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How Do Rome and Naples/Sorrento trains compare to other countries' public transporation in terms of safety, convenience, etc.

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Jan 15th, 2006, 08:14 PM
  #1
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How Do Rome and Naples/Sorrento trains compare to other countries' public transporation in terms of safety, convenience, etc.

I am taking my two children to Italy in June and have read a lot about pickpockets, conmen, etc. in Rome trains, busses and stations, as well as at Naples train terminal and on the Circumvesuviana. I've also read a lot about them being confusing. I am having a hard time judging these comments because, in my experience, people who never take public transportation at home or anywhere else will try them in Europe and (no surprise) find it to be seedy, dangerous, confusing, and sometimes magnify isolated incidents. On the other hand, I am a woman traveling with two young (ages 9 and 11) kids and don't want to take any silly risks. The three of us have very comfortably used public transportation extensively in Paris, London, Beijing, Tokyo and many American cities without undue concern. We take appropriate precautions with our belongings -- should we still be worried? Is Italy worse for some reason? Is it a problem just when we have luggage (e.g., travel from Rome to Sorrento)? Can someone offer some perspective on this?
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Jan 15th, 2006, 08:42 PM
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The circumvesuviana is unlike any other public trains you've probably been on: dirty, uncomfortable plastic seats, but nothing sinister. It's ridden by students and sometimes they get rowdy. Be sure to validate your ticket before getting on board. Naples isn't the most glamorous train station in the world, but it's easy to get information about trains at the information window. If you are taking the train to Rome, keep in mind that sometimes it is listed on the big board as the train to Milan. The ticket window people can help you. The train from Naples to Rome is like Amtrak: padded seats, beautiful scenery.
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Jan 15th, 2006, 09:49 PM
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I'm trying to decide if we should take a taxi (or car sent by hotel) when we arrive in Naples to get us down to our hotel in Sorrento. Is it worse to go outside the Naples station to seek a taxi or to go down to Circumvesuviana train? My kids will have their own rolling bags, as will I -- can we stay together or is it really, really rowdy and crowded?
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Jan 15th, 2006, 11:15 PM
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We rode the Circumvesuviana at noon hour -it was jampacked- and I had my pocket picked. Everyone rushed to board the train and it was standing room only for half the distance to Sorrento with bodies pressed against each other and no seats available.
I don't know about other times of the day but if you arrive at noon, and can afford it, I would recommend the taxi.
We had no trouble riding the trains between Rome,Venice,Florence, and Naples.
Only the Circumvesuviana from Naples.
We used the Circum... to return to Naples with out problem. Just be careful departing Naples on that train.
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Jan 16th, 2006, 01:07 AM
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oh, it is not that bad. I have had some pleasant rides on the circumvesuviana. It does get crowded with commuters and students and they are just being rowdy in a teenage way.

I'm sure your kids are savvy enough from their travels to hang onto their belongings and not put valuables where they can be taken, etc.

I have friends whose kids ride that train every day, alone, to and from school.
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Jan 16th, 2006, 01:47 AM
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The Circumvesuviana is a network of commuter lines that serve some very poor working class areas as well as Pompei and Sorrento. There are similar commuter lines around most big cities. The tracks are a narrow gauge, so the trains are less spacious than on many other lines. The trains used to have upholstered seats, but these were replaced by hard ones, presumably because of vandalism, but this is common on similar trains and trams elsewhere. There are trains and buses in London that can be as crowded and at least as dirty as the Circumvesuviana. Sorrento is at the end of one of the Circumvesuviana lines so there is no confusion about catching the right train. There are normally two trains an hour to Sorrento and they are usually punctual, so you don't normally have to wait long on the platform. At certain times of the day, the train will be very crowded, but most people will get off long before Sorrento, so you should get a seat for at least the last part of the journey. The line is at ground level till Castellammare then goes along the Sorrento peninsula via a series of tunnels and viaducts which give views over the Bay of Naples.
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Jan 16th, 2006, 02:28 AM
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Hi TT,

In case you decide that you do not wish to take the Circumvesuviana, we were pleased with Limousine Service Sorrento (Renato Cuomo)
Mobile number: (0039) 3391612081 - Office: (0039) 0818023037
Fax. (0039) 06233208879
www.cuomonet.it

Also consider Francesco. He has started his own business. He might give you a better price. http://www.francescomarrapese.com/

A private limo to your hotel will be about 90E.

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Jan 16th, 2006, 03:12 AM
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I was warned NOT to take the train from Naples to Sorrento for the very reasons some here mention. Instead, take a different train from Naples to Salerno, and overshoot the Amalfi Coast. Then take a bus (a somewhat harrowing ride) or ferry (much more pleasant) to Sorrento. I was only headed as far as Amalfi, so it certainly worked out well. I have a feeling it would be worth it for getting to Sorrento, even if it seems out of the way.
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May 22nd, 2006, 06:48 PM
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May 22nd, 2006, 07:50 PM
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We took the Circumv. from Naples to Sorrento. It was a very basic train, reminded me of the old NYC subway cars, not luxurious at all, it was practically empty so I didn't feel unsafe on the train (though it was me, hubby, kids 9 and 11). Getting to the Circumv. in Naples was a little bit seedy, as I remember. Then, it was very, very hot on the train, and we were miserable (this was end of June/beginning of July). It seemed to take forever. Then, when we arrived in Sorrento we couldn't find a taxi and ended up walking forever, which wasn't fun at all.

We ended up taking a taxi back from Sorrento to Naples and I was 100% happy with that decision. If I was to go again, I'd take a taxi.

I take public transportation a lot. London is worry-free to me. In Paris, I don't worry, but keep an eye out for pickpockets. I've ridden New York, DC and Phila without any worries also. Naples did concern me a little more than other places I've been...
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May 22nd, 2006, 10:29 PM
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My daughter and I will also be travelling from Naples to Sorrento in Sept. It will probably be early evening. Is the Circumvesuviana worse at night time?
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May 23rd, 2006, 12:48 AM
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I would be happy to take the circumvesuviana at any time except perhaps late at night. Yes there is opportunity for pickpockets when the trains are crowded, but that is no different to London or Paris undergrounds.
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