My husband and I have 7-10 days in the area of Naples and Amalfi Coast in September. We will only have 2 days in Naples: what to see if we are not huge museum fans? The remainder I picture settling in somewhere on the Amalfi Coast and then making day trips out from there. Would you recommend settling into Sorrento or Salerno or both or somewhere else in that area? What are the "must see" sites or places in the area? We love meeting local people. Thanks for your help.
Naples The RS walking tour in the Italy guide is very good. It starts across the street from the National Archaeology Museum. Are you at all interested in the ruins of Pompeii? Most of the artwork from there and other excavated towns destroyed by Vesuvius are in the museum - frescoes, mosaics, sculptures. Most of what is at the excavation sites is copies.
If you want to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum and Capri, Sorrento is a good base. The local train takes you to the ruins, and Naples, there are ferries to Capri and the AC, and buses to the AC. In September you should expect crowds, and maybe long lines for buses (they only run about twice an hour), possibly ferries too. Sorrento is not actually on the AC.
If you want to concentrate on the AC towns, Salerno is a good option. You can also visit the Greek temple ruins in Paestum by bus or train. The ferries and buses begin in Salerno, you can get to Capri by ferry from there though you may have to change at some point along the coast. Salerno is on the AC. It has a well-preserved medieval center and a large (for the AC) sandy beach. Salerno is connected by high-speed rail to Naples and points north.
There are lots of options for staying in one of the AC towns. You would be closer to the others, but buses and ferries that are full will only allow as many passengers to board as alight at each intermediate stop. Some have beaches, some are not accessible by ferry. You can "day trip" to Sorrento, Capri, and Sorrento (though there's not much to see/do in Sorrento), but going farther afield means very long commute times.
I suggest you get a guide book or two. Must-see places depend on your interests. I've tried to give you an overview, mainly focused on logistics.
Thank you so much. That is all very helpful information. Sounds like we will be waiting in lots of lines. Can we book any trains or buses in advance?
Two atractions in Naples worthy of note; the Capella Sanservo and the Gesu Nuovo church:
You can't book buses in advance - which is where the longest lines seem to be. The only train is the local Circumvesuviana between Naples and Sorrento with stops in Herculaneum and Pompeii, lines shouldn't be a problem. You may be able to book some ferries in advance.