Italy, Summer 2019

Dec 26th, 2018, 02:48 PM
  #1  
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Italy, Summer 2019

Hello to all,

We are in the early planning of next summer's Italian vacation, and we are planning to spend a total of 19 nights in Italy, straddling June and July. We would land in Naples, spend a few nights, then rent a car and drive south through Campania, Calabria, into Sicily, ending in Palermo.

We do not have an exact itinerary yet but initially, we are thinking that it would be nice to stop for a few nights in Tropea (Calabria) and Syracuse (Sicily), among other places, of course.

- Is Tropea worth seeing? Seems to be a lovely town that has a great beach and a dramatic location
- Would you know of any other places in Campania or Calabria worth spending a few nights that has historical interest?
- In Sicily, aside from Syracuse, where else would you spend some time? How long should we give to Palermo?
- Are the Aeolian Islands worth visiting?

Thanks you very much.
AirBalloon is offline  
Dec 27th, 2018, 04:03 AM
  #2  
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Also, we would consider stopping in Agrigento, if we have the time. Thanks.

Last edited by AirBalloon; Dec 27th, 2018 at 04:16 AM.
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Dec 27th, 2018, 04:47 AM
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HI AirBalloon,

We took a Mediterranean cruise out of Naples a few years back and stayed in Naples for 2 nights before our cruise left and it wasn't long enough. Naples is really amazing so try and stay at least 4 nights. Our cruise also stopped in Palermo and we want to definitely go back there one day. From what we saw, try and stay there for at least 3 nights.

In between, I have no advice to give as I have not been. But I just googled Tropea and it does look incredible.
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Dec 27th, 2018, 08:21 AM
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Two years ago, we spent time in Castellabate and did a magnificent coastal drive to Maratea, which has a statue of Christ (similar to the one in Rio). Maratea has a famous cave that we missed, a nice old town and a waterfront marina area we enjoyed. The ride there included rare blue zone towns (Acciaroli and Pioppi), areas of the world known for exceptional individual longevity. Pioppi also had a Mediterranean diet museum. We enjoyed lunch in Pisciotta overlooking the sea. Although we saw few Americans in the fall when we were in the area, we read that Joe Biden selected Castellabate for a special birthday visit with his wife when he was VP.

I assume, if you havenít been, that you will spend time on the Amalfi coast (maybe Sorrento as a base) and visit Pompeii and Capri.

Tropea remains on our wish list, but we know that its small, magnificent beach can be very crowded in summer.

We love Sicily, and many will tell you to stay away from Taormina because of crowds (it is crowded for a reason, because it is gorgeous especially early and late day/evening when the crowds disperse). Ortigia and nearby Noto are wonderful. We enjoyed on our multiple visits Erice, Cefalu, Monreale Cathedral near Palermo and Greek ruins in Agrigento and Segesta.
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Dec 28th, 2018, 05:21 AM
  #5  
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Thank you very much for your responses.

We will skip the Amalfi Coast this time. We have been there before and we found some of it breathtaking, other parts too touristy. Also, thanks for listing the different places in Sicily to visit. We will use your recommendations and start planning. I do think we will skip Taormina as we will get our beach town fill in Tropea and will give us more time to see the historical sites and other, less touristy destinations.
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Dec 28th, 2018, 08:51 AM
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19 nights. OMG! You would have great fun there. A few years ago, I visited fantasy world Roma and fell into a love of its paintings, arts, especially pizzas. Yes, Tropea is worth seeing if you want to look at the world's most attractive bathing place.
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Dec 28th, 2018, 11:36 AM
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Etna is erupting - could be quite a sight, from afar!
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Dec 28th, 2018, 11:58 AM
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<<, I visited fantasy world Roma and fell into a love of its paintings, arts, especially pizzas.>>
I seriously need an explanation of this.
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Dec 28th, 2018, 06:00 PM
  #9  
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I am slightly confused. Are you referring to Rome or Naples? Also, I am not sure what the "world's most attractive bathing place" means?

Last edited by AirBalloon; Dec 28th, 2018 at 06:09 PM.
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Dec 30th, 2018, 02:45 AM
  #10  
TCC
 
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Have you considered detouring to Matera
We stayed at a hotel built into the Sassi, and took a fascinating tour of the Sassi some years back.
Also, very reasonably priced with very good restaurants.
It is about a 3 hour drive from Naples.

We love Sicily, and would definitely include a stay in Siracusa, specifically on Ortygia. In my opinion the loveliest place in Sicily.
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Dec 30th, 2018, 06:01 AM
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Siracusa is in Sicily, Syracuse must be in the USA
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Dec 30th, 2018, 06:23 AM
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Yes Siracusa is in Sicily, but Naples (Napoli?) is in Florida. Florence (Firenze?) in South Carolina. Venice (Venezia?) in California. Genoa is a salami (Genova?).).

Last edited by whitehall; Dec 30th, 2018 at 06:42 AM.
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Dec 30th, 2018, 07:10 AM
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Dec 30th, 2018, 08:02 AM
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Siracusa is in Sicilia
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Dec 30th, 2018, 04:03 PM
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Well, after a weekend of research and discussions, here is our preliminary itinerary (we will be renting a car and the drives between the various destinations are between 1 and 4 hours, so that is not a problem for us):

Day 1 - 4: Naples
Day 5 - 6: Matera
Day 7 - 10: Tropea
Day 11 - 13: Syracusa/Ortigia
Day 14 - 15: Cefalu
Day 16 - 20: Palermo
Day 21: Fly home

A few questions/ideas:

- We are thinking about spending an extra day in Syracusa/Ortigia and one less in Palermo if you think it is worth it.
- We intentionally left Taormina off the itinerary. Is it worth spending a night or two on the way to Syracusa?
- Matera looks so interesting but it is a bit out of the way. Is it worth it or should we add those days to Sicily?
- We would also like to visit the Aeolian islands. Should we remove time from other destinations and spend 4/5 days there?


Thanks

Last edited by AirBalloon; Dec 30th, 2018 at 04:23 PM.
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Dec 30th, 2018, 04:26 PM
  #16  
kja
 
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Hi, Andrea – With everything – and I mean EVERY thing – I know about you, I can’t imagine having come up with a more perfect plan for YOUR next trip.

I seriously look forward to hearing how you like it. Seriously!

Last edited by kja; Dec 30th, 2018 at 04:32 PM.
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Dec 30th, 2018, 04:45 PM
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Hi kja.

Hopefully, you really - and I mean REALLY - mean it!

Last edited by AirBalloon; Dec 30th, 2018 at 04:50 PM.
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Dec 30th, 2018, 05:04 PM
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I would spend less time in Palermo and consider at least one night in Taormina (allowing you a morning and evening to enjoy it without tourist throngs). Maybe one other Palermo night could be switched to Ortygia. You can’t go wrong with any of these places. We personally found Matera to be unlike anything we have ever experienced. There is a lot of walking and climbing to fully appreciate it. Many of the Bible films, such as Mel Gibson Passion of Christ and the recent re-make of Ben Hur, were filmed there, since they have to make few changes for backdrops to still look 2,000 years old. A bonus for us, because we like to hike, was an adjacent hillside of caves (including a cave chapel) where some of the populace lived at one time, and a neat rope bridge to cross a stream to get there.

We haven’t been to the Aeolian islands, but islands require a bit more time, ferry connections, etc., so you would probably have to make a major concession, perhaps giving up Matera and Tropea.
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Dec 30th, 2018, 05:28 PM
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Hi whitehall,

Thank you for your advice.

- We had one night allocated to Taormina but we felt that with the time to get to the hotel and then leaving it the next day (including loading/unloading) it just did not make sense as we would not have enough time to really enjoy it.
- We will take your advice and switch one day from Palermo to Ortigia so we will have three days in both Palermo and Ortigia/Syracusa.
- The only way we could also do the Aeolian Islands is to take away one day from Naples, one day from Tropea and not go to Matera, so to give us 4 days in the islands, including ferry times. Worth it?
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Dec 30th, 2018, 06:03 PM
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We always do a lot, most would say too much (16 countries in 30 days, 20 places in 8 days, etc., just look at our trip reports), but it depends on your travel style. We have been to Naples many times (and like its grittiness), but if you are skipping Amalfi and not going to Capri or Ischia or Pompeii?, why so much time there? I personally would rather go to Matera, but everyone’s tastes are different. It sounds like, for this trip, that the coast is your magnet. Again I haven’t been, but I think you could easily reduce Naples, Tropea and eliminate Matera to get yourself to at least one of the Aeolian Islands as a base and probably more with day trips. We recently watched on You Tube a Jamie Oliver (the chef) video showcasing food but making at least one of the islands (Salina I think) look great and not so busy. I have also heard good things about Lipari, which is fairly large and upscale, and probably a good base. If you go, I am hoping you will report back and maybe we can include some of that on our annual fall trip in 2019.
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