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Please help/critic our Italy trip!

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Feb 28th, 2014, 10:26 AM
  #1
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Please help/critic our Italy trip!

We are going on a family trip of 8 (I know.. CRAZY).

Here is our plan. Tickets and Rome hotel are booked. Trying to figure out if our plans for transport/locations are feasible. We are flying into ROME on May 3rd, and flying out of Florence on May 11th.

Our planned itinerary is as follows:

Sat- May 3rd: Rome. Sleep Rome.
Sun- May 4th: Rome. Sleep Rome.
Mon- May 5th: Rome/Vatican. Sleep Rome.
Tues- May 6th: Rome. Sleep Pompeii.
Wed- May 7th: Pompeii. Sleep Chianti (Greve?)
Thurs- May 8th: Chianti Sleep Chianti
Fri- May 9th: Pisa Sleep Chianti
Sat- May 10th: Florence Sleep Florence
Sun- May 11th: Fly out in AM

We are planning on renting a car, since we heard you really need a car in Tuscany. So our idea was to rent a car our last day in Rome and drive to Pompeii, then drive up to Chianti area and do day trips from a base in Greve. Van for 8 at around $650 for this time period (rent in ROME return in FLORENCE).

What do you think? A few questions:
-Is it too ambitious to drive from Rome to Pompeii, then up to Chianti? I heard driving in Naples is a nightmare. Is it possible to avoid Naples completely when driving to Pompeii?
-Do we need more time in Pompeii? Should we sleep in Sorrento instead?

Any and every thought is appreciated! Thanks!
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Feb 28th, 2014, 10:51 AM
  #2
 
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I think you have the right number of days in Rome and Chianti. One night in Florence is too short, in my opinion. You should spend 2 nights in Florence minimum as the first day will involve travel to Florence and take time away from sight-seeing. We were told that driving a car in Southern Italy was crazy, so we rode the train from Rome to Pompeii and did a day trip with the help of a guide we hired in Pompeii. It was a fairly long day, but not strenuous. You may want to consider this. Have fun planning!
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Feb 28th, 2014, 10:59 AM
  #3
ekc
 
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I agree with seeing Pompeii as a day trip, as opposed to driving there and staying the night. It is a pity you won't really have time to see much of Florence.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 11:22 AM
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Greve is very close to Florence, so presumably you can arrive early enough to see a bit of the city, including the Duomo, the piazzas, the Ponte Vecchio, and maybe visit one of the famous churches which have world-class Renaissance art on display. Just don't attempt to visit the Uffizi in this short time. If you're not terribly interested in art museums, this amount of time may be enough; the city is small.

You can totally bypass Naples when driving to Pompeii by getting on the A30 heading in the direction of Salerno, instead of continuing on the A1 to Naples. The city of Pompeii is not of particular touristic interest apart from the archaeological site. There is a huge (and rather ugly) 19th church there dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary. This is a pilgrimage site, with a painting considered miraculous, which attracts twice as many visitors in a year (4 million) than does ancient Pompeii (two million).

It's really faster to get to Pompeii by train than it is to drive, and it would take about the same time to get to Tuscany by train as by driving, so you might want to reconsider the decision to drive there, unless you have other things you want to see near Pompeii. You could take the train to Chiusi or to Orvieto and get the car there. However, these are small rental agencies, and you'll have to check their opening hours.

Are you going to rent two cars? Finding a van that would hold eight people and their luggage won't be easy.

All drivers will need an IDP (International Driver's Permit), along with their regular license. You can get them for a reasonable price at AAA even if you're not a member. If you take along your own photos (from a photo booth is fine) it costs less.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 11:36 AM
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-Do we need more time in Pompeii? Should we sleep in Sorrento instead?>

Yes for sure - a nice watering hole just a few minutes by CircumVesuviana trains that go right to the entrance of the site. Pompeii the modern city is a few miles away and nothing special. Sorrento has tons of hotels and you can take a train there from Naples.

there is nothing right around the entrance to the ruins I believe.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 12:08 PM
  #6
 
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If you decide to do your overnight in Pompeii over the years this hotel has popped-up a few times http://www.hotelforum.it/ita/
It has quadruple rooms and free parking and is just outside the ruins.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev..._Campania.html
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Feb 28th, 2014, 12:12 PM
  #7
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Thank you all for your suggestions and keep them coming! I will look into the Pompeii day trip. That might be a good possibility and cut down on the number of different hotels.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 12:14 PM
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A van for 8 won't hold luggage for 8 as well. How do you plan to manage that?
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Feb 28th, 2014, 12:17 PM
  #9
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Hi Janisj. We are looking into at van for 9 with plenty of luggage space (plus we have all vowed to pack light!)
It's one of those full-sized vans (not a mini-van). So hopefully it can accommodate our bunch!
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Feb 28th, 2014, 01:26 PM
  #10
 
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Some vans for 9 require a special driver's license; make sure you will be able to drive it with a normal license. Also, it will almost certainly have manual transmission, and it will be a pain on narrow roads and inside medieval town centers. Automatic transmission rentals cost considerably more than manuals, and they're not always available at small agencies. Even if they say you can get one, you might arrive and find that none are available.

It might be better, and maybe even cheaper, to get two cars when you get to Tuscany and forget about driving to Pompeii. However, then you should probably get the cars at Florence airport instead of small agencies like the ones in Orvieto or Chiusi. That is, unless some of you can drive manual transmission.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 01:47 PM
  #11
 
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two cars would be immeasurably better than a behemoth like that. Getting a vehicle that size in/out of old Italian towns won't be pretty. Two reasonably sized cars will be cheaper to rent, take less fuel, and be much easier to drive/park. Plus 8 passengers + luggage for 8 will be awfully crowded in a van for 9. And I pity the poor folks stuck in the back.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 01:53 PM
  #12
 
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I think staying in Pompeii is a huge mistake - why trek with all that stuff and 8 people down there only to turn around the next AM? Instead do a day trip from Rome. Take the earliest train you can that gets there after Pompeii opens (It will be very hot with no shade - spend 3 to 4 hours and then head back to Rome.) You can get a guide at the entrance if you want.

Agree not enough time in Florence - but you have what you have.

Not sure what type of vehicle you will need. 8 people plus luggage will not fit in an 8 or 9 person van. You may need a small bus with a driver. Do check on this now. Your other options is two (crowded) cars.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 01:58 PM
  #13
 
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I have been in 9-person vans in Europe, and they will NOT hold 8 people unless each of them weights 100 lbs and is carrying nothing more than a small purse. Not only that, driving them on anything but the autostrade will be a nightmare. Parking? Even worse. You're going to have to have two cars or find other means of transportation.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 02:52 PM
  #14
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Thanks for the pointers everyone! Manual is not a problem as 4 of our group can drive it... And they are used to the tiny bumpy crazy roads of Brazil!

BVLENCI, if we stick with just Tuscany, do you think driving the van to Pisa and around Chianti will be a problem then? Two cars is cheaper, but I think my group will not want to split up unless completely necessary... Brazilians make a party out of everything when everyone is together

Thanks again everyone!
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Feb 28th, 2014, 03:01 PM
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>>Brazilians make a party out of everything when everyone is together<<

There won't be any partying going on in that van. You will all be squished and holding someone else's luggage on their laps.

>>And they are used to the tiny bumpy crazy roads of Brazil! <<

It isn't the open roads as much as it is the towns and villages (though many roads will be problems too). Yes, you have rural roads in Brazil - but not medieval towns.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 03:17 PM
  #16
 
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Though I personally dislike long day trips, in your case, hauling people and luggage to Pompeii for an overnight with no other sightseeing in that area would be even less fun.

Just do Pompeii as a day trip by train from Rome.

There are three advantages to this:
No time checking out of and into another hotel.
You could all stop in Naples for dinner after visiting Pompeii.
The next day would be a lot easier, going from Rome to Chianti rather than all the way from Pompeii to Chianti.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 03:31 PM
  #17
 
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AnaAP, I guess you're not hearing me. I HAVE BEEN in 9-person vans in Europe. I have been a tour guide for groups of 7 who would not fit in one of those things. You WILL NOT FIT unless you have virtually no luggage or everyone is willing to hold it on their laps!

But apparently you think you know better, so go right ahead.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 04:03 PM
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AnaAP,

You won't have a problem parking a van in the places you are going. Some of the information you are getting in this thread is just bizarre.

This subject of van size has come up on Fodor's before. You can read this thread and see. Read to the bottom and you will see that some of the same posters who are trying to talk you out of this have tried to talk other people out of this. They failed, and when people came back from their trips they reported here that renting a van for 8 people wasn't a problem.

Look:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...in-n-italy.cfm
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Feb 28th, 2014, 04:12 PM
  #19
 
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Here is another Fodor's thread where some people get hysterical about the mere thought of people renting a van in Italy and two people who have done report that they did and it wasn't a problem:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...r-7-people.cfm

What is totally bizarre is that in that thread, "St Cirq" was on the other side of the argument, telling the poster to "go for it!"

AnaAP, I hope Brazliians are more sober -- at least one they give travel advice.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 04:16 PM
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Brand new member. First post ever. Doesn't mention any personal experience. Not exactly prime reliability source. And anyone who actually reads the link provided will see that my friend and tour guide GeoNev has encountered problems with renting 9-passenger vans. Pffff!!!!
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