Need help with 16 day Italy itinerary

Nov 11th, 2012, 06:30 AM
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Need help with 16 day Italy itinerary

We are a couple in our mid 50's, avid independent travelers, planning our first trip to Italy in May 2013. We like architecture, scenery, culture, and the joy of meeting people during travel.

We will have a total of 16 nights in Italy. Plan to fly into Venice, and fly out of Rome. Considering our interests, we were thinking of the following rough itinerary :
Venice : 3 nights
Florence : 3 nights (including a day trip to Pisa)
Naples : 2 nights (including a day trip to Pompeii)
Amalfi Coast : 3 nights (either Positano or Amalfi)
Rome : 5 nights

Does the above sound doable ? If it is too rushed, we could knock off Naples, and try and do Pompeii from Amalfi or somewhere. Also, need advice if the sequence of visit is OK (should we be doing Naples first or Amalfi, before proceeding to Rome ?). Please also advice on suitable rail passes (we do not intend to drive in Italy).

Please let us know if we are allotting the right amount of time at each destination. Suggestions are welcome about best place to base ourselves in the Amalfi Coast (between Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, Praiana etc). We don't mind staying at a touristy place, because we are tourists after all !

Look forward to your guidance.
indiancouple is offline  
Nov 11th, 2012, 06:50 AM
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not a great expert on italy, there is 1970 & 1984 and going to rural italy in may - 1 week each at 3 locations. when we did naples/amalfi/pompeii, we stayed in portici which was well situated for seeing all the region. we drove in italy both times with no problems but then our kids live in nyc and we drive there with no problems, also drove in bangkok. 5 nights seems like a long time for the area. add more time in north - lakes region? cinque terre? you said that you are "avid independent travelers" but without a car you will be on tour buses?
ddreher is offline  
Nov 11th, 2012, 06:51 AM
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Others will disagree; but IMO, given your ages & interests (all similar to mine), it's too much.

Bear in mind that 3 nights = only 2 full days. (Where are you coming from & do you know what time of days your flights are likely to arrive & leave?)

The first time we visited Venice it was for a week. After 7 years of visiting for 1 or 2 weeks each year, we felt we'd barely scratched the surface. (We've now moved here, to get it all done!)

The first time we visited Naples, it was for a week and there was so much of interest to see & do in the city itself, we still didn't make it to Pompeii or Herculaneum. We had to go back another time specifically to see those - and Pompeii takes a whole day (we were actually on the site for 7 hours), so would take the one full day you have allocated to Naples.

The last time we visited Florence, which was the first time in 20 years for both of us, a week was not enough to see everything we'd planned.

Rome is of course a lot bigger than any of the above.

So unless you specially want some time just for relaxing on the Amalfi Coast (& May quite likely won't be warm enough for the beach or swimming), I'd recommend 3 cities maximum.

OTOH, if you think this may be the only time you'll visit Italy and you want to fit in as much as you can, that's your call.

I would recommend (within the constraints of your flights) working south-north as far as possible, for the best chance of good weather. If you are keeping Naples in, can you fly to there?
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Nov 11th, 2012, 06:53 AM
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Btw no need for tour buses, Italian trains are fast, efficient & reasonably cheap. You'd just need to use the normal buses too for the Amalfi Coast. And much easier than having a car in historic cities!
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Nov 11th, 2012, 06:53 AM
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Nice start to a wonderful trip.

I would prefer Siena as a day trip from Florence.
Consider using Sorrento as your base to see Pompeii.

You will not need a rail pass for this trip---just buy point to point tickets. Either buy in advance for discounts, or buy them all during your stay in Venice.

Overall, I like this trip. Here are some imagesyou may like from May, 2010.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Nov 11th, 2012, 07:04 AM
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I think it sounds quite reasonable, though personally I'd want more time in Venice.

Not sure what the reference to tour buses in the first response is; clearly you'll be taking trains. You can buy them in advance from or on the spot. Trains in Italy are generally quite affordable.

Enjoy your trip!
StCirq is offline  
Nov 11th, 2012, 07:31 AM
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Thanks for the quick responses. To clarify a few things :

1. We probably arrive early morning on Day 1 at Venice, and we fly out of Rome on Day 17 morning. So we do have full 16 days and 16 nights.

2. This will probably be our first and last trip to Italy, so yes we do want to fit in as much as would be possible. We are used to a slightly fast paced travel.

3. Do not plan to use any tour buses. Intend to use trains for most travel. For travel from Naples to Amalfi Coast, could consider availing of a limousine if it is reasonable. Might use buses only for travel within the Amalfi Coast.

4. Not much into swimming or the beaches. Interested in Amalfi Coast only for the charm and scenic beauty.

I will explore bobthenavigator's suggestion of basing ourselves in Sorrento. We could then cover the Amalfi Coast plus Pompeii from there. Is it also possible to cover Naples from Sorrento ? If so, our destinations get reduced to 4 instead of 5.

Thanks for the suggestion of avoiding the rail pass and using point to point fares on trains.

Caroline_edinburgh, I understand your suggestion about slowing down the pace and possibly covering only two destinations in the available time. But I doubt if we will have the luxury of returning to Italy again, so we have to compromise on time spent at each place.
indiancouple is offline  
Nov 11th, 2012, 09:09 AM
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Depending on what time of May you will be getting to the AC at just the beginning of the swimming season (hotels usually fill their pools in mid May or so).
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 11th, 2012, 10:42 AM
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We once got a limo from Naples to Amalfi, some years ago & it was E100.

IMO Sorrento is not very nice in fact it's pretty tacky. It's a big British package tour destination. And be aware that because it's up on a cliff, you can't even see the sea from most of the town, just from the posh hotels on the cliff-edge. Also it's very sprawling & many hotels are a long way out. But yes, you could use it as a base for the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii & Naples, if you wanted to.

I've been to the Amalfi Coast many times & never found the weather reliable until the middle of June. Tt may be OK in June but it's not reliable.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Nov 11th, 2012, 11:06 AM
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Meant to say 'it may be OK in May' there.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Nov 11th, 2012, 12:02 PM
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I definitely would not make a move from Naples to the AC. Do as advised and tour both from one location. That will save you lots of sightseeing time.

I also agree that Siena is more worth a day trip from Florence than Pisa. Although if you opt for Pisa, try to take time to stop in Lucca for a while enroute.
charnees is offline  
Nov 11th, 2012, 12:06 PM
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And you are not allowed to drive into the historic areas of the cities you are planning on visiting, so a car is a liability. Trains take you straight into the centers, so are actually more convenient.
charnees is offline  
Nov 11th, 2012, 06:43 PM
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charnees, you have advised basing oneself at a single location for touring both Naples and AC. Could you suggest that "ideal" location for doing just that ? I know it can be done if we base ourselves at Sorrento, but is it also possible to do so out of Positano ? Can we day-trip to Pompeii or to Naples from Positano ?

Like the suggestion about Siena. Will research it some more.
indiancouple is offline  
Nov 11th, 2012, 06:53 PM
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Sorrento is easiest to day trip from. Pompeii is about 30 minutes by train, Naples 70 minutes. If you stayed in Positano, you would have to bus to Sorrento (about an hour) and then get the train.

I would look at flying into either Naples or Venice and vice versa home. The cost might be slightly more (or not), but it would save on the ground travel time and cost.
kybourbon is offline  
Feb 28th, 2013, 10:23 AM
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Hi Indiancouple, You are going to another dream destination.
I have been to Italy and done these in phases.
Will rate my favourites..
1. Venice- I feel 2 nights would be sufficient
2. Between Venice and Florence, try and squeeze a day or 2 at Portofino.. You can stay at Santa Margarita Liguire for convenience and cost effectiveness... a truly picture post card place. I found, Cinque Terre next to it a run down and over rated version ( By rick steves) of Portofino.
We also made a day trip to Belagio on Lake Como. from Milan.. Lovely place worth a 2 night stay..

3. I feel Sorento is the right place as a base for Capri- day tour, Pompei and even Amalfi coast. We visited Amalfi and Positano as a day tour from Sorento. Dont miss a place called "Officers' Club" restaurant at Sorrento... Frequented by English speaking tourists, has amazing view of the sea.. Nice wine and vegetarian Italian food, Music and dance.. Plan to be there just before sunset. Best place to view Sunset. We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary there ending with wine and dance.
On Amalfi coast .. Positano wins hands down. Bus is very comfortable and economical on this route. Never think of driving down on this route.. It's a nightmare. Hair pin bends, road enough for only 1 bus and mad drivers speeding from opposite side. I thanked my stars for not renting a car. Try and visit Puglia.. It has amazing rugged rocky coastline and unusual stone houses. This place has been famous as a bollywood movie hot spot.
5 days in Rome is a dream. One can spend months there...
Looking forward to your wonderful trip report
Best Luck
Paragkash is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 08:31 AM
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Indian couple, are you back from Italy trip? Keenly awaiting to read your memorable detail report
holidaying is offline  
Jun 28th, 2013, 10:11 PM
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Hi holidaying. Our trip got postponed at the last moment. Now going there in August. Will post a TR for sure.
indiancouple is offline  
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