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Three Centre Holiday, Italy

Old Mar 12th, 2014, 11:59 AM
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Three Centre Holiday, Italy

I am planning a holiday in Italy for this July.
Initially, my wife and I will be staying with friends near Lucca for a week.
We then plan to head south to Rome where our two teenage boys will fly in to join us. The idea is to spend 3 days in Rome before heading down to Sorrento for a further 4 days.
Normally, we would take a car for a 2 week trip like this. We would drive to Lucca with an overnight stop en-route. Then on to Rome and Sorrento. The boys could fly in and out of Rome or fly back from Naples. My wife could fly back with them if she didn’t fancy the long drive back to the U.K.
The car would give us great flexibility but I am concerned about having a foreign registered car, particularly in the Naples area. I have had cars broken into on 3 occasions in Italy over the years.
I believe that Italy has good public transport and perhaps it makes sense to let the train take the strain.
So, here is my preliminary plan: -
My wife and I fly to Pisa and pick up a hire car for local travel in the first week.
We return the hire car to Pisa airport and take a train to Rome, (from Pisa/Lucca/Florence?).
The boys join us in Rome. We then all travel to Sorrento (via train to Naples perhaps and then by Circumvesuviana/bus/boat?).
Booking the flights is the easy part. Can anyone offer advice or suggestions on travelling this route within Italy/transfers from Rome airport and railway station, transfers in Naples, onward travel to Sorrento etc.
Also, any suggestion on family accommodation in July for 3 days in Rome and 4 days in Sorrento (pool required) would be very much appreciated.
Cliff.
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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 01:03 PM
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I would be tempted to pick up the car at the Pisa airport and return it to the Florence airport. Take the airport shuttle bus to the Florence train station and take the fast train to Rome from there.

Are you meeting your sons at the Rome airport (which one?) If so then a taxi back for the four of you might be cost competitive with public transport costs. If they are coming in on their own they can take a bus or a train depending on which airport they are arriving at.

You will need to pass through Naples to get to Sorrento but up to you as to whether you would prefer to transfer to a commuter train within the train station or go down to the docks (by metro or taxi) and take a ferry.

Would be best if people flew home out of Naples.

You might want to search on booking.com for hotels in your price range and with the amenities you need. I think you will want air con and wifi. You can read many many up-to-date reviews which can be important.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 10:57 AM
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"It makes sense to let the train take the strain."
You are thinking right on that one for Italy, where trains are cheap and efficient.
Take the train from Venice to Florence, and depending on how close you are staying to Luca, on to Luca.
The train station is right outside the walls in Luca.
If there is a car rental close by, rent the car there.
Turn the car back in on Orvieto or the Florence airport.

Now, this is where I would change things.
If you can fly out of Naples, great! See Rome first.
However, if you are flying out of Rome, then meet the boys and go straight on to Sorrento.
Stay in Rome at the end, so you are in the city that you will be departing from on the last night before the flights.

From the train station in Naples, it is easy to take the local Circumvesuvianna train to Sorrento. That station is beneath the main station. You go right outside and down the steps. Look for signs or ask at the ticket window. Many people warn about watching you luggage, but That is true on any train, and I have taken this train several times with absolutely no problem. That train ends in Sorrento, so mo problem with going to far. The station is at one end of town.

Once in Sorrento, take a taxi to your hotel, unless you pack light and the hotel is close. Then you can walk. We've done both.

You could also go down to the port and take a ferry to Sorrento. There is a shuttle, but in Naples, you would most likely want to get a taxi from the train station to the port. Catch the ferry to Sorrento. From the port in Sorrento, there is a steep walk uphill, ok for walking, but not with luggage. There is a shuttle to the center of town, but it would probably be best to taxi to your hotel.

From Sorrento, it is easy to train to Pompeii and to take ferries (and buses) to other places on the AC: Capri, Amalfi, Positsno, Etc.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 10:58 AM
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Sorry for all the typos. I forgot to preview and correct.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 11:40 AM
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I agree with sassafrass - it's dead easy to transfer from the main train station in Naples to the circumvesuviana line below - just follow the signs.

use the ferries to get around once you've got to Sorrento.

Also if you are flying out of Rome, go to Sorrento first, finish your trip in Rome.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 05:22 PM
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sassafrass,

I am baffled by your itinerary recommendations for Venice. The OP is flying into Pisa and has not expressed any interest in Venice. It would make sense tp pick up a car upon arrival at the Pisa airport and drive to Lucca rather than rent a car in Lucca. (Spelled with two c's.) Why would they drive all the way to Orvieto just to drop off the car?

I'll stop there, but apart from agreeing there is a commuter train from Naples to Florence, I don't know what your recommendations have to do with the OP's trip.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 06:16 PM
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Sorry -- now I'm doing it! I meant to write "from Naples to Sorrento." -- !!!
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 06:50 PM
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OMG, Sandralist, You are absolutely right! I thought they were driving from Venice and I don't have a clue where I got that from. Flying into Pisa, of course, get the car there.

As far as Orvieto, they are driving anyway; further, I know, but on the way to Rome, so not actually out of the way, and could be an interesting stop. That was my thinking. You are right though - simpler to just take the train from Florence.
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 01:07 AM
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Thanks everyone,some very good advice there.
The flights are now all booked. My wife and I are flying in to Pisa, the boys in to Rome Fiumucino and we are all flying out of Naples. So far so good!
Now I need to arrange accommodation, (with aircon and Wi-Fi I agree sandralist).
Also a hire car. Your comments got me thinking that maybe we could drop it off at Fiumicino. The timing would work well with checking out of our place near Lucca and meeting the boys' flight. We could take a leisurely drive down with a stopover for lunch. There seem to be 2 main routes down, perhaps the coastal route would be interesting if a bit slower.
The Circumvesuviana from Naples to Sorrento does seem to work well and is not expensive. It might be nice to arrive by sea though. I do remember the steep walk up in Sorrento so a taxi would be a good idea Sassafrass. As you suggest Annhig, we can get some time on the water by taking ferries when we are in Sorrento.
After Rome, I want Sorrento to be a time for relaxing, hence the need for a pool. I do plan to take everyone to Pompeii and Vesuvius though so that will be one energetic day.
Now the search for accommodation begins!
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 01:59 AM
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The coastal drive down from Lucca to Fiumicino is long and tedious in my experience. If you decide to take it, definitely cut back inland at Civitavecchia and take the bypass and use the A12.

If you have the luxury of time and want to drive, it would be far more scenic to target Montalcino for lunch (it's about 2.5 hours south of Lucca, inland) and then head to FCO via Orvieto and the A1. That would be close to another 3 hours of driving. In fact, what I might do is plan to drop off the car in Orvieto and take trains the rest of the way to FCO

But if I had that much time to kill, I would drop off the car at the Florence airport, head into Florence by bus and stow luggage at the train station, and have lunch and Florence and enjoy more of the city. Take the 90-minute fast train to Rome and switch to the airport express to FCO. If you book the train tickets in advance the shouldn't be expensive.

If you prefer to drive, leave yourself enough time when you arrive at FCO to drop off the car (the airport is a busy place) and get yourselves to the arrival area for your sons' flight.
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 02:02 AM
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One more thought: I just noticed your trip is in July, and in that case, I would probably opt to drive to FCO as well, and definitely skip Florence. I might play it by ear as to whether to take the coastal road or the inland road depending on how hot it is. However, if this travel day is a sunny weekend day, you can expect endless traffic jams on the coastal road. I would definitely avoid that and go for the inland scenery.
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 05:39 AM
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A small caution on the Circumvesuviana from Naples to Sorrento: The Circumvesuviana is not a single line, but rather a limited commuter network. Only one of the Circumvesuviana lines goes directly from Naples to Sorrento. We got on a wrong one, but luckily were helped by a local in changing along the way to the the line that went to Sorrento. We would have been baffled except both the local and I could communicate in French, as he had no significant English (although my wife and I discussing Sorrento and carrying baggage clearly showed him our error) and we speak no significant Italian.

The trick is to see a card in the front window of the front car of the Circumvesuviana listing "Sorrento."
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 11:45 AM
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>>>The trick is to see a card in the front window of the front car of the Circumvesuviana listing "Sorrento."
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 01:22 PM
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I should have said "the trick WAS ..." as that was 2 years ago. We saw no electric signs at the time, but who knows how observant we were.
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 01:30 PM
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My suggestion for a hotel in Sorrento is this: hotelmediterraneosorrento.com

DH and I stayed there for 5 nights in Oct.2012 and really enjoyed it. (would love to go back and take our 20 year old son)

It has a pool with a pizza cafe right there so you can take a few steps from your sun lounger and have a wood fired pizza and a drink. In season there is also a bathing platform down at the sea which is accessible by elevator across the road from the hotel.
Near the pool is a very large outdoor area to sit and relax.

We had a sea view room which was fantastic, every morning I got a thrill throwing open the shutters and looking at the Bay of Naples with Mt. Vesuvius in the background. The rooms were clean and comfortable and quite spacious.

There is a young, fresh vibe to this hotel which makes me think your kids would enjoy it.

It is about a 20 minute walk into the centre of town or the hotel has a shuttle. We enjoyed the walk.

If you do keep the rental car, there is free parking here, also breakfast is included and was a pretty big buffet, in their rooftop dining room which has beautiful views.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 11:44 AM
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I rented a car once to drive from Rome to Sorrento. When I picked up the car, the leasing agent said to me, "You're not stopping in Naples, are you?"
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