My daughter is studying abroad in Rome beginning in January 2013. I will be joining her at the end of her stay the last week of April. I have never been to Italy so my question is...do I tour Rome and then head north to Siena, Florence, Venice,etc or do I travel south to Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Amalfi? I'm trying to set-up an itinerary before she leaves so she knows where we will be traveling together.
Dawn, since you mentioned only one week in April, I would suggest heading North to see Florence & the general Tuscan region. Have fun!
Well, of course you can do either one, depending on your interests. Have you looked at any guidebooks? Rick Steves writes some pretty good ones. Happy travels.
Both are nice viable options. But what is your time frame? If you have enough time (10-12 full days on the ground at least) you could do both. Rome>Naples area then head back North to Florence/Tuscany>Venice and come back to the US from Venice. If you only have a week, that's not enough for both directions. It really depends on what you are interested in. It's hard to make a decision for you.
"Joining her at the end of her stay the last week of April". Does that mean you'll have several weeks to travel together? As Roberto suggested, it makes a difference. If you have 2 weeks or more, you can do both. One caveat: while your daughter is in Rome for four months, she will probably hear about places that she wants to visit with you; make sure you are in agreement before you buy non-refundable or non-changeable tickets.
Dawn, A few questions to begin with..... What is the time frame of the trip with your daughter? As she'll be studying for four months, I'm assuming she'll have a bit more luggage than usual and won't want to haul it all over Italy? Has your daughter already bought her plane tickets? My suggestion would be to travel in northern Italy this time, especially as it's your first visit. The culture is a bit more "intense" in the south, which might be a bit of a culture shock on a first visit. Are there any particular cities or sights that you and your daughter are especially interested in? Some of the places you might visit are Orvieto, Siena, Cinque Terre, Florence, Verona or Venice. These are just a few ideas, and of course there are lots of others. The number of locations you'll be able to visit will be limited by your time frame. Rather than having to return to Rome, you might consider using Milan or Venice for your outbound flight. That would allow more of a "linear" route with no backtracking. You may find it helpful to have a look at the Italy 2013 Guidebook (available now), as there's LOTS of good information there on sightseeing, hotels, restaurants, transportation, etc. It's also available as an E-book in several formats, although the 2013 E-book version may not be ready yet. Be sure that both of you wear Money Belts, as there ARE pickpockets at work (and some of them are very good!). Also, there are a few potentially expensive "caveats" to be aware of when riding trains in Italy. If you want further information, post another note. Good luck with your planning!