Venice-Florence-Positano-Barcelona itinerary

September we will fly into Venice-4 nights take train Venice to Florence-2 nights (for Fiat 500 Tour-my husband is excited) take train Florence to Salerno (need to check if it runs Saturdays) and ferry or bus to Positano 4 nights Fly Vueling (not yet booked) Naples to Barcelona-4 nights and back to US.
In 2011 we totally loved Casa Selita and walking into Orvieto every day; our other favorites were touring the lavender fields of Provence/Rousillion/Gordes and a day at Giverny. Our "style" is not so much museums/cathedrals, (in our early sixties we already forget names/dates as we exit the building haha!), but are totally inspired by the architecture and aesthetics (thus Gaudi/Barcelona). I am wondering if we should add a day trip to a small town between Venice & Florence. Or maybe get into Florence early and take bus to Siena for afternoon/evening and just one day for Florence? Or can we enjoy Florence and not feel like we are "missing out"? We day-tripped to Florence from a cruise and hit some of the major sights previously. It would be a good base for these 2 nights, but we really adore the smaller towns/countryside so we could use some advice (on all of the above). Notes: Fiat tour is at 11:30 am. We use all public trans. Thanks so much for any input.

Posted by ekc
Portland, OR
282 posts

IMO you do not need to add a stop between Venice and Florence. You really only in Florence for 1.5 days, some of which will be used up by the Fiat tour. If you want to visit a smaller town, you can take the bus up to Fiesole. If you like architecture, you could take a boat tour of Palladio architecture along the Brenta canal.

Posted by Doris
Manheim, PA, USA
59 posts

Thanks, ekc. You are absolutely right ... and I guess I just needed affirmation. Your suggestions are terrific (we had actually considered staying in Fiesole), and I will "love the one I'm with" (not too hard, considering it is Florence after all!!!) So what about the rest of the itinerary? Any thoughts on the Florence to Positano "leg"?

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1560 posts

I loved Positano but not much there to do for four days. Would suggest base in Sorrento instead. Positano is extremely hilly and very strenuous walking, but it is beyond beautiful though.

Posted by Doris
Manheim, PA, USA
59 posts

Gail, thanks I will PM with some specific questions and check out Villa La Tartania. ekc, I am hoping the ferries are running early September and will keep that 3 pm deadline in mind. We hope to nail down a few more "broad brush" decisions and then schedule with Christine. I have read great reviews for her and the tour. It is a must-do. I think the day at Laurito Beach and Da Adolfo sounds amazing. The only flight Naples to Barcelona Wednesday is at 2:20(and not real cheap). If we leave early morning with a driver/taxi, would we have enough time to see a little of Sorrento that day of departure? (lunch , mini-tour) . Or will it be a hassle just getting to Naples?

Posted by Doris
Manheim, PA, USA
59 posts

Gail, you can't imagine how much time we spent discussing where to stay on the AC. (And there is so much discussion on this board about the same). We finally decided there was nowhere we would rather enjoy breakfast or an evening drink than on a balcony with a view in Positano. The many steps will be a workout for sure! We will spend a day at Amalfi and Ravello ... and there is always Capri! (I know...some say skip it, others say why not?) Does Florence to Salerno and then to Positano sound like the best option? I still haven't booked the Vueling flight to Barcelona just in case we want to rearrange stops. I didn't see much availability from Florence to Barcelona, so I am thinking Naples will be our best option.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1560 posts

Doris, can't help you with Florence to Positano but if you are staying in Positano we stayed at Villa La Tartania a lovely B&b, room had balcony overlooking water and it was beyond clean and neat. Breakfast room looked over water as well. Can't tell you price, it was paid for by our hosts for a wedding, lucky us. It is five minute walk to beach. Need any other suggestions, send me a PM.

Posted by ekc
Portland, OR
282 posts

Gail, yes, I would absolutely train from Florence to Salerno (I am certain the trains will be running on Saturday - you may have to stop and/or change in Rome or Naples) and then ferry or bus to Positano. Hopefully you will be traveling when the ferries are running. I think the last ferry left Salerno for Positano around 3:00, so keep that in mind when looking at the train schedules. You will absolutely LOVE Positano. IMO there is nothing better than sitting on a balcony or at a beach restaurant sipping an aperitivo watching the sun go down! I highly recommend taking a tour of Positano with Christine of www.discoverypositano.com. It is a small group tour that lasts about 2 hours. It is a great introduction to the town and you learn lots about the history of the town and the region. You get to sample some local food products and even get a discount when you shop at certain stores later. One of our best days in Positano was when we caught the boat to Laurito Beach and spent a few hours relaxing on the sun loungers and then had an amazing meal at Da Adolfo.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

ekc: to edit your posts, look under your name next to the post. If you are logged in, you will see "edit/delete" as options. Choose the appropriate one.

Posted by Doris
Manheim, PA, USA
59 posts

Thanks Harold. I know you were directing your comment to ekc, but it helped me too. I didn't know we could edit our posts!

Posted by ekc
Portland, OR
282 posts

Thanks Harold!
Doris, the key to Laurito beach is catching the Da Adolfo boat which is the one with the red fish on its mast - not the boat with the mermaid. You are supposed to eat at the restaurant whose boat you caught to Laurito and I have heard less-than-great things about the other restaurant (I can't even thing of its name). From my understanding, you should allow 1.5 hours to get from Pos to the Naples airport. You also need to check in at least 2 hours, if not 3, prior to departure. So giving yourself the maximum time, you would need to leave Pos 4.5 hours before your flights, or 9:30, which wouldn't leave you much time to see Sorrento. Personally, if I were going to make a stop on the way to Naples airport, it would be in Naples for pizza! But the pizza at Tre Sorelle on the beach in Pos is pretty good!

Posted by Doris
Manheim, PA, USA
59 posts

ekc, thanks for the great details. I am loving your thought to stop for pizza in Naples. That's a good way to get the most out of a travel day. I didn't hear any suggestions otherwise, so I guess I will leave the itinerary order as originally outlined and book that flight to Barcelona. Do we just go for the "basic" rate? I understand weight and (ONLY) 1 per person carry-on is the trick. And it costs more when you get to the airport to pay for checked/overweight bags. I'm not sure if our bags will be lighter or heavier by that point in our trip. Or just pay ahead rather than be stuck with a heavier bag when we get there?