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Napoli logistics

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Mar 2nd, 2015, 06:41 PM
  #1
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Napoli logistics

I'm all booked for three weeks in Italy this August / September, with a focus on Naples (solo), Venice, and Florence (both with friends).

I could use some help in deciding what is realistic for Naples. I am currently looking at either two nights Rome (for jet lag recovery) and six nights in Napoli, or three nights in Anacapri and five nights in Napoli.

1. Rome Fiumicino to Anacapri.

I've mapped out the bus / train / ferry schedules, and understand that it takes three to five hours. I land in Rome mid-morning, and in theory I could make it to Anacapri by mid-afternoon & take it easy for three nights. Which sounds lovely.

I know it's doable. My question is: is this a stressful trip with all the connections, or relatively straightforward?

The other option is to rest in Rome a few nights prior to Naples (good), and only do a day trip to Capri (not good).

2. Napoli proper.

There is just so much here that I can't really comprehend it. Would 2 1/2 days for the city itself do it a slight bit of justice?

3. Campi Flegrei

I've seen itineraries for independent travel here that involves a train to Pozzouli, a bus to and from the Phlegrean fields, a train to Baia, a bus to Cuma (cave of the Sibyl), then a bus back to Pozzouli.

The writer makes it sound so easy, but I am suspicious ... is this a realistic day? I speak enough Italian to get by, but I find the bus system in most Italian cities to be remarkably opaque. I'm suspicious of any itinerary that involves a lot of buses.

________________________________

Otherwise, I have a full day set for Pompei / Torre Anunziata / Ercolano; and a day trip to Paestum would work if the Campi Flegrie itinerary is too much of a hassle.
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 07:11 PM
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Regarding gettng to Anacapri, you have to factor in the possibility your flight could be delayed and arrive late.

That would be much less of a problem if you landed in Rome and went directly to Napoli.

How much time you might "need" for Napoli really depends, I think, on how much you are interested in the Capodimante museum and the churches of Napoli. If your interest in either is low, than I think 2.5 days could probably work. If your interest in art is very high, then Napoli will keep you fascinated for as much time as you give it.

All that said, I have been taken aback when I have looked at guidebooks for Napoli and see what they list as the "top 10" or more attractions. The list very often includes some exceptionally dull sights (like the 2 castles by the port, the Galleria, the piazza del Plebescito, and I happen to think that the Duomo in Napoli is the very least interesting or attractive church in Napoli. I also think the paid Underground Tour is only marginally interesting. I would very much encourage you, if you are interested in art and architecture, to see (in addition to the archeological museum and the Capellla Sansevero, and Castel Sant'Elmo), the cloisters of Santa Chiara, the museum Capodimonte, the churches of Sant'Anna dei Lombardi and San Giovanni a Carbonara).

But if you are not so intersested in art and architecture, the food markets, streets and general life of Napoli is marvelous, and so are Pompei and its surrounds. Sorry I can't help with Campi Flegri.
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 07:12 PM
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I meant to mention that the opera house interior in Napoli is quite wonderful and easily seen in a 30 minute tour.
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 08:06 PM
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I think we have similar tastes - the standard Top 10 don't appeal to me as much as the other museums and churches you names (and Sant'Anna dei Lombardi and San Giovanni a Carbonara are new to me). Though I have high hopes for the Underground Tour ... I'll need to keep researching that one. It sounds like there are a couple different ones out there.

Delayed flights are an issue, though. It might make sense to head straight to Naples for 4 1/4 days, have three days relaxing in Capri, and then heading to Venice. That's still a longish travel day, but there's more margin for error.
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 08:46 PM
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I would add the Pio Monte della Misericordia, San Gregorio Armenio, the Certosa of San Martino, the Bourbon Tunnels, the bookstores in Porta Alba, the Galleria di Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano, the church Purgatorio ad Arco and Palazzo Reale.

I think Castel Nuovo is interesting for its necropolis, bronze door and chapel. Piazza Plebescito has the beautiful church of San Paolo. The views from Caste dell Ovo's terrace are worth the trip along the Lungomare (it's free).

I think your time in Naples is woefully short and Capri is beautiful but hey - four nights is more than enough IMO.
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 08:48 PM
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Anybody interested in spending more than half a day in Napoli has tastes similar to mine!

Yes, there are at least 2 underground tours, and I only took the paid one near the Gregorio Armeno. It wasn't skimpy, and it wasn't the kind of experience you end up thinking "it's a rip off". My expectations of it being more revealing of history dating back to the Greek founding of the city weren't met (and maybe I should have read more). The guides were quite eager to make it interesting and well-informed. But if you are at all interested in great European painting, the Capodimonte has a fantastic collection. And you will probably bump into no more than 10 other people there.

Depending on where you are coming from and the train connections, it's not too bad to get from FCO-Rome airport to Napoli. Thirty minutes from the aiport to Termini Station, and then a one-hour fast train from there to Napoli Centrale.
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 08:48 PM
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Just to add the public transportation around the Pozzuoli area is good. Try to visit Cape Miseno if you can. A very unusual view of the Bay of Naples.
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 09:17 PM
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Blueyedcod was typing at the same time that I was, and the church in the piazza del Plebescito is the church of San Francesco of Paola. The bronze doors of the Castel Nuovo -- which are quite fantastic -- are reproductions, with the originals being in the Palazzo Reale.

By omitting the names of many of the churches Blueyedcod mentioned I was suggesting you not go but figured they were already in your guide (however I am still a naysayer about piazza del Plebescito, but it practically can't be avoided). Bourbon Tunnels might be more fun that then underground tour I took. And the book sellers at Porta Alba are atmospheric.
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Mar 2nd, 2015, 11:40 PM
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"I land in Rome mid-morning, and in theory I could make it to Anacapri by mid-afternoon & take it easy for three nights. Which sounds lovely."

In general, I'm all for moving as far as one can upon arrival. That said, as others have mentioned, you run risks associated with both the airline and ferry schedules, so moving your time on Capri to a later time might make sense. But if the timing works, moving on to Naples that day makes a LOT of sense to me!

"only do a day trip to Capri (not good)."

I agree - Capri is MUCH more enchanting after day trippers leave! FWIW, I saw everything I wanted to see on the island in a very intricately timed stay of just one night; I would think 3 nights would give you the opportunity to see what you would like to see at a reasonably relaxed pace. But do check the timing against your own interests before you commit!

" Napoli proper.... Would 2 1/2 days for the city itself do it a slight bit of justice?

I gave it only 2.5 days, and definitely regret it! I look forward to finding a way to revisit Naples and giving it more time.

"Campi Flegrei ... a day trip to Paestum would work if the Campi Flegrie itinerary is too much of a hassle."

I skipped Campi Flegrei, and so can't speak to it. I adored Paestum (the ruins, its small, but outstanding archeological museum, and the fresh buffalo mozzarella. And with many routes to Paestum, you might also be able to visit vastly underrated Salerno on the way there or back. Bonus!

"I have a full day set for Pompei / Torre Anunziata / Ercolano"

I visited Pompeii and Ercolano on the same day from Naples -- and it was a VERY long day! Given my interests in Pompei and Ercolano, I can't imagine a way that I could have fit anything else into that day. YMMV.

FWIW, of the half-dozen guidebooks I used when planning my time in the area, the Rough Guide was BY FAR the most useful.

Enjoy!
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 12:48 PM
  #10
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What great advice. Thanks.

It does make sense to "move as far as one can upon arrival" (kja), so I think I will adjust my reservations to spend the first six nights in Naples (so, arrival day, two days for the city, two days for day trips, one day open to whatever).

I'll have two nights left before I meet friends in Venice. Maybe Capri ... though now I want to research more about stopovers between Naples and Venice instead, and arrive earlier in the day in Venice. I love planning, so this will be fun (Vicenza, Ferrara, Ravenna, Padova, Parma, Mantova ... I've got some reading to do!).

I'd really like to visit Villa Poppaea near Pompeii, for the wall murals. Given how slow I move (or rather, how long I linger over coffee, and lunch, and an afternoon drink at a random cafe), I might need to break Pompeii / Torre Anunziata / Ercolano into two days.
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 01:23 PM
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michael - so far, so good with your planning i think but the Pompeii/Ercolano/etc day leapt out at me. we were in Pompeii in February and it was quite hot then, so i shudder to think about it in August. And the Circumvesuviana trains that get you there are very old-fashioned - no air con that I can remember.

so you might like to think about going to just one places very early in the day, then getting back to Naples for a siesta/swim if you're lucky enough to have a hotel with a pool before venturing out later on to see more or Naples, preferably to a nice cool air conditioned museum!
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 01:40 PM
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I visited the Campi Flegrei and Lago Avernus by taxi. I think the cost was about $50, but it was over ten years ago. Baia and Cuma were both closed because of a strike, so I have to go back. I think I could spend a month in Naples and environs.
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 04:15 PM
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Perhaps I look at Naples in a different manner as do most of you. I go to Naples often, so I have a somewhat different take on the city. When I go to Napoli, I go for an extended time, so all these "sites" mean nothing to me. Invariably, I just take a long walk along the main avenue, and I always end up with a new experience, things that I believe only happen in Naples. Just go with the flow. One great thing I have never seen written in these posts is just getting on a bus and taking a ride. The most thrilling ride I have ever taken was on Bus number 32 in the Piazza Garibaldi, and riding along Via Petrarc and beholding the most glorious site in the world! The view of the Bay of Naples, with Vesuvius in the background. There are countless photos of this view, but to see it in person takes your breath away. It is really unbelievable. The panorama is so large that it makes you feel insignificant and puny. Walking into San Carlo is another experience. You can't get that feeling if it's planned, you just gotta do it. There is no other way to take in Naples than to JUST DO IT. By the way, Campli Flegrei is a complete waste of time. You wanna see Naples, GO SEE NAPLES!!
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 04:30 PM
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Campi Flegrei is a waste of time? Hardly.

The major sights there can be seen in a short time. The Solfatara is a quick walk around - it's a volcanic caldera with steam, bubbling mud and a Star Wars landscape. I have no idea why people visit Vesuvius when this is infinitely more interesting.

The Flavian amphitheatre is better than the Colosseum - in terms of its underground anyway. You are not corralled in a small section - you are free to roam - even into the dark passages so bring a torch.

The Castle at Baia has an archaeological museum with numerous finds from the underwater park

Finally, Piscina Mirabilis is only open by appointment but to think it lies under suburbia but was built by Augustus is astonishing.

That's just a small sample of the area. It's far from a waste of time.
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 05:13 PM
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What a great trip! I like that you're focused on Napoli as my husband and I love that city.

My husband's highlight last year was the trip to Pozzuoli. Where else can you see such clear evidence that you're standing in a giant caldera? He's a geologist and describes our day there as a pilgrimage.

It was very easy to get the train to Pozzuoli. We got on at the Montesanto station. You get out a block or two from the Temple. The amphitheater was closed the day we were there (Note: check the schedule!) but we looked through the gates and it did look interesting. It was also a short walk uphill from the train station. So...go there!

We also love the art museum in Naples. It's one of my favorites. We stayed twice at a really affordable hotel across the street from Santa Chiara called Meuble Santa Chiara: http://www.santachiarasuite.com/

I agree with those who say you should go straight to Naples when you land. And if you spend a day or two elsewhere on the way to Venice - wow - so many great options!
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Mar 3rd, 2015, 05:14 PM
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"I'll have two nights left before Venice. Maybe... "

That didn't take long: Padova.

"I think but the Pompeii/Ercolano/etc day leapt out at me ... "

Yeah. Sigh. And I realize that I am totally kidding myself that I could pull that all off in a day. It took me a full day to do a 'half-day' trip to Ostia Antica outside Rome. I always over plan, and then end up doing half of what I actually planned to do. Which I'm ok with.

@ Waldo - I have six days, and no one is suggesting to cut it down. I think that it's pretty much implied that there will be enough time to just wander and explore.
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Mar 4th, 2015, 04:15 PM
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To Michael- If you don't do anything else, go to the Via Petrarc and take in the glorious view of the Bay of Naples. I swear, you will never forget it. Every time I go to see the view, it's like the first time.
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Mar 5th, 2015, 08:23 AM
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I love Campi Flegrei and it's easy to reach Pozzuoli and Solfatare but while there is not so easy to hang around.
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Mar 5th, 2015, 08:23 AM
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I love Campi Flegrei and it's easy to reach Pozzuoli and Solfatare but while there is not so easy to hang around.
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