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Rome, Naples, Amalfi Coast

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Dec 4th, 2015, 07:32 PM
  #1
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Rome, Naples, Amalfi Coast

I've been to Italy four times, but never south of Siena. I want to plan a trip for next year. Probably a week to 10 days, something like 4 nights Rome, 1 night Naples, 3 nights Amalfi coast. I like to mix city and scenic when I travel. I can go pretty much anytime. I went to Venice, Bologna and Florence last January, and loved being there in the off season. I'm thinking about March, April, October or November. I know this is very vague. Any thoughts?
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Dec 4th, 2015, 07:58 PM
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Add a night to Naples.
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Dec 4th, 2015, 09:44 PM
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April. Ferries will likely be running on the coast by April.
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Dec 4th, 2015, 09:57 PM
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kja
 
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April or October, for my tastes -- or, if you can swing it, May.

Have your plotted your interests out on a calendar? I would find 1 night in Naples and 3 nights on the Amalfi coast extraordinarily rushed. Depends on what YOU want to see and experience.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 12:44 AM
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Since this will be your 5th trip to Italy, you'll obviously be back for a 6th, 7th, etc. etc. so I don't think you're worrying about being rushed. If you miss something, you'll be back.

I'm a fan of the timing kja suggests. Off or shoulder season is always the best for Italy. On the Sorrentine peninsula and Amalfi coast if you can avoid cruise ship dockings you'll have a much happier experience. We've stayed in Sorrento twice and it was a great base for exploring the peninsula, going to Capri and taking the ferry to Naples. I would more recommend 4 nights in Sorrento with a day trip to Naples via ferry. The ferry is only about 12-13 euros and is faster and much more enjoyable than the train. Also, doing a day trip to Naples saves you from packing up just to spend one night in a hotel there. You could do a day trip to Capri and spend the other 2 days exploring the peninsula.

For Rome, one of the best decisions we made, if it works in your budget, was hiring a private guide for a day. The second time we went to Rome we learned so much more by hiring a guide than just trooping around by ourselves. Also, the guide company had someone stand in line at the Vatican so we didn't have to wait. The lines there can be very very time consuming.

Just some thoughts about how we did it...you'll have a great time.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 01:02 AM
  #6
kja
 
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I'm not sure what timing I recommended that His_Dudeness also likes, but just to be clear, I don't think any of the timing ideas that have been mentioned are ones that I, personally, would want or recommend. I would want at least several days in Naples itself (3 or 4 at a minimum). For the Amalfi Coast itself, I would not stay in Sorrento, but in Positano or Amalfi -- or even Ravello or Salerno. And I would spend at least a night on Capri. But it isn't my trip!

I think this part of Italy illustrates how much people differ in the ways in which they travel -- some people want a week or more in Naples; others, just an afternoon for the archeological museum. Some people want a week to relax in Positano; others, just a few hours to roam around. And so on and so forth. The only way that I know to decide how much time to spend in any of these wonderful locations is to figure out what one wants to see and experience, figure out how much time that will take, and then plot it out.

The good news: It is a wonderful area. Enjoy!
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Dec 5th, 2015, 05:00 AM
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March and November are NOT good times to visit the Amalfi coast. In off season many lodgings and restaurants are closed and ferries run very limited schedules and some don't run at all - and all are subject to cancellation due to rough seas.

A beach resort in the off season is not really a good idea since there is no swimming, no pool and it's usually too cold (and can easily be too rainy) to do a lot outdoors. (Cities don't matter so much since there is much you can do indoors.)

Agree that for the AC May is really the start of the season - with hotels opening pools, possibility of using the beaches and enough transit to visit Capri or Pompeii or wherever you want.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 05:30 AM
  #8
 
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i agree with NYTraveler. You can visit Rome almost any time of the year but I would not suggest visiting the Amalfi coast earlier than May or later than early October,
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Dec 5th, 2015, 06:37 AM
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Weatherwise, the AC would be OK in early Oct. But you will run into issue of limited services and attractions, since it's considered off-season. And if your aim is to get some beach time, it probably will be a little cool for that.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 08:09 AM
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The ferries on the Amalfi Coast begin running a little before Easter, so they're running in April. Most restaurants will also be open by Easter. The ferries to Capri run all year long, on a more limited schedule in the winter, and subject to cancellations due to the weather.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 08:43 AM
  #11
 
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We did the a very similar itinerary (well, we went to Puglia in the middle), but 3 nights in Rome, 1 in Naples, 3 in Amalfi and I found it perfect.

We easily could have spent more time in Rome, we could not stand Naples and couldn't wait to leave (you either love it or you hate it, I hear), and Amalfi was lovely for 3 days. There's not that much to do, so we relaxed, wandered a bit, and were ready to move on. We stayed in a fabulous place in Praiano (between Positano and Amalfi), Villa Maria Pia, and took water taxis into the towns. Because I refused to get back on the roads there. Oh boy, anxiety.

Personally, we found Capri overcrowded and overpriced for what it was, but we were there in July and also missed the Blue Grotto.

We like to move along though, others like to soak in one place for a week. Different strokes.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 09:53 AM
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I went to the Amalfi Coast last year in March specifically to check out what it was like in the off season, I had been twice before in July, including that July so I could remember the differences.

The weather is of course totally unpredictable. I got one horrid day of 50 degrees and pouring rain. One gorgeous day of brilliant sunshine and temps in the 70s. And two in between days. That was in March (2015). In July (2014) there were 4 or 5 days out of a week that it rained (not all day, but some) and one day - in July - that the ferries did not run because the seas were too rough. April and May are likely to be warmer than March, cooler than June/July but your individual 3 or 4 day stay is totally a crap shoot.

In terms of tourists and what is open - there was a huge difference between March and July. Far fewer tourists (very nice) but a LOT of the restaurants and shops were closed for the season, and many, many of them were 'getting ready' for the season. I never saw so many paint and construction crews. I talked to several locals, and they all said pretty much the same thing. Jan, Feb and early March is "off season" and in that area it means many places closed for the season. Obviously you will still find places to eat and shop. Late March and April are transition with some places opening and the ferries starting up and the prices going up in the hotels. May through Oct is high season. May and October are not shoulder season, prices and crowds are the same as July and August. At least that's what several different people told me.

What I would do if I were going again in March (or November) would be to base in Sorrento the whole time (except for Rome) and on nice days do day trips to Amalfi, Positano, Capri and on rainy days go to Naples to see the museums, churches and shopping, etc. Is Naples 'worth' a few nights stay? Is basing in Positano or Amalfi lovely? Sure, but you can't have everything and unless you have an in with the weather gods a plan that is flexible is your best chance of having a good time.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 10:22 AM
  #13
 
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We went to the Amalfi coast the last week in April one year. We were not interested in pools, swimming, or beach activities. We like art, churches and hiking and the weather suited us fine (mid 60-70s daytime temps, cooler evenings). You can check websites for average temps at that time of year--although, of course, there are no guarantees.

By the weekend of our stay, the crowds were picking up. I personally would not want to be on the Amalfi coast in high season because I would find the crowds unpleasant. But the tradeoff might be worth it to you if your plans lean more to beach type activities.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 03:04 PM
  #14
 
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October is a nice month for the Amalfi Coast. The majority of tourists have left but the ferries are still running.
If you want a mix of city and coast then split your time between Naples and the Amalfi Coast.
Ignore the advice to stay in Sorrento as it doesn't fit your city brief and if you wish to visit Pompeii etc. you can do this just as easily from Naples.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 04:06 PM
  #15
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Thanks for much for all of your thoughts and suggestions. This forum was a great help when I went to Italy last winter. We are (obviously in the very early stages of planning. Not sure how long we will go for (or even if we will go) but I hadn't even thought about things not being open in March or November on the Amalfi coast. I'll keep you posted and have more questions I'm sure. as we move forward.
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Dec 6th, 2015, 10:38 AM
  #16
 
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A few years ago in May, we did a Rome plus Sorrento trip. Click my name to find a long report that may amuse you and help your decisions.
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Dec 7th, 2015, 02:34 AM
  #17
 
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I was just in Rome in October-Nov and the last few weeks of October were very different from the way November felt. I sort of liked the off-season and at least things being less crowded. It makes more sense than going somewhere on the beach too. I think November is a great time to go price-wise too. Rome can be really expensive. It was worth it though and I loved every minute.
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Dec 7th, 2015, 10:05 AM
  #18
ekc
 
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I was in Positano for the first 3 days of October this year and it was lovely. Although we had a bit of rain one day, the other 2 days were sunny enough for lounging on the beach. I usually rent an apartment in Positano for a week each June so going in October was a pleasant surprise with fewer crowds.

But keep in mind that 3 nights is really just 2.5 days in whatever town you stay, as it takes a while to get there from Rome. IMO it is not enough time for relaxing or for sightseeing.
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