3 weeks in Italy

I've rented a villa in Torre Alfina, Lazio for 3 weeks beginning 10/27. This is a family thing and there will be 8 of us when we're all there-this includes two boys ages 5 and 16. The villa is about 30 minutes from Orvieto. Besides some day trips to nearby towns we'd like to do Pompeii, Florence, Pisa,, Lucca, Venice, Cinque Terre, Valtellina and possibly Capri.We have rented a car but plan to take the train into the larger cities. My husband and I will spend 4 days in Rome at the end- before we come home. I'm feeling somewhat overwhelmed. I am open to any suggestions and/or recommendations. We also want to do a vineyard excursion as a group. Any ideas?? Thanks
Penny

Posted by Louise
Sonora, CA, USA
100 posts

No wonder you feel overwhelmed - organizing this expeditions for 8 people! Actually though, it sounds like a beautiful opportunity! Organization is your best bet here - even just a flimsy binder for each of the places you'd like to visit. Print out some of the pertinant info, like directions, some of RS's hints for each place. One of the VERY best things we did was use small, colored stick-it papers to mark the pages in RS's Italy guidebook - - separate colors for each place. Mark the highlights you want to see, the placeas you'd like to eat at. We went with mostly ALL of Rick's recommendations and it was superb! Boys love to eat, whether 5 or 16, and perhaps they could help chose or even be the ones in charge of picking the daily gelato stop!
We say almost all the highlight of Rome in 5 days, so you can probably do quite a bit in 4, if you keep organized and prioritize. However, our B&B host helped us coordinate our desired visits in Rome much easier - places closer to one another. Ciao!

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2406 posts

Personally, I think all of the day trips you have planned are too far and will take too much time in transit. Venice and the CT will each be over 5 hours by train and Naples is at least 2.5 hours away with another half hour or more to get to Pompeii and more to get to Capri. Pisa is at least 3 hours away. Florence is about 2 hours away so you could visit there without much issue. I would look at towns closer to the area you're staying in and not spend so much time on trains getting from site to site. Donna

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4877 posts

I have to agree with Donna. It's not worth going to the trouble and expense of doing a day trip that is so far away that you will spend more time in transit than you will at the destination. Unless you are willing to overnight at those places further away, like Venice, C.T. (not worth it if the weather is bad), Pompeii, Capri, etc. There are many places in Umbria and Tuscany that would make easy day trips. I would buy a couple of guidebooks that focus on those regions. Have a fantastic time making memories with your family.

Posted by Penny
West Chester, PA
12 posts

Thank you for your suggestionsI am going to get to work on RS's Italy book with the stickies and highlighter even though I swore I would not have my nose in itbut I have to be PRACTICAL at this point. I figured Venice would be an over-nighter. Pompeii is a must so that will be an overnighter as wellwhere would be the best place to stay for the Pompeii trip? Naples? Sorrento? Four of us will be doing that trip. Thanks
Penny

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2406 posts

Either in Naples or Sorrento. If you stay in Naples and plan 2 nights you can also fit in Capri if you choose. Donna

Posted by Jim
Dallas, Texas, USA
495 posts

I tried my best to enjoy Lucca, but can't really say its worth going to, there must be other nicer places. Although Pisa is put down regularly, this was a life long dream to climb it. I thought the area was a great experience.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1562 posts

Not sure how you are getting to Pompeii. If by train from Naples, Pompeii is half hour away from Naples. Then Sorrento is another half hour away further from Naples. So if you want to stay in Sorrento, you are looking at losing a half hour each day. That said, my daughter in law stayed in Naples and did not like it. We only went to Sorrento for the day and we really enjoyed it. For Pompeii, there is a left luggage place at train station so can park your stuff there. Be sure to wear very comfortable shoes, take water and be prepared for a lot of walking on cobblestones. It was well worth it and we were there end of June year and half ago and hot, hot, hot but worth it. Enjoy neighbor!!

Posted by Penny
West Chester, PA
12 posts

How does this sound: Take the train to Sorrento and stay over-night. Get up early and go to Pompeii, spending the day there. Return to Sorrento and stay over-night. Get up early and go to Capri. Spend the day,return at night and head back to our villa. There will be 3 adults and a 16 year old on this excursion. What do you all think? Any better ideas? Appreciate your input.
Penny

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2406 posts

That sounds very reasonable. Just pack lightly so you don't have to worry too much about lugagge. If you can do one or two small caryy-ons or a back pack or two that would be perfect. Donna

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1562 posts

Sounds good. Just be aware someone posted a while ago that the water might be rough this time of year so boats might not go to Capri. Can't tell you if that is right or wrong. If you can't go to Capri you can take bus down the Amalfi Coast and return back to Sorrento for the night. Enjoy.

Posted by Penny
West Chester, PA
12 posts

This morning my dentist (who has been to Italy numerous times and has an aunt and uncle living there) told me that the train service in Southern Italy is remarkably unreliable and that I should DRIVE if I go there. That threw me for a loop. What is your take on this?? While I have an adventurous spirit,I am beginning to get the feeling I'd like someone to handle all this for me.
Penny

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1562 posts

Please don't worry about this. We had no problem with any train travel all over Italy. It is like someone's sister's friend's uncle told me his cousin, etc. It is fine. Don't stress.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3351 posts

Penny, I think you might need a new dentist. I will definitely question the professional abilities of anybody who suggests to someone who's never driven in Italy before to actually get their first Italian driving experience in Naples, of all places (or Capri, where you can't even take your car). Naples and nearly every place you are planning to go are very reliably served by the Italian trains (including the Alta Velocita', or High Speed). All except for the Naples area (Capri, Pompeii), are actually NOT in Southern Italy. Just stop stressing. Take a bottle of wine and drink it while you enjoy the views aboard a Frecciarossa train.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1562 posts

Two things to remember, be sure to validate your ticket on train before you leave Rome, I seem to remember it is an orange machine before you get to train tracks. When you get to Naples, the local train is down the stairs from the main station. If you should need bathroom, it is down another set of stairs in the station and cost one euro, very clean. When you leave Sorrento to Pompeii, I think from Sorrento it is the first Pompeii stop. Can't remember what it is called. This network of trains is similar to using the Paoli local here in PA. No problems.

Posted by Penny
West Chester, PA
12 posts

So we will be going to Naples, disembarking there and getting on the "Sorrento Local"? From Sorrento we can go directly to Poppeii? The dentist was the "on call" guy. He said that his aunt and uncle drove him everywhere which may explain the cavalier attitude about driving. I am feeling better about this. Thank you.
Penny

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1562 posts

From Sorrento, the same local train takes you to Pompeii just that you are going back towards Naples, I think it is only half hour and ruins are maybe 500 feet from train to your right.