Southern Italy in May

Old Feb 29th, 2024, 06:06 PM
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Southern Italy in May

Thinking of flying in and out of Naples and doing a Southern Italy loop in May. Will rent a car. Do not need to go to the tip of boot nor the heel, but a gentle, central loop. Any ideas on itinerary and base towns? Mid 70s, like to drive. Crowds in May?
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Old Feb 29th, 2024, 06:52 PM
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You'll get a lot more useful information if you give us an idea of what you're looking for, other than driving. How many nights do you have in Italy, not counting getting there and back?
​​​​​​
Actually, the biggest suggestion is not to drive the Amalfi Coast, it can be crazy.

I would plan some time right in Naples. Not only the best pizza, but there is a lot to see there.
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Old Feb 29th, 2024, 07:11 PM
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How long do you have for the trip? What specifically do you plan to see? Do any sightseeing you are going to do in Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri or the Amalfi Coast, Amalfi, Positano, etc. by train, ferry or bus. Then rent the car.
May is a beautiful time to go.
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Old Feb 29th, 2024, 07:45 PM
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We have been there several times, including in May, so tell us all more about your plans and I'm happy to weigh in!
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Old Feb 29th, 2024, 10:29 PM
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Crowds shouldn't be bad once past the May 1st holiday. Of course different people have different ideas on bad crowds.
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Old Mar 1st, 2024, 07:12 AM
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Thanks for your great responses. We are looking at flights right now and thinking April 30-May 15, although we are flexible. The flights are good, so we may jump and get them. We have no other plans, other than having been to Italy twice before and we love the food and the people. Happy to drive, go out of the way, possibly have a few bases for day trips. Okay if we do not get to the Amalfi Coast or beaches. Any itinerary suggestions very welcomed. We are happy to stay in clean, friendly accommodations, no need for luxury. Mid-70s, can walk about 6 miles per day.
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Old Mar 1st, 2024, 07:25 AM
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Flying in and out of Naples has Amalfi Coast be a natural option. Does not sound like you're interested. I'd suggest using bus/ferry if you decide to go there. Are you interested in other points? Pompeii? You have not really mentioned your interests.

Last edited by Travel_Nerd; Mar 1st, 2024 at 07:27 AM. Reason: Misread, clarified
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Old Mar 1st, 2024, 08:21 AM
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To be honest, we have not gotten much further in planning. We like exploring small towns, some good food, and interesting historical, and other, sights. Of course, we’ll be happy to weave in the Amalfi coast, but no must sees as of yet. Getting a tour book today. I appreciate the suggestion to not have a car the entire time. We are happy to take public transportation and travel very light because of that.
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Old Mar 1st, 2024, 09:13 AM
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Yes, I think that is where you need to start by seeing what it available around the area you are traveling. We really cannot offer much suggestion without knowing more detail. You might want to also read the many trip reports on this forum ad well. TRs give their impressions on a certain landmark/town/restaurant/lodging.

After you do some reading and get some idea, come back with your initial plans (and let us know what you want to do in that plan) and we can advise on what makes sense. If you want suggestions on what to/see once you have a basic framework, please let us know what you like to do/see. Usually reading about your destination area helps with that end of the planning, btw. Something drew you to Naples to book a trip and that is where you start.
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Old Mar 1st, 2024, 09:13 AM
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Paestum — and with a car, you’d be able to stop at a buffalo farm for delicious cheese.

Caserta for the incredible royal Palace and also a silk factory and the hilltop medieval Casertavecchia. But don’t try to visit the Palace on the first Sunday of the month — free admission means it’ll be mobbed.

Sans car, Herculaneum, Pompeii and perhaps Amalfi.
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Old Mar 1st, 2024, 09:20 AM
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All right. You are so open to ideas, seem to want a car trip, are going at a perfect time weather-wise, plus have 15 days which is such an opportunity. I am going to make a very different suggestion.

Fly on to Sicily from Naples. So many people never have enough time there and you can easily spend the two weeks. The sights are amazing. The food is great. Plus, renting a car is the best way to travel there.

You could also spend ten days driving around Sicily and a few days back on the Amalfi Coast sightseeing by ferry. Such a fantastic trip that would be!
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Old Mar 1st, 2024, 09:46 AM
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Wow! These are all great ideas. We have booked flights in and out of Naples 4/30-5/15. I will do some research and get back. Picking up 3 tour books this afternoon. We have had such great experiences on this forum for many trips (and have written some trip reports). I will read them, too. See you soon. This is somewhat last minute, so we will be moving forward.
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Old Mar 1st, 2024, 10:11 AM
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Virginia this will be fantastic!

We rented a car in NAP this past September. I wrote a brief trip report here, which I will link, below. (If food is a big interest, I wrote a couple of food-focus reports on another site that I can also link if you like)

Live! Very brief report on a few southern italian destinations


This is one of the food reports I mentioned,, above, from the same trip:

https://www.hungryonion.org/t/basili...-world/36261/9





We spent our first night after arriving in NAP (from USA) in Vietri Sul Mare, at the southern end of Amalfi Coast. Frankly, I would just leave the AC for another trip; you don't need a car there and even in May, I've encountered traffic.

Instead, depending on how South you make make its the first night, you might head for someplace in the Cilento Peninsula. Pisciotta is a Wonderfull hill town, with a "marina" counterpart on the sea below. Great place to spend about two nights.


On my January 10 post of this thread, I recap some of our time in the Cilento:

https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/cilento-where-to-base-on-a-week-long-trip-849632/page3/






From there you could visit another town or two in the Cilento, or continue on to Basilicata. Maratea, which entries the entire coastal strip of that region, is lovely..I've been a few times and we spent about 5 days there last May and loved it....lots of opportunity for walking there, as there is in the Cilento.

And from there I might suggest heading towards Matera and spend minimum three nights in the unique city. En route to Matera, the nearly abandoned historic core of Tursii is a fascinating place to overnight, with a spectacularly good restaurant; I can go into details about Tursi if it interest you. You should also see the abandoned town of Cracco en route to Matera. Roads in the area are excellent and uncrowded.

Then, Matera and over the regional border to Puglia if you have time left. Probable the truly area near Monopoli, Ostuni, Locorotondo, and others that have been covered a lot on this forum in recent years. Its been maybe 15 years or so since we made our first Puglian visit; we returned on that trip last May and were just as enchanted, although we focused on places new to us that did not see quite as many foreign tourists as the places I just mentioned. (We also went to the Gargano, and on to Molise and Lazio before circling back to Rome, but that's for another trip for you!!)




Then back to Naples to fly home....

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Mar 1st, 2024 at 10:17 AM.
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Old Mar 1st, 2024, 11:01 AM
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Wow! Much thanks. Looking forward to delving into all of these great thoughts!
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Old Mar 1st, 2024, 11:48 AM
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I've driven the AC several times at your dates as well as others and always enjoyed the trip. Like you I like to drive and have always found places to stop and take photos. I even drove the coast once with a couple of passengers that I picked up at NAS Naples in a tiny underpowered manual shift car. Aside from lots of shifting there were no problems. There are days that traffic may be heavy but it was not a deal breaker.
I do like the idea of Sicily. There is lots to see and the driving is good.
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Old Mar 1st, 2024, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by basingstoke2
I've driven the AC several times at your dates as well as others and always enjoyed the trip. Like you I like to drive and have always found places to stop and take photos. I even drove the coast once with a couple of passengers that I picked up at NAS Naples in a tiny underpowered manual shift car. Aside from lots of shifting there were no problems. There are days that traffic may be heavy but it was not a deal breaker.
I do like the idea of Sicily. There is lots to see and the driving is good.
I hope someone can confirm, but it is my understanding that the AC has implemented a method to control traffic in the region, depending on the license plate. Evens on certain days, odds on alternate days. Having a car in the AC may make it difficult to plan around this schedule and not having the license plate info in advance.

Just something to keep in mind...
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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 05:25 AM
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Nick has a good point...I've also heard something like he writes about traffic control, but I don't know if that applies in May. Easy enough to check it out.

I found it a lot of fun to drive on the A/C but you do not NEED a car there. So since you've decided to rent one, go someplace where a car is useful or even necessary...

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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 06:40 AM
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My dear Fodorites--we are up against a time challenge here. We can cancel our flights to Naples by 1pm EST today. We are trying to roughing price out the trip. It's not that we have a specific budget, it is whether the trip is doable and worth it. We are finding getting to the Amalfi Coast very costly; we have been, and hiked, Cinque Terre. We travel lightly (Osprey Fairview pack and rolling carryon), but are not the best at negotiating them on public transportation. We are considering these options:
A: flying into Naples, public transit to Sorrento-ferry Amalfi Coast. going over to the Adriatic Coast, picking a base and staying 3-6 days taking day trips, back to Naples and leave.
B: flying into Naples, go to Sicily for 3-4 days, come back and go over to Adriatic Coast with base as above and not seeing Amalfi Coast.
This is very sketchy I know, but we are under pressure about the flights.
Thank you in advance!!

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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 06:49 AM
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I would catch a train from Naples station to say Taranto and then on to Lecce, stay in Lecce with the odd train journey south especially to enjoy the heel of Italy. I'd find a B&B in the old part of town, but get one with a roof top seating area so you can rest up there after a long day. Just visiting Lecce is a long day, if you want you can do a day in Matera but in May, I'd go south to the old greek/spartan cities on the coast
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Old Mar 2nd, 2024, 07:12 AM
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Well, if you have good flights that are well priced, I would keep them and work from there.

I would NOT plan on Sicily for only 3-4 days! I would plan to spend most or all of the time in Sicily! While not huge, there is a lot to see and a big variety of things. It is beautiful. It takes time. There are basically two side to the island. You will be spending money on flights and time, so make it the priority and really see it.

Most especially, do not try to do both Sicily and the Adriatic side of Italy in one two week trip. 3 or 4 days in Naples, Sorrento, AC works with either Sicily or Pulia, but Pulia and Sicily do not work together in 2 weeks.

Getting around the AC with luggage is really not that difficult. If you can manage one train to Sorrento and take a taxi to a hotel, you can do the rest by ferry. Very, very easy and cheap.

You could also easily stay in Naples and see Herculaneum and Pompeii from there. Unless you are looking at expensive, private tours or cruises, the AC is easy from Naples and not expensive.
There are other, slightly more expensive options, so very doable.

If you already have good flights at reasonable prices into Naples, I would definitely stick with them and then work out the rest.
We have been to Naples and the AC four times and Sicily once. We have been to several Greek islands, the coast of Spain and Southern France. That is just for comparison of our recommendation. We absolutely love the AC and Sicily and would so happily return. I know it does not appeal to some, but it was as if we died and went to heaven the first time and each visit has has been the same.

Last, this is such a perfect time of year. Go.

Oh, do you not still have two weeks, April 30 to May 15? I would still nab those tickets, even if it is cut to ten days.

Last edited by Sassafrass; Mar 2nd, 2024 at 07:15 AM.
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