Rome, Naples Amalfi in December

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Sep 6th, 2007, 05:12 AM
  #1
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Rome, Naples Amalfi in December

Dec 26th through Jan 9th, 14 day trip. Want to see Rome, Naples, Capri, Pompei, Positano, Salerno Amalfi Coast.

Thinking 4 nights Rome, 2 nights Naples, 2 nights Amalfi Coast (Positano?). That leaves me with another 4 nights. We have travelled all over Europe, so not averse to renting a car, taking a train.

Any suggestions? Should we fly into and out of Rome or can we open Jaws?

Have been to Florence, and Venice on a previous trip so want to stick with Southern Italy. Is Sicily, Palermo worth seeing? How about Caprice? How is this area of Italy in December? Is it possible to take a ferry to Sardegna. What other places are worth seeing? What about more South (like Reggio for example).

Would appreciate any thoughts, comments.

Lex
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Sep 6th, 2007, 05:59 AM
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I think you will be really disappointed in the Amalfi Coast in December. A lot of things will be closed. I would save it for another time of year.
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Sep 6th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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What Ninkette said.
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Sep 6th, 2007, 06:32 AM
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ira
 
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ditto
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Sep 6th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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Hi, lexluther -

> Is Sicily, Palermo worth seeing?

Yes! And if you do go there, be sure to visit the Cathedral in Monreale. But there is so much to see in Sicily, that I'm not sure it would be your best choice given the rest of your plans. And depending on what you want to see and do, and your preferred pace of trvel, you might want to add some time to Rome (does 4 nights mean 3 days? 4? 5?) and/or Naples (particularly if you plan to see Pompeii from there).

My visits to these places were in spring and fall, so I'll leave it to others to comment on the weather.

Hope that helps!
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Sep 6th, 2007, 09:00 AM
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lexluther-

I disagree with those who say you will be disappointed in December on the AC. First, I don't think they have visited the area in December.

Second, I did visit Sorrento during Christmas and New Year, and it was fabulous! The Napolitan Presepi you will see and the over the top spreads of foods at the New Year's Parties (Manefestazioni) in different Sorrento restaurants are lovely. There is an enormous tree covered with Poinsettias erected in the middle of Piazza Tasso, and at Capo d"anno, you can enjoy the fireworks in town at the celebration of the Burning of the Donkey Cart in the Piazza. And the fireworks across the bay in Napoli.
Sorrento at New Year is truly wonderful. Along the AC, there are Chrismas lights of shooting stars set up in the mountains. I went into Naples also, and enjoyed the markets and the stalls selling red underwear (an Italian tradition for New Year) as well as the Presepi which are world famous.



I also hiked up near Nocelle where I saw flowers blooming. There were rainy days too. It's more quiet, but many locals are more relaxed in the way they interact with you, without the pressure of tourist throngs on them.

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Sep 6th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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I have a differing opinion about Amalfi coast in December. One of the best things about it is the view as you travel from Salerno to Amalfi (or Positano). We have done this several times and have found there to be plenty of "things" open. The view along the coast is what makes the trip.
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Sep 6th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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I too question the idea of going to what is primarily a series of beach resorts in January. Along the Amalfi coast many hotels and restaurants will be closed for the season. Ferry schedules are cut way back - or don;t run at all (if the seas are rough).

As for Capri - you may not even be able to get there on a specific day - if seas are rough - and can certainly not see the blue Grotto - or enjoy what is a summer beach resort.

I have no problem with heading to the beach for a brisk walk in the winter - we have done this many times - since we were already nearby. But there's now way I would spend days - and pay for a hotel - when it's likely to be in the 40's and possibly drizzly. (You might be lucky and get temps in the 50's - but still not great for a beach resort).
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Sep 6th, 2007, 10:17 AM
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I was in Naples last Jan and the weather was fine - around 65 hi and sunny - that may be exceptional but it sure will be tolerable - and places like Pompeii much more tolerable

the days are short however so scenic views along coast by buses, boats, end early in the day
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Sep 6th, 2007, 10:24 AM
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Amalfi Coast is not all beach towns, there are some actual towns which will be busy over the holidays. I have been there so I, too, know.

Sorrento as described alorro_b. is very nice during that time of year, Amalfi town is a regular town but on the actual Amalfi Coast.

I would love to go back to Sorrento and experience the holidays there.
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Sep 6th, 2007, 04:49 PM
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First, if youve never been to Rome and its a two week trip, Id give it some more time, maybe a week there and a week for Naples/Sorrento and maybe Amalfi.

There is just so much wonderful stuff concentrated in Rome, and walking around (and taking public transport) is good. A day walking the Appian way and visiting the catecombs is a great break from city stuff. Remember Jan 6 (Epiphany) is a major public holiday in Italy. Which means that italians are out strolling around and having long lunches in country restaurants. A nice place to be.

for naples, there is a major site (Pompeii) which is a full day excursion, and quite a number of other archeological sites around the bay, like Herculaneum that are also worthy of the trip. There are two museums in the city of Naples that you wouldnt want to miss (Capodimonte for paintings, the Arch. Museum for sculpture and finds from the excavations), there is a city full of fascinating churches and history and food along with the vivacious people and their zipping motorini. In March we had 4 nights in Naples and 4 in Ravello and felt we were really just scratching the surface of those places (1 day was a travel day when we drove from Naples to Paestum and then to Ravello)

In terms of weater, Ive been in Rome, not naples or Amalfi coast over this period a few times - extrapolating, id say you might get some showers but mostly the weather is cool and invigorating - good walking and hiking weather (if its not too wet), and the hiking trails (actually ancient paved paths/steps between all the little towns, through the mountains) on the Amalfi coast are amazing and well mapped and marked. Italy through the Christmas and Epiphany season is very festive and fun.

On the Amalfi coast, I wouldnt choose a beach resort (Positano, etc) to stay. Sorrento (not really Amalfi) sounds good, Amalfi town and Ravello (I love Ravello) would be good choices tho Ravello wouldlikely be very quiet - some hotels may be closed for the winter over this period - Probably should check. Salerno did not impress me as a destination, driving through it, but any biggish italian town will have interesting bits - Salerno has an old port area and cathedral. Paestum, just down the coast, is fascinating and located in the midst of a whole region of bufalo mozzarella producers.

We rented a car, but driving on the Amalfi coast and up the mountain roads is hair-raising - the car was parked from arrival to departure. I would rely on public transportation for a repeat visit.
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Sep 8th, 2007, 10:14 AM
  #12
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Thanks to everyone for the comments. Unfortunately December is the best time for me to take off work. Since I am going to be in Rome already it seems a pity not to see Naples and the Amalfi Coast. I am from Florida so lounging on the beach is something I can do at home. Having said that I have been to the French and Italian Rivieras in the winter and it would definitely be better in the summer. But there is something quaint about Europe in the Winter (maybe it is the cool briskness in the air which we don't have in Florida).

Definitely Rome 4 or 5 nights. Skip Naples or Do Naples? If so how many nights? I figure 2 nights Naples and then maybe day trip to pompei? Is Capri worth the trip (assuming ferries are running) or not much to see. I would probably day trip Capri unless someone recommends otherwise.

Will probably stay in Sorrento and visit surrounding area by car. Problem is I have a few extra days to spare - might make the trip 17 days instead of 14 if there is something worth seeing. Should I go South to Southern Italy? Should I go see Palermo or skip it? What about going East and hopping A Ferry across the Adriatic to Dubrovnik? What in short within a 500 km radius of Sorrento is worth seeing?

As usual thanks for all the posts and comments.
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Sep 8th, 2007, 10:18 AM
  #13
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alloro, thanks for the response did you ever do a trip report on the amalfi area? Everyone else, thanks for the comments and suggestions.

Lex
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Sep 8th, 2007, 04:39 PM
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Hi Lex,
I have been writing about my travels, but I'm sad to say that my trips are not posted yet on Fodors. I will be starting a blog soon though. However if you have more specific questions I can help you with, I will surely try to answer them if you email me.
Perhaps I'll post a report with short sections of past trips here after my October journey! I just think there are so many good reports already, that's why I have hesitated!
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Sep 9th, 2007, 05:01 AM
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If you want to add more destinations, think about Paestum, near Salerno; Matera in Basilicata; and perhaps venturing as far as Puglia. I would save Palermo for when you have more time to see the rest of Sicily and I would not try to squeeze in Dubrovnik..

There are other sites near Naples including Ercolano, Vesuvius, Solfitara...etc. I am sure others more knowledgeable than I can fill you in on these..

I think you need a minimum of 5 nights in Rome..but then I love the city....

And I would guess that Chrismas-New Years' is a fantastic time to be in and around Naples although you may have to eat in a hotel on the actual holidays since restaurants are likely to be closed..
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Sep 9th, 2007, 08:00 AM
  #16
ira
 
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Hi L,

>Skip Naples or Do Naples? If so how many nights? I figure 2 nights Naples and then maybe day trip to pompei?

I very much enjoyed 3 days and 2 nights in Naples, but we were there in Sept.

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Sep 10th, 2007, 03:00 AM
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Hi Lex - I too disagree with the nay-sayers.

There are many plusses to seeing the Amalfi Coast in December IMO. The scenery is just as glorious - and you get to enjoy it without the traffic and crowds.

New Year around Naples is renowned ...

Steve
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