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Sorrento Peninsula OR Ischia OR Sperlonga?? Looking for ideas..

Sorrento Peninsula OR Ischia OR Sperlonga?? Looking for ideas..

Jan 6th, 2009, 06:43 AM
  #1  
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Sorrento Peninsula OR Ischia OR Sperlonga?? Looking for ideas..

I am currently delving for ideas for a week-long trip in mid-late September. The northern Costa Brava is one option and I have received much help with this on another thread. While I am fine with this option,my partner would prefer to visit Italy.

So I am seeking advice and opinions.

We would like to mirror the experience we had on the Amalfi Coast last year, that of combining time swimming at the beach (or pool) with local sightseeing. We would prefer to tour by public transport but are certainly willing to rent a car.

Ischia is one option and CarolineE. has been most helpful on another thread. I especially would like opinions on the best location in which to base for a week on the island that would allow both beach time and sightseeing. Formia? Ischia Porto/Ponte?

An alternative would be the Sorrentine Peninsula. (NOT Sorrento itself). How does this area compares scenically to the Amalfi Coast? Is it more built up, or overrun by tourists? There seem to be plenty of walking routes....if you've stayed in this area, how did you like it?

I've considered Puglia (Gargano, Lecce area, etc) but frankly it appears that this area merits much more than one week...I am having a hard time getting an idea of the various regions within the province and what they would offer.

Last: Sperlonga, or Gaeta.. The plus of this area is that we could reach it by direct flight from the US (to Rome). The beaches looks good and the flavor of the area is appealing. Would there be enough to keep us busy off the beach??

As you can see, I need some help! Please give me your suggestions for great places to stay in any of these areas...200 Euro per night is the general price range..a pool adequate for lap swimming is adefinite plus but not essential. Great food IS essential,but all of these areas will offer that...we do not want to take half-board at a hotel, though.

Many thanks!!






ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 07:38 AM
  #2  
 
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Ischia is a very good solution and Sperlonga, also.
In Ischia I suggest you the small town named FORIO.
A very good place to sleep and to dine could be the D&B IL VITIGNO (www.agriturismoilvitigno.it).
Do not miss it. IMO it is one of the best places to enjoy Ischia at the best.
If you want also further suggestions for delicious dinners in the island, I can do it.
Sperlonga is very nice and not only for the beachs but also because at short distance you have delicious hill small towns where to dine is delicious.
My advice in Sperlonga is VILLA PRATO, a very cute place, unforgettable (www.agriturismovillaprato.it).
The surrounding area of Sperlonga is a treasure of fine places and excellent olive oil and aged cheeses, and mozzarella also.

Ciao.

Vincenzo
vincenzod is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 09:37 AM
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We stayed a week at an agriturismo in Piano di Sorrento and spent one of our days exploring the Peninsula including a long hike out to the Punta Campanella. I could almost skip a stone out to the Isle of Capri from there.

The area was pleasant but not as spectacular as the rest of the AC - it was nice to get away from the tourist bustle there. I wouldn't recommend staying an entire week if your plans do not include the rest of the AC, Capri, Pompeii, Vesuvius, etc.
TuckH is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 11:00 AM
  #4  
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Excellent information..many thanks!

Both Ischia and Sperlonga sound very tempting. Both appear to have pros and cons. I think one negative of Ischia for us is the relative difficulty of access and the probability that we will not be able to have a car on the island since we can only drive automatics..(shame one me!)

To reach Sperlonga,we could rent a car at the airport and use it for daytrips. But are there enough daytrips in the area to keep us relatively busy, Vicenzo?? Which of the hill towns would you recommend?

I hope to read more opinions..perhaps the Sorrento area should be eliminated from the mix..
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 01:09 PM
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Hi ekscrunchy,

since i lust to go to Sperlonga and Gaeta, but have never been (likewise Ischia), I'm mainly going to stay out of this thread. But I do think you can find a way to get there with public transportation, and even have a marvelous adventure doing so. Romans use public transport to get there all the time. What the infrustructure is for day trips say, from Gaeta, I don't know, but if you weren't bored in Amalfi with the limited day trip options, I can't imagine you'll be bored in the province of Latina, which is rich is antiquity and history right up to WWII, almost anywhere you turn.

Of course I love the Costa Brava, especially glorious Calella da Palafrugell, but I would very much want a car there, unless I based myself in Girona or Barcelona and day tripped from there.

Some links you might find useful:

http://www.italy-weekly-rentals.com/...OUTH/Gaeta.htm

http://www.expatexchange.com/lib_rd....7&networkid=58

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel...aeta-BR-1.html


http://www.secretdestinations.com/ca...lafrugell.html

http://www.finquesfrigola.com/webcam.htm

http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Eur...e_Palafrugell/


zeppole is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 01:22 PM
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and this is a great link

http://www.travelblog.org/Europe/Ita...og-260909.html

My guess -- but it's only a guess -- is that the bus system in Latium is at least as good as the one in Campania.
zeppole is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 01:36 PM
  #7  
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Thanks very much, Zeppole!!

In re-reading my original post, I see that I was less than clear.

If we chose Sperlonga/Gaeta, we would definitely rent a car. But logistics might dictate that we would not be able to do so on Ischia and thus, I am wondering about the bus allowing us to fully explore. You do bring up a good point about Amalfi; I would say that we were fine using the combination of bus and, on two days, private driver. So perhaps the situation would be similar on Ischia..

Many thanks for the links!! I see that I am not going to be able to tear myself away from here for a few hours!!

Most of all, Happy New Year!!

Oh..Zeppole: Did Rizzo bakery reopen?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 01:43 PM
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Wow, Zeppole..Those links are terrific!

You sure know how to find them!

One more question: Can anyone who knows them both (Waldo, ST Cirq,etc) give me a brief run down about the two towns: Gaeta and Sperlonga. Which one should I be looking at? Sperlonga seems to have a better choice of nice hotels..
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 04:40 PM
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I think I would get a hotel in Gaeta. I believe there are more hotels there and also more and better restaurants. I know the hotel rates in Gaeta are better, possibly due to more of them being available. That aside, I would also frequent Sperlonga. It is a fabulous place, but it's pretty small, and there's a limit to your activities. Sperlonga, to my way of thinking, is not a place to spend a long time. It's got a fabulous beach and a couple of decent restaurants, and that's it. One thing it does have is fantastic scenery. The beach is way down the bottom of the long hill, but on the upper side of the hill are unbelievable homes and scenery. It seems the homes are one piece, carved out of one big rock. Gaeta, on the other hand, has a lot going for it. The evening scene in the center of the town is stupendous. You can make it what you want, there's so much. You can stroll, you can just people watch, you can go to great restaurants or bars (a bar in Italy is not like a bar in the US, liquor is not the main ingredient, but espresso, pastries and friendly talk is). Also from Gaeta, you can take a quick trip to Formia, another nice town, with a lot to offer. It's only about five miles from Gaeta. One thing--either place you go to, you should take a drive. On the main road between Formia and Gaeta, heading inland, you can get to SS7, which means Strada Stradale #7,(State Route #7). Take that up the winding mountain, and you will have the ride of your life. The Amalfi Drive pales in relation to this. You go up through the greatest bunch of olive groves, for which Gaeta olives are famous, and staying on this road you will get to ITRI, a great town. After perusing Itri, keep going until you get to the big cathedral in Itri, on the left side of the road, and make a left turn there. Then get set for a thrilling ride down the mountain, which drops you off right at Sperlonga. It ain't for the faint in heart!
Waldo is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 07:04 PM
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Are you going early September? It wasn't warm enough for swimming when I was on the coast this past September, but there were a few people(darn few) that wandered into the water. Are you thinking of staying between Sorrento and Naples or towards Massa Lubrense? There are many areas with views as nice as the Amalfi coast. Sorrento itself is more built up and the area between Sorrento/Naples than in the other direction. There are plenty of places up in the hills that are still on the bus route, but have great views.

I've only been to Costa Dorada not Costa Brava (debated both areas) in late May/early June and it was too cold to swim. I think there are more bus options for Costa Dorada than Costa Brava (which is why I chose it), but I only liked bits of Dorada (Cambrils, Tarragona) while other areas were catering to British tourists (similar to parts of Sorrento, but much more so).

I vote Ischia (it's on my list).
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 6th, 2009, 11:51 PM
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Hi ekscrunchy, and happy new year to you too!

There is still a baker where Rizzo's was but it has a new baker, who is much more fond of butter than I am! It has a much smaller selection but much of the same smiling staff. (By the way, we ate at Da Paolo last night and she's warming up to us! In the meantime, I've become addicted to the pesto at Rosa's and have to restrain myself from going up there twice a week).

I've never been to Ischia, but my impression has always been that there is regular bus service that circles the island along the coast, and that most of everything you want to see is on the coast. I've also heard the food and wine is unique. (see Plotkin).

But I have to say that Gaeta sounds like so much more of an adventure to me -- but I really don't want to say much more or else I'm going to start subtly pushing you to go vicariously for me.






zeppole is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 11:54 PM
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Waldo, are there buses that take some of those roads? I'm up in Liguria where the bus drivers are really extraordinary, and so are the bus routes. Even if one has a car, it sometimes can be more pleasurable to get on the bus and take a 30 minute ride, since parking is so scarce up here. Plus, it's better to be in the bus I've discovered on some of these roads than be in a car facing an oncoming bus.
zeppole is offline  
Jan 7th, 2009, 01:12 AM
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Hi Eks - If you choose Ischia I really don't think you need a car.

There's a regular circular bus service around the island - clockwise and anticlockwise - so you can tour the island easily.

Sant'Angelo is picturesque - but like Vincenzo I'd probably choose Forio as a base.

Sperlonga is attractive - but unless you want to spend all day on the beach you'd certainly need a car.

Steve

Steve_James is offline  
Jan 7th, 2009, 04:10 AM
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Wow..you are all so great and free with the advice! Many thanks!

Zeppole: I am really surprised about Rizzo--I wonder what happened. Sounds like a case for our agent on the scene to pursue! also: I read Plotkin last night and I get the idea that he is not all that keen on Ischia.."..on this touristy island, it is hard to find restaurants that avoid touristy food...German package tourists..blase tourist office.." Take a look and see if you agree. I know it was written a long time ago, and his negative comments are mostly directed as Ischia Porto, but take a look just for fun..

Ky: I am also shocked that it was too cold to swim in early September! Am I on another wild goose chase here?

Ischia look like it is running neck and neck with Gaeta in the informal survey here! Back to the drawing board for more reading..

Waldo: What do you think the Gaeta area would be like in mid or late September? The real factor for me in choosing this would be that we could get a direct flight to Rome and drive there from the airport. It's a lot easier to get to from the NY area than Ischia, and we have only one week, not one day more. Do you have any hotel ideas in Gaeta?

Thanks again, everyone, for helping out..
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 7th, 2009, 04:28 AM
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About the real need of a car in Ischia, I agree with Steve; and I agree also about the choice of Forio.
About Sperlonga, oh yes, you will be very busy with daytrips and time will not be enough, even.
So, one day trip has focus between Itri and Gaeta.
Then, a unqiue daytrip, if the sea is smooth, is to ship from Formia and visit Ponza. Ponza is only a bit less gorgeous than Capri, believe me.
Then, very close to Sperlonga, also Terracina deserves a short visit (do not miss the temple of Giove Anxur, meaning the young Giove; not only the temple is quite interesting but it is gorgeous the view !) and then, on the road you can go until the southern part of Castelli Romani and at least visit Lanuvio and Marino.
Then, one day is for the hills and so the cute towns: Piglio and Picinisco.
I can give you the smart advices to eat and to buy.
Ciao.

vincenzod is offline  
Jan 7th, 2009, 04:55 AM
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Ciao Vicenzo!

There are so many decisions! I will try not to worry like the last time!!

Are you thinking that it would be good to stay in Sperlonga and take day trips from there if we choose that region for our holiday? Is it not too small for an entire week out of season?

Here is a hotel I found that looks nice:

http://www.hotelgrottaditiberio.com/main.php

And the Villa Prato, that you recommended above:


http://www.agriturismovillaprato.it/ing/where.htm

ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 7th, 2009, 05:36 AM
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eks- You posted mid-late September and I was there around the 20th. I was freezing in Tuscany/Siena and decided to head south to try to get warm. Perhaps you will have better weather.
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 7th, 2009, 08:52 AM
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I know VILLA PRATO and that's why I suggested you it: lovely and charming place.
Don't worry !

Vincenzo
vincenzod is offline  
Jan 7th, 2009, 09:10 AM
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I vote for staying in Gaeta, but do plan to spend time in lovely Sperlonga.

As for activities and day trips, you'll have more than you can imagine. I'll try to go find my trip notes about what we did in and around the area and post a bit later. Not to worry, though - we were amazed at how much there was of interest to see and do there
StCirq is online now  
Jan 7th, 2009, 09:45 AM
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St. Cirq: Many thanks for chiming in. Are you recommending Gaeta because Sperlonga might be too small for a week? Gaeta seems to have so many concret-ey hotels on the beach--I guess that is giving me the wrong idea about the town.. PLEASE recount any details you find in your notes--I would love to hear more about these towns.. HAve you been to Ischia and if so,are you recommending these two over the island?

I have at least 50 guide books about Italy and only two that I found so far (Cadogan; TimeOut: Rome) has any information (very sparse information) on Sperlonga and Gaeta..

Vicenzo, you always have good advice and I will be counting on you for eating once I decide on a location! I will keep the Villa Prato in mind! And I will try to keep calm and not worry!!
ekscrunchy is offline  

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