. We're not sure which way would be best to see these places. I thought of flying into Naples, taking the bus to Sorrento and doing day trips there by public transportation.

Now, this is where I'm confused, would it be better to go from Naples to Rome (stay in Rome for 4 nights), take the train to Cinque Terre, leave Cinque Terre and then take a train to Milan, rent a car to go to Lake Como, then Venice (drop off car) and then take the train to Rome for our flight back home.

Or would it be better to go from Naples to Cinque Terre by train, we plan on staying in Levanto at Villa Marguerita, the take the train to Milan, from Milan, rent a car, go to Lake Como, drive to Venice, drop off the car, then take a train to Rome and stay there for 4 nights and then take the train to the airport. I know the itienerary is bacically the same except for visiting Rome first or last, just wondered which way would be the simpler way.

Also, I'm assuming there are trains going from Naples to Levanto or Rome to Levanto.

My husband doesn't want to do a whole lot of driving and I know we don't need a car on the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, Rome or Venice so if there's public transportation from all those places it would save on driving.
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Oct 7th, 2009, 11:13 AM
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The "best" depends on what you intend to accomplish.

The destination you mentioned are connected well by trains or buses.

What benefits do you intend to gain by driving to Lake Como and drive to Venice? If you intend to travel on your side of Lake Como, within or out, then it makes sense to have a car, but it is not mentioned in your itinerary. Visiting towns on different sides of the lake is a hassle by car but easy by boats.

Similarly, from Lake Como to Venice, is the car just a means of transportation or you intend to visit some places not mentioned in between?
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Oct 7th, 2009, 11:20 AM
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The car is really just for transportation, we plan on staying at La Pergola Hotel in Bellagio and I don't think there's any train station anywhere around there that I know of. As far as from Lake Como to Venice it would be just for transportation so I'm guessing from your comment it would be better to drop off the car and take a train to Venice.

Also, I was looking on the italian train web site, it says that Levanto takes over 6 hours from Rome, the trains must be really slow.
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Oct 7th, 2009, 12:22 PM
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Looking at the Trenitalia site, it would appear to take between 3 to 4 hours to La Spezia, with a half hour transfer onward to Levanto. The delay would appear to be at the onward connection from La Spezia; given the relatively short distance, maybe use the fastest train (3hr 5min) and taxi on to Levanto.
As there is no rail station in Bellagio, the car is useful to get there, although it can then be left in the hotel car park. Bellagio is a convenient hub for exploring the lake by boat.
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Oct 7th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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Train from Milan to Como and then ferry or bus to Bellagio. There some information on this site about places to visit on the lake. http://www.lakecomoapartment.com/places2visit.shtml
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Oct 7th, 2009, 03:01 PM
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We traveled by train last May from Salzburg to Milan to Lake Como (Varenna) to Cinque Terre (Manarola) then to Venice. From Milan you take a very short train trip to Varenna and then a ferry to Bellagio. No need for a car. We never needed a car on any of the legs of our trip and the train system was wonderful. We are going back to Italy next May and from my research we will only really need a car in Tuscany--our trip will be Rome to Positano to Tuscan countryside to FLorence. We may just train and bus it even in Tuscany.
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Oct 7th, 2009, 05:12 PM
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Macdogmom, may I ask how you're getting from Rome to Positano, I know that the train doesn't go there, I always heard you had to have either a private driver or your own car, that's why I chose to stay in Sorrento instead of Positano because the transportation was easy. Please let me know because we would rather stay in Positano. Also, where will you be staying?
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Oct 7th, 2009, 06:58 PM
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suze - You can train to either Salerno and then take the Sita bus to Positano or train to Sorrento and catch the Sita bus.
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Oct 7th, 2009, 07:05 PM
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All of the places on your list can be reached by public trans.

Naples to Sorrento, train
Sorrento to Positano, bus or ferry or private driver
Everything else, train

I'd go to Rome between Positano and Cinque Terre and then fly home from Venice.

Naples to Rome by train, 1.5 to 2 hours
Rome to Levanto by train, 3.5 to 4.5 hours
Levanto to Varenna Esino by train, 4.5 to 5.5 hours
Varenna Esino to Venice by train, 4 to 4.5 hours

Even over three weeks, this is a lot of time on trains (13.5 to 16.5 hours!), but you've picked destinations that are quite far apart. Unless you get very early starts, you're going to lose the better part of a day every time you move to the next destination. I can't think of any portion of the itinerary where a car would be preferable to train unless you could find time to explore Tuscany on the way to the CT.

FYI, the Amalfitano will not be warm in early May.
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Oct 7th, 2009, 07:15 PM
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We really appreciated having a car when we stayed in Positano. You can see the area via public transport, but it's nice not having to wait at bus stops in the rain, and driving the AC Hwy (and other area roads) certainly adds to the adventure.
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Oct 7th, 2009, 08:55 PM
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I have also read that you can train from Rome to Salerno (I think that is the correct town) and then ferry to Positano. I decided on Positano after reading many posts on Fodors reccommending Positano over Sorrento. Haven't picked out a hotel yet in Positano. Hotel California and Villa Rosa are on my short list.

I don't remember our train trip from Lake Como to Cinque Terre being as long as the numbers quoted above (although I may be wrong). Our longest trip was CT to Venice and it wasn't bad--lots to look at out the window. I think you have plenty of time to take your trip and enjoy the places you are going to. We stayed in an apartment in Venice and loved it. Also loved our hotel in Varenna-Hotel du Lac on the lake. I really liked Varenna, not as touristy as Bellagio.

Have a wonderful time. We loved Italy so much, we decided to go back next spring even though my husband has a conference in Paris our last week. Love Paris, too, though. Need to find an apartment there stat...
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Oct 8th, 2009, 04:57 AM
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If you can fly into Naples and out of Milan your schedule would work better. I would start in the south and head north.
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