Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Pisa/Florence and Naples/Pompeii questions

Pisa/Florence and Naples/Pompeii questions

Old Jul 12th, 2017, 08:24 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 809
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Pisa/Florence and Naples/Pompeii questions

Hey everyone,
I just booked a two-week trip to Italy for August. It'll be my first time there and I'm traveling solo. Can't wait to go. Anyway, one week will be spent on a cruise. Two of the stops are Livorno and Naples, and I have a couple of questions.

-- For Livorno, I would like to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa (not just snap a picture) and spend time in Naples if possible. Is it realistic to do both on my own by taking the train? Or would I need to choose one over the other? The ship's tours are pretty expensive. The one that goes to Pisa and Florence basically stops near the Leaning Tower for like a 15-minute photo op and then heads onto Florence. There is also a four-hour Pisa-only tour in which you can climb the tower. I've also looked at a local tour company recommended by Fodors, and the options are similar.

_ For Naples, a similar sort of question. If I take the train to Pompeii, will I have time to visit the ruins and then grab some pizza in Naples before heading back to the ship? The ship has a five-hour Pompeii excursion for $129. That would get me back around 1:30, which would give me time to head into town. But I'm wondering if I would be better off going on my own or if there are good cheaper options with a local company.

At both stops the ship docks at 7 a.m. and leaves at 7 p.m. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
andrews98682 is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2017, 08:45 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 21,369
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think you'd have time to do a whirlwind tour of both Pisa and Florence in the same day, by train. Should be easy to do on your own if you have traveled much on your own before and aren't intimidated by public transit. You'd have to plan carefully, though. There is more to Pisa than just the Tower, but if that's all you want to see, you can explore the area quickly. Not sure about getting a ticket to climb, whether you need to get one in advance or not.

In Pisa, the Tower is about a 20 minute walk from Pisa Centrale train station. You can also take a local bus to/from that station and the Field of Miracles (where the Tower is). Some people recommend another train station called Pisa San Rossore that is a few minutes closer to the Tower - but not as many trains stop there; you'll find many more direct trains between say Pisa Centrale and Florence.

Naples and Pompeii Scavi (the archaeological site) you can probably do in a day too, on your own. I did, when I was staying in Sorrento. I'm not sure how you'd get to Naples from the port - can't be hard, probably a local bus or a taxi at worst. Note that the train between Naples and Pompeii Scavi is called the Circumvesuviana, and it's different than the Trenitalia trains you'd be using up north in Florence/Pisa. It's a commuter train; I haven't been on it in ten years, but it was on a different system than the other trains - maybe a different procedure to buy tickets.

Italy does have a good train system. Just remember, in Italy, all train tickets must be purchased and validated BEFORE you get on the train - or else you are liable for a big fine! There are ticket machines at all the train stations that take cash and chip and PIN credit cards but probably not chip and signature credit cards (as most Americans have these days). You have to validate tickets for all regional trains (which are the ones you'd likely be buying) that you buy from a machine or even from a ticket agent in the little yellow validation boxes at the entrance to the platforms.

If you will have a working smart phone, you can also buy tickets on your phone with apps like Trenit or Trainline. (I used Trenit.) Then you can show tickets on your phone - no need to validate. I don't think you can use those apps for the Circumvesuviana train from Naples, though.

Use the Trenitalia website to check train schedules if you don't have a smart phone with the app:

http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en

(Florence is spelled "Firenze" in Italian, and you want S. M. Novella station in Florence.)
Andrew is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2017, 09:42 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 809
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks. Yes, I'm comfortable using public transit. My main concern is whether I'll have enough time between getting to and from the stations, waiting for the trains and waiting on lines if I go it alone.
andrews98682 is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2017, 09:43 PM
  #4  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,983
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Your trip, your interests, your decisions! What would you want to see / experience in these places?

Even though it is feasible to visit Pisa and Florence (I assume you mean Florence, not Naples) in a single day trip, would it meet your needs to do so? By way of contrast, I wanted 5 full days in Florence, and the idea of being there for just a few hours, along with hordes of others, makes me cringe. JMO.

For Pompeii / Naples, again, it depends! I spent about 6 hours at Pompeii, which seemed about right to me, even though there are parts of that site that I didn't visit. (Be sure to bring water and something to shade you from the sun.) The archeology museum in Naples makes a stunning companion to Pompeii, and can easily take several hours. Getting to Pompeii from Naples (including its port) is easy -- taxi (or walk! I think it's less than 4 km) to the circumvesuviana train station.

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2017, 10:12 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 809
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, kja. Yes, I meant Florence. Leaning Tower is my first priority for that day. The question for me is if I'd be able to do the climb and then have time to see at least one site if I continued on to Florence before returning to the ship. But yeah, I could easily see myself spending days in Florence and the surrounding region.
andrews98682 is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2017, 10:41 PM
  #6  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,983
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, again, I think it depends on what, exactly, you would want to do if you go to Florence. Some museums are difficult to visit without an advance reservation. Some sites are closed during part of the day (and all of some days). I think you would need to decide what you would do with your time and then do some research to determine whether you would, in fact, be able to implement that plan and what you would do if your visit to the Leaning Tower took longer than (or not as long as!) you expect.

I'm sure you'll come up with a plan that let's you see some wonderful things!
kja is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2017, 11:42 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,536
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If your priority is Pisa over Florence, then you could perhaps consider visiting Lucca instead of Florence. It's closer and still has a heap to see and do (without so many queues). I actually prefer it, if pushed to make a choice.

If you do go to Florence, don't take the last possible train back to port as I've known trains on that line to be slower than timetabled. It might be wise to travel to your furthest destination first.

Of course we'd all like a lot more time but sometimes we just have to make the most of what we've got - which it sounds like you're doing.
dreamon is online now  
Old Jul 13th, 2017, 05:43 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 35,040
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>>>Just remember, in Italy, all train tickets must be purchased and validated BEFORE you get on the train
kybourbon is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2017, 06:31 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 10,068
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Where does your cruise begin and end?
I am asking because if you are not familiar with the ports and cities, there may be other ways of doing things.
Sassafrass is online now  
Old Jul 13th, 2017, 11:19 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 809
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks. The cruise is roundtrip from Rome. I'm spending a few days there before the cruise and will probably spend a few more there plus a night or two in Venice afterward.
andrews98682 is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2017, 11:38 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 21,369
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think you'll be just fine doing the busy day trips you have proposed, knowing ahead of time that they will be very rushed.

If I were doing this (having not had to deal with cruise stops before), I'd be more interested in: how to get to/from the port to/from the city's main train station. (e.g. bus from the port in Naples to the main station? Or do you need a taxi?) Once you've got that figured out, then plan backwards: what's the LATEST you need to be back at the port? How long does it realistically take (with some built-in safety buffer) to get back to the port from the train station or from town? And so on.

Then use the Trenitalia train times to estimate travel time between towns. And you can figure out much time realistically to have in one place.

I'd probably do Pisa first - since you have a specific objective, the Tower, there - and then hang out in Florence for as much time as you have left, before you must head back. Same with Pompeii: see the Scavi first, then train back to Naples...and by then you'll know how much time you have left to have pizza and wander around before you must get back to the port.

I do think having a working smart phone in Italy would be a big help to make getting around on these two busy days as efficient as possible, with Google Maps and other apps helping you find your way around.
Andrew is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2017, 12:35 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,645
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi,

I highly recommend you go to the Cruise Critic travel forum and ask your questions. Not only will you find numerous posters who have taken cruises done exactly the independent excursions you are contemplating (and done it more than once), you might even find people who have booked the same cruise that you have and are looking for partners to take trips independently, and willing to split taxi fares, etc where needed.


At a minimum, you should plan on taking a taxi from the Livorno docks to the Livorno train station. It used to be that tickets for trains to Florence & Pisa were not only available from the ticket window & machines in the station, but also the souvenir shop in the station. I would highly recommend that you go to Florence first, then see Pisa on the way back. That way, if something goes wrong and you find yourself in a time-jam, you can always grab a cab in Pisa if need be to get to Livorno (and it will be a lot cheaper than cab fare from Florence.

Ditto when it comes to Napoli -- take a taxi to the train station (Napoli Centrale) to go to Pompeii first. It is especially important to get there in the morning before the worst of the heat kicks in. I have heard credible tales of taxi drivers at the Naples docks overcharging tourists. Again, I highly recommend a visit to Cruise Critic forums to hear both positive and negative experiences from cruisers, and to get detailed info from people who done this.
massimop is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2017, 03:06 PM
  #13  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,983
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Although routing from furthest-to-nearer often makes sense, putting a clear priority into a later slot on one’s itineary than lower priority sites is risky, IME.

I think dreamon’s suggestion of considering Lucca instead of Florence is well worth considering.
kja is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2017, 08:48 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 809
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kja,
That's what I'm now planning to do -- Pisa and Luca. It seemed like I would have been really rushed in Florence. I'll save that for my next trip to Italy, whenever that is.
andrews98682 is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2017, 03:48 PM
  #15  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,983
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think that's wise -- enjoy!
kja is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
andrews98682
Cruises
7
Jul 20th, 2017 04:57 PM
cadd
Europe
7
Sep 13th, 2015 10:26 AM
rywith22
Europe
11
Nov 6th, 2014 03:11 PM
abhinavarora28
Europe
6
Mar 30th, 2014 06:26 AM
vickmar
Europe
4
Aug 10th, 2005 03:08 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:17 AM.