Italy Sept 2004 - Itinerary Qs

Jan 3rd, 2004, 11:56 AM
  #1  
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Italy Sept 2004 - Itinerary Qs

My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy for Sept 2004 for 14 days (includes travel days). We are 32 and are interested in the natural wonders of Italy, and also the historical sights (not so much the art).

Here is my first shot at an itinerary:

Sept 1 Leave CHI
Sept 2 Arrive Venice
Sept 3-4 Venice
Sept 5 Pick up car in AM, drive to Cinque Terre
Sept 6 Hike CT
Sept 7 Drive to agrotourism in Tuscany
Sept 8-9 Explore Tuscany
Sept 10 Drive to Rome, drop off car (where?)
Sept 11-13 Rome, one day trip (via bus?) to see Pompeii
Sept 14 Leave Rome for CHI

1. Critiques of itinerary are welcome. Nothing is set in stone yet.

2. Car from Venice to CT a good idea versus train? (Seemed more economical and less hassle than train, and we've driven in europe before (spain)).

3. Suggestions as to where to drop off car (Rome area) would be great.

4. I realize a day trip to Pompeii is a lot from Rome, but I have wanted to go there for as long as I remember, so I really wanted to include it. Suggestions in this area would be great.

Thanks in advance.
deanna is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2004, 12:41 PM
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Deanna, Good start on a nice trip. Yes, I would drive to CT--the best way is via Parma. Drop the car at Orvieto--spend 2 hours there--then 1:10 by train to Rome. I would select a place near Siena or south for Tuscany.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2004, 12:46 PM
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LJ
 
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Others will jump on board for critiques of "doability" of your itinerary, not my strength. However, allow me to jump in with a reccomendation for those who are into natural beauty and hiking and history as it seems you folks are.

Do consider the Abruzzo. Currently, we (North Americans in our early 50's) are living and working here and admittedly are prejudiced. You just can't beat this area for the untouched, untouristy beauty of the surroundings. We have the Adriatic at our doorstep and the Appenines Mountains with the Abruzzo National Park at our backs. We were hiking Gran Sasso and the Miele over the Christmas holidays with our 21 year old daughter who was equally swept away. If we had gone further up, we could have skiied, but preferred the fantastic trails and amazing vistas of Scanno, Sulmona, Popoli. Spent one glorious 5 hour hike with trailside picnic without seeing another soul, but lots of eagles, wild horses, boars and giant hares.

Then, at night, back home in Lanciano, ancient city about to celebrate its 1500th birthday(or Chieti or Pescara or L'Aquila) great food and fine local wines.

Ane then there is Puglia...but thats another story...

In short, if you are into hiking etc, do think about venturing off the big city highlights. Italy is so much more than its cities...
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Jan 3rd, 2004, 01:41 PM
  #4  
ira
 
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Hi
Take a look at www.enjoyrome.com for your Pompeii trip.
ira is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2004, 02:29 PM
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If you really want to go to Pompeii, I can't imagine that you'd miss out on the Amalfi Coast. IMO, it is far more beautiful than anything I saw in my brief visit to the Chianti region in Tuscany. Although I'm not a fan of doing too much in too little time, maybe you could take a day away each from Venice and Tuscany and spend two nights in Sorrento. From there you could do a day trip to Pompeii and a day trip to Positano and Ravello. Just something to think about. Sounds like a great trip!
coffeeaddict is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2004, 04:07 PM
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Thank you all for your responses.

Bob -- I'm glad you approve; I've enjoyed reading your suggestions and opinions on this site. Question, though. Orvieto seems kind of far from rome...was hoping to avoid the cost of a long train ride. Why do you suggest that town as opposed to one closer?

LJ, your description of the Abruzzo region pulls at my heartstrings...but unfortunately, I have to limit myself -- only so much time and money. We plan to return to Italy for a trip to the southern part of spain, and I will definitely include Abruzzo in that one.

Ira, thanks, I'll check that site out.

Coffeeadict -- I know, I know, I wanted to do the Amalfi Coast too, but as I stated earlier, I just can't fit it all in. Next trip for sure.
deanna is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2004, 05:51 PM
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Deanna,

If Pompeii is a must, (and it is really something!), why not consider skipping CT and spend that time in the Pompeii/Sorrento/Amalfi area? You can do CT next time. You'll still see some beautiful seascapes. Pompeii as a daytrip out of Rome makes my head spin, especially going by bus. Sorrento is very beautiful...and a boat trip out to Capri is very nice.

OR....get up really early the last day in Tuscany, keep your car--and drive to Pompeii. If you have the energy, drive to Rome after seeing Pompeii, or spend the night somewhere inbetween, and leave for Rome early next morning and turn in your car. You'll get to Pompeii faster, and back to Rome faster than you would if you take the bus.

Good luck and have a wonderful time!
Dog_Mother is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2004, 06:11 PM
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Do you want to drive into Rome? If not, that is closest car drop other than the airport.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2004, 09:30 PM
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Deanna,

my best suggestion would be to drive to Florence after Tuscany, and drop off your car and take the train to Rome. Or, drop off the car somewhere in Tuscany or Umbria and take the train to Rome. You REALLY don't want to drive in or out of Rome if you can avoid it.

Regards,

Melodie


wlzmatilida is offline  
Jan 4th, 2004, 12:27 AM
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Lordy, whatever you do don't take a day away from Venice--I was going to suggest that you add a day to this most unique of world cities. We spent 4-1/2 days in Venice a couple of years ago and didn't even have time to see the Accademia and Guggenheim museums or visit any of the lagoon islands.
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Jan 4th, 2004, 12:48 AM
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LJ
 
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OK, Deanna, I give up on your trying to integrate the Abruzzo region this time around but I am glad if I have planted the seed for another trip.

Do listen to Dogmother re: Sorrento, Positano et al combined with Pompeii (versus CT): this works well with a stop in either of these lovely coastal towns. You could even add a side trip to Capri which is charming. We recently did this in a one-night/ two day trek and had 4 hours in Pompeii (which was probably one hour too long in the heat...). The Hotel Michelangelo in Sorrento is excellent value for money and very well-appointed: ask for a top floor room for the views.
LJ is offline  
Jan 4th, 2004, 05:02 AM
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Interesting itinerary because it is the same length as ours, but very different. Personally, I think that you are running around far too much and are going to spend too much time traveling instead of being somewhere. The difference between Ostia Antica and Pompeii doesn't seem to me to be worth the 4-5 hours extra travel. It will be one killer daytrip! Also, by the time you pick up a rental car and drive from Venice to CT in a jump, you have wasted almost an entire day of your trip.


We dropped CT from possibilities as soon as we realized that we would end up running all over Italy. I find it humorous that people are actually suggesting that you add, rather than to subtract, from your trip.

We also don't see the need for a car at $120+/day (rental, gas, tolls, parking) and $60-120 dropoff fee. Especially when you plan to let it sit idle in CT for a day. Also, if you haven't driven in Europe before, you can't conceive of the problems you are going to face. It's not like driving at home. At the very least, you should brush up on your Italian for, "Help. I'm hopelessly lost" and "Could you please remove your car from on top of mine?"

I'd rather spend the money on food and accommodation rather than to trade it for the benefit of traveling when I want rather. Consulting the bus and train schedules is not that hard and there are few places that you can go in a car that you can't go on a train or bus. At most, your plan really only needs a car for a couple of days in Tuscany. (Driving to Rome asking for trouble.) Americans automatically assume that cars are the only way to travel and fail to give sufficient thought to doing it the European way - public transportation. We were going to drive, too. But the more we thought about it, the more we realized that it wasn't the "better way." (A little TTC humor.)

kbrown is offline  
Jan 4th, 2004, 06:40 AM
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I'll add my vote to Dogmother and LJ about the Amalfi coast versus CT. The Amalfi coast really is a better 'fit' for your itinerary, given that you really want to see Pompeii.

Consider taking the train and a very regular bus to Siena from Venice, and base in either Siena or San Gimignano. The agriturismo/car idea sounds great - but you only have 2 full days in Tuscany, barely enough to do the aforementioned two places. Both are connected by bus, which follows a very picturesque route. Come back and do 'car-hiking' in Tuscany when you have more time. This would also be the trip to do time in the CT.

On the current trip, you could then bus from Siena to Florence and take the super-fast Eurostar train down to Naples and thence to Sorrento. With 2 nights freed up from the CT, you've got 2 nights in Sorrento before returning to Rome. Sorrento can be your base for the Amalfi coast. You could do Pompeii en route back to Rome, if Rick Steves is correct about a bag check in Pompeii.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 4th, 2004, 11:06 AM
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Thank you again, everyone, this is really helpful.

1. No, don't want to drive in Rome, so Orvieto it is.

2. To those who are suggesting Amalfi instead of CT, I'm not sure how that'll help my itinerary...we like beaches as much as we like hiking, so I'm open to the idea, but it just seems like I'd be replacing one with the other...Dogmother, LJ, Sue -- can you tell me how this would help?

Maybe I should just skip Pompeii -- would that do it?

kbrown: we've driven in europe before (spain) and didn't have any problems. I guess as far as the cost goes, I looked on autoeurope and found a car for about 40 EUR per day(includes taxes and insurance) and compared it with train tkts (40 EUR each from Venice to Genoa), and decided to pick up the car in Venice rather than waiting til we go to Tuscany ...Perhaps I'm underestimating the tolls in Italy? I understand they're high, but the website that would give me exact amounts (autostrade.it) is down, so I don't really have a clue. Do you (or does anyone) know, for example, what tolls would be from Venice to Genoa? What about driving within Tuscany?
deanna is offline  
Jan 4th, 2004, 12:36 PM
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Hello again Deanna.

If you're driving a trip planner like viamichelin.com will be a big help, it will also give you the tolls. It gives time in hours from Venice to Monterosso in the CT as just over 4 hours and the toll is £11.38 (they've recently changed the site and I'm still learning how to get them to list the tolls in other currencies.) It's another 3 hours and £4.72 toll to Siena from Monterosso.

If you really want a beach, you should know that depending on surf conditions, only Monterosso might have much in the way of sand. Don't expect a beach a la Florida - the CT's beaches, while charming, are tiny. In all conscience I would say you go to the CT to see cliffs and villages, not beaches.

I guess it does make some difference if you're not going to Pompeii and you really, really want to see the CT. I was steering you to the Amalfi coast because it involves roughly the same length of detour as your loop from Venice to Tuscany via the CT, but it would offer both cliff scenery and Pompeii. Also, you would have a few more options if the weather didn't hold up. Good luck with your decisions.



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Jan 4th, 2004, 12:44 PM
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ira
 
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>To those who are suggesting Amalfi instead of CT, I'm not sure how that'll help ...<

As Sue mentioned, it fits in better with Pompeii.
ira is offline  
Jan 4th, 2004, 03:54 PM
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Hi, Deanna

Amalfi/Sorrento is ONLY suggested in order for you to get to Pompeii and still see some beautiful coast lands--

If you can give up Pompeii, then there is no way any of us would suggest Amalfi. Pompeii is the kicker in your schedule, if you don't give up something.

You are SO young...just trust that this will not be your only trip to Italy, and take in fewer places. Without Pompeii, you are still jumping around a lot. We have made this mistake (to lesser and lesser extents) all three times we have been to Italy. We have finally gotten to the place where we THINK we can go for two weeks and stay in one or two places and that is it!

Do a lovely northern Italian trip--and fit Pompeii into your southern Italian trip in the future.

Also, I believe you will wish you stayed one day longer in the CT. We stayed there for only 2 nights last year, and we have regretted not staying longer.

For every person on Fodor's, you'll probably get a slightly different opinion on how to spend your time.

Please let us know how your trip ended up--we'll be watching for your report this fall.

DM
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Jan 4th, 2004, 04:34 PM
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DM -- Ahhh. I see. OK, I'll drop Pompeii (sob!) On our trip to Spain I did the same thing -- had us traveling tooo much -- and we were both tired by the end. I don't want that to happen again.

Thank you, Sue, for the Michelin site. It's just what I needed.
deanna is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 04:09 AM
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You found a car for 40E/day from Autoeurope? This seems impossible. It runs contrary to everything I've read posted here as well has my pricing of Auroeurope and every other car rental agency. Something doesn't compute.

I'd love details of how you got that rate? Have you actually booked it? Note that Autoeurope doesn't tell you about dropoff fees until after you have booked. It will likely cost you a bundle. And you probably are underestimating the tolls.
kbrown is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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kbrown,

Maybe you're looking at a nicer car than we are. The one I'm looking at is the economy, manual.

I doublechecked the rates -- plugged in Sept 4 - 10 pick up in Venice, dropoffi in Florence (Not at airport at either of these sites). Rate is 303.06EUR -- that's about 43 EUR per day. I realize the dropoff fee may be $70 or so.

This rate seems to be consistent with other things I've read on this sit.

To quote StCirq: "If you must have an automatic, your rental fees in Europe are always going to be high. That said, $450 for a week is about twice as much as we've paid for rentals of a mid-sized car in Italy. You should be able to do better than that with a lease."

That's in this thread:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...ar+rental+cost

Other threads:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...ar+rental+cost

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...ar+rental+cost

Maybe I'm missing something. If I am, let me know.
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