Please review my Italy plans

Oct 28th, 2007, 09:39 AM
  #1  
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Please review my Italy plans

I am in the initial planning stages of our trip to Italy next September. I would appreciate any advice you can offer on our itinerary. DH and I have been to Italy once before and stayed in Rome a few days, but we havenít been to the Amalfi Coast. This trip is to celebrate our 10 year anniversary, so our plan is to relax and take in the sights, enjoy good food and wine, and take lots of pictures.

Day 1 Thurs: Arrive FCO approx 8:40am from PHL. Take train to Termini, then to Naples where a driver will pick us up and take us to Positano. I figure weíll arrive around 2:30 pm (if all goes as planned). Plan to stay at Hotel California for four nights. They have an incredible view of Positano from their balconies and get good reviews on TA.
Day 2 Fri - Day 4 Sunday: Explore Positano with day trips to surrounding areas (Sorrento, Amalfi, Capri, Pompeii, etc). Days are open to do as much or as little as we feel like doing. Nothing set in stone, no day trip is a MUST, but we would like to get in Pompeii if possible.
Day 5 Mon: Check out of hotel and take ferry to Naples. Overnight at Renaissance hotel (using points). Visit archaeological museum and explore Naples.
Day 6 Tues: Train to Rome. Hotel not booked as of now.
Day 7 Wed - Day 9 Fri: Since weíve been to Rome before and seen all the big sights, we just want to relax and explore the city a bit more.
Day 10 Sat: Depart FCO for home 11:15 am.

Is my assessment of time to get from FCO to Positano reasonable? I figure by the time we get our luggage and get out of the airport, train to Termini, transfer to Naples and meet up with the driver, it will be a good 6 hours by the time we get to our hotel. I would love to have a driver pick us up from the airport and take us directly to Positano, but I cringe at the thought of spending that much money. The convenience may be worth it though.

Because of the glowing reviews Praiano gets, I was really torn about staying in Positano or Praiano, but in the end I decided to go with Positano. Maybe Iíll think differently later, but when I think of sitting out on a balcony in the evening with a glass of wine, the view of Positano is what I always imagine.

I wasnít originally planning on staying in Naples, especially since it doesnít get really good press, but we want to see the Archaeological Museum and it is closed on Tuesdays. I donít want to make a separate trip up to Naples during our Positano stay just for that. This way we will already be near the train to take us to Rome on Tuesday whenever we decide to leave. Plus, I canít be in Naples and not at least try the pizza.

I really wanted to spend a few nights on Capri, and I know everyone says that you have to stay overnight to really experience it, but we just donít have the time on this trip to do so. We are taking a weeklong vacation in May to the Caribbean and canít add any more days to this Italy trip. We absolutely loved Rome, so I donít want to cut any nights from there. We tend to move around a lot while on vacation, so this time we have told ourselves that we arenít staying in more than 3 places!

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
sherhatfield is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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Have you looked into flying to Naples? I've flown from the States to Naples, changing planes in Rome, a few times and the cost has either been the same as flying to Rome or just a few dollars more. Your driver could pick you up at the Naples airport.

If you do fly to Rome, it can take up to an hour to get luggage and clear passport control. Train to Termini is about 45 minutes. There is a new high speed train from Rome to Naples that makes the journey in just under 90 minutes. If you don't take that train it's about two hours on the Eurostar. The drive to Positano is around an hour, depending on traffic.
Grinisa is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 10:06 AM
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We already have our airfare booked in and out of Rome, but I did look into a flight from FCO to Naples. By the time I pay for the two of us to fly into Naples, then have a driver to Positano, we might as well just have the driver pick us up in Rome.

Thanks for the info on the times. That's about what I was figuring, plus a little extra tacked on just in case.
sherhatfield is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 11:02 AM
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How much more would it cost to have a driver pick you up at FCO? Is it totally ridiculous? I haven't done it in a few years, and it was before the Euro hit an all-time high, but it was heavenly after an overnight flight not to deal with two trains plus the 1.30 car ride from Naples to Positano.
Weadles is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 12:28 PM
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The cheapest I've found so far is 300 Euros. If we took the train to Naples then had a driver the rest of the way, we'd be looking at about 160 euro. A big difference to my wallet!
sherhatfield is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 12:33 PM
  #6  
ira
 
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Hi S,

>when I think of sitting out on a balcony in the evening with a glass of wine, the view of Positano is what I always imagine.

Then I suggest that you stay in Praiano.

The views from the www.lesirene.com are almost identical to those from Le Sireneuse (I think that that is the right Positano hotel).

You might find my trip report helpful.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34451044

ira is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 12:36 PM
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ira
 
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PS,

Since you have been to Rome before, I suggest another night in Naples.

There is more to the city than the AM.

ira is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 12:37 PM
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We are planning a similar trip next June and after looking at several versions (on paper), we decided to spend our first few days in Rome to decompress from the long journey from California. We have also been to Rome a few times and want nothing more than to sleep in, wander the streets and have a few good meals.

From there we will train to Sorrento via Naples, spend 2 nights in Sorrento and 4 in Positano (also at the Hotel California. I think we will be making the Pompeii day trip from Sorrento, the Capri trip from Positano. Still working out out the details, but it made sense to stopover in Rome (we had been planning to see Rome at the end our trip, now we will be going somewhere TBD for our last 4 days).

Hope this helps.
socaltraveler is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 01:07 PM
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Oh, now I'm even more confused!

Ira, your trip report and recommendations of Praiano are what got me thinking about it in the first place! I'll have to do some more research. I just get the impression that there is more to wander around and see in Positano for a first trip to the AC than Praiano. I feel like I would be having to deal with the bus more if we stay in Praiano.

At least I have plenty of time to sort out my thoughts.

Thanks for your replies!
sherhatfield is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 02:24 PM
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sherhatfield,

With all due respect to Ira, since it's your first visit to the area, stay in Positano. Yes, it's more touristy and crowded, but there are many more restaurants/shops right in town, and you won't have to rely on buses nearly as much.
Weadles is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 05:22 PM
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Sherhatfield,

I've stayed in Praiano on two different trips because it's more my kind of place. Mostly a real locals town, hardly any shops, just a few restaurants. Not many tourists compared to Positano.

I only visited Positano for the afernoon. Mostly tourists, lots of very expensive tourist-oritned shops - high end jewelry, clothing, cermaics, art. Lots of restaurants.

Praiano does leave you dependant on the SITA bus or taxi. Positano offers boats - very preferable for Sept which is still high season.

Make sure you have a reservation on the boat in advance to go to Capri. The earliest boat (the one you want) will be sold out. Your hotel should be able to make the res for you.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 07:02 PM
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I agree with Weadles and Dayle,

I have been to AC twice.

First time, before kids, stayed in Ravello. Fantastic.

Second time, with kids, we stayed in Praiano. Regretted it.

Every time we wanted to do anything we had to take a bus or drive our car. It would have been very nice to walk to a restaurant, boat, beach etc.

If we return again, we will stay in Positano or Amalfi.



wego is offline  
Oct 29th, 2007, 09:21 AM
  #13  
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Thanks everyone for your advice. I don't know how I would plan a trip without all the information provided here! Your first-hand knowledge is truly priceless.

After doing a lot of thinking and talking over the options with my husband, we have decided to stay in Positano. We plan to make a trip over to Praiano though to check it out for next time.

Dayle - thank you for the heads up about the Capri boat reservation!
sherhatfield is offline  
Oct 29th, 2007, 09:44 AM
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Just a thought . . . but you might consider taking your fourth night from Positano and spending it in Capri, then ferrying to Naples on Monday morning. That would give you two full days in Positano and allow you to visit Pompeii and Amalfi. You'll have plenty of time to wander Positano itself. Personally I'd skip Sorrento.
Fra_Diavolo is offline  
Oct 29th, 2007, 09:54 AM
  #15  
ira
 
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Hi Sher,

We all have our own preferences. I'm not trying to sell you on Praiano.

We greatly enjoyed our stay there.

>I just get the impression that there is more to wander around and see in Positano for a first trip to the AC than Praiano.

You are correct. Praiano is a small town with far fewer tourists, and lower hotel prices.

>I feel like I would be having to deal with the bus more if we stay in Praiano. <

If you are going to go anywhere on the AC other than Positano, you will have to take a bus or ferry if you don't have a car.

>Second time, with kids, we stayed in Praiano. Regretted it.

Every time we wanted to do anything we had to take a bus or drive our car. It would have been very nice to walk to a restaurant, boat, beach etc.<

Praiano has a beach, and at least three good restos. One does have to take the Orange bus to Positano in order to take a ferry.

ira is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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On your arrival in Rome why not take the train from Rome to Salerno. Get off train and walk two short blocks to ferry station that will take you to Positano. Short (5-10) minute walk to Hotel California. Avoid Naples if you can. We stayed at Hotel California also. A fantastic place. Make sure that you get a room with a balcony or terrace. You could sit there for hours and just enjoy the view. m
Maria, the proprietor, is very cordial and pushy in a good way. She knows what she is talking about though.She suggested that we take a private boat to Capri. We hesitated but then decided to do it. It was worth every cent.The boat took us around the island and into the grottoes. Not the blue grotto though. That was jammed with tourist boats and we would have had to wait for about two hours to get in there. The private boat was a little more expensive but it was worth it. After we went around the island we were let off at the main pier area. We hiked up to the top of Capri and had lunch at a place called "Bar Jovis". What a treat. Maria will also arrainge a dinner for you and other guest at the hotel. It is way up the hillside and a bus will transport you there and back for free.You will enjoy that treat also. Just don't eat to much at lunch that day as you will be overwhelmed with food at dinner.
dok94901 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 02:49 PM
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Earthcam camera for Positano. This is taken from Hotel La Sirenuse which is about three doors down from Hotel California.It is a live streaming camera.
http://www.campaniameteo.it/webcampositanostreaming.asp
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