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Florence or Amalfi Coast

We will be visiting Italy in May. Venice, Rome and either Florence or Amalfi Coast? What would be the better choice? Florence or Amalfi Coast? Would love to see both but not in the budget.

Posted by
7329 posts

My vote is for the Amalfi Coast... my favorite place in Italy... and Sorrento, my favorite town.

Posted by
1589 posts

Travelwise, Florence is a better fit if you are pressed for time. To do the AC you would have to double back to Rome.

Posted by
3696 posts

I would go to the Amalfi Coast...after two cities I would prefer a bit of variety. I also love the Sea and if I went to Italy and only saw Venice, Rome and Florence I would regret it. If you can't make the coast work, then I would trade Florence for a few days in a village in Tuscany (you could then do a day trip to Florence if you felt the need)

Posted by
11983 posts

If you are going from Venice to Rome (or vice versa) you have to go through Florence. If you don't stop in it, you are going to regret it as well. Amalfi coast is a nice break from 'cities' since your trip seem to be concentrated in cities, however it's out of the main Venice - Rome itinerary, since it's a couple of hours south of Rome. I don't know how many days you are staying in each place, but maybe you have the time to do all. How many days have you scheduled for Rome or Venice? And how many days have you scheduled for Florence or Amalfi coast? If you skip the islands (Murano/Burano), you can do Venice in one full day easily from dawn to bed time (2 nights). The next morn you go down to Florence (2hrs away) and spend 1 night). If you spend 1 night only, the evening of the 2nd day in Florence you go to Rome. Spend 2 nights (one full day). The morn after the 2nd night, go to AC (2 1/2 hrs away), spend one night (2 partial days). The evening of the 2nd day return to Rome. Spend 2 more nights in Rome. Fly home. If you have more nights available than what I proposed above, add them where you like.
See if feasible.

Posted by
53 posts

We would fly into Venice spend 3 nights in Venice, 4 nights in Rome then go to the Amalfi Coast? (maybe 3 nights there)? We would fly out of Naples to go home so this may be an option. Could possibly do Florence after Venice but cost may play into it. Also, any suggestions on hotels in these cities would be great! Our budget is approx $200 USD per night max.

Posted by
11983 posts

First of all let's talk flights: You live near SFO, therefore I suggest a flight with either Lufthansa (or Swiss, which is part of LH) or AirFrance/KlM straight from SFO to Europe (to Frankfurt/Munich or Zurich or Paris/Amsterdam respectively) then from those EU hubs to VCE. VCE is the 3rd most important airport in Italy after Rome and Milan, so no problems getting there. If you return from Naples, the options are more limited. The only viable options for your return from NAP are via Paris (AirFrance) or via Munich (Lufthansa) or via Frankfurt (Lufthansa). The NAP-FRA flight is operative only in summer so no sure about May. Once on those EU hubs, then you can fly directly into SFO. I'll continue in the next box.

Posted by
1010 posts

Rick Steves has some new Italian city shows on TV right now. Look at your guide. There are three different shows. We have seen all three in the past week. They keep repeating all the shows,including at least one on Florence. We were in Florence a long time ago. We have never been to the Amalfi Coast though. From seeing Rick's new show on Florence, I rather go to the Amalfi Coast. Unless you are into art and marble sculptures, there really isn't anything else to see in Florence, in our opinion.

Posted by
11983 posts

You have in mind a total of 10 night, from your last post: 3 nights in VE, 4 in RM, 3 in AC (I suggest Positano, others may suggest Sorrento, however Sorrento is NOT technically on the Amalfi Coast, it's just near the Amalfi Coast). In order to squeeze Florence in you could do as follows. Arrive to VCE. If you follow my advice I gave above, you should be there at around Noon or shortly thereafter. You'll be in your hotel by 3pm for a timely check in. Then I would do: 1 - After arrival in VCE spend 2 nights in Venice (i.e. 1.5 days, incl the afternoon of arrival). Venice is expensive, cutting down one night will give you extra cash. 2 - After the 2nd night in VE, take train to Firenze FI (2 hrs). Spend 2 nights in Florence also. 3 - After the 2nd night in FI, early train to Rome. 3 nights there. That will give you 2 full days plus the partial day of arrival. 4 - After the 3rd night in Rome, early travel to Amalfi Coast (less than 3 hours). Spend 2 nights in the area. Fly back from Naples (early departure) after the 2nd night. Alternatively, you could change above step 3 and 4 as follows: 3 - After the 2nd night in FI, early train straight down past Rome all the way to Amalfi Coast (less than 5 hours all incl.). Spend 2 nights. 4 - After the 2nd night in AC, back track up north to Rome. Spend 3 nights in Rome. Return to the US the morn after the 3rd night. This alternate option has the disadvantage of going down all the way to AC and back track back to Rome, however has the advantage that Rome has way more flight options than Naples, and will probably save you some airfare money. Also flying back from Naples means an extremely early wake up to travel from AC to Naples airport, probably via expensive taxi since it might be too early for public transit.

Posted by
11983 posts

I think that with 10 nights on the ground, you have time for all 4: Venice, Florence, Rome, Amalfi Coast. You just need to cut down a couple of nights between Venice and Rome to make room for both Florence and the Amalfi Coast. Elaine above wrote: "Unless you are into art and marble sculptures, there really isn't anything else to see in Florence". The same actually could be said about Rome (and pretty much any famous European city). And unless you are into villages on a seacliff, there isn't anything else to see in the Amalfi Coast either. So why not drive from Redwood City to Sausalito and save a few thousands dollars in airfare?

Posted by
53 posts

We will be using our miles so we are lucky that we don't have to pay for airfare. I did check and with our miles and we could fly home to SFO with only 1 stop from Naples. That's why I thought Amalfi last since it's towards the bottom. (start in Venice, end at Amalfi) Maybe we can squeeze them all in, just don't want to rush either. Now to find affordable lodging!!

Posted by
53 posts

Also, maybe it may not be Amalfi Coast but some other area similar? Anywhere between Venice and Rome where we may get the same type of location for example ocean, beaches, softer surroundings then the cites? I hear Cinque Terre but that sounds like quite a trek to get there.

Posted by
11983 posts

Cinque Terre is a good idea. Same type of environment: fishermen's villages on cliffs. Cinque Terre is just over 100 miles from Florence. By car it's less than 2 hours. By train 2 and 1/2. You could do it at the end of your Florence visit. Then spend one night or two at the cinque terre and from there go straight down to Rome by train (about 3.5 to 4.5 hours depending on which type of train). Here is the night count: Venice=2 Florence=2 Cinque Terre=2 Rome=4
Total=10 nights Finishing in Rome may be better because from the Amalfi Coast to the Naples airport is over an hour drive by taxi and since it's 40 miles, it wouldn't be cheap. I'm not sure if you could take public transit from the Amalfi coast to NAP airport that early in the morn. The flight to Munich departs at 6:15am from NAP and you need to be at the airport one hour before then. From downtown Rome to the airport it's only 25-30 min. by taxi (35 min. by train) and you have lots of flights to choose from. So ending in Rome and flying back from Rome is better.

Posted by
125 posts

If there's any way you can possibly swing it I would add three nights to your trip so you can see both Florence AND the Amalfi Coast on a reasonable schedule. If that just isn't possible then I vote for the Amalfi Coast since you will get in Rome things similar to what you would get in Florence. The Amalfi Coast is quite different from the other three. In May it is particularly spectacular because (usually) the flowers and other greenery are in full bloom.

Posted by
1994 posts

I notice you live in Redwood City... In light of that, I'd suggest you consider Florence rather than the AC (and not rush Venice and Rome to fit everything in). We have beautiful coastal scenery nearby in Big Sur and Point Reyes, along with interesting/photogenic coastal towns in Marin and Monterey counties. But there's nothing in the Bay Area (or anywhere else in this country) to compare to Florence. If you enjoy art, Florence offers experiences not available in Rome or Venice. And even if you don't, it's a great city for wandering and a great area for enjoying scenery.

Posted by
11983 posts

Sherry is right. Pretty coastal towns are all over California. Of course every place is unique but I think in the ranking of things to see in Italy, Florence would come before Amalfi. I think the Cinque Terre is a very good alternative. It's close to Tuscany and easy to reach by train (unlike the Amalfi coast). The coast on the Cinque Terre is just as pretty as the Amalfi coast. I would leave Amalfi with Capri, Naples and Pompeii to the next trip to Italy. You can't see all of Italy in one 10 day shot. Leave something for the next time you go.

Posted by
580 posts

It depends on which you prefer. Florence is wonderful for art, the Middle Ages buildings, and offers the chance to explore a bit of the Tuscan or Umbrian countryside. The Amalfi coast has stunning coastal views, charming towns such as Sorrento, a chance to visit the ruins at Herculaneum or Pompeii. Which would you rather do at the cost of the other? For me it would be a tough call but I'd choose the Amalfi coast. After Venice and Rome it would be more of a change from what you've done than Florence. BTW if you go to the Amalfi coast I strongly suggest going to the Foreigners Club Restaurant near sunset and have a limoncello while watching the sun go down over the ocean; makes me want to go back just thinking about it! Roberto has given some helpful advice. Personally , though, I would not try to squeeze all 4 in unless you can extend your vacation. Sometimes less is more. Each change of location is going to take up about 1/2 a day by the time you leave your 1st hotel, get to the 2nd city, then find your 2nd hotel and get checked in. Already your trip is a little tight with 3 locations in 10 days, IMHO. Others, of course, may choose differently.

Posted by
1804 posts

If you can fly into Naples, I would suggest doing that. Ask your Sorrento hotel to send a car to pick you up at the Naples airport. Spend your first few days on the lovely Amalfi Coast while recovering from jet lag. Then take the train to Rome for a few days, and then an early morning train to Venice. Get off the train in Florence for a few hours or possibly overnight. Then continue on to Venice, and fly home from there. Beginning your trip on the Amalfi Coast and ending it in Venice would be a lovely vacation.

Posted by
4 posts

To help with budget towards accommodations I would recommend looking first at www.airbnb.com. You will find some very reasonably priced homes that have rooms available or the entire home to yourself. A great alternative to overpriced hotel rooms. Good luck!

Jodie

Posted by
7329 posts

I live in southern Marin and still the Amalfi Coast is my all time favorite place in Italy. It may resemble parts of Hwy 1 but it's nothing like it. Not in atmosphere, beauty, people, food, language, towns, etc. Nothing. That is why I've spent a lot of time and money to go there 3 times. It is very much well worth it. There isn't one coastal town anywhere in California that equals Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Ravello. A certain part of Sausalito resembles Positano geographically but it's nowhere near the same. And to say Sorrento is not on the Amalfi Coast is technically right, but that's semantics. The Amalfi Coast starts right next to Sorrento and the geography and views are stunning in Sorrento. We've gone from Venice, spent time in Tuscany, to Rome, then to Sorrento a couple times by train. It's not difficult, and again, it is well worth it.
Since your time is limited, I would stay in Sorrento, not Positano. It will take longer to get to Positano and Sorrento is the perfect hub for visiting all the other wonderful places nearby...

Posted by
104 posts

Well, everyone has his/her own opinion, but I would suggest Cinque Terre over the Amalfi coast. I've been to Amalfi coast once, and to Cinque Terre twice, and my next trip includes Cinque Terre. To me, the Cinque Terre is similar to the Amalfi coast, except it has no road along the coast, essentially no cars or traffic (except Monterosso), fewer tourists, better walking/hiking trails, and more charm. And if your trip starts in Venice, it's very simple to include Cinque Terre along the way, whereas the Amalfi Coast will be out of the way, well beyond Rome. With a car, it's very easy to drive from Venice via La Spezia to Riomaggiore or Manarola in the Cinque Terre. Vernazza, Corniglia and Monterosso will be somewhat trickier to get to by car.

Posted by
13 posts

I would recommend you Florence, Amalfi Coast is a must during summer

Posted by
7329 posts

Cinque Terre has fewer tourists than the AC?? I don't think so.

Posted by
3696 posts

I agree with Susan, that although there is water and mountains, neither AC or CT are anything like California. I also assume if someone is spending a lot of money to live near the coast in Ca. it is because you love the coast... I would go to one of the two on the proposed itinerary to round out your trip. Also, if you do fly out of Venice the flights are very early. I am one of those people who would spend less time in Rome or Florence to spend more time in Venice, Tuscany or the coast. I am sure you will have a wonderful time regardless of your choices... it is all beautiful.

Posted by
13 posts

I would highly recommend AC & CT. We spent several days touring IT including Rome, Florence, Sorrento, & Tuscany adding CT on our own at the end. Absolutely loved CT & hope to return there & also Capri. Florence is great, loved the sculptures, but if you're not into museums I'd go for the other areas. Another high point in Pompeii, not to be missed.

Posted by
104 posts

Well, Susan (re: "I don't think so"), maybe your experience was different from mine. I've been to CT twice in May (2005 & 2012), and I was at the AC once in May (2012). For me, CT was tranquil, and AC was busy. The walk down the main drag in Positano was shoulder-to-shoulder, and I've never had that experience anywhere in CT. Heck, they're bringing day-tripping tourists in by the busload all over AC, whereas that doesn't really happen in CT (although some day-trippers come in by train). But anyway, each to his/her own preference, and of course the time of year will be a factor for the number of tourists anywhere.

Posted by
13 posts

I've been to both several times, and love both , 2 Completely different experiences. Florence cosmopolitan, great museums and architecture. I did a side trip to CT and enjoyed it {there are daytrippers} and love the AC, AC can be a trip unto itself with daytrips to Capri, Pompei and bustrips down the coast to positano , Amalfi and Ravello. You have a tough decision , but will have a wonderful time whichever you choose. You'll just have to make another trip!