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kat7cebu Dec 11th, 2010 12:34 AM

(Sorrento) romantic surprise treat
My partner and I are meeting up in Italy and head out to Sorrento (as base) for a few days in February.

I would like to surprise him to a romantic treat. We will definitely be going around having hired a car for the duration of our stay. A day at Pompei and another to Positano, Amalfi & Ravello and about 2 days free. Just a brief background, he is in his 50's and in good health very vibrant, into theatre, loves the outdoors and long walks. Dinner would be the first that would come to mind but would need other suggestions. Picnic perhaps (with a view)? spa?
It doesn't have to be extravagant, simple and easy to pre arrange but I want it to be special.
If it comes down to dinner, any suggestions on which restaurant in any of the areas I've mentioned above would be most appreciated....

Thank you in advance...

qwovadis Dec 11th, 2010 03:09 AM my fav in nearby Amalfi

Romantic amazing perfectly located for what you want... will have other great options

Pick something nice within your budget with great reviews

and odds are great you will have a wonderful time.

Happy Journey,

zeppole Dec 11th, 2010 03:18 AM

I would pick an overnight at Don Alfonso 1890, and if that's not possible, a lunch.

Another possibility might be a day trip to Cumae, to consult with the oracle sybil and see the theater. Bring a picnic.

zeppole Dec 11th, 2010 03:20 AM

I meant to add you can take a bus from Sorrento to Don Alfonso. I am not sure they are open for lunch in February, however.

zeppole Dec 11th, 2010 03:23 AM

and more on the sybli

zeppole Dec 11th, 2010 03:38 AM

I just found this nifty (long) youtube video of Don Alfonso 1890, so it would give you a good idea of you'd like it. February would be a great time to walk in the lemon orchards

A_Brit_In_Ischia Dec 11th, 2010 05:13 AM

February's fairly quiet in this part of the world, and it looks like neither the Relais nor the restaurant Don Alfonso opens until March 24th?


MoonGirl Dec 11th, 2010 09:39 AM

Daytrip to Capri? There is plenty of hiking with spectacular views, ranging from easy to moderate to challenging, plus sightseeing in both Capri Town and Anacapri. While many restaurants will be closed, there will certainly be some open. Capri Tourism office site: and also will have more info and enticing photographs. Ferry service will be more limited in February than in the summer months, and you will have to maintain some flexibility, in that rough seas could cancel ferry trips on any particular day. But Capri is a truly magical place, so I think it is worth considering. Good luck!

kat7cebu Dec 11th, 2010 04:59 PM

Thank you all for your suggestions.

We have already booked a hotel (Hotel Francischiello & Spa Bellavista) in advance so it is just that one special surprise activity that I need to pull for him. But thank you qwovadis,just the same.

I have checked out Don Alfonso and would probably just inquire about the restaurant. As, A_Brit have mentioned the hotel opens March 24.Thank you. But it is beautiful.Thank you, too, Zeppole for sharing the video.

So, I am now thinking between Cumae and Capri.Thank you, Moongirl. Will even probably do both but only one as a surprise. Still I would welcome any ideas....and will do more research.

Thanks again to all.....

kat7cebu Dec 11th, 2010 08:58 PM

Here's what I've gathered from my research. As we are driving out from Rome early (8am) to Sorrento via Naples, Cumae might as well be part of our itinerary and add to that Bacoli and Baia.

Is it easier to take public transport from Naples to these places and park our car in Naples? Or take the car? Considering it will be in February there shouldn't be problems with traffic or parking, right?

Zeppole, since you suggested Cumae, are Bacoli and Baia interesting enough to go to that same day before we finally check in at our hotel in Sorrento?

Still have no idea how to incorporate the surprise....

A_Brit_In_Ischia Dec 11th, 2010 10:17 PM

We're on Ischia, and Cuma is almost on our doorstep - in as much as it's directly across the water from here, and in sight every day. Indeed, some 2,700 years ago Greek settlers from their colony on Ischia moved across to establish the town.

After exploring that area thoroughly by public transport over the last few years, I'd strongly advise you stick to using the car - especially as you're visiting in February!

You'll find photos from most of the sights and sites of the Campi Flegrei, and a few tips that may be useful, here:

And others from around Campania, here:

Once you're down to specifics, do shout....

PS - Is the surprise for that travel day, or after you've settled in at Massa Lubrense?

zeppole Dec 12th, 2010 02:01 AM

It might be that Don Alfonso 1890 isn't serving lunch in your time frame. I don't know when you are going in February. Sometimes places like that open up for Valentine's Day or other festivals. But I don't know about this one.

I just got kicked around on another thread for saying winter days are short in Scotland, and at the risk of more kicking around, I'll point out that winter days are short in Italy, and even though you are leaving Rome at 8am, you'll have to play it by ear about how much you include on your way. You want to leave yourself plenty of daylight hours to reach your ultimate destination that day.

I'm sure Peter knows more about this than I do, but I have sometimes read trip reports where people who traveled to Capri in winter complained that the ferry boat operators didn't always cancel trips because of rough seas, and that the ride turned out to be fairly nauseating! Anyway, just thought i'd raise the issue since this is supposed to be a romantic day. Perhaps Peter can help out with more info.

latedaytraveler Dec 12th, 2010 03:50 AM

Kat 7, I was in Capri one day in late February and the weather was cool but delightful - perfect for touring.

Zeppole, thanks for that great Utube excursion to the Don Alsonso - a colorful diversion on a bleak Sunday morning in New England.

A_Brit_In_Ischia Dec 12th, 2010 05:17 AM

As far as I'm aware, like airlines, ferry operators rarely rely on passengers to decide if scheduled services should be cancelled, and instead run them when it's safe to do so. All over the Mediterranean I've seen people reaching for the sick bag on even the calmest of days, and quite possibly some will afterwards post complaints - deserved or not!

But what I do know is that almost every day of the year many hundreds rely on those services for commuting in both directions between the islands and ports around the Bay - to go to work, school and college.

On the Sorrento/Capri route the only vessels likely to be in use are Caremar's fast ferries, such as this one....

and one or more of these hydrofoils...

But it will of course still be winter and conditions do vary....

Fortunately though, with gorgeous views from that hotel over to Ischia, judging what the seas will be like - on at least the outward ten mile trip - shouldn't be too difficult?

On the other hand the duration of daylight isn't a matter of opinion, but fact - and details for the Naples area (in mid-February, dawn at 06:36, dusk at 17:59) can found here...


kat7cebu Dec 12th, 2010 05:24 AM

A_ Brit - I initially thought it was best to do the surprise that day. Now I'm having second thoughts...But one thing's for sure-- will definitely take the car then.

Zeppole- Thank you. We will be in Sorrento mid February. We dont mind checking in late that day, we were planning to have dinner in Naples anyway that day before checking in. But we hadn't planned on places to visit while in Naples til I started this topic.

lateday - Thank I will for sure consider Capri just too risky as a surprise. But would be perfect if I pull it off.

Thanks again...

LoveItaly Dec 12th, 2010 05:46 AM

Hello kat, no doubt you know but I notice you keep posting that you are using Sorrento as your base. Actually your hotel is about 6km south of Sorrento in Massa Lubrense versus in the City of Sorrento. Good wishes that you two have a lovely trip!

kat7cebu Dec 12th, 2010 06:23 AM

Hello, Loveitaly. You're right. We had to choose between having to stay in the town center or outside. I chose this hotel as it sounded really romantic.

Peter, the surprise need not be on this day. So far we've planned:

1st day - Rome-Naples (Cumae/Bacoli/Baia) - Sorrento
2nd day - Positano-Amalfi-Ravello
3rd day - Pompei
4th day- FREE day (maybe Capri)

It would be great if I can fit in a surprise treat for him in any of these days..

ggreen Dec 12th, 2010 08:34 AM

I hesitate to contribute because I don't have any specific details for you... but I'll add my suggestion anyway. :)

My thought is you could do the surprise on the 2nd day, and plan for a surprise lunch in Montepertuso or Nocelle above Positano. Last spring, we hiked a stretch of the Sentieri Degli Dei (Walk of the Gods), starting in Nocelle and winding our way to Praiano. I loved being so high up, with the ribbon of the main road curling way below us and the Mediterranean spread out as far as the eye could see. There was something magical about walking through the small town with their farms perched on such steep and narrow strips of land.

We took a public bus up from Positano to the end of the line in Nocelle. There is also a small public parking lot there; I believe there is some kind of a coin-operated meter to use it. As for getting there as a surprise: if your partner is doing the driving and you navigating, you could just direct in such a way that you end up above Positano! ;)

Anyway, A_Brit or zeppole or others better versed in the area hopefully will provide feedback on whether or not this suggestion would even work at that time of year!

A_Brit_In_Ischia Dec 12th, 2010 09:26 AM

Sounds ideal - so far I'd come up nothing better than perhaps coming crossing by hydrofoil to Naples and trying one of the restaurants at Marechiaro!

Thought I'd read that the Flavio Gioia buses, which I presume is the one you've described, took a break from after New Year until some time in March, however their site is showing a timetable for the "Positano - Montepertuso - Nocelle" service for that period....

Should work if you start here, and click on "Public Urban Service", then the individual 'Orario' links...

So it may very well be ONLY their "Positano - Praiano" route that closes.... as ever, best to get the hotel to ring and check before setting out!

Although it shows only that latter route's times, this - taken from their maps - may be still worth copying and printing?

.................................................. .

High time this was updated (so, again, do crosscheck the times, prices etc!), but there's lots of information about the Sorrento Peninsula and Amalfi Coast - including a few walks suggestions - in the useful 'Travel Directory' that's available for download from the official tourist site, here...


zeppole Dec 12th, 2010 09:29 AM


I've never attempted it, but most people strongly advise against any plan that has a newcomer driving into Naples, but also one that has you leaving your bags in your car, and driving to Massa Lubrense after dinner to check into your hotel if you've never driven there before. Unless you are picking a restaurant very much on the periphery of Naples, and planning an early quick dinner of pizza and moving on, you could be in for a lot of stress! Can you elaborate on where and what time you were thinking of stopping for dinner?


Today has been a very enlightening and liberating day for me, one where I inadvertently discovered I am much closer in my every day thinking to Einstein and Thomas Huxley than I had realized -- but it has its lonely side, since I also see I may be alone on Fodor's in thinking it is obvious that when it gets dark on some future day is not a "fact" stated by an astronomer but an actuality determined by what is happening in front of your eyes where you are standing that day. Either there is daylight or there is not. Cloud cover can dramatically shorten the "day," including rapidly changing weather conditions along the Mediterranean coast that makes it hard to predict how the day will end by looking out the window in the morning -- although this may be more the case in the Golfo Paradiso than the bay of Sorrento.

I am certainly NOT discouraging a day trip to Capri if that appeals and weather forecasts are favorable. But I do want to underscore that the drive from Rome to Massa Lubrense is probably least stressful if completed within daylight hours, when signs are easily visible. Forecasting when you should depart from Cumae to get to the hotel if you have never done the drive before is tough, I think. It is useful to know that technically "sunset" is pegged to about 6pm. But the actual amount of usable daylight on a mid-February day could be much shorter than that -- important to realize if you have ambitions to pack in a lot of outdoors sightseeing or drive in Neopolitan traffic to a remote hotel.

Just my opinion, sure, but my opinion is that a chart of sunrise/sunset times is less relevant than the experiences of people like yourself you who live there, so long as you can imagine the trip for somebody who behind the wheel in the area for the first time -- and I'm not doubting for a minute you can.

Now I'll go back to my solitude of cosmic thoughts.

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