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Italy: Sorrento - Rome via Pompeii / Herculaneum / Oplontis?

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Mar 4th, 2012, 09:54 PM
  #1
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Italy: Sorrento - Rome via Pompeii / Herculaneum / Oplontis?

We will be in Sorrento for 6 nights visiting the Amalfi Coast towns, Capri, etc. We plan to do a day trip to Capri, drive ourselves to Amalfi, and also do a boat trip to Amalfi so we can see it both ways.

We definitely want to spend 1/2 day at Pompeii, and arrange for to enter some of the locked buildings with a special guide. We also want to visit Herculaneum & Oplontis.

We wonder if we should plan to see Pompeii / Herculaneum / Oplontis as a day trip from Sorrento, going back in the evening, or spend one night on our way to Rome?

Or, continue on to Rome after seeing these?

This is one leg of a 3 week trip in Italy 10-16/17 June.

Also, which grottos are the best to plan to see? Some don't have very good reviews as per crowds.
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Mar 5th, 2012, 01:06 AM
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You may be a bit exhausted after doing all three of those sites in one day. I did them with my family from Salerno as a day trip last year (rental car) and we loved it... Especially oplontis! There's no one there and the kids liked the freedom to run around. But since we did a tour at Pompeii that took almost 3 hours (which is normal, the site is the size of a city downtown! Which guide did you find?) and about 1.5 hrs walking around Herculaneum and 1 hour at oplontis. Add the time it took to drive to and find all the sites... I certainly didn't want to the drive another 2-3 hours up to rome! I say do it as a day trip. But hey, that's me.

As for grottoes, on different trips I've done blue grotto in Capri, ancient Roman grotto in Ponza, and some grottos in Ischia. They were all nice, but after you've seen one grotto.... ;-)
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Mar 5th, 2012, 02:16 AM
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We were in Amalfi Coast/Sorrento about a year ago, during the Christmas holidays of 2010. We had first spent some days in Tuscany, then drove all the way to the Amalfi Coast. One of the major roads, near Vico Equense. Traffic was easy on the coast during this period, everyone was saying how traffic is always stuck during the Summer months. But we had visited Pompeii on the morning of New Year's Eve from Vico Equense, one of the major roads was closed, and we had to pass through the centre of the small towns leading to Pompeii or Naples, like Castellamare di Stabiae (which also has some breathtaking coastal hotels) and we did really get stuck in traffic on that day we just got back in time to wash and dress up for the New Year's Eve dinner. But during that time of year there were no queues at the Pompeii ruins. To tell you the truth, I was not that impressed, they say Herculaneum is much more interesting - we did not enter the locked buildings with the special guide. But driving through the sorrento coast can be quite a nightmare believe me, if you need to pass through the small towns, motorcyclists crossing around everywhere - but if you are a good experienced driver you will make it. The Basilica of Our Lady of Pompeii is so lovely.

If you leave in the in the morning on your way to Rome, you can easily stop and visit Pompeii, unless you have a plane to catch, it would save you some driving on the same route. I would not know whether you would manage to see both, it depends on what time of year you plan to go because of queus etc, and how long you would like to stay at each place. But I guess if you leave early, you might make it to both sites and arrive late evening in Rome. Maybe you can make one site on your way to Sorrento, and the other going back to Rome.

Yes, it could be an option that you spend one night in the areaon your way to or from Rome, you could do one site one day and the other on the other day and then maybe late afternoon drive to Sorrento.

In my opinion it might be too much to do both sites in one day, too stressful, or too much to see same type of historical sites in one day. Since you would be in that area, you might also be interested in going on the Vesuvius.

We did visit the Grotta della Smeralda. It is a very small grotto, since it was Christmastime, there was the nativity scene statues underwater, which you can hardly see, and not impressive at all. The Grotto is small and cute, but nothing special. At least, we went down the lift and did not stay in any queues at all. I have seen nicer grottos in other countries for sure, but if there will not be crowds, it might be nice to stop by and visit, it is on the coast on the way to Amalfi, if I remember well it is in Praiano, a very lovely village.

Enjoy your trip, if you have any questions feel free to ask.
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Mar 5th, 2012, 02:59 AM
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We plant to visit this part of Italy at the end of the year.
We shall stay in Napoli for 3 nights (and we make a day trip to Caserta).
Then, by train we'll go to Sorrento for 5 nights. From here we'll do day trips to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Positano (each of them in a separate day). We shall travel by train or bus (bus to Positano).
From Sorrento we'll go then (by train also) to Rome for another 7 nights.

Our trip is in December and the days will be very short. It make a big difference from your vacation, which is in June. However, maybe you can find some ideas in my plans.
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Mar 5th, 2012, 03:48 AM
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If you plan to go end of the year, make sure you are on the Sorrento coast on New Year's Eve with a view to the Vesuvius, the fireworks there are spectacular, the whole of the gulf of naples lights up
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Mar 5th, 2012, 05:24 AM
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Are you staying in Sorrento or somewhere further down the coast?
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Mar 5th, 2012, 06:16 AM
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Anna_Galea, yes we 'll be in Sorrento on NYE. Thanks for suggestion. Do you know a good restaurant (maybe also with live music and dance) for the NYE celebration?
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Mar 5th, 2012, 07:27 AM
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We stayed in Vico Equense for New Year's Eve, a town around 12km away from Sorrento. We were at the Cubo Apartments, they are brand new and very high tech, and they also delivered a small breakfast to our apartment each morning. We ate there for New Year's Eve, but the food was nothing special for the price we paid for it, it was 100 Euro per person, and atmosphere was very dull. Then at midnight, we went up to the roof terrace and watched the fireworks from there. But from Sorrento you will get an even better view of the fireworks, if you stay at a hotel around the harbour, it is so beautiful there and it feels so much closer to the port of Naples. (centre of Sorrento is not that nice in my opinion. The Crown Plaza Stabaie in my opinion, we passed near it whilst doing trips to Pompeii etc) would have the most spectacular view ever, as it seems so close to the gulf of naples, yet you are not in crowdy noisy Naples port. It is on the main coast road leading to Naples. But if you plan to be in Sorrento on New Year's Eve, make sure that you are near the harbour, maybe you can book in a hotel facing the harbour or else you can book the dinner in one of the restaurants on the harbour and then watch the fireworks from the port. I am sure that most would be open on New Year's Eve. Wherever you book, make sure that you are as close to the harbour as possible, and always facing the Vesuvius. Hotel Torre Barbara in Vico Equense also seemed to have a great view to the Vesuvius, as it is directly on the coast road. A very good restaurant I would recommend in Vico Equense is called Vic's Street, and of course the Pizza al Metro restaurant which is just a few steps away from the Cubo Apartments. The best apartment of the Cubo Apartments is the very top one, as it also has a private terrace facing the Vesuvius. The fireworks are a unique experience, watching the whole harbour light up, and this goes on for quite a long time, it seems like the whole harbour is on siege. I would love to visit again.
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Mar 5th, 2012, 08:52 AM
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Thank you very much Anna_Galea for all this info. I'll have to check in internet about these hotels. Your advice about the harbour is very useful. Thanks again.
It is too early to make reservations from now, but I try to learn about best locations. Probably I'll have soon a lot of questions and hope to receive, as usual, good advices in this forum.
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Mar 6th, 2012, 07:00 AM
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You are welcome, if you have any questions about Amalfi Coast or some parts of Italy, feel free to ask.

I love Italy and these |Christmas holidays we stayed in Alto Adige, in the Dolomites, and then drove all the way to Umbria, and even stayed a couple of days in Rimini.
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Mar 6th, 2012, 07:22 AM
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It took us a significant slug of a half day even to find Oplontis. Just as at the other secondary classical sites in the area (such as Stabiae), the signing's awful, and we eventually agreed a truce that only after failing three times to find it would we give up. Driving towards the general area from the opposite direction from the one you've been trying often helps.

If anything, we probably got more out of Oplontis than either of the two towns: as close as you'll get anywhere in the classical world to walking round an 18th century stately home, only with far nicer paintings and better architecture than places like Versailles or Blenheim.

Definitely allow a full half day, allowing for finding it.
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Mar 10th, 2012, 04:41 AM
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Thank you for all the great advice. I think we are either doing Pompeii as a day trip, returning to Sorrento, or staying one night en route to Rome. We won't push it to an uncomfortable pace.

We are staying in Sorrento for 6 nights and will visit the Amalfi coast from there.

We DO want to visit Caserta, but don't know if we'll just visit the gardens or go inside too. It seems expensive, but we haven't actually looked into it in great detail.
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Mar 10th, 2012, 08:03 AM
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Since you are going to be in Sorrento, unless you are driving yourselves with a hired car, I would do the day trip to Pompeii since you would still waste a whole morning till you get the train, arrive to hotel and check-in and then go to Pompeii. Not really worth the hassle. Driving yourselves might save time and would be less stressful since you stay just for one night. Pompeii is not that far from Sorrento as it is on the Bay of Naples, not on the Amalfi Coast.

Again, if you are driving, you can easily leave early morning from Sorrento, stop at Pompeii to visit ruins and Basilica, they are very close to each other, and after keep on travelling to Rome, easily all done in one day. If staying in Sorrento, try and find a harbour hotel, the view is incredible, centre of Sorrento did not impress me at all.
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