I’m trying to plan an 11 day trip flying in and out of Rome (cheaper flights). Leaving may 14 evening and returning may 25. Plan on going to Sorrento (maybe as base) want to be in Naples for a soccer game on the 19th. Also visiting family in Avellino probably for 1 day. Wondering if half the trip should be Florence or Venice. My family hasn’t see any of Italy yet and I want to make this a wonderful experience for them. Thanks in advance.
I am partial to Venice. I could go back 10 times and still want to go back. Staying on the island of Venice instead of the mainland is not just advisable but the super important. After the day trippers leave in the evening and in the morning before they arrive the city is amazing. The morning when the sun is still lower in the sky the city glows and is so quiet. I got up around 6 and was able to go to San Marco Square where the only other person was a cleaner and there were pigeons.
That's not a lot of time. Venice is far to the north, you'd burn 2 days just getting there and back. I think it is wiser, when flying into Rome, to either do Rome and points north or Rome and points south. Trying to do both north and south with less than 3 or 4 weeks on the ground is not the best plan. Looks like you only have 9 days, not 11. 3 days in Rome and 3 days in Sorrento is 2/3 of your trip.
With the amount of time that you have allocated to your trip and your current commitments (family, soccer game, Sorrento). I would recommend that you visit Florence. By train, you can get there as quickly as 1.5 hours. Florence is not only the heart of the Renaissance’s art and architecture, but it is the heart of Tuscan cuisine and there is plenty to see and do. Venice is a unique place with much to recommend it, from the canals to the art, but it will take you at least 3.5 hours to travel by train from Rome to Venice. A lot of time will be taken in transit.
You have 10 nights, so limited ut not impossible. Here's a thought:
May 15 Arrive Rome - if this is early in the day, i.e., before noon, take a train immediately to Venice. You can nap on the train and at least enjoy an evening stroll and dinner in this atmospheric city
May 16 Venice
May 17 Venice
May 18 Train to Sorrento - leave as early as possible as this will take some time, but you'll be there for late afternoon stroll and dinner
May 19 Soccer game in Naples, sleep in Sorrento
May 20 Sorrento, perhaps daytrip to Pompeii
May 21 Train to Rome
May 22 Rome
May 23 Rome
May 24 Rome
May 25 Fly home
OP does not have "10 days" as they claim, they actually have 9 days, excluding arrival and departure days. With such limited time, I don't think the plan is realistic at all. Starting in Rome, going all the way south to Sorrento (a full day spent on internal travel there), getting all the way back to Venice, or even just Florence (another day spent on travel) - you're now down to 7 usable days. Then getting back to Rome for the flight home - subtract part of another day, so lets say 6.5 days. Thats a lot of time spent sitting on trains.
First, I wouldn't go all the way to Italy if all I had was this short amount of time/if I really wanted to include places that are geographically so distant (practically the length of the country), but if OP can't extend their trip, I'd pick two places. Sounds like one of them has to be Rome or near Rome, the other is Naples/Sorrento/Avellino area. There you go - that's really all you really have time for, unless you want to spend half your trip on trains.
My family hasn’t see any of Italy yet and I want to make this a wonderful experience for them.
Then you either need a much longer trip, or you need to make this a trip to Rome and Naples/Sorrento/Avellino, period, and even that's going to feel pretty compressed with the time you have - I see almost no time for sightseeing and just being in Italy enjoying its charms if you stick to your plan - if you do, your family's memories of Italy will mostly be memories of its train system.
I know that's not what you want to hear - sorry.
Hi there -
A couple of things are throwing wrenches in the machinery if wanting to add another location. The first is wanting to be in Naples smackdab in the middle of the trip, Another is the day trip to Avellino, which would be a time-consuming pain by public transit from Sorrento: it's best done from Salerno or Naples unless you rent a car. The third is having to fly both in and out of Rome. Any way you shake it, you'll be doing some backtracking.
Venice is your outlier so I'd drop that one. At best I might look at something like this:
14th - fly
15th - arrive in Rome, train directly to Florence
16th - Florence
17th - Florence
18th - midday/afternoon train to Naples
19th - Naples - soccer game and sightsee
20th - Naples - day trip to/from Avellino
21st - Naples - train to/from Pompei/Sorrento
22nd - Early train to Rome
23rd - Rome
24th - Rome
25th - fly home from Rome
Otherwise I'd concentrate just on Rome and the Naples/Coast area as Rome is getting short shrift with just 2.5 days. A lot also depends on what your interests are? What sorts of things do you and your family want to do and see in Italy?
This March, when we wanted our family to have a wonderful two week trip to Italy, we (like you) flew in and out of Rome because it was cheaper and then went immediately to Puglia for the whole two weeks. No, it doesn't have the major sites of Venice and Florence, and yes, it totally depends on what you and your family like to do, but it's hard to beat Puglia for pure enjoyment of Italy without crowds of tourists. The six of us stayed in a large trullo and in a lovely old hill town (Ostuni), easily did day trips by car all over Puglia, and ate wonderful food.
So, what do you like to do? Ages and number of your family members?
Could you stay in and visit the many terrific sites in Naples itself until the game, with a one day trip to Avellino and a one day trip to see Pompeii by train, then take the train to Foggia or Bari or Brindisi or Lecce, rent a car, and base yourselves in a town or countryside trullo or villa or B&B or agriturismo, and then tour Puglia? Fly back to Rome (this is what we did) from Bari or Brindisi airport?
Then be sure to return some day to visit the big three up north!
I have never been to the Amalfi Coast, so I've left Sorrento out, but you certainly could stay there rather than in Naples. But we, on another trip, loved staying in Naples for a full week with no day-trips at all. I have no idea why Rick Steves thinks Naples is so wild and crazy and gritty --- we did not find it so. We stayed 1/2 a block from the famous pizza place, Sorbillo, and walked to and from the train station.
Thank you all so much for your feedback. I think I’ll scratch Venice for now and concentrate on the other cities. I agree, don’t want to spend so much time traveling in a vehicle. Maybe we should just relax in 2 cities with a couple of day trips. Thanks again
Is your family the same group that lives in Avellino or is that extended family?
Hi. It’s extended family at a vineyard. I haven’t yet figured out yet how to get there from Sorrento (maybe a car service?).
Check with this car service, they get good reviews here.
2 other options would be the train 2 1/2 hrs. Limited schedule from Naples and a car rental drive would be about 1 1/2 hrs.
Info on Sorrento transportation. Train, bus, ferry
Thanks a lot.
Sorrento silver star is a wonderful car service and we used them when we visited the area 2012.
Not everyone can take an extensive vacation of 3-4 weeks and to suggest that one should not go to Italy unless they have this kind of time IMHO is not helpful. You can have a wonderful family vacation but like most responded, just limit the number of places and keep them close together. Enjoy your time and you will fall in love with Italy and plan to return again.
2 other options (to Avellino from Sorrento) would be the train 2 1/2
Right, and that doesn't include the hour it would take on the Circumvesuviana from Sorrento to Napoli Garibald/Centrale. That's why, what with wanting to be in Naples for the game + make this day trip, it might be easier to just stay in Naples. But if intent on Sorrento, then a car service will significantly cut your travel time to/from Avellino.
Editing to add: I'm seeing a 5:50 AM train Naples Centrale> Avellino with one change that takes 2 hours, 10 minutes, and that's the fastest morning rail route. Coming back, the fastest is 16:26 train with one change that takes 2 hours, 43 minutes.
"Not everyone can take an extensive vacation of 3-4 weeks and to suggest that one should not go to Italy unless they have this kind of time IMHO is not helpful. You can have a wonderful family vacation but like most responded, just limit the number of places and keep them close together."
I only get 10 nights per trip. The key to making them good trips is to be ruthless in limiting what I see each time, both in geography (nothing too far-flung) and in number (not too many places).
Rome2Rio is a good resource for learning about transit options between places. You should never take it as the last word; always check directly with the airline, bus company, train line, etc to see actual prices and schedules. But it's great for identifying any snags, like towns that require three buses to connect, or places you think have trains that don't. https://www.rome2rio.com/
Some general trip planning principles:
1) Count nights, not days.
2) The day of departure is taken up with getting to the airport.
3) The day of arrival is often a jet-lagged haze, so don't plan anything important on this day.
4) Two nights in a place equals one full day. Three nights in a place equals two full days. And one night in a place is less than a full day.
5) Every time you change places, you lose a half day, even if the places are close together (say, Rome to Florence). With a longer change, you lose most of a day (say, Florence to Sorrento).
6) Don't focus on what you can't fit in. Accept, right now, that something you really want to see will not work out on this trip, for one reason or another.
6) While it's great to get others' recommendations, be sure your trip is what YOU want to see and do. Don't go to a place just because "everyone" goes there, or some book or website says it's a "must see" (or even worse, "must see before you die"). With only 10 days, if a place doesn't make it to your personal A-list, it's out.
Specifics for Italy:
1) It's often easiest to see Italy in a line, north to south or vice versa.
2) Italy is insanely dense with history and worthwhile places, sights, artwork, food, etc. In ten days, you can only see a sliver, of a fraction, of a portion, of the country. Accept this now. Don't try to add more than can be reasonably seen and enjoyed in your very short time. And be careful of well-meaning people who say, for instance, "if you're going to Florence, you simply have to see Bologna too, because it's so close." "if you're going in Bologna, don't miss Ferrara." "If you're going to Ferrara, be sure to see Ravenna too." Pretty soon, you will have a great two-month trip - except you only have 10 days. Yes, all these places are great, but you have to be ruthless in putting places on the "next trip" list.
3) Florence, Venice, and Rome are The Big Three for a reason. That said, there's no rule that you have to see all of them on a first trip - or even, any of them. Particularly since you want to see Avellino and Naples (for very good reasons), that skews your trip away from Florence and Venice. Avellino, Naples and some of the Amalfi Coast, and Rome - that's 10 days right there, and 10 very nice days too.
And most important: Assume there will be a next trip! Otherwise, you'll drive yourself crazy with what you're not seeing this time.
We just returned from 16 days in Italy...the Heart of Italy tour with Rick Steve's tours ( which was amazing!) and 8 days in Tuscany on our own. I absolutely loved Siena and the small towns of Cortona, Pienza and Montepulciano. Florence was beautiful, but terribly crowded. My personal opinion is to see the historic parts of Rome and leave. It's so crowded and fairly dirty. I would center somewhere in Siena and travel to small towns. It was definitely the most beautiful part of our travels.
Florence was beautiful, but terribly crowded. My personal opinion is
to see the historic parts of Rome and leave. It's so crowded and
While Florence and Rome can be crowded, the vast majority of the masses congregate around the most-visited attractions. We've found plenty of breathing room away from those areas and interesting things to see in random corners as well. Trying to cram the top attractions into just a couple of days will put you smack in the middle of the hordes all day, every day. That can get old in a hurry so allowing enough time to explore elsewhere can make a HUGE difference in one's impression. Time of day can make a difference as well: early mornings are a great time to wander without nearly as many bodies to contend with.
Personal perception, maybe, but we didn't find Rome any dirtier than a fair number of other cities we've visited in the U.S or Europe. Certainly not enough to bother us.
I wish that between the "Community Guidelines" and the "Start a New Topic," there was a clickable "Words of Wisdom" that would contained pretty much everything that Harold said here, plus some of the other really basic, important tips that are scattered all over this forum.