Venice vs. Amalfi Coast

Old Jun 15th, 2004, 01:23 PM
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Venice vs. Amalfi Coast

OK, here goes.

We are "planning" to go to the Amalfi Coast next May - Capri and Positano with day trips from there.

In the planning stages, Delta told us to fly into Milan and then onto Naples. When I looked at the map and saw how close Venice was, I really, really wanted to squeeze in a few days to see it.

My husband is against the idea, saying that he would rather "be" in a place and experience it, and relax, and eat and wander and drink and shop, and sleep, and tour as we feel like it, and 3 places will be too rushed for that kind of trip in 10 days time. I now agree with him.

I still have in my mind though that I would love to see Venice, and now maybe even moreso than Amalfi Coast. No one can decide for us, but I'm hoping people can give us pros and cons to both places to help decide (and me persuade - or not).

I think that the image of a hauntingly beautiful Venice was ruined first by his sister who 20 years ago after a one-day back-packing trip where she was harassed by sailors told him Venice was smelly and crowded and she hated it, and by a show we saw with everyone sloshing around the city in boots.

He says the idea of sloshing around in boots, with a smelly canal as backdrop, in a large city with no streets, where mold and rats prevail, the food is horrible and overpriced, and you are fighting off the crowds does not sound very appealing.

My image is of beautiful light, narrow streets to wander, beautiful canals to boat through, shops to wander in, and cafes in which to linger. My image is pure romance and relaxation. I have heard about the horrible food though. I now think Venice warrants it's own trip, and I'm sure I could do 10 days just there with maybe a few side trips.

From anyone who has been to both/either, please tell us what you loved/didn't love about each place.


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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 01:50 PM
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Have not been to Venice but have heard from friends that it is wonderful. Just got back 2 days ago from Amalfi Coast (Positano and Ravello). It was stunning and fantastic. I can not imagine Venice being better. Think of Amalfi as a relaxing serene vacation compared to the frenetic pace of any city in Italy. They are just different. You will love it either way.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 02:31 PM
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I have not been to the Amalfi Coast, but I went to Venice in March and had a great time. The food was far from horrible; in fact, the seafood was wonderful. More expensive than other places in Italy, however, that much is true.

It does not feel like a large city at all. There is no noise from traffic, for instance, and the streets, such as they are, are narrow and pedestrian. Never saw a rat (or mold) or smelled anything noticeably unpleasant. The prevalent scent was of the sea. The light was filtered through a misty haze.

I don't think I'll be going back soon, though. Five days was enough to satisfy my curiosity for now, and Venice doesn't seem to have have as vital a cultural scene as larger cities such as Paris, London, and Rome. It is less a living city than those are, or at least it seemed that way to me. Tourism keeps it alive.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 03:30 PM
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I have been to both--Venice many times; Capri and Positano once. The Amalfi Coast is breathtaking, and we will soon visit again and take friends with whom we want to share that beautiful place, but we will always return to Venice, year after year. There is just no other place like it.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 03:51 PM
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...where mold and rats prevail,...

Aw c'mon...your husband shouldn't be that hard on the tourists! (Although, in a recent NY Times article, a Venetian did compare tourists to "rats with wings", pigeons.)

My image is of beautiful light, narrow streets to wander, beautiful canals to boat through, shops to wander in, and cafes in which to linger. My image is pure romance and relaxation.

Si, si, si, si, si, and si!

First, in May, acqua alta shouldn't be a problem. Other than that, try your best to not hang out where the tourist hordes tend to hang out (e.g. Piazza San Marco.) Even so, your husband may not care for Venice. I, and many others, have fallen in love with this incredibly unique (and car-free!) city, but it certainly doesn't capture everyone's heart.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 03:54 PM
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Have been to both several times - and loved both. It just depends on what you want - a unique and world class city stuffed with incredible history and art treasures (and in May it shold not be either too crowded or flooded although some of the food is not too good) or a coastline with charming small towns and beautiful islands. If it were me I would do 3/4 days in Venice and 4/5 days in Amalfi.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 04:02 PM
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Venice is a vile touristy place that doesn't even have a pleasant odour. Yes it's historic and has lots of interesting things to see, but it's not a relaxing holiday.

The Neapolitan Riviera (incorporating Amalfi) is beautiful, foul odour free, close to historical sites, great hotels and restaurants. Venice is extremely expensive - for that money you can stay at the best in Amalfi and have a far more enjoyable time.

Venice is quite simply only for tourists.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 04:32 PM
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Well, for once I have to agree with m kingdom 2. Venice was a huge disappointment to me. It felt like a bad movie geared to the masses, complete with mostly horrible food that was expensive and often worse than Chef Boyardee. Then there was that smell, although in fairness, I'll admit to visiting in July. Probably one of the worst times of all to go.

The Amalfi Coast on the other hand, completely captured my heart and soul. Yes, it's touristy, but there are still places where you can find some of the best food you've ever eaten for a reasonable price. Add to that the spectacular views along the coast, the warm people, proximity to major historical sites ( Pompeii, Paestum), and you have the ingredients for a truly memorable vacation.



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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 04:36 PM
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Hi w,

Firstly, 10 days is too long for the AC & Capri. There is just not enough to do.

If DH's idea is to just lie back and snooze, he can do that on the Lido beach in Venice.

>He says the idea of sloshing around in boots, with a smelly canal as backdrop, in a large city with no streets, where mold and rats prevail, the food is horrible and overpriced, and you are fighting off the crowds does not sound very appealing.<

Doesn't sound appealing to me either. However, that's NOT Venice, Italy.

Since you are already doing this trip wrong - flying into Milan to get to Capri is the hard way - you could improve it somewhat by staying 3 days in Venice, flying www.volareweb.com to Naples for about 40E each, and spending a week in Capri and the AC.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 04:44 PM
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Ira (and everyone) -
Thanks for your insight.

Ira, we don't have many choices on the flight as they are Delta Frequent Tlyer miles.

It's either Boston to Milan nonstop and then Milan to Napes via Alitalia, or Boston to NY to Rome to Naples.

Flying to Milan rather than Rome cuts out one leg of the trip. So one less potential delay or thing that can go wrong as far as I am concerned.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 04:48 PM
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As you can see, people seem to either love Venice or not. I guess the question is, don you want to chance that your husband falls into the "love it" camp and not the other? Given is predisposition, I'd be concerned I'd have a cranky partner along for the ride if I opted for Venice.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 06:05 PM
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Hi wanderer,

Since it has to be Milan, it would be a shame to skip Venice.

It does not have foul odors from the canals.

High water is usually in November, and it only affects a few parts of the city.

Venice does have streets.

It is undergoing restoration since 2000 and is prettier than it has been in decades.

It won't be all that crowded in May. Also, most visitors are daytrippers and leave in the evening, when Venice is at its best.



There are good restaurants at moderate prices.

You can find good hotels for about the same rates as on the AC.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 06:30 PM
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I have to respectfully disagree with Ira. Ten days on the AC and Capri is not too long. There's plenty to do, especially if you take daytrips to Pompeii, Amalfi, Ravello, Paestum, Naples, etc.

Also, I don't think your husband would be very entralled with Venice's Lido Beach. First of all, you have to pay to get in to most of them, and secondly, the water's often polluted, so they're just not that great.

I do agree with Ira that it seems crazy to fly Boston-Milan-Naples, if Capri is the first destination. What's wrong with grabbing the shuttle to New York, then traveling onward to Rome? Seems to me you'd save yourself a lot of aggravation by doing it this way.

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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 06:33 PM
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Weadles -
Nothing wrong with grabbing the shuttle to NY except that the Boston to NY to Rome to Naples route added 4 hours to our trip, and time is precious.

Having traveled extensively, I also know that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and I don't want to add one more stop to this trip. One is enough for me.

We'll also have to just see next week if they even have flights available for when we want to go. We may be forced to do the Rome route after all.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 06:34 PM
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I think husband should compromise...your passion to see Venice should count as much as his desire to have only a couple of stops. If you spent a few days in Venice and the rest in Positano, would that be so bad? You could always day trip to Capri...
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 07:07 PM
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Please don't listen to misinformation about Venice. Yes, if you are too frightened or too ignorant to explore away from the most touristed parts of the city (the infamous Daytrippers' Alley), it is quite likely that you will encounter some pretty bad restaurants, garish souvenir shops, and large crowds of other ignorant people who haven't a clue that Venice consists of more than a three-block wide strip along the Grand Canal.

Do a bit of research and you will find an entirely different city.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 07:15 PM
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Aside from your husband's negative impressions of Venice, does he tend to not like cities? If that's the case then, as wonderful as Venice is, he's likely to prefer the Amalfi Coast.

The Amalfi Coast certainly has far more spectacular natural beauty -- I think all of us here would be in agreement on that -- but Venice shows what beauty the hand of mankind can create.

On another note, I'm sure glad we missed all this horrible food in Venice.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 07:41 PM
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I have been to Venice twice and Amalfi Coast twice. In fact, I just returned from AC.

Venice is a MUST-SEE, but it really only warrants a night or two. There is no other place like it. Yes, it is a bit smelly. Yes, I saw a rat- took a picture too! It is crowded and filled with tourists. And it is expensive... But all of those tourists are there for a reason- it DOES have the romance you described. And it is a magical place with a ton of art! And NO cars!

That being said, the Amalfi Coast is one of my favorite places in the world. You will love it! And 7-8 days is plenty for some great relaxation in the area. There are splendid vistas around every corner. The Amalfi Coast boasts great and inexpensive restaurants, cute shops, lemon and orange trees everywhere, and the breathtaking Mediterranean!

I think you could easily train from Milan to Venice, spend two days at most. Then fly Alitalia from the Venice airport (change planes in Milan or Rome) to Naples. I suggest you take a bus from the Naples airport to Sorrento or have a car arranged for you by your hotel. I find the Naples train station a place best to be avoided with lots of luggage.

One other thought: it sounds like you are staying in both Positano and Capri. If you want more relaxation and less travel time, you might just pick one hotel in AC and day trip. There are frequent ferries between Capri and Positano. But both are great so you can't go wrong! Have a great trip! I know you will!

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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 04:10 AM
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capo -

You hit the nail partly on the head. My husband does not like cities as much as I, but more importantly does not find them restful, which he (and I) want out of this vacation.

I on the other hand find cities exciting and energizing, but can only tolerate small doses. I get a headache after 3 days in NYC.

He does not want to be rushing about - training to Venice, staying 2-3 days, training back, and then flying to Amalfi Coast. He'd rather just go somewhere and be there. I think part of it with him is the traveling to and fro which he finds draining, which I do as well. The fewer stops the better. He also wants to "see" an area and not just rush in and rush out. Even if we went for 3 days, we would really only have 1 full day there.

I am still pretty set on the 5/5 split between Capri and Positano. Again, the travel days will be basically "slush" days where we don't do much, and I can see filling 3 full days in each place - hikes, shops, boat trips, Blue Grotto, day trips, etc.

We shall see what happens...





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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 04:30 AM
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If he doesn't like cities, and just wants to plop down in one place, it seems pretty obvious that he'll probably make your life miserable if you make him go to Venice.

As to Venice warranting only a night or two--Venice is actually one of the WORST places in the world for a day trip or a one night visit. The layout of the city and the locations of the major sights in the city almost mandate that you will be caught up in the pathetic daytripper herds for your entire visit if you limit yourself to seeing just the most ballyhooed sights in just one or two days. And, yes, if you allow this to happen to you, then you will probably experience the worst restaurants, the most garish souvenir stands, tourist trash (in both senses of the word), etc.

Venice really does have so much more to offer than the Rialto Bridge, the Grand Canal, P. San Marco, the Palace of the Doges, and Basilica San Marco.
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