So...if you had to choose between Venice and the Amalfi coast

for a three night stay...which would it be? My husband and I are arguing about it. He wants to go to the AC and I, Venice. We truly can't do both. I'm just wondering what people who have seen both would choose if they had to choose between them. I understand that each is wonderful and worth seeing but if someone told you that you were never going back to Italy and you had to pick one or the other, which would it be?

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
961 posts

Very hard decision to make, I loved them both. But if someone had told me that I could never come back to Italy and I had to choose one, it would be Venice. That had always been a 'bucket list' item for me so it wouldn't have been hard to decide. I did that the first time I went to Italy but I had to go back again (and again) to see other places, like the Amalfi Coast, etc.

Posted by Monique
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
493 posts

If someone told me the next trip to Italy was my last and I would never ever go back again, the first thing I would do is pass out. Upon waking up hours later, I would quickly pack my bags for ...the Amalfi Coast. Now don't get me wrong, I liked Venice. And there were definitely some moments when we were lost is a maze of tangled narrow streets and canals, and during the gondola ride where I just thought the place was awesome. However... To me, after much travel throughout Italy, Spain and Portugal, there is NO PLACE like the Amalfi Coast. I could honestly ride the bus up and down the coastline everyday for the rest of my life and it would never get old. Remember how when you were a kid, your naive mind was amazed by everything? And we kinda lose that as adults because we know how things work and we can see the batteries and strings and the "man behind the curtain". Well, Amalfi Coast is the only place I have ever been that takes me back to those kid days, of just blank-minded "woooooooooow!"... That's my 2 cents :)
But you will enjoy your trip either way! Happy travels!

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5737 posts

The AC in April will be iffy. There are, on average 13 days in April when it rains for a total of about three inches. See this site: Good luck. (And you can edit any posting by clicking the Edit button immediately underneath it. I've just heard waaaay too many people pronounce it "Almalfi. :-)

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Is this a summer visit? If so, I would choose the coast. I love Venice---it is my favorite city in the world--- but I won't go in the summertime.

Posted by Karen
800 posts

Tough question - because I too would pass out if I could never return to Italy... Venice is a truly special place, unlike any other I've seen. The AC was very beautiful and we had much better food (a high priority of mine in Italy!) there than in Venice. If I could only do one, I'd probably pick Venice. You don't say where else you'll be - does one fit in better travel-wise than the other? I often choose places on the ease of logistics rather than where they fit on my "must see" list. You actually will return someday so don't worry, you can't make a bad choice!

Posted by Mimi
Morrison, CO, USA
332 posts

Well, Venice is truly unique, more so than the Amalfi Coast so it would be Venice for us. We have returned twice already. There are other good coastal towns in the world, but only one Venice!

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5737 posts

Lola's point is excellent. It depends on the time of the year. High summer? Amalfi (not Almalfi, btw)
Any other time? Venice, hands down.

Posted by Susanna
Charlotte, USA
38 posts

I have been to both the Amalfi Coast and Venice. Venice wins IMHO. Amalfi Coast is beautiful. If you are looking to relax, do a bit of shopping but not much else, Amalfi is good. Venice is my favorite city in the entire world. I have been there seven times so far and have not seen it all. I visit EVERY time I go to Italy. I have not seen all of it yet. I never tire of wandering the back alleys, visiting the Churches, museums, looking in shops, eating, people watching as well as the major tourist sights. You can also visit the other islands; Lido, Murano, Burano or Torcello easily. Take the slow vaporetto down the Grand Canal. SO MUCH to see and do. Enjoy whatever choice you make.

Posted by Emma
32 posts

(Michael ALMALFI was a typo. I noticed that myself after I posted it but I couldn't figure out how to do an edit. Is that even possible?) Our trip is planned for mid to late April. If we go with the AC we would arrive there on 4/20 and leave on 4/23. In an attempt to satisfy both of us, the working itinerary has us starting out in Rome for 4 days then on to Sorrento/AC for three and then...catching the ITALO to Venice very early in the AM on the forth morning. That should (the operative word) get us there by mid afternoon. We would spend two nights in Venice before taking the train to Tuscany for the last 6 nights (to be split between a farm near Greve and a couple of nights in Florence). We plan to rent a car for the time we will be in the countryside and lose it before Florence. On paper, it seems do-able but I know how wrong things can go (strikes, late trains, missed trains...)and not all that crazy but I've been told it may be too much. So the statement I made about us truely not being able to do both may have been overstated but...maybe not. For argument's sake, I wanted to eliminate the possibility of a compromise.
So...does it sound like too much?

Posted by Emma
32 posts

(Thanks Michael. That was easy (to edit). Somehow I didn't notice that little "edit" button. Weird. I am also surprised to hear that "Almafi" is a common mispronumciation since "alm" seems relatively rare in the English language). As for the weather on the AC in April...I guess, if we go, I'll just hope for the best. It seems like the only time you can count on no rain is the summer months and I can pretty much assure you that, in the unlikely event that I make another trip after this this one, it won't be in the summer! Is the AC particularly miserable in the rain or can you still apprectiate its beauty?

Posted by dennis
Grapevine, TX, United States
16 posts

Although both places are fabulous each in its own way, I would have to choose... Venice. Just think, where else would you see a city that functions totally on water. A boat for an ambulance, hearst, bus, taxi, refrigerated boat for perishables and those very narrow alleyways where people barely fit. Definitely, Venice would be my choice. OMG how I miss Italy! Enjoy and savor every moment.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2600 posts

I too would choose Venice... although I do love the Sea. But the comment above that said 'there are other beautiful coastal areas, but only one Venice' is so true. That would be my biggest regret. Going early in the season will be better. If you only daytrip to Venice in the summer you cannot truly appreciate the city. Be sure to get up early and enjoy the sunrise over the's amazing.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5737 posts

And stay up late and wander around the spooky alleys. It's one of the safest cities on the planet, so you can do that. Venice canal at night. And of course View from Rialto at night.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8735 posts

Hmmm hard to say. Maybe the number of times I've been would give an indication. Over the last many years I have been to Venice at least once per year - except 2 years ago - and as many as 3 times in the year, and I still have so very much more to see and do. I have been to (and driven) the Amalfi Coast once, and would be happy to return once or twice more. I will probably be in Naples next month and won't go down to Sorrento or the Amalfi. Does that help?

Posted by Carol
Martinez, CA, USA
517 posts

You don't say if you have your plane reservations yet or how many days you have, but the itinerary you mentioned seems inefficient. Starting in Rome, south to Sorrento, north to Venice, southwest to Tuscany. Could you fly into Venice, then go to Tuscany, then Sorrento and finish up and fly out of Rome? Or Rome before Sorrento and fly out of Naples? While there's still some doubling back it seems you would spend less time travelling between cities. We did a similar trip in 2011, starting in Venice, then to Ravenna (not as far as Tuscany), then to Sorrento and Naples, and ending in Rome. If you have the time you would not have to choose between the two. Good luck with your planning.

Posted by Emma
32 posts

Actually Nigel, it does help. I showed my husband these replies and we are going to spend two nights in Venice! I think he's starting to see just how special people think Venice is. Carol, yes we have our tickets. We're flying into Rome and out of Milan. I would be willing to change one of the flights. Originally we were going to end in Como which is why I picked Milan. If we end up not going south then we may revive that plan so I'm waiting to see before changing any flights. The problem is that we both really want to go to Pompeii and it seems like once we are there...we might as well stay. That's how the whole Sorrento/AC thing got started.

Posted by Monique
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
493 posts

Since your husband deserted the Amalfi Coast bandwagon (...I think I was the only one on it anyway), that means there should be an extra hotel room available for me to take a side trip from Florence, and an extra seat on the bus :) Sure you will love your choice!
Please let us know what you guys thinks of it!

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5737 posts

There's excellent information at this site on Ostia Antica, which a lot of people choose to do as a much easier daytrip from Rome than Pompeii is: It totally depends on your own travel style and how you feel about spending a lot of hours on four train trips in one day. (Rome -> Naples, Naples -> Pompeii, then reverse it) For some people, the more dramatic story of Pompeii trumps the Ostia Antica site. Your call, obviously. But here are some photos I took at Ostia Antica, in case you're curious as to what that site looks like: Ostia Antica in May 2008

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1557 posts

Since you both want to see Pompeii, just go for the day when you are based in Rome.

Posted by Emma
32 posts

Monique - I haven't cancelled the reservations in Sorrento yet but I think we are going to do so. Next time. Michael - Thanks for your suggestion. It sounds and looks quite interesting but I'm guessing Pompeii has something else going on in addition to the ruins. I've actually been fascinated with it since I was a kid and first heard about people being "frozen in place" from falling ash. In fact, I remember being totally spooked by it and worrying that it could happen to me (what with all the volcanos in NJ you never know). Gail, I think that's what we are going to do. We only have 4 days in rome but I realized that, while it will be most of the day, we'll still have the evening to wander around when we get back.

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
307 posts

Been to both. For three nights, I would choose AC since there is more variety of things to do. If it was one or two nights, I would say Venice.

Posted by Lise
St. Louis, MO (formerly, Windermere, FL)
339 posts

You have certainly received lots of advice to consider! I also would suggest your itinerary may be a bit inefficient for your first visit to Italy and you may wind up frustrated and exhausted trying to squeeze so many places into one trip. I'm not sure how many days total your trip is (not counting air travel days there and back), but the way I read it, you have 5 or 6 travel days built into the trip going from place to place. Keep in mind that while the actual travel involved may only be a 4 hour train ride or car trip you need to factor in getting to the station, getting lost, not understanding the signs, finding your hotel, settling into your room, etc. All part of the adventure but definitely time consuming and detracting from all the things to see and do. You mentioned in one of your posts that you are doubtful that you will ever take a trip like this again. That made me feel sad. I planned our first trip in 1999 with that mindset. After about 2 hours in Rome, the first European city my eyes ever set upon, I knew I would return. Hopefully this is only the first of many adventures overseas for you! A more specific note: The AC is one of our favorite places in the world but you should return there on a summer trip. Pompeii sounds like a must-do for this trip. Most of the amazing relics that were unearthed are housed in the Naples Museum of Archaeology. Combining a day exploring the ruins with a visit to the museum should satisfy that fascination you have with the place. You might consider staying one night near these attractions so as not to rush through them, then fly north to Venice from Naples.

Posted by George
104 posts

Another vote for Venice with all the same hand wringing, because there is only one place like Venice. When I took my daughter to Italy three years ago I extended our visit by three nights specifically so we could do both Venice and the AC. It was a splurge but I knew I would regret leaving out one or the other or spending not enough time in each.

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
763 posts

Rick Steves has some New (2012) Italian city shows. Two show Venice and another shows Florence. You may want to look at your TV guide and see the shows. They keep repeating them.