ITALY FIRST QUICK TRIP - Amalfi

Old Jan 6th, 2020, 08:42 AM
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ITALY FIRST QUICK TRIP - Amalfi

We will have 7 days in Italy in mid-April. I know it's not a lot of time,
but we are blessed to get those days
We are looking at staying in Sorrento, because we have
Hilton hotel points, and they look to have a lovely waterfront property there.
We enjoy sight-seeing, but we will also be coming off a week in Austria
with our three young grandbabies the week before,
so I know we will also enjoy a little relaxation time,
even if it's just sitting on the beach with a book.
Art museums are not so much our thing,
but we are definitely interested in seeing Pompeii and other sites.
It's our first trip, so would appreciate any guidance
and MUST-SEEs.
Thank you all so very much.
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 10:16 AM
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Paestum
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 10:43 AM
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From Austria, in April, I might have suggested going to someplace slightly warmer, like Southern Spain, but even there, it would not be beach weather. Mid-April can still be quite cool or nice and warm on the Amalfi Coast. You may need umbrellas, jackets and sweaters. You never know. It can pour rain in the morning and be very sunny the rest of the day. It will certainly not be beach weather, but very nice for walking and touring. Beaches are mostly rocky, not nice sand anyway.

For you, Sorrento is a good choice because things will be open and you have the points. It is also easy to go to other places from Sorrento.

However, I assume from Austria, you are flying into Naples. I recommend to stay there a couple nights to see all the things from Pompeii in the archeological museum and to go to Herculaneum. Herculaneum has many more buildings to see than Pompeii. It did not have the same destruction and has been carefully excavated, so there are many things like buildings, paintings, columns, baths, etc. in a more complete state. The site is also beautiful. Once they see it, many people prefer it to Pompeii, but I think seeing both is great. It is also close to Naples, so quick and easy to take the local train, the Circumvesuvianna. We also enjoyed seeing the underground excavations in Naples, but it is not a must see for most.

The next morning, after the day in Naples, head to Sorrento. Rather than taking time to backtrack, take the train to the Pompeii Scavi station. Store your luggage at the storage place at the entrance. Hire a guide there if you want one, or take a DIY tour. Pick up your luggage and take the train on to Sorrento. Take a taxi to your hotel.

Take a ferry down to Positano and Amalfi one day. Take a ferry over to Capri one day.

In Sorrento, we enjoy going to the Foreigner’s Club for dancing when they have a band. They play all kinds of music and people from all over go there in the evening. If you have a warm day, their terrace is spectacular. We love eating there just for the view, but the terrace is not usually open for food until it is warm. At least, take a walk there for the views.

The other absolutely most spectacular view anywhere is the terrace of the newly renovated Hotel Lorelei et Londres. They also may not be serving outside, but if they are, it is worth the splurge to sit there. You absolutely should at least walk there to see the outside of this venerable old hotel. It has a long history, was a mecca for travelers doing their grand tours, then fell onto hard times and became a Mecca for poor travelers looking for kindness, an old world feeling and good food. Then it was in shambles and closed for many years. It just re-opened last fall. Now it is 5 star modern inside and expensive. I hate that furnishings no longer seem old world inside, but it did retain all the wonderful architectural details and even the original color of the outside.
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Paestum
Yes! Forgot to include that, and Ravello.
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 10:47 AM
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You can also take a bus down the Coast. I have a personal preference for boats and water, love the views of Pompeii from the water, and hate drives on winding roads, but it would not be too crowded yet in April. You might enjoy it.
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 11:26 AM
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The Hilton in Sorrento isn't waterfront. It's actually quite a ways from the water. It's up a hill outside the center of town, going in the direction away from the water. There might be a view of the water from higher floors. I'm not sure, as I was on the ground floor. No restaurants close by. If you don't want to walk, there is a bus that stops right outside the hotel.

If you get lucky with the weather, they have a beautiful pool, if they open it that early in the year. Great but expensive buffet breakfast.
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 06:29 PM
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Uh Oh

Originally Posted by SusanP View Post
The Hilton in Sorrento isn't waterfront. It's actually quite a ways from the water. It's up a hill outside the center of town, going in the direction away from the water. There might be a view of the water from higher floors. I'm not sure, as I was on the ground floor. No restaurants close by. If you don't want to walk, there is a bus that stops right outside the hotel.

If you get lucky with the weather, they have a beautiful pool, if they open it that early in the year. Great but expensive buffet breakfast.
I made an assumption there, since I booked a Sea View Room. So now I'm re-thinking! Thank you for letting me know this.
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 06:40 PM
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I thought I posted this but I can't find it now, so excuse if it ends up a double post. I appreciate you guys' help on Naples, Sorrento,etc.
May I ask your thoughts on whether you would recommend Florence for that time frame instead of Naples/Sorrento? In my head we were right on the beach, since I requested a Sea View room, that's on me for not doing more research.
How much is there to see up in Florence area? We are flying out of Rome to come home, so we're pretty flexible.
Thank you again for your wisdom and expertise.

Tammy
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 06:55 PM
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They are entirely different experiences! And each can be wonderful.

To me, a visit to the Amalfi Coast allows a potentially delightful combination of gorgeous (as in jaw-dropping) scenery, some amazing Greek and Roman ruins, some stunning cathedrals, truly lovely gardens, etc. And maybe some time in fascinating, dynamic, energetic Naples.

To me, a visit to Florence is first and foremost about Renaissance art and architecture -- a glorious array of it! I must admit that I haven't visited the Tuscan countryside -- I spent 5.5 days in Florence, without finding time to step outside the city.

If you don't already have one, I'd recommend consulting some good guidebooks.

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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 08:17 PM
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We love the Hotel Minerva up on Via Capo. No, it is not in the city center, but it is walkable and there are shuttles. It also is not actually on the water, but this hotel has incredible views of the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius in the background. The hotel terrace is lovely. I just checked and it seems most places have opened their terrace restaurants by mid-April so there are places to sit and linger. Highs will be high 60s, perhaps up to 70, so you should be comfortable with a sweater or shawl. Also, all the fruit trees around Sorrento will be blooming and the smell of orange and Lemon blossoms will fill your senses. While the renovated Lorelei is out of my budget now, if you are seeking views, go to their terrace and have lunch or a drink and relax. I was lucky enough to stay there many years ago, before they closed. When I stepped onto the terrace and looked at the view, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Then We stayed at the Minerva and knew it was true. So, Personally, I would probably keep your trip to the AC and look for a hotel with a view. They do exist, even in Sorrento.

You could also stay further down, actually on the AC, in Amalfi or Positano. There are other highly recommended places further South, but I have no first hand knowledge of them. Don’t give up on the AC or Sorrento.
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 08:25 PM
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I must apologize to you for my weather advice. Though it is first hand from three trips in early to mid-April, it seems there is a pretty rapid change from beginning to end of April, so you will likely have much warmer and drier weather than I did. Stick with your plan.
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 04:26 AM
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I think how you will find Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast will depend on exactly when you are going, as well as the weather. I was there in late March and lots of stuff was not yet open for the 'season', a lot of small construction projects/repairs/painting, etc. I had just been the previous July so it was obvious what a difference it made. Less crowds sure, but different feel and less choice of eating/shopping/etc. Several people mentioned things tended to open after Easter. So mid April could be better, or still on the edge. In terms of weather, again, by mid April your chance of good weather is better than late March, but not by much. I had some glorious sunny warm days but also some horrible cold rain and there is nothing to do in that area in the rain. (Other than a day trip to Naples). Also you should check when the boats start running from Sorrento to Positano/Amalfi. The buses run year round and that ride is incredibly scenic but the boat is nice too. So for all those reasons Tuscany might be better for that time frame. I love the Amalfi Coast, but it's more of a gamble in April. For Tuscany you could base in either Florence or Siena (and do a day trip to the other) and do some day trips to smaller villages. If the weather is bad though there is more than enough 'inside' sites between churches/museums/shopping. And you don't have the issue of it being 'not in season'. For me I know it would be a tough decision.
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 02:31 PM
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Seaside hotels and restaurants in Italy are usually open for Easter, so at the end of April, everything should be open.

If your main goal is relaxation, Sorrento is a better choice than a Florence.
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by bvlenci View Post
Seaside hotels and restaurants in Italy are usually open for Easter, so at the end of April, everything should be open.

If your main goal is relaxation, Sorrento is a better choice than a Florence.
Ok Friends,
How does this sound? We will fly into Naples April 11, so the day before Easter.
We will bus?train? how does one get from Naples to Sorrento? We will stay there
a few days and make that be our home base.
We will go to Pompei, the Amalfi Coast?, any tours or suggestions?
We will go back to Rome about 36 hours before we fly home, so we will
have one solid jam-packed day to see a couple things. Any suggestions there?
I know this is vague and pretty non-descript, but I covet your advice.
Thanks so much!
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 07:42 PM
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Please tell us: What guide books or other resources are you using to plan this trip?
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
Please tell us: What guide books or other resources are you using to plan this trip?
I am reading Rick Steves as my main guidebook but I value the opinions of the folks on this board as well.
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 08:34 PM
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Oh, please get, or consult, at least one other guidebook! The RS one covers SOOOooooo little....
(P.S. -- you can consult guidebooks at your local libraray or book store. And BTW, thanks for answering!)
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
Oh, please get, or consult, at least one other guidebook! The RS one covers SOOOooooo little....
(P.S. -- you can consult guidebooks at your local libraray or book store. And BTW, thanks for answering!)
I will do that. Do you have a recommendation ? Thank you!
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 08:51 PM
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As I recall, I found the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet particularly useful. And IIRC, Fodors and Frommers were also much more informative than RS. I think you will find benefit from almost any of them! There's so much to enjoy in the area that it strikes me as a shame when people miss things simply because they don't know of their opportunities.
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 11:35 PM
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Rough guide for Italy, at >1000 pages is a fantastic resource. Possibly a bit daunting but seriously good research .material.
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