We are planning a trip to southern Italy for 8 nights in September. I want to see all the places listed here, but don't want to pack and move every few nights. Can we just stay in one place and if so...how accessible are these other locations & what mode of transportation should we use to reach them. I'm great with ferrys & trains...but busses..not so much. (We're flying direct into Naples)Thanks!
In March 2007 we stayed in Sorrento as a home base and were able to visit all of the places on your list from there. I believe we found all of the transportation information for getting to and fro from Rick's Italy book.
To get to Positano we took the bus there (beautiful views, try to sit on the right side of the bus in the direction of travel) and took the ferry back to Sorrento. I seem to recall the ferry took longer but it was a pleasant and relaxing ride and I don't remember either mode taking longer than an hour. The bus drops you off at the top of town, and you can leisurly walk down through town and depart via sea.
To get to Pompeii we took the Circumvesuviana train to/from Sorrento and it dropped us off near the ruins. Train didn't take long, maybe 20-30 minutes each way?
To get to Capri we took the ferry to/from Sorrento. Once on Capri, we had to take a mini bus to get to Anacapri, as we wanted to take the chair lift to the top of Mount Solaro. We then walked back down the "mountain," through Anacapri, and took the mini bus back to the ferry port.
Each location was very easy to do as a day trip from Sorrento, so Sorrento gets my vote as a homebase if you just wanted one. Alternatively, you could homebase in Sorrento for 4-5 nights and daytrip to Pompeii/Capri, then move to Positano for another few nights just to get the flavor of a different town.
Definetly stay in Sorrento, as it makes it really easy to day trip to all your must see sights from this town. Be sure to visit Ravello up on the hill when you visit Amalfi too. We used the Sita bus to visit the Amalfi Coast towns, the ferry over to Capri, and the local Circumvesuviana from Naples to Sorrento, Pompeii. Check out Rickys book, as he has a very detailed section on Sorrento & The Amalfi Coast.
Definitely base in Sorrento. It is centrally located and from there you can easily get where to want to go by car, bus, train, or boat.
If you're not great being on a bus ... well, the road along the Amalfi coast is very winding and at many points you're looking at a very steep drop into the sea ... but it's quite an experience and quite the best way to get around there.