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Day visits from Rome to Naples and/or Florence & input on Wineries from Rome

Hi all, my husband and I are visiting Rome in October. I wanted to take a day visit via train to Naples and/ or Florence. We are traveling on a budget so don't want to spend too much money on tours and such. I have been reading some of your forums which is extremely informative. I am trying to figure out if I should take the train to Naples and Florence on two separate days to spend the day but I have no idea what to make sure I see, can I see sites for free? Or should I just ditch the idea and visit some off the beaten track place that might be worth seeing?

I am also looking to get input on wineries and the best way to visit them from Rome? Any and all input is appreciated I know my post about wineries is vague so would love as much information as possible. I have seen some tours and again since on a budget looking for the best way to plan!

thanks in advance

Posted by
235 posts

Rome to Florence train time is 1.5 hrs, SM Novella Station is in the very compact city center.

Naples it's 70 minutes, but the city is huge, thus requiring a very definite plan.

Posted by
2249 posts

can I see sites for free?

Most sites of interest in either city require fees, particularly if you want to save time and get “skip the line” entries. If you have not done so, get Rick’s or another good guidebook that can tell you how much entry fees are, if there are “free” days, maximizing your time in day trip cities. Buy your train tickets early to get super saver fares. Make a list of what you want to see and include the cost of entry in your travel budget. You will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t see some of the most important sites in Europe because of an entry fee.

Guidebooks, Rick’s Audio Europe App, on line sources have many excellent sources for self-guided tours.

Posted by
1153 posts

hey hey jenni
@phillip good morning. great info
how long will you be staying in rome? it's the harvest and festival season, ask host/hostess where you are staying, stop at a tourist kiosk in city center for information. don't know "budget", means different euros to different folks.
withlocals.com: beautiful countryside day trip: castelli romani a 30-40 minute train ride and pickup at frascati train station and your tour begins. learn about this area, the vineyards, the pope's home and gardens, lake nemi and the town known for wild strawberry. stop by ceralli.it a family owned bakery/pizza oven, nona is 90 years old and still bakes, (bring a bag in case you buy something), "best" porchetta in town.
oldfrascatiwinetour.com: read about us and their blog.
you don't have to travel that far to enjoy the calmness, away from the hustle and bustle of rome, wineries, it will be a busy month, high season with crowds. zig and zag down small streets away from some crowds and enjoy what's around the corner. marketsofrome.com has some interestin places to visit.
campo de fiori has it's marketplace with lots of everything, stop and have a glass of wine at a cafe, watch the "free" entertainment in the piazza. cross the river to trastevere, visit the church of santa maria, walk the jewish ghetto, we had lunch at carlo menta (pizza pasta and tartufo for dessert), walk back to piazza navona and the pantheon area. check out the markets at termini and testaccio, very interesting with anything and everything, wear comfortable shoes, if tired and a cab close by pick up and taxi stops, no hailing on the street, lesson learned
eatwith.com dinner parties in a locals house.
what do you plan to do in naples, pompeii or the city? you can do this site on your own pompeii-tickets.com, skip the line tickets but you still may have a wait for security if there is one. how long do you plan to stay. will you go into the town? getyourguide.com has a naples: street food tour with local guide. (tain station is napoli centrale)
thetrainline.com (some fees) or loco2.com (no fees) for trains and times. just do a "dummy" reservation to check times, costs, length of trip.
make a plan of things you want to see, times available, reservations required?, if some are free and will be crowded with freebies and wait times maybe more than you want.
if going to florence on train (station is firenze santa maria novella) to walk around the center. attractions you want to see, look at website for cost, times available and if you exactly then book it. otherwise just walk around with ooohs and ahhs. roam thru side streets for cafes, shops, restaurants.
if you wait till last minute it will cost more and may not even get into places, wait times will eat up your valuable time.
have a fabulous time, the difference in rome, naples, countryside, florence. yes it is busy for you guys but enjoy. don't forget to stop, sit at cafe and people watch.
aloha

Posted by
2957 posts

There are sights in both cities you can see for free. You could follow the Naples walking tour in Rick's guidebook. There are plenty of free sights in Florence (e.g. San Lorenzo Market, Duomo, Orsanmichele, Ponte Vecchio, Oltrarno area, Piazzale Michelangelo) plus a RS walking tour. I suggest you consider 1 or 2 paid sights in each city to supplement the free sights. Some are very reasonably priced.

To save on train fare, pre-purchase discounted high-speed train tickets from either Trenitalia or Italo. You can save quite a bit but they come with severe restrictions on changes, so you'll need to certain of your travel days and times. Usually the earlier you purchase the bigger the discount. Picking a random date in October, I see Freccia tickets as low as 19.90 euro each way to Naples and 26.90 euro each way to Florence. Italo has tickets as low as 9.90 euro each way to Naples and 21.90 euro each way to Florence. Some of those prices are less than half the full fare.

Posted by
10286 posts

Jenni, first question? How long will you be staying in Rome? Unless you can give the city at least 4 nights/3 FULL days, I wouldn't take any day trips. Heck, even with a full week in Rome you won't run out of things to do if you have a good guidebook and interest in exploring the city's many corners. The vast amount of tourists don't allow enough time to do more than the couple of most-visited attractions, and spend most of their time dashing from one to the next.

What attractions are on your must-see list so far for Rome, and how are you planning to do them?

Also, if you don't already have reasons to go to Florence or Naples - meaning you don't already know that there are things you are interested in seeing in either of them - then I wouldn't spend the $ or time to do that. Most of the usual must-see's in Florence involve entry fees, and the most-visited require advance tickets. That doesn't mean that one can't have an interesting wander about + a pop-in to a couple free churches and whatnot but it helps to have a pretty healthy interest in those things - mostly art, architecture, history - to begin with?

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you all for all the great information. I love the links you recommended @ princess pupule - I was looking at similar things with AirBNB experiences, these are things I would love to, just picking which ones as there are so many good ones! We are in Rome for 10 days however since our Budget is tight, I have decided to take the advice of seeing some countryside from Princess Pupule and Kathy on staying in Rome and saving Florence or Naples for another visit. I really don't know much of what I want to do in Naples other than Pompei and to see the Almalfi Coast which I would rather save for a longer visit in the future! This is our first visit to Europe so I am sure I will return!

Posted by
10286 posts

Jenni, wow, 10 days in Rome? Excellent! You will be able to do the sort of deep dive into the Eternal City that few tourists will experience. PLUS, you'll have the luxury of pulling up a seat somewhere, ordering up a glass of wine (often less expensive than soda, believe it or not!) and just watching the world go by. Ahhhh..... :O)

With that sort of time you certainly can do a day trip, although I think it's very wise to save both Florence and Amalfi/Coast/Pompeii for future trips. As a very do-able alternative to Pompeii? Take a look at Ostia Antica:

https://www.ostiaantica.beniculturali.it/en/opening-hours-tickets/

It's smaller and MUCH closer to Rome than Pompeii, and you can get there on cheap - yes, very cheap!!!! - public transport that won't even begin to break the bank. There's also no need to buy tickets to the site in advance. This one has been suggested countless times by enthusiastic visitors who've done it as you would be doing. Use this site for more info on the site plus directions on how to get there by metro and urban train (but not for ordering tickets).

http://www.ostiaanticatickets.it/en/index.php

Note that there are two free days for O. Antica in October - Oct 5th and Oct. 20th - if you might happen to be in Rome for one of them? Unlike free-entry days at some other attractions, Ostia Antica is one you'd be OK doing as you're unlikely to be trampled. A day trip to the hill town of Orvieto might be fun as well: just a little over an hour away by inexpensive train, and small enough not to need a big 'ol sightseeing plan. Again, it's very popular with our forum folks who've done it. What Rick has to say about this one:

https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/read/articles/orvieto-what-an-italian-hill-town-should-be

What's free in Rome? Just for starters, enough fabulous churches to keep you very, very busy, and some of them could be considered important art museums in and of themselves. You might also be in Rome for a free-entry day at another attraction that usually has a fee; what are your exact dates?

Posted by
6 posts

Kathy that is great info! I will be there on the 20th also.... so here is a brief of what I have planned so far. The first day I plan on getting to our Airbnb and unpacking, glass of wine, little walk around the neighborhood and maybe roam around Rome a bit and just take it in! Day 2 we are booked for the Colosseum, after the Colosseum plan on seeing some of the other sites that are free and easy to walk to. Day 3 we plan on seeing the vatican. Day 4 I found this day spa that was not the expensive and had saunas, jacuzzis and such. Than going to book, either a pasta class for dinner or a food tasting tour of some sort. Day 5 maybe a winery tour... the rest is up in the air.... while it seems like I have planned alot, trying to keep part of the vacation leisurely too!

I will check out that place you recommended... while.i know there are things we must see being our first time in Europe. However, my husband and I love off the beaten path experiences!!!!

So how does that sound so far??

Thank you for all the help. It is helping me greatly.

Posted by
1153 posts

hey hey jenni
even with it being october, you may have a nice day to take train to a beach near rome.
theculturetrip.com search rome's 8 best beaches by public transportation
tripsavvy.com search best beaches near rome
italyheaven.com search calcata tourism info. an impoverished hill town that bohemian artists decided to "refurbish" it. built their studios and "homes" into caves, small restaurant for lunch, roam around the small village, weekends is best. this is really off the beaten path. these are very budget friendly, trains are cheap, buy your ticket and don't forget to validate tickets in machines before you get on or on the train. you do not wanna be caught by the "train patrol" and be charged a heavy fine to pay right then and there, just ask. enjoy
aloha

Posted by
14 posts

I would recommend a day trip to Florence for sure and book the train in advance. I use Italo all the time due to better deals online, sometimes they are €9.99 each way! The city of florence is beautiful and much smaller than Naples, you can just walk around the center and visit the duomo, ponte vecchio, piazza Michelangelo and admire the beauty of the city in 1 day. I would recommend visiting at least a museum in addition to sightseeing, they are fairly priced and wont break your bank. Naples is beautiful as well but much bigger and you will have to be very specific as to what you want to do there. Good luck!

Posted by
10286 posts

I will check out that place you recommended... while.i know there are
things we must see being our first time in Europe. However, my husband
and I love off the beaten path experiences!!!!

Well, Ostia Antica isn't really "off the beaten" but it's not a most-visited attraction either. Should the weather cooperate - later October is sketchy for the beach - you could combine a visit to the excavation with a few afternoon hours at an Ostia Lido beach. Do be aware of fees to rent chairs and whatnot. Someone else may have more firsthand info on that.

The rest of the itinerary - or what you've planned so far - looks fine as long as you've done it according to days the attractions you want to see are open. I'll ask again what your your actual travel dates are in case they coincide with other free-entry days in October? Where in the city will you be staying? And you do know to reserve your timed-entry tickets to the Vatican museums in advance? Other than attractions which require advance tickets, flex the rest according to whim, weather and/or open days.

Regarding the spa and wineries tour, be cautious not to rob Peter to pay Paul, as the saying goes? In other words neither of these are activities which are unique to Rome/Italy so with your expressed budget concerns, I'll gently question spending the $$ on those but scrimping on the things you can't do/see in the U.S.? For sure, it's YOUR trip and you should do what pleases you but, well, just something to think about when creating your itinerary and allocating funds?

"Off the beaten" experiences outside Rome can also involve complex public transport arrangements (if not driving), language challenges and/or very little to do for the amount of effort it takes to get there. While not applying to every location, there can be reasons why some of them see fewer visitors. :O)

Just in case you haven't found them yet, Rick's audio tours of various attractions and walks around Rome, which can be downloaded to your own devices for free, are nice budget stretchers:

https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/audio/audio-tours

Posted by
6 posts

Hey Kathy , I am going the 12-21. In reply to the winery... See my husband has a passion for history, I personally just love the architecture. The Wineries are something I love, not just drinking it LOL but learning about the grape, the climate it takes to make it, how it is made and learning to pair with foods. So while it might be something I can do in the states, the countryside, the air, the horizon... Now that is something I am completely in love with!!!

At home I foster my 2 nieces, travel far to work, and don't get much down time so while on vacation getting to relax and do the things I love it not just important to me but cherished! At our Airbnb we have a huge beautiful yard, I plan on picnicking with bottle of wine and finding some free live music somewhere too!

I am excite to check out the place @princess pupule was referred Calcata!! That little town sounds delightful! As far as the beach, my husband and I aren't beach layers, just a nice stroll and maybe a nice seafood lunch and just feel the breeze!!!

I was checking out Ostia Antica and that looks very interesting I appreciate the referral!

This group has been so great, I have never been on a blog before where so many took the time to be so helpful!

Kathy I won't venture too far off the beaten path just some places slightly off! LOL!

Posted by
10286 posts

Ah, gotcha about the spa and the wine: the busy foster mom (bless you for that) needs a well-deserved recharge! 😌🍷

Venturing a bit off the beaten is highly recommended as long as you don't miss the last bus or train home!

Posted by
6 posts

I sure do Kathy!!! Dealing with the kids is hard but dealing with the parents is exhausting and dealing with the system is frustrating.... But they are happy and safe and they make it all worth it!

Posted by
10788 posts

A day in Naples can be highly worthwhile. If you book the train in advance, it shouldn't be expensive, and unlike Florence, the city itself is even more of a highlight than designated attractions that require advance tickets (or even any tickets at all). That said, the Archeology Museum in Naples is one of my favorites anywhere.

Look at Rick's video (scroll down on this page to "Watch": https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/italy/naples) and read his Naples chapter in his Rome book. See if it interests you to take a day there.

And while Naples is famous, it's actually kind of off the beaten path. Everyone is so scared by its reputation, and so busy getting away from Naples to other attractions nearby (the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Capri, Pompeii) that it's just you and the Neapolitans. Unlike in central Florence and central Rome, locals greatly outnumber tourists in Naples.

I know the standard advice is to take a separate trip to the region, and wait to see Naples until you are indeed seeing Sorrento, etc. But I think a day in Naples, just by itself, can work well with your 10 day Rome trip. It's certainly different, and love it or hate it, you won't forget it.

Posted by
1 posts

In Naples There are so many free things to see And experience,even if you just go into any of the public squares or plazas there Is plenty of beautiful architecture, there are places to get coffee and a pastry every 10 feet. the fishmarket in the heart of Naples is free and walking through there you will not believe the things that you will see, the Neapolitan people are so friendly, they will offer you samples, you will hear people singing.

I am from Naples but I am a dual citizen of the USA and go back to Naples every Christmas, because the summer is just too hot for me. keep this in mind: in Naples, you are on Italian time and the Italians don’t rush for any reason. So I would pick maybe one museum or one thing you really wanted to see/pay for and then relax and focus your time on seeing that, like the Naples National archaeological Museum,.

Tickets are around 20 euro, and the collections are extensive and beautiful and you can take your time..and they even have artifacts that they were recovered from Pompeii.......it has a collection of all the important time periods of Naples, it’s really gorgeous.

I would say one day per city so that you don’t have to rush and really if all you did was get a pizza in Naples and walked down to the bay of Naples and did a little sightseeing and went to the museum will have spent $30 per person and Will have had the most beautiful day of your life and you’ll be able to tell people that you ate pizza in Naples! which is like no other pizza on earth, and it is really a once-in-a-lifetime thing to do. I am so excited for you.

Also Naples can be loud and boisterous.......I like to compare it to the French quarter, (I lived there when we came to the states) meaning, safety wise, be aware of your surroundings, wear a Crossbody purse in front of you, and just do the things that you do in any big city. There’s also policemen everywhere Which I always find comforting to see, and if you get nervous at any point in time go into one of the shops and take a break.

Also, on your train ticket, the word “BIN” means the lane, or track that your train will be on..........not trash can, haha.

Another free thing: you can visit any of the churches in Rome or Naples..... they are free to go into , they just usually have a box for a two dollar donation or two euro donation, and the religious relics are like nothing ever seen they are so beautiful.

Congratulations on your trip!

With peace and love, Peyton