Please sign in to post.

📝 Rome/Florence/Amalfi Itinerary

After extensive dreaming and researching, we are ready to plan our dream Italy vacation!! Here are my big broad questions, and I will be forever grateful for any insight and pointers as I am a complete newbie to Europe…

⭐️ we can travel for 8-10 days - is there a magic number? Coming from the Midwest in the US
⭐️ I think we have settled on Rome, Florence, and Amalfi Coast. Where should we go first/middle/last and how many nights at each? How should we travel between the spots?
⭐️ I have heard to stay at the Four Seasons in Florence and Caruso in Ravello - thoughts? Is there a favorite but reasonable hotel in Rome?
⭐️ Is there a wonderful place for hiking or an outdoor nature adventure?
⭐️ does anyone have gluten free spots that are musts for someone with celiac disease?

THANK YOU!!!!

Posted by
8442 posts

First you need to limit yourself to 2 locations given you have only 8-10 days.

When you have decided which 2, it will be easier to provide helpful info

Posted by
20872 posts

Definitely 10 days rather than 8. You'll almost certainly be taking an overnight flight to Europe. That night in the air doesn't count. You'll fly back home in the daytime. How many nights can you spend in Europe? On a short trip, every extra day is golden. It sounds as if you really don't have enough time for a less-than-hectic visit to three places, and the Amalfi Coast is a bit tricky for logistical reasons.

It's worth checking flights between your home airport and Naples (Italy, not Florida!) to see whether the schedules are decent and the fares affordable. If they are, you can fly into Rome and home from Naples, or vice versa. That's called a "multi-city" flight. Alternatively, if there are good flight connections to Florence or Pisa, you could fly into Rome and home from one of those cities, or vice versa. But I suspect you'll end up finding a round-trip to Rome works best. A loop isn't the most efficient path on this sort of itinerary, but at least the distances involved are short and there are express trains to help you out.

If you determine that flying round-trip to Rome is best, most of us would suggest leaving Rome till the end of your trip, so you'll be in the right spot for the trip home without having to rush back on your last full day in Italy. That means planning to fly into Rome and head to Florence or the Amalfi area on your arrival day. Although the extra travel isn't fun, that arrival day is often nearly worthless for sightseeing because many travelers are sleep-deprived and jetlagged after the overnight flight. Using that time to get to one of your other destinations makes sense.

How your nights should be divided depends on your interests. Your three destinations are quite different; perhaps they don't all appeal to you to the same degree. Especially for Amalfi, you'll need to figure out more specifically where you want to go. Do you want to include Pompeii somehow? Capri (that means a ferry)? Multiple small towns (buses are not speedy, and sometimes there are more passengers than will fit)?

The celiac question comes up fairly often here, so if you don't get answers in this thread, it's worth using the Search function to see what earlier suggestions have come up. The general answer is that Italy is an easy place to find gluten-free food.

Posted by
7 posts

I am already so appreciative for the responses!!

A few follow ups-

  • I think Amalfi is somewhere we definitely want to visit on this trip! It might be what I’m looking forward to most. Rome is least important, but I feel like we need to do it. What is the minimum amount of days for Florence to Amalfi to Rome? We have three young children so any amount of days is stretching it but hopefully worth it!

  • Rome feels like it will be the least luxurious of the three spots. Is there anyway to end the trip at one of the other two?

    • I will do some flight research tomorrow, thank you!
Posted by
27 posts

As a newbie to Europe you chose the right place to start. Read, listen, learn from all the incredibly detailed information on this website ie. how to use transportation, where to walk, eat, shop, study, etc.

We have taken three Rick Steves tours and are scheduled again this spring. We have always extended our stays and use our learned knowledge to feel comfortable getting around on our own.

The Amalfi Coast is one of our favorite places. On different trips we traveled there by ferry boat from Sorrento to Capri, Amalfi, Positano. Another time we took the train from Naples to Salerno, then the ferry to Amalfi. In the other direction we took the bus back to Salerno, a beautiful coastal ride!

Ravello is stunning and we visited often. But we prefer to sleep by the sea. So on our last two trips we stayed at a small family run hotel in Amalfi Town called Hotel Floridiana https://www.hotelfloridiana.it/en/. They have comfortable rooms, delightful breakfast, and friendly staff. They also offer guided hikes to nearby areas including Ravello, the Path of the Gods, and the Valle Delle Ferriere which we enjoyed this past September. If you contact them ask which tours are in English – during the pandemic there was less need, so many tours were led in Italian.

From Amalfi town you can day trip by boat or bus to the other towns I mentioned above. Or you can hike! On a previous trip we luckily found, and have continued to use, this small book: “Walking on the Amalfi Coast” by Gillian Price, Cicerone press company. You can find it on Amazon. There are 32 walks centered in Ischia, Capri, Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi. We enjoyed hikes like Ravello to Amalfi via Valle del Dragone and Minori to Atrani to Amalfi. Just take the bus out and walk back! Be warned, lots of steps! Enjoy! Buses can get crowded, especially in high season. Get started early..

I left out one more transportation option, especially since I read about your kids. On our last trip we splurged and hired a limo ride to get us back to Naples. There are many good options from the Amalfi Coast to any of the big transportation hub cities.

Posted by
12809 posts

I think Florence needs 3 nights, Rome 3-4 nights, Amalfi coast 3 nights.
These are bare minimums.
So 10 nights, on the ground, is the minimum for the 3 locations.
Rome, the likely airport from which you will depart, should be left for last.
So I would suggest:
Florence first. You should go there upon landing, it’s only just over two hours from Rome Fiumicino Airport by train (unless you can fly to Florence via a European gateway)
Amalfi coast next, from Florence it’s about 4,5 hours (train to Salerno, then ferry or bus).
Rome nights left for last, before flying back home. From the Amalfi Coast, take the ferry/bus back to Salerno then the train to Rome.
Train timetables (two train companies to consider):
www.trenitalia.com
www.italotreno.it
Stations names are:
FIUMICINO AEROPORTO (Rome airport)
FIRENZE SANTA MARIA NOVELLA (Florence main station)
SALERNO
ROMA TERMINI (Rome main station downtown).
The Sentiero degli Dei (Path of Gods) is one hiking adventure you might consider in the Amalfi coast.
https://www.positano.com/en/e/il-sentiero-degli-dei
The Four Seasons in Florence is great, but there are hundreds more to consider for all budgets. Check on Booking.con or any hotel search website. Just stay in the historical center.
Italy has one of the highest percentage of celiacs in Europe,if not the world (of all places, in the land of pasta), therefore Italy is in the vanguard in gluten free food availability both in stores and restaurants. Gluten free food is everywhere. Just Google RISTORANTI PER CELIACI followed by the name of the city, and you’ll get plenty of hits. There are several websites entirely devoted to celiacs:
http://www.ristorantiperceliaci.net/
https://www.celiachiaitalia.com/
https://www.celiachia.it/dieta-senza-glutine/alimentazione-fuori-casa/ricerca-esercizi/

Posted by
277 posts

Since your time is limited, don’t feel that you HAVE to go somewhere you’re not that interested in. I loved my week in Rome and would like to return for more…. but that’s me. If Rome doesn’t particularly appeal to you, skip it on this trip and assume you will have another trip to Italy in the future! I didn’t see the Great Wall of China until my third trip to China and, although I have been to India, I have not seen the Taj Mahal (yet)!

You mentioned three young children. Will they be traveling with you? If so, that would be another reason to cut down on the hectic pace of your proposed itinerary.

Posted by
5549 posts

Another, slang term for a Multi-city flight is “Open Jaw.” That lets you fly from the U.S. into one city and then fly home from another, avoiding backtracking to that original city. Sometimes that makes a lot of sense, cost-wise and time-wise, but not always. Open jaw if you start your Europe trip in one country and finish in another is probably essential, although starting in one town in Italy and finishing in another might still be a reason to consider open jaw flights.

Based on your “midwest” origin, I’ll just assume you’d be using Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Maybe that’s not right, but for what it’s worth, you could fly Chicago to Naples (closest to the Amalfi region), then make your way to Rome for a short visit, then finish in Florence. You could fly home from Florence. You’ll likely be stopping to change planes at least once before you reached Naples, then again stopping for a connecting flight on the way back to the USA. Some possibilities might be Munich, Germany, or London, England - depends on the airline and their routes.

Hiking/outdoor adventures: pretty much any piazza in Italy has kids running around, as if it was their playground. Living in a small apartment in Rome or Florence, the piazza probably is. In Rome, the ancient Appian Way, an old countryside path from 2,000 years ago but restored during Mussolini’s fascist time, is walkable on the south end of the city. See Rick Steves’ guidebook for complete details. We were actually there back in October 2021, riding bikes. Walking is easier, and safer for most people.

In Florence, while it’s not a nature setting, climb the Campanile bell tower next to the Duomo, downtown. You’ll get some exercise, and a commanding view!

Posted by
27511 posts

messy bun,

It will be good for us to know the ages the children will be...

For a complete newbie to Europe, Rome, while reasonably compact, can seem really huge. A really big mouthful to try to cram in all at once.

In my opinion, given what you've said, I think that a visit to Florence and several days on the Amalfi Coast would be a great first trip. I don't see any need for you to spend any time in Rome if it doesn't appeal.

You will want to be in Rome, or near the airport, on the last evening because it is just too far, especially with a saddle bag of kids, to get comfortably and on time to a flight at FCO from the other side of the peninsula. Too far, takes too long.

If you and the kiddoes are in Rome the last night you could wander down to the Trevi Fountain, turn your backs on it and toss a coin each over your shoulders to ensure that you will all return.

Posted by
2186 posts

Certainly, you don't see The Four Seasons Hotel Firenze and The Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello discussed here too often. Just for your reference, they are incredible hotels, and expensive. If you're looking to book these hotels, be sure to work through a travel advisor that is a Four Seasons Preferred Partner and also a Belmond Bellini Agency member. These are not hotels you want to book independently, as going the certified TA route, you'll receive additional amenities, perks, a possible upgrade, and VIP treatment.

If you can be in Florence on a Sunday, the Sunday brunch at The Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is quite famous - and amazing. (Granted, you don't have to stay there to dine at brunch, but do bring 100€ per person!!!). It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience (well, for most of us!).

I would disagree that Rome is not as luxurious as Florence or The Amalfi - it's just different. But if budget is not a concern, you'll find amazing hotels like The Hassler, Portrait Rome, JK Roma, Rocco Forte Hotel Russie, Hotel Eden - a Dorchester Hotel, the stylish First Arte, St. Regis Roma, and MANY more.

But as mentioned, there are many hotels in all these locations at all budgets. The above hotels are all 5-star and nightly rates in the high season generally start at more than 650€/NT. The Belmond is probably over 2000€/NT this summer (based on what's still available). That said, if that's not in your budget, you'll have plenty of other options!

Posted by
7 posts

THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Our children will NOT be traveling with us, which helps us keep a quick pace, but also means we need to get back to relieve family members from their duties ☺️

Is there a magical way to start in Rome and end in one of the other two spots?

We would be excited for the luxurious hotel options and also appreciate that there are many other options. Also, the Sunday brunch in Florence is new info to me, so thank you!!

Some of these hiking/movement options sound incredible 🏔

And yes, O’Hare will be our airport! Does it make more sense to prioritize direct flights or open jaw options?

Editing to add: we will be traveling in August!

Posted by
756 posts

Roberto gave you excellent advice, as did everyone. If you can swing 10 days on the ground (not including overnight flight times) then his schedule is quite doable. So 12-days total - Don't shortchange Rome. While it may not seem appealing, I think you will find it quite charming and glad you went. And a lot depends on the time of year you are going? I don't see that mentioned above. There are lots of wonderful places to stay in all three places. While Four Seasons in Florence is nice, there are lots of places with historic charm you should consider. In Rome, if you want luxury, they have a St. Regis, Waldorf Astoria, see this link:
https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/hotels-in-downtown-rome
https://www.forbestravelguide.com/destinations/amalfi-coast-italy
https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/hotels-in-downtown-florence

As mentioned above, the are plenty of less expensive options that will give you a wonderful hotel experience in each city. You can start as mentioned with booking.com, plug in your budget, and see what options come up.

Posted by
20872 posts

You can fly into Rome and end the trip in Florence if you can find a flight itinerary for the return trip to Chicago that starts in Florence or Pisa that works for you from the standpoints of schedule and cost. Check Google Flights or your flight website of choice to see what is available. For my home airport Florence would be affordable; Pisa would be much more expensive. But both require at least one connection, whereas I can fly home from Rome non-stop. Be sure you don't end up with crazy-short or crazy-long connection times.

Definitely check in the other direction as well, looking for multi-city flights into Florence (more convenient) or Pisa (larger airport) and home from Rome.

Then repeat for Naples. Note, though, that if you don't want to spend your last night in Rome, you definitely don't want to spend your last night in Naples. So you need to consider the speed and reliability of transportation from your Amalfi Coast base to the Naples airport. I'd be uncomfortable about the risk of major traffic tie-ups between the small coastal towns and Naples; those places don't have train service.

It would be easy to return to Rome from Florence late in the day, spend the night in Rome and fly home from there. Is there a specific reason why you're uncomfortable doing that? I completely agree that if you aren't excited about Rome, you don't need to make it a real sightseeing stop. There is never enough time to see everything. After all, you're skipping London and Paris, aren't you?

Posted by
13367 posts

There is never enough time to see everything.....

And so here's my question: What do you want to do/see in Florence? In Rome? On the Amalfi Coast? Besides hiking - and I'll warn you in advance that the heat in August will be intense!!! - do you have any other interests?

Rome feels like it will be the least luxurious of the three spots.

Not sure that "least luxurious" means but you can find a bunch of top-dollar posh hotels there. RNR has the best handle on those and has given you some good insights. It's just that most posters on this forum are not looking for luxury; it's what's on offer for our personal interests when we're NOT at a hotel - which is the majority of the time - that can dictate where we go and how long we stay in any given location. No right or wrong, just different ways of allocating our time/budgets. Can you tell us more exactly what about Rome doesn't appeal? No, you don't HAVE to include it in your plan but I'm curious what you don't think you'll like about it.

What else can you tell us about yourselves that can help us to help you?
I love BOTH Florence and Rome but for different reasons.

Posted by
7 posts

Great questions and thank you for encouraging me to think through some more details! My husband is a history buff and will love some of the landmark spots to visit in Rome and Florence. While that’s not my love language, I do think I’d love to experience that part of the country as well as more of the day to day culture in all areas.
This can include: colosseum, pantheon, piazza navona, Vatican, da vinci, michaelangelo, day on a boat/yacht in the south of France, cooking or food tours, along with time to relax and wander!

Also with “least luxurious”, I don’t mean to be down on Rome! My point there is to maybe spend less on 5🌟 accommodations if we are busier in Rome than in the other two spots.

Posted by
13367 posts

OK, so sounds like Rome is definitely in the plan. LOL, the boat thingy in the South of France will have to wait for a different trip!

So I'll give Roberto's plan a thumb up too....but only if you can have 10 days on the ground in Italy, not including your day going over or coming back.

Overnight flight to Rome
Day 1: land in Rome and train directly to Florence; partial day
Day 2: Florence
Day 3: Florence
Day 4: Transfer to Salerno/ferry/bus Amalfi coast; partial day
Day 5: Amalfi Coast
Day 6: Amalfi Coast
Day 7: AmalfiCoast
Day 8:Transfer to Rome; partial day
Day 9: Rome
Day 10:Rome
Day 11: fly home from Rome

Rome could really use 3.5 days/4 nights but it sounds like the Amalfi is sort of your #1 of the three locations so I gave it 3.5 days/4nights. It's also really the only one with enough time to get any R&R in: you'll be hard-pressed to cover ground in Rome and Florence in the time allotted. Hiking: we did some fun trekking around on Capri. If you're doing that one as a day trip, it's also the best way to lose a big chunk of the day-tripper mob the tends to clog up the piazzas, shopping streets and easy-to-reach viewing spots. You do not need a tour; just follow the directions provided:

https://www.capri.com/en/l/hiking-and-walking-trails-capri

Rome, we trekked a long stretch of the Appia Antica but you don't really have time for it, and there's the heat thing again....

https://www.parcoappiaantica.it
https://www.coopculture.it/en/poi/appia-antica-archaeological-park/

Posted by
3184 posts

day on a boat/yacht in the south of France

huh?

Is your goal to spend lots of time in a luxury hotel or is it to actually sightsee a bit, experience Italian culture?

A random night in August at Florence Four Seasons is $1560 on booking.com- if it were me spending that kind of $$ I would never leave that hotel. There is nothing really special or "Italian" about the hotel, a spa is a spa, brunch is brunch-likely not much different than Four Seasons NYC or SF.
There are some lovely "4 star" hotels in Florence (and 4 stars means something different in Italy than it does here)- Hotel Berchielli- just an example- has lovely comfortable rooms, excellent location, great views of Ponte Vecchio, etc for about $200/night.

Not familiar w/Caruso- I see where it is located- we stayed at Hotel Rufolo- a bit of a splurge for us- but the iconic view was worth it. We only spent 1 night there- Ravello is lovely but not where I would want to be for touring Amalfi coast- transportation would be a pain Fine if you just want to hang around at your hotel.

Anyway- once you figure to what your priorities are you will get plenty of help here working out a touring plan.
I love both Rome and Florence. Can never get enough of Rome.

Posted by
7 posts

Oops— I meant southern Italy!! I need more sleep. But this all sounds great. And I clearly need to think through the hotel priorities more!

Posted by
5394 posts

I don't think you've done enough detailed research on your own yet. Do you understand that Ravello is located hundreds of feet of elevation higher than the Amalfi Gulf water level? An advantage of being in a high-end hotel there is that they probably have a small "beach-club" property at the water. But you have to get either the hourly shuttle, or the Mercedes-and-driver-included-with-room transportation to get there. That's not my idea of an Italian Riviera beachfront hotel!

Thank you for saying "midwest." Have you ever visited a beach resort in the US or Caribbean? I ask because the beach in Italy is not remotely like that. Even public beaches in the US have better sand, better swimming conditions, and more to do. And you can bring your own chair. The Amalfi coast beaches are small, often landlocked, and pebbles, not sand. The water is cold.

Sure, the views from Ravello are incredible, and the town is pretty. But it's a rather dull place for multiple nights. I guess your budget is unlimited, but when you suddenly decide that you want to go to Pompeii from the hotel in Ravello, you will discover that you have to book a car and driver for the entire day. That's very convenient, but it's several hundred dollars. The people on this newsboard go to Pompeii for $2 on the commuter train - which does not go anywhere near Amalfi, Positano, or Ravello!

This is the wrong newsboard to research luxury hotels. Anyone with that budget should be using a luxury travel agency, like Andrew Harper.

Posted by
13367 posts

This is the wrong newsboard to research luxury hotels.

Well, not entirely. Our esteemed Ron In Rome (RnR who posted above) is a terrific resource for the topscale market, and it's great to have a diverse community of all sorts of abilities, interests and budgets. I think the caution here is just to know what top end is going to run during high season in 3 very hot (popular) destinations. Also to balance where one wants to devote their time and their dollars. It's sort of a long way to go to spend it by a hotel pool, ya know? Not that it was ever your plan, messy_bun, and I do get it that moms with 3 kids deserve some chill time now and again! 😉

Time IS going to fly by, though, so even with 3.5 days in the Amalfi area, you'll have to narrow your activities some. For instance, I'm guessing your history-loving DH has got Pompeii in his scope? That's a big chunk of a day...and will be a hot one. Capri? That can be another day. Hiking Path of the Gods? Yep, another big chunk of a day; you'll want to enjoy the views and won't be making fast tracks in the heat. So if you want that cooking class, a day on the water, to explore the Amalfi between Positano> Amalfi> Ravello, etc. something will have to give?

Editing to add: Or you could reconsider three locations? Maybe two would provide a better balance of R&R and sightseeing time?
Also fixed a typo or two. I can't type for squat most of the time.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks, Kathy! I definitely don’t want to be posting in the wrong place and wasting anyone’s time. The recommendations I’ve received locally had been for those two hotels, but by no means are they a “must”. And if it’s not worth it, I’d rather know that! The location factor is interesting for Amalfi. With the hiking, Pompeii, and Capri on the list (probably!! But still love the idea of boating and pool), is there a better place to stay in Amalfi?

Posted by
13367 posts

Ms. Bun, the jury is definitely out on "best"! Some posters here are big fans of Positano but it didn't resonate with us. We really liked Sorrento - which is on the Sorrentine Coast, next door to the Amalfi Coast - because of its bigger size and amount of transport options. You'd also be able to book some very nice hotels with pools and wonderful views of the Gulf of Naples and Vesuvius rising across the the water. Ferries around the regions are more frequent, and in some cases more direct, to/from Sorrento as well, and it's very easy to get to Pompeii via (cheap, battered-but-workable) commuter train. In season, there's usually a "tourist train" that makes 4 or so runs a day for a little bit more comfort and not many more euros.

Heck, some folks have chosen to stay on Capri but it's not a good location, really, for day-tripping the coast. You stay there if intending to stay put, IMHO. We had a split of 3 nights in Sorrento and 2 on Capri; worked pretty well for us. Oh, and as mentioned, Ravello, while pretty, is also not well placed for a certain amount of day-tripping.

Posted by
2186 posts

There is nothing really special or "Italian" about the hotel, a spa is a spa, brunch is brunch-likely not much different than Four Seasons NYC or SF.

Well, actually, the Four Seasons Firenze is a VERY Italian hotel. Prior to becoming a Four Seasons hotel, it was the private residence of Florentine nobles for five centuries. So it's been a palace, a convent, and now a historic hotel, lovingly restored - which took almost 7 years. I was fortunate to stay there and have dinner with Patrizio Cipollini, the GM. He told us stories of the pre-hotel days and took us on a behind-the-scenes tour, showing us 16th-century frescoes and incredible works of art. The gardens had their set of history and art - It was a wonderful evening.

I've also been fortunate to stay at The Four Seasons NY Downtown (the other Four Seasons in NY is closed) and I can assure you that there is NO comparison between the "brunch" offerings at these hotels. See a quick peek of the Firenze brunch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r6y8vrn7oM.

Sitting outside - the preferred location - you're under massive tents. It's packed because many locals come here, so reservations are a must! Each week, a local chef is invited and prepares his signature dishes outside - it's a great honor to be invited. Il Palagio, the location of the brunch, is a One MICHELIN Star restaurant in the evenings, so there are good "bones here.

You see, it is an amazing experience! Certainly, it's not in everyone's budget, but that doesn't make it any less unique or special. For folks who can book hotels at this price point, it's not a splurge - it's just a great hotel (As is the Belmond Caruso!!!)

While I'd agree that luxury hotels are not an often-discussed topic on the RS forum, the forum is also not the place to degrade a product because it's expensive or doesn't meet your perception of "value" - especially if you don't have experience at the property discussed. And I'd also agree - as Tim writes - that this board is not the place to research luxury hotels. That said, despite the fact I work in the luxury market daily, I learn a great deal and enjoy reading the RS forum, as my personal travel is not so often in the luxury market!

Posted by
3731 posts

You have received excellent advise from both Kathy and Christine. Unless you can add a few days, I’ll concur with Kathy to only do 2 locations. As Christine said beautiful Ravello is easily done as a day trip. Staying there does present transportation problems.

This hotel is in Amalfi it is in a gorgeous location, and has all the creature comforts you desire. But a short car shuttle to the transportation hub of the Amalfi Coast or a 15 minute walk.

https://www.hotelsantacaterina.it/en/index

Posted by
5394 posts

--is there a better place to stay in Amalfi?

Like I said, you have more research to do. "Amalfi" is the name of a gulf-level town. "on The Amalfi Coast" (on this board, "AC") is a collective term for a large number of towns of varied economic level and varied distance from the water.

It is unclear whether you want to walk fifteen minutes to a bus stop and wait for a half-hourly bus that takes you over a very crowded. slow, two-lane road to the train station in Sorrento, where you take a very-crowded 50 minute train ride to Pompeii? And you haven't said whether you want (I mean, would consider in a hotel choice ... ) to take a 20-minute private Mercedes ride from your hotel room to a beach club.

My own definition of luxury in this case is a beachfront room. But I have never seen a beach in Italy that's remotely as good as a mediocre beach in the Caribbean, or a middle-range beach on the east or west coasts of the USA. There probably are a few hotels in Amalfi and Positano that are less than 50 steps from the beach. But they are not, technically, beach-front rooms.

Our first trip to Italy was Rome-Florence-Reggio Emilia-Venice. I personally think you should visit Rome and Venice, which is much easier to fly home from than it used to be. Venice is very romantic and very beautiful. And it has two or three high-end luxury hotels, I think one with a beach.

Month of Travel?

Posted by
4372 posts

Hi,

You’ve been getting great advice from fellow travel forum posters for specifics, so I won’t duplicate those. But, do remember this is your vacation. You have young children so time away is very precious, vacation time! If you’re not excited about Rome, that is perfectly fine! Save it for a future trip. Go ahead & fly home from there if it’s convenient and spend your final day walking to a few highlights just so you get a feel for it. My first time in Rome, it was my least favorite stop on the RS Best of Italy tour. (There were many others that I absolutely loved!). But, going back a few years later, I enjoyed it much more.

Posted by
13367 posts

.... to the train station in Sorrento, where you take a very-crowded
50 minute train ride to Pompeii?

Yes, Ms Bun, the train can be crowded but per the published schedule, it's 40 minutes (and we've taken this train).
https://www.sorrentoinsider.com/en/naples-to-sorrento-train-schedule?route=sorrento_napoli#section-schedule-result

As also mentioned, there is the Campania Express during high season:
https://www.sorrentoinsider.com/en/campania-express-train-schedule?route=sorrento_napoli#section-schedule-result

Or hire a car service; some folks like that option! And can you clarify something for me? Unless I missed it, I didn't see mention of wishing for a beach. I did read your wish for a pool. A nice pool is fine? And you said that you are traveling in August, correct?

Posted by
3731 posts

Or on the day you leave the coast, private driver to Pompeii, check your bags at the Pompeii Scavi entrance then Circumvesuim to Napoli Centrale Train to Rome.

Posted by
3731 posts

Christine just did a cursory check for random dates in August. R/T Rome is about $500 less than multi city. That’s economy, didn’t check further. Connections M/C are either 50 min or 3-4 hrs.

Covid has thrown a wrench into everything. Who knows what it will be like in August, hopefully better.

Posted by
263 posts

Messy,
I have three children. When they were small, their dad and I were often able to enlist grandparents to take care of them when we were away. This has become a long thread and I will admit to only skimming it. However, you set me to thinking what worked when we "escaped" our children. Full disclosure: I had some epic trips with my kids' dad (mostly to the Far East) but these days, my Italian/European travels are with my sister. Life is interesting!

First, you should think about what you want and what works for you. Are you thinking 2nd/3rd/4th honeymoon? Do you want to cover a lot of ground? Do you want to see lots of historic things or do physical activities? Do you need to restore and reconnect? As a young mom, I wanted a nice, luxury hotel...and I still do. I know what I want: a large room with a view and a good breakfast but you do you. Back in the day, I wanted some time to feel like the un-mom me. We did a lot of no-kid trips and I feel blessed for every one of them.

Personally, I'd slow it down. Even for 10 days, I'd choose two spots. Maybe Rome and one other . Our first time in Italy, we scheduled two night in Florence and it was just not enough. With the Amalfi Coast, for an upcoming trip, I feel tight with four night especially with thinking about a trip to Pompeii. Rome can take as much time as you will give it. The time flies by and every transfer day cuts into it. Florence to Sorrento or Salerno is a significant train ride. Amalfi transfers (which I'm researching) seems time-consuming.

Be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to breath in the spirit of Italy. Being parents of young children is a hard job. Schedule enough so you don't feel like slacker but enough downtime to let you connect. Maybe more time focused at fewer stops. Lazy breakfasts, hand-in-hand walks, aperitivos in the evening and delicious, lingering dinners. Figure out what you want to do but I always remember the title of an old, old movie, "If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium". If you want a lot of sequential experiences, okay but consider depth. I lent my neighbor my copy of Enchanted April, and she's never brought it back. She loves it so, that I can't complain....

Posted by
7 posts

CT- what a simply lovely response. I am going to share this with my husband. The bad part is I want all of it! The deliciously lux bed, the relaxing breakfasts, time to read and lounge, time to tour and see history, time to be active, and time to dine at (gluten free ☺️) restaurants with huge bowls of pasta. It sounds like this will be hard to navigate with transfers but I am truly reluctant to leave one of the 3 spots off the itinerary.

Gerri, thank you for the price check!! And thoughts on how much time it would add too

Kathy- a pool is perfect!! While a beach is pretty it’s definitely not necessary or important.

Question for anyone who got this far: is it crazy to:
Fly into Rome
2 nights in rome
3 nights in Florence
4 nights on the AC (anywhere!)
1 night in rome for direct flight home

Posted by
20872 posts

I wouldn't call it crazy, but it wastes time to check into and out of hotels in Rome twice.

Posted by
16 posts

I’m going to second Ron’s advice about using a travel advisor to book luxury hotels or even 4* ones. They can help get you perks including early check ins.
Also look into private transfers - it’s costly but time effective. You can fly into Rome, have a driver meet you and go directly to your hotel on the Amalfi Coast.
Everyone has different travel styles and budgets and I love this forum for all the wonderful ideas people have.

Posted by
8442 posts

Question for anyone who got this far: is it crazy to:
Fly into Rome
2 nights in rome
3 nights in Florence
4 nights on the AC (anywhere!)
1 night in rome for direct flight home

Posted by acraven
I wouldn't call it crazy, but it wastes time to check into and out of hotels in Rome twice.
*

I agree with acraven; with your tight time frame, it is a waste of precious time to do Rome on both ends

Posted by
13367 posts

I wouldn't call it crazy either but will agree that it wastes time to check into Rome twice. If you follow your second plan, you shortchange sightseeing time for that one.

3 nights in a row on the backside = 2 FULL days and 1 partial
2 nights in a row on the frontside + 1 on the backside = 1 FULL day + 1 partial, jet-legged day + 1 partial

You don't want that one FULL day to end up being be the one that the attractions you most want to do might be closed. National museums in Italy, for instance, tend to be closed on Mondays. The Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays (except for 1 free Sunday each month, and you do NOT want to go anywhere near it on free Sundays in high/shoulder seasons.)

I know, it's hard to narrow the scope, isn't it? At the same time, less can definitely be more, as in less packing up and moving around can be more time for doing the fun stuff. Consider as well that this doesn't need to be your ONLY trip to Italy ever so saving one of the locations for a next time, when you have more of that to give it, might have you enjoying it more?

Consider as well that there may be things he wants to do that aren't high on your list and vice versa? There's not a thing wrong with you, say, chilling for awhile at a cafe with a book and some people-watching while he hits a historical site or museum that doesn't especially trip your trigger. Also, there will be space for quality togetherness/slow-down time in the long August evenings after most attractions are closed. LOL, there's a happy medium in here somewhere!

Posted by
3146 posts

If your husband loves history, 2 nights in Rome is not enough. Personally, I think money spent to fly open-jaw is more helpful than staying at a luxurious hotel.

Posted by
767 posts

2 full days in Florence would be enough for us. We had 4 1/2 days, and we ended up spending two of them doing day trips. One (Siena) was planned, but the other (Pisa) was not, but we felt we'd had enough time in Florence (and we ended up loving Pisa).

Our hotel in Florence was one of our favourite hotels EVER. It was a bit of a splurge, but manageable for us because it was off season.

We stayed in an "Exclusive Suite with River View" at the Palazzo Alfieri Residenza d'Epoca. https://www.palazzoalfieri.it/en/index.php The suite was enormous--more like a little apartment, really, and the view was gorgeous. The breakfasts were excellent, and the location fantastic.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
13367 posts

LOL, we're all different, and not a thing wrong with that, eh?
We had 5 days in Florence and never left the city! Loved it so much that we'll be going back! Then again, I'm an art geek, and never met an old Italian church I didn't have to poke the corners of. HA!

Posted by
5549 posts

Crazy to check into Rome a second time? That could actually be a brilliant idea, especially if you’ve got an early flight to head home.

On our 2013 trip, we’d been in Sorrento for several days and nights (Amalfi-ish location), and caught the train for Rome our next to last day. We changed trains in Naples and continued towards Rome. We got off at the Ostia Antica stop with our luggage, and walked 3 minutes to the Ostia Antica ruins site.

Ostia was ancient Rome’s seaport. Over the centuries, it got buried in silt, similar to how Pompeii got buried in volcanic ash. Now excavated, the surviving buildings, amazing Roman mosaics, and even a fascinating ancient public group toilet are a worthwhile sight to visit! The guard shack at the entrance happily stored our luggage for free, and we had a couple hours to tour the ruins before catching a taxi to the Airport Hilton for our last night. Early the next morning, we had another short walk - maybe it was 2 minutes, maybe 3, and we were inside the terminal, headed for our departure. If the timing worked like that for you, a last few hours in Rome (vicinity of its airport) could be the way to go!

Posted by
120 posts

I’m pretty much a dyi planner but in your case, I would work with a travel agent, especially if you want to splurge on some high end properties and experiences. I probably spend hundreds of hours planning itineraries, shopping for flights (usually using points), researching hotels and mapping train and car routes. It’s a lot but we usually have 14-16 days to work with. My sister is a TA and they have connections that a regular travel can’t access. Since you have such a limited time I would use those services to maximize it.

Posted by
767 posts

Kathy, it was the crowds that did it for me in Florence. Even though it was off-season, I found the crowds to be a bit much, especially with Covid remaining a concern. Everyplace else, including Rome and Venice, weren't too bad, but it seemed every family was taking a trip to Florence that week. Museums, especially the Uffizi, were extremely busy, in spite of timed entries, with lots of kids (especially tourist (i.e. non-Italian speaking) kids) not wearing masks.

Another time, I may have found it more bearable, although I don't like crowds at the best of times.

Posted by
20872 posts

One of the benefits of spending more days at fewer destinations is that you can spend some of the extra time wandering around the sections of the historic area that are not overrun, or even branching out into more modern but still interesting neighborhoods. I've never had trouble finding opportunities to do that in a city, because so many travelers schedule the bare minimum of time (or less than the bare minimum of time) necessary to see a few top highlights and spend all their time within two blocks of those sights.

Posted by
3639 posts

Skimming through the thread, I see that your husband is big on Rome and you are big on the Amalfi Coast. So why not split your time between just these two locations instead? 4-5 nights R&R on Amalfi coast including tour of Pompeii, 5-6 nights in Rome, that would Work very nicely.