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Rethinking a busy schedule - suggestions?

Rethinking a busy schedule - suggestions?

Jun 24th, 2012, 10:50 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 527
Lake Como is lovely, try not to skip it, since you are travelling by car, therefore no train/bus hassles. It looks like a really good itinerary, bearing in mind that you have a lot driving to do, but still you are going to see some beautiful scenary on the way, so you will still enjoy it.

I would just change one thing. I would do 2 nights on Lake Como (instead of 3) and 2 nights in Ortisei. That area of the Dolomites is really really spectacular (we visited Madonna di Campiglio last December, but Ortisei, which we visited in 2005, in my opinion has more spectacular mountains) and staying just one night is not enough. Also doing a 2 night stop instead of one, gives you some time to relax and walk around or drive around a bit in the area for a full day as you might end up arriving in Ortisei late afternoon.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Jun 24th, 2012, 11:00 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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raigContact - One more thing - If you do not, as you said have a huge draw for Venice - then I would add one more night to Tuscany - plenty to see there, cities or countryside, and lessen 1 night in Venice.

. A full day in Venice (2 nights' accommodation) would give you time to visit the lovely St Mark's Square and its Basilica, wander around the narrow street canals, do a gondola ride, have a nice coffee at the square in the evening in a cafeteria which also has an orchestra playing till very late in the evening (really beautiful atmosphere), and a couple of nice meals.

If possible do not make any 1-night stops.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Jun 24th, 2012, 11:49 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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GraigContact - do not lose heart - we went to Dolomites/Tuscany/Emilia Romagna (Rimini) last December, and still enjoyed it - and to Tuscany and Amalfi Coast in December 2010, and weather turned out to be beautiful - I guess weather is just a case of luck. In the southern Mediterranean, you often have a day or two of rainfall close to mid September, and then it might be lovely and sunny and hot again well into October. But you can never predict weather and rainfall any time of year (July and August are the safest bet - but it is the peak tourist and hottest season - not my cup of tea.

Also we have done holidays countless times with 3 kids, travelling around, the youngest with mobility problems.

So as they say, when there is a will there is a way. If you really want to see those places then go for it, especially since you say you enjoy driving, like my husband does, and do not want to visit every single attraction in the region.

My advice is (we have done this quite a few times but always found it not worthwhile to do - do NOT stay just 1 night in a place. At least do a 2 night stay.

But each to his own, I do understand that many love more relaxing holidays. Take into account everyone's recommendations and then do what you think suits you best.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 08:22 PM
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Posts: 31
Thank you Anna for all your insight and suggestions. I think we have it narrowed down, although changes can still be made.
You advice is right along the lines of how we like to travel, my wife said you were 'channeling' her. We tried to cut Como, but in the end we really wanted to experience it, if only for a short visit. Now we have to decide what to see at each stop!

Friday September 28th

Day 1 - Sat. 9/29 Arrive & stay in Rome
Day 2 - Sun. 9/30 Travel to Positano (morning in Rome?)
Hotel Maricanto
Day 3 - Mon. 10/1 Positano
Day 4 - Tues. 10/2 Positano
Day 5 - Wed. 10/3 Travel to & stay in Montepulciano (Car rental)
Palazzo Carletti
Day 6 - Thurs. 10/4 Montepulciano
Day 7 - Fri. 10/5 Montepulciano
Day 8 - Sat. 10/6 Travel to Bellagio
Borgo Le Terrazze
Day 9 - Sun. 10/7 Bellagio
Day 10 - Mon. 10/8 Travel from Bellagio to Ortisei (via Stelvio Pass)
Hotel Digon
Day 11 - Tues. 10/9 Ortisei
Day 12 - Wed. 10/10 Travel from Ortisei to Bevilacqua (via Dolomites)
Relais Castello Bevilacqua
Day 13 - Thurs. 10/11 Bevilacqua
Day 14 - Fri. 10/12 Travel from Bevilacqua to Venice (Return rental car)
Al Redentore Di Venezia
Day 15 - Sat. 10/13 Venice
Day 16 - Sun. 10/14 Fly Home

Monday October 15th

I know this itinerary is not for everyone, but I think my wife and I will absolutely love it!
CraigContact is offline  
Jun 27th, 2012, 12:42 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 527
Craig - why don't you fly into Naples and then do travel and stops northwards - That way it would save you one Naples to Rome trip.

Would you like to spend some time in Rome? Your suggestion that in the morning you do Rome and then travel to Positano in the afternoon is questionable for me. You will be arriving late evening in Positano (probably you first have to reach Sorrento from Naples and then catch a bus to Positano, but I am not exactly sure, other Fodorites have to confirm this as we drove to Amalfi Coast), and I see you chose a lovely high-end hotel, pity to pay all that money and you arrive very late in the evening.

So how about flying into Naples and pick up car at airport. End of September beginning of October is not the very peak of season, as school would have started everywhere. Anyway, if you find it overwhelming (believe me we drove in more hair-raising hilltop towns and villages in Umbria and Tuscany, and if it there is traffic it is still not difficult to drive as you would be driving slowly), you can just park your car, I would think a hotel of that calibre would have parking facilites, and use public transport, but I doubt you would do that, as driving around is so very convenient, especially as a family.

Al the hotels you chose are soooo lovely, although I am not sure about the Venice one (although it also looks really beautiful), as it is not on the main Venice island, where there is the St. Mark's Square, and neither on mainland Venice. The hotel is on an island called Guideca Island. Remember that probably you are going to have an early flight from Venice to back home, so you have to check about vaporetto stops from this island during the night-time, or else maybe hire a private boat with drvier to take you to mainland Venice.

I notice that you added another stop, at Bevilaqua. The castle is really beautiful, and I am sure that you made that stop specifically to experience its ambience. I don't blame you, it does look lovely, in fact when I was browsing around last December for accomodation for our Christmas vacation in Italy, I came across this castle and I thought it looked lovely, but we preferred to base ourselves in Sud Tirol/Rimini/Umbria area.

I know that I am going against what I said earlier, but in your case, since you probably want to make a stop here, and you will be driving, which makes it much easier - why don't you just stay for 1 night at Bevilaqua, it is roughly on your way to Venice anyway and it might be interesting for you to make the stop and experience the place, and add 1 night to Rome,if you are determined to make a visit to Rome. That way at least you would have 2 nights in Rome and one full day to explore it, I know many Fodorites here would say it is too little, but if you really want to feel the Roman atmosphere, wander around its lovely squares, cafeteria and main streets, then go for it - book Bevilaqua castle with dinner for 1 night and add one night to Rome, more to see in Rome for sure. We did stay just 2 nights in Rome 4 years ago - we were brave enough (rather my husband) to drive all around the centre of the city - but since my daughter is disabled we are allowed to drive in restricted areas, and park in reserved parking for the disabled, but still driving in the very centr was not at all easy.

Anyway, on our 2 nights in Rome we managed to do a visit to the Vatican (have to say we skipped all queus since our daughter is disabled), we walked around the centre of Rome, near Spanish Steps, Fontana dei Trevi, and surrounding main streets, had a few lovely meals, and did an open bus tour around the main sites of Rome.

In Rome I would choose a hotel just on the outskirts of the centre Rome, with parking facilites, and preferably that do transfers to centre of Rome, or take a taxi or use public transport. If I were you I would not drive in centre of Rome, not easy at all, and you can so easily get fined as there are many one-way, restricted areas etc. But there are plenty of nice hotels just outside city centre.

So considering the type of holidays you enjoy doing (same goes for myself) I would do the vacation as follows:

Day 1 Sat - Fly to Naples airport - Pick up car at airport - Drive to Positano
(if you arrive quite early you might even stop stop in Pompeii, which is close to Naples,
get that visit over and done with. Alternatively
you can stop on your way back.

Drive to Positano

Day 2 Sun - Positano

Day 3 Mon - Positano

Day 4 Tue - Drive to Rome

Day 5 Wed - Rome

Day 6 Thu - Travel to & stay in Montepulcano

Day 7 Fri - Montepulciano

Day 8 Sat - Montepulciano

Day 9 Sun - Travel to Bellaggio

Day 10 Mon- Bellaggio

Day 11 Tue- Travel from Bellaggio to Ortisei

Day 12 Wed- Ortisei

Day 13 Thu- Travel from Ortisei to Bevilaqua

Day 14 Fri- Travel from Bevilaqua to Venice (on the way
doing a stop in Verona - or Padova)
Drop off rental car in Venice

Day 15 Sat- Venice

Day 16 Sun- Fly home

I also agree that this itinerary is not for everyone, but it certainly is also for me, lol. It is true you have many stops but I think you will still enjoy it on your way to reach them!!!
Anna_Galea is offline  
Jun 27th, 2012, 03:52 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 527
Craig - was thinking - if you prefer not to drive in Amalfi Coast you might be interested in picking up car from Naples after your stay in Positano. If you set off a bit early in the morning, right after breakfast, you might even have time to visit Pompei before starting your drive to Rome. It is a very easy drive from Naples to Rome, it would take you about one and a half hours.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Jun 27th, 2012, 04:50 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,523
I would eliminate Rome as it's just a waste of time to stay overnight and head out the next day.

>>>Day 5 - Wed. 10/3 Travel to & stay in Montepulciano (Car rental)<<<

Where do you plan to pick up your car? This will be a very long travel day.
kybourbon is offline  
Jun 27th, 2012, 05:24 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 527
kybourbon - I agree with you - that is why I suggested that he does Positano first (landing in Naples) and allocate 2 nights in Rome on the way to Montepulciano - that way OP would break the journey in Rome and still manage to fulfill his wish and make a visit to Rome for 2 nights.

As I suggested, he might wish to hire car on arrival or prior to leaving Naples, or even maybe, if OP wants to hire car after his 2 night visit to Rome, he might pick up car either at Rome's Fiumicino airport or (as many Fodorites here recommend) in Orvieto, taking train from Rome central station, and proceed by hired car to Montepulciano.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Jun 27th, 2012, 07:23 AM
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We had a very difficult time finding a flight that fit our budget/schedule into Naples, that is why we are arriving into Rome. The plan was to stay the night as our flight arrives in the evening. My thought was the next morning seeing the Spanish Steps & Trevi Fountain before taking the train south which is why I picked the location of the hotel in Rome.

Saying that, I am open to the idea of adding the extra day to Rome which is how I had it before when I considered not visiting Como. My wife is very intrigued by the castle so I am not sure if she would be willing to cut a night because we'd probably be arriving there late in the day after coming down from the Dolomites.

I agree that renting the car after Positano is most likely the way to go, I am looking into where but it does appear Naples would be the best bet...unless I can get one in Pompei as it looks like there are rental offices there(?) and kill two birds with one stone.

Thank you Anna once again for your insight, I really appreciate the advice for Venice. I will be looking into another location option that better fits with our schedule.
CraigContact is offline  
Jun 27th, 2012, 07:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,298
We rented our car in sorrento and it was easy enough to drive to umbria - although it took about 6 hours if I remember correctly...
jamikins is online now  
Jun 27th, 2012, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,298
Also by the time you add up the price of the transit into Rome and to Naples it may be close to the price difference in the flight...and flying would be simpler...just something to think about because I always forget to factor that in when comparing and also the lost vacation time...
jamikins is online now  
Jun 27th, 2012, 07:34 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 31
Good point jamikins, we'll discuss that flight option for Naples and see if we can make it work. I will check Sorrento for car rental, I think that would be my preference.
CraigContact is offline  
Jun 27th, 2012, 11:08 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,523
>>>kybourbon - I agree with you - that is why I suggested that he does Positano first<<<

I was assuming flights were already booked since the OP is traveling in Sept.
kybourbon is offline  
Jun 27th, 2012, 02:21 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 527
Yes, Craig, if you do manage to fly to Naples that would be great - the best option. Another option might be to take a low cost flight from Rome to Naples, but I would retrieve my luggage and check-in again, to make sure they would not be lost in transit.

Yes, hiring a car from Sorrento is a good idea from Jamikins - from Sorrento you can drive on your route northwards to Pompeii for a short visit - in 2010 we did a 2-hour visit in Pompeii, just enough for the kids not to get too bored.

I checked on google maps, and from Pompeii to Montepulciano it is just a bit less than a 4 hours' drive. But I am assuming that you still wish to make a stop in Rome, and from Pompeii that would be about 2 hours' drive - or maybe you have decided to skip Rome altogether and drive to Montepulciano? I really do not think it is worth the hassle in visiting the centre of Rome for just one night, as it is not comparable to visiting a small town where you can drive right into the centre and to your hotel. If you make a stop in Pompeii, then you would be arriving late in the afternoon in Rome for sure, and I do think that Rome does deserve a 2 night stay.

Try to convince your wife to stay one night at the castle - it is lovely, I am sure, but I would not sacrifice 1 night in Como or Ortisei for it, the surroundings are too lovely and breathtakingly beautiful, and you would not be able to do a day trip in the areas. Always in my opinion, wandering a bit on the castle grounds in the afternoon before dinner and maybe spending some time in the morning would be enough. Maybe you can even leave early afternoon for Venice so that you might also spend the whole morning and have lunch at the castle. From Bevilacqua to Venice it is only a one and a half hours' drive.

Anna_Galea is offline  

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