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Italy Itinerary - Any Suggestions ? ?

We have been going back and forth on our itinerary for Italy (Oct 18 - 28, 2017), and we have finally narrowed it down as shown below. For various reasons, we want to keep it to only a 10 day trip, so we want to focus only on a couple of areas. We hope to go back in a few years and explore Venice, Tuscany, and other beautiful areas. Unfortunately we can't do it all in 10 days, so we have to sacrifice areas. I would rather enjoy our days instead of rushing around trying to see too much.

Here's what we have so far. Please poke holes in it and let me know if it seems it will work or if you have other suggestions.

Also, we plan on doing the Path of Gods hike which starts in Bomerano and ends in Positano. And we plan on going to the Cooking Class in Ravello. Do you think we should stay overnight in Ravello or Amalfi?

We plan on staying Sorrento (3 nights), Ravello (3 nights), Rome (3 nights).


Day OO
Overnight flight from Boston to Naples (or Rome if we can't find a good flight option - we are using airline miles)

Day 1
Arrive in Naples ~ 2 pm, take train to Sorrento
Hotel in Sorrento (need to figure out which hotel)

Day 2
Explore Sorrento
Hotel in Sorrento

Day 3
Pompeii and Naples Museum with Private Guide
Hotel in Sorrento

Day 4
Explore Amalfi Coast with private driver, driver drops us off at Ravello hotel
Hotel in Ravello (need to figure out which hotel)

Day 5
Path of Gods Hike (Bomerano - Positano)
Hotel in Ravello

Day 6
Cooking Class in Ravello
Hotel in Ravello

Day 7
Bus from Ravello to Naples. Train from Naples - Rome
Trastevere Twilight Food Tour from 3:30 - 7:30 (4 hrs)
Hotel: Rome Marriott Grand Hotel Flora (we have hotel miles so it's free)

Day 8
Borghese Museum (it's very close to hotel) @ 9 am with Viator (edited based on Laurel's suggestion below)
Colosseum ~ 2 pm with Walks of Italy or Dark Rome
Explore Rome
Hotel in Rome

Day 9
Sistine Chapel @ 7:30 (Pristine Sistine Tour)
Scavi Tour (if we can get a reservation)
Hotel in Rome

Day 10
Depart Rome ~ 11:45 am
Arrive Boston ~ 6:35 pm

Posted by
9454 posts

Good for you! Limiting your # of stops to 3 is a great idea. And it seems you know what you want to do.

A couple of comments/ questions.

  • do you know how to get frtom Ravello to Bomerano? I looked into this once and I believe you have to go the Amalfi Town to get the bus. Might want to check on how the schedule will work.

  • will you be in Rome in time to do the Borghese AND the food tour? I think it will take you a good half-a-day to make the change of location. If you get the Borghese tour at 1300 you will barely have time to make it to Trastevere. That's two big events in one afternoon and evening after a big morning changing locations. I would be inclined to move the Borghese to the next morning at 0900. Then lunch and on to your Walks tour.

Posted by
629 posts

A couple of comments/ questions. do you know how to get frtom Ravello
to Bomerano? I looked into this once and I believe you have to go the
Amalfi Town to get the bus. Might want to check on how the schedule
will work. will you be in Rome in time to do the Borghese AND the food
tour? I think it will take you a good half-a-day to make the change of
location. If you get the Borghese tour at 1300 you will barely have
time to make it to Trastevere. That's two big events in one afternoon
and evening after a big morning changing locations. I would be
inclined to move the Borghese to the next morning at 0900. Then lunch
and on to your Walks tour.

Hi Laurel,

Yeah, I briefly looked into the bus schedule via www.Rome2Rio. I found the bus line 5120 from Ravello to Amalfi takes 24 minutes and leaves hourly. Then bus line 5180 from Amalfi to Bomerano takes about 33 minutes and also leaves hourly. We may be waiting around for buses, but that's OK. My plan is to take the first bus in the morning to get an early start on the hike. I want to be able to walk around Positano a bit after our hike. I still have to find the exact bus schedules to see exactly what time the buses leave the areas.

To return to our hotel from Positano, I believe we can take Bus Line 5120 to Amalfi, which continues onto Ravello (1 hr, 37 min).

You are right about the Borghese Tour. I think it would be best to see it first thing on Day 8 (before we visit the Colosseum). Plus it will be easy to visit the museum since it's close to our hotel. I wanted to visit it with a group such as Walks of Italy or Dark Rome, but I don't believe they operate tours in the morning - only at 3 pm. I think that's why I had it on the previous day. I really enjoy going with tour groups so they explain what everything is - otherwise we'll just be walking around looking at art and sculptures that we don't know anything about. I think a guide would make the visit more enjoyable and keep my husband (and me) a bit more interested. Maybe I can find a private guide for this.

EDITED: I updated the above Itinerary and moved Borghese Museum to Day 8 (Colosseum Day). I was able to find a tour group at 9 am. Thanks, Laurel, for the push - it made me find this group.

Thanks for the response.

Posted by
77 posts

Have you been to Rome before? I agree, the Ravello to Rome trip on Day 7 will take half a day. I think you should consider switching around the order of your first few days. I would take a private transfer from Naples direct to Ravello. Then in the afternoon after your cooking class make your way to Sorrento (bus, car, tour, etc)

It would look something like this:
1. Naples with private transfer to Ravelllo (or at the very least direct train to Salerno and car hire from there)
2. Ravello - Hike
3. Postitano/Amalfi and smaller towns
4. Morning cooking class, afternoon trip to Sorrento
5. Day in Sorrento (maybe half day trip to Capri since Sorrento isn't huge)
6. A little more time in Sorrento in the morning. Take bags and meet driver for private tour of Pompeii and Naples museum. Then you can either stay in Naples for the night or have the driver drop you at the train station for a late train (La Freccia) to Rome.
7/8/9. Full days in Rome.

Since you are doing so many timed tours in Rome I think you will benefit from the extra free time gained by rearranging your schedule a bit. Also, when you have your plan figured out try to book your Amalfi Coast transfers and tours with the same company you can often get better prices doing multiple tours.

Posted by
629 posts
  1. Naples with private transfer to Ravelllo (or at the very least direct train to Salerno and car hire from there)
  2. Ravello - Hike
  3. Postitano/Amalfi and smaller towns
  4. Morning cooking class, afternoon trip to Sorrento
  5. Day in Sorrento (maybe half day trip to Capri since Sorrento isn't huge)
  6. A little more time in Sorrento in the morning. Take bags and meet driver for private tour of Pompeii and Naples museum. Then you can either stay in Naples for the night or have the driver drop you at the train station for a late train (La Freccia) to Rome. 7/8/9. Full days in Rome.

Mandyk01a, thank you for this change option. I never thought of it this way. I like your option better, but can private drivers go in the direction of Salerno to Sorrento? I thought I read somewhere that drivers are only supposed to go one way: Sorrento to Salerno. I could be wrong.

P.S. It will be our first time in Italy. :)

Posted by
11983 posts

Do you need a whole day to explore Sorrento?
You'll be there for a few evenings, so you have plenty of opportunities to explore Sorrento when you return from day trips in late afternoons/evenings. I'd use the whole day to do another day excursion (for example the island of Capri comes to mind).

Posted by
629 posts

Do you need a whole day to explore Sorrento? You'll be there for a
few evenings, so you have plenty of opportunities to explore Sorrento
when you return from day trips in late afternoons/evenings. I'd use
the whole day to do another day excursion (for example the island of
Capri comes to mind).

Hi Roberto,

I originally thought we would use Day 2 in Sorrento to get acclimated to the time change and recover from jet lag. I may rearrange our itinerary based on Mandyk01a's advice and start in Ravello and make our way to Sorrento. I probably will add Capri in there since I do think we will have enough time. Thanks :)

Posted by
629 posts

Laurel, Mandyk01a, and Roberto, thank you for your replies and suggestions. You all had great ideas and I have rearranged our itinerary based on your suggestions. I really like this itinerary better:

Day 0: Overnight flight Boston to Naples
Day 1: Arrive in Naples ~ 2 pm, Private Driver to Ravello Hotel
Day 2: Path of Gods Hike (buses: Ravello-Amalfi-Bomerano), Return to hotel via bus: Positano-Amalfi-Ravello
Day 3: Mamma Agata Cooking Class in Ravello (10 am - 5:30 pm) - yes, it's all day, but reviews say it's worth it
Day 4: Private driver: Ravello to Sorrento (stopping in different towns along Amalfi Coast). Hotel in Sorrento
Day 5: Capri
Day 6: Pompeii Scavi & Naples Museum (store luggage at Naples Train Station). Then Train: Naples to Rome. Hotel in Rome
Day 7: Borghese Museum @ 9 am, Trastevere Twilight Food Tour @ 3:30 - 7:30
Day 8: Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon
Day 9: Pristine Sistine Vatican Tour @ 7:30 am, Scavi Tour if able to get reservation
Day 10: Depart Rome to Boston

Any other suggestions? I really appreciate all input.

Posted by
629 posts

Based on my revised itinerary (directly above), do you think it's wise to get a hotel in Ravello or Amalfi? I believe I read that Amalfi is probably a more ideal location with the buses, but Ravello is prettier. Do you think it's worth the extra buses to stay in a prettier area?

Posted by
1700 posts

I would choose which town you prefer, I don't see your plans being much easier if in Amalfi or much harder if in Ravello. Ravello is not the best for logistics but if you prefer the up high views it offers, stick with it. Below is the bus schedule, as you can see buses are quite frequent. I recall the bus taking even short than the times listed but the ride is enjoyable so maybe the time just passed by quickly. The distance is close, the bus goes slowly.
http://www.positano.com/en/bus-schedule?bus_route=ravello_amalfi

I like the idea of private driver form the airport in Naples that will be a nice perk. We did that before our flight home and it was really nice from Positano to Naples airport.
I didn't think/realize the Day 3 class is all day, so your plan of so much time in Ravello makes more sense now to me.
Love that you added a day trip to Capri, you will enjoy it very much!
Still think day 4 you don't need a driver for this day but with luggage you cannot see the towns, there are not many towns.
Positano, Amalfi and you could add Praiano but those are the main stops and by your last day you might have seen them by now.

I believe if you do the Path of the Gods hike in the morning, you would have time in the afternoon/evening to stay and explore Positano so no need to stop there later. On the bus ride back you could get out and see Praiano

Day 3 after your cooking class or on Day 1 ; either one you would have time to take the bus into Amalfi for a few hours to see it.
On your day of check out assuming you can leave your bags at the hotel for a little bit, you can explore Ravello a little more before leaving. Take the bus trip from Ravello to Sorrento and save that cash.

Your Sorrento plan looks good as does Rome. Just make sure you take time and explore the section of Rome near the Pantheon, that ancient center has so much to offer. Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, Spanish Steps, the nightly passengeta; there are local great small churches here, just soaking up the atmosphere in best part of the city.
I don't think you need a tour for any of these areas or the main sites of Rome. Rick Steves' free downloadable audio tours via headsets worked perfectly for us.
Forum, Colosseum, Vatican and St. Peters are all great and must sees but spend the bulk of your time in the main ancient city center away from these sites.

Trastevere given your short time frame in Rome I am not sure is a must but you seem to have a higher priority for foodie experiences than I might.

Posted by
256 posts

FYI we went from Boston to Rome a few years ago and got a direct flight both ways on Alitalia which was great for my wife who is NOT a big flier in the first place.

Posted by
629 posts

I believe if you do the Path of the Gods hike in the morning, you
would have time in the afternoon/evening to stay and explore Positano
so no need to stop there later. On the bus ride back you could get out
and see Praiano Day 3 after your cooking class or on Day 1 ; either
one you would have time to take the bus into Amalfi for a few hours to
see it. On your day of check out assuming you can leave your bags at
the hotel for a little bit, you can explore Ravello a little more
before leaving. Take the bus trip from Ravello to Sorrento and save
that cash.

mreynolds, great idea about seeing the towns after cooking class and after the hike and then save the money on the private driver. I'm definitely going to incorporate that into the itinerary. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my itinerary and respond. It's nice to get different opinions - especially since I've been working on this itinerary for quite a while now. I'm finally starting to feel comfortable with it.

Posted by
629 posts

Just make sure you take time and explore the section of Rome near the
Pantheon, that ancient center has so much to offer. Trevi Fountain,
Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, Spanish Steps, the nightly
passengeta; there are local great small churches here, just soaking up
the atmosphere in best part of the city.

mreynolds, I'm also going to include these areas of Rome - probably on my Day 8 (Colosseum day). Our hotel in Rome is very close to the Spanish Steps and Borghese Museum. I hope we have nice weather so my husband can enjoy jogging in the Borghese gardens.

Posted by
629 posts

FYI we went from Boston to Rome a few years ago and got a direct
flight both ways on Alitalia which was great for my wife who is NOT a
big flier in the first place.

Hi Joe, thanks for this tip. We will be using United Reward miles so we won't be able to take advantage of a direct flight. Unfortunately we'll have to connect somewhere. But with the money we save on our airfare, we can put towards tour guides for Colosseum, Pompeii, Sistine Chapel, cooking class, etc. We also have Marriott points, so our hotel in Rome won't cost us anything either.

Posted by
17165 posts

Pilgrim, is it that United has no non-stops between Boston and Rome? I'm a bit surprised about that. In late-May last year I was able to fly non-stop on a United FF ticket from Washington-Dulles to Rome. That may have been a Lufthansa plane, though. This year I snagged a non-stop mid-August return flight, again with FF miles, from Barcelona to Dulles, and it was definitely on a United plane.

I know availability varies with demand, and non-stops are always popular, but both my reservations were made about 8 weeks before the flight, and they were Saver-level tickets. I figured I was lucky, but you might be, too--assuming there actually are non-stop flights.

Posted by
629 posts

I just double checked. There aren't any non-stop flights from Boston to Rome or Naples on United or their partner airlines. Delta has direct, but not United :(

Posted by
2511 posts

Hi Pilgrim, I'm looking at your second itinerary and I'll preface my comments saying that everyone has different interests. That being said, if it were me, I'd skip Sorrento and Capri, as you are getting the best of the Amalfi Coast with your activities from Ravello, and will have beautiful vista's and cute towns. Sorrento is convenient but ho hum. It is pretty enough, but that gets boring after awhile, and it is just touristy. I would move my Sorrento stay to Naples as it is a working/living city with ancient origins. You can still do your itinerary, Pompeii, etc., from there and have time to get to know Naples and a portion of working Italy. You still have the Mediterranean there also. It is my impression you will cover another area of Italy the next time you vacation so you may never get the chance to visit Naples again. I was so sorry I only spent a day there and am still trying to get back. Just my two cents, Wray

Posted by
77 posts

I disagree with Wray. As this is your first trip to Italy I would warn against staying in Naples. I didn't like it much. There are some nice things to see but in general it is rough (dirtier, louder, more crowded and less safe) than all the other towns I visited in over a month of Italian travel.
Rick's Naples book is really helpful. Library worthy at the very least.

Also, I should have mentioned in my earlier reply. A pre-booked tour from Sorrento to Pompeii to Naples is not really necessary unless you want to spend extra money for the peace of mind. Pompeii is easily reachable by the local train and there is luggage storage at the little Scavi station. There are guides you can hire right near the gate (bring cash). After your tour of the site, you can then pick up your bags, continue on to Naples, lock your bags (near track 16 I think), then do the museum and other Naples sights before taking a late fast train to Rome.

Posted by
68 posts

Your Rome choices look great! I took a Trastevere for Foodies tour last month and loved it, and I bet the Twilight tour is just as good. The Borghese is lovely, and I think doing that in the morning, some time in between, then the Colosseum will provide some balance without having museum overload on day 8. I loved Rome and hope you have a wonderful time!

Posted by
14039 posts

I was going to suggest what Mandy said about Pompeii/Naples museum. Rick's Italy books have exact directions for getting from the train station to the National Archaeology Museum by metro. You don't need a guide for the museum. Don't miss the adults only rooms and be sure to allow at least 2 hours for your visit.

My only other comment is not to plan too much for Day 2. You don't know how you're going to sleep on your first night. You may be fine or you may be dragging. You don't want to wear yourselves out at the beginning and not be at full speed for the rest of the trip.

Posted by
11613 posts

I stay in Napoli for a few days every year, it is loud and gritty in some places, and one of the most densely populated cities in Europe, but I have never felt unsafe. The metro is at the Stazione Centrale, which has a nice shopping mall and restaurants. If you decide to overnight, there are several good hotels across the street from the train station; if you stay longer, you might prefer a hotel in the hills or along the waterfront.

I wonder if the people who slam Napoli have been there recently, or at all...

Posted by
629 posts

Thanks, Holly!

Wow, we have a lot of Boston peeps on this topic - Me (Pilgrim), MReynolds, Joe, Wray, Holly. Thanks for all the responses!

Posted by
629 posts

Thanks, Wray, for the suggestion. It's definitely another option. Thanks for the response. :)

Posted by
629 posts

My only other comment is not to plan too much for Day 2. You don't know how you're going to sleep on your first night. You may be fine or you may be dragging. You don't want to wear yourselves out at the beginning and not be at full speed for the rest of the trip.

Hi Chani, Ugh, you are soooo right about that. We have to take an overnight flight, and we don't sleep well onplanes. The hike maybe too much as we won't be able to swing back to the hotel for a quick nap in the middle of the day. I get very grumpy if I'm tired LOL.

I was thinking about Wray's suggestion about staying in Naples. Another option would be to get a hotel in Naples as soon as we arrive from Boston. We could visit Capri, Pompeii, and Naples Museum while in Naples and then head over to Ravello from there. By doing this we could visit Pompeii in the morning and maybe head to the hotel for a nap mid afternoon. Then head back out and visit the Naples Museum in the afternoon. So many options.

Thanks for all the responses. I really appreciate all input.

Posted by
629 posts

MReynolds, I forgot to thank you for providing the link for the buses. Thanks!

Posted by
629 posts

If you decide to overnight, there are several good hotels across the
street from the train station; if you stay longer, you might prefer a
hotel in the hills or along the waterfront.

Thanks, Zoe. We are still deciding if we should stay in Naples or Sorrento. Wray made a good point that we don't have to stay in Sorrento. I originally had Sorrento in my itinerary because it was originally going to be our base hotel for Amalfi Coast. But since that has changed, we can either stay in Sorrento or Naples now.

Do you have any hotel suggestions in Naples? We like mid-range hotels - nothing fancy, but still needs to be clean and safe. No hostels - we like to have our own space and bathroom.

Thanks again for your response.

Posted by
11613 posts

Right across the street from Napoli Centrale, to your left as you exit, is Starhotel Terminus. The metro is very close for your trip to the Museo stop. I stayed at this hotel when Terminal 3 at FCO burned down, and I couldn't get a flight from FCO to Sicily, and my favorite B&B in Napoli was filled. This hotel is well-priced, I think I paid €70 for a single with breakfast, and has lots of amenities. Great for a convenient overnight or two.