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Best way to see as many cities as possible

nickoooch
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Best way to see as many cities as possible

Hello All!

My wife and I will be making our first trip to Italy late December. Flights seem reasonable for us if we fly into, and out of Rome. Originally, we had planned on flying into Venice, passing through Florence and Rome and making our way south to Sorrento, and ultimately out of Naples to return home. This route seems to expensive for our budget.

My question is: what's the best route to see the most cities in under 10 days? Either way, we'll be making a big circle and I feel we may have to cut Venice out of the equation simply for logistical reasons.

I was thinking of spending 1-2 nights in Rome, then head to Florence for 1-2 nights. From Florence, drive or train to Sorrento for 1-2 nights, then back to Rome.

Is this a good plan or does someone have a better suggestion?

Also, ive heard the stories about driving in the cities (Rome in particular), but is it really that bad? How is parking and is it expensive? Is one of the cities i mentioned better for driving than the other?

ps, im from nyc, so driving and sharing the roads with the insane, blind and/or ultra agressive is normal.

Thank you in advance!

Nick

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Brussels, Belgium
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1. Re: Best way to see as many cities as possible

You are clearly thinking "how hard can it be?". Believe me, NYC has nothing on Rome or Naples - but in any case, are you aware of the ZTL issue? Read www.whyrome.info/driving_in_rome_33.html

pittsburgh
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for Rome
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2. Re: Best way to see as many cities as possible

It's not a matter of where you're from or how good a driver you are. You simply are not allowed to drive into any city in Italy unless you're a resident. They all have very strict limited traffic zones and when you enter them your license plate is photographed and sent to the police to confirm your right to be there. If you don't have the right you get a very large ticket.

For travel in Italy the train is always the best.

As for your itinerary, with only 10 days I would not try to see more than 3 cities at the most. Personally, I would limit it to 2 but that's up to you. If you really want to visit Florence, Sorrento and Rome I would plan like this:

Land in Rome, take train to Florence, stay 3 days.

Take train to Sorrento, stay 3 days.

Take train to Rome, stay remainder of days.

Plan on losing half a day (at least) when you change cities. Also, pack light since there is no one to help with luggage on or off the train and the steps are very steep. Also, larger bags must be kept at the ends of the carriage and not at your seat.

Donna

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Best way to see as many cities as possible

Yikes - all that in such a short period of time? I would imagine you might want to see some of these amazing cities that are thousands of years old for more than 1.5 days - there is just so very much from which to choose.

I too would suggest no more than 3 and even that is quite a lot for that amount of time. Italy is a big country and all this moving around takes far longer than you think it will.

The car is useless to you for those destinations; if you were planning a week exploring the countryside, then a car would be needed but for this trip, you won't even be able to go into the cities so why pay for the rental, the high parking fees, toll fees and nearly $9 per gallon for gas?

Trains! They are great - fun and easy to use and, if bought far enough in advance, you can get incredible savings.

For some info about both driving in Italy and train travel in Italy:

roninrome.com/transportation/driving-italy

roninrome.com/transportation/train-travel-it…

My suggestion would be to stay in Rome for 5 days/nights (believe me, you still won't come close to seeing it all even if you try) and taking one of those and going to Florence on the fast train (takes just 1.5 hours) - And then the remainder down south or in Venice - But, in December, much of what makes the area around Sorrento so appealing will be shut down for the season.

nickoooch
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4. Re: Best way to see as many cities as possible

Thanks for the info!

When taking the train to Florence from Rome, is it possible to stop along the way and hop onto another train heading in the direction of Florence?

nickoooch
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5. Re: Best way to see as many cities as possible

Hi thanks for the info.

When you say that some things in Sorrento may be shut down, are you referring to beach locations?

What can i NOT expect to see during that time?

BTW, we were planning on going from dec 28-jan 8.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Best way to see as many cities as possible

Many hotels, restaurants, etc will be closed; it is not beach season - it can be quite cool/cold and rainy and it is off season at that time of year. But, Sorrento is a living city so some places will definitely be open but if you are expecting seaside beach weather, this isn't the time of year to go. If you don't mind it being very quiet, it could be very nice to spend a bit of time in the area just as long as you know what to expect.

Australia
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for Pompeii, Herculaneum, Naples
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7. Re: Best way to see as many cities as possible

Hi Nicola

It's a nice time to travel - no unbearable heat and a great festive atmosphere. If you're south for NYE I can't recommend Naples more highly - that city parties like Rio de Janeiro. Some photos are here - taken last December/January.

…blogspot.com.au/2013/05/bella-napoli.html

St Paul, MN
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8. Re: Best way to see as many cities as possible

I have been to Sorrento in the winter (feb). Some of the shops and restaruatns were closed down but there were enough open so that eating and shopping was not a problem. I stayed in Sorrento for 10 days in Feb 2007. Sorrento is a great base for visiting other parts of the Bay of Naples, and it has great transport connections, but it has actually few sites of it's own. We used Sorrento as a base to visit Capri (the hydrofoils run in the winter), ischia, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Oplontis.

Le Marche, Italy
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9. Re: Best way to see as many cities as possible

If you want to stop off at an intermediate city between Florence and Rome, you have to buy two separate tickets. However, given all you want to see and the limited time you have, are you sure that's a good idea? If you don't stop over anywhere, you could take the high-speed train between Florence and Rome, which gets you there in less than half the time it would take to drive.

Two towns that make fairly easy stopovers by train are Orvieto and Assisi. Both are great places to visit, but one problem when stopping over on a train trip is where to leave the luggage. Small stations like these don't have left luggage facilities. Both Orvieto and Assisi are reported to have unofficial places to leave luggage, but I don't know if you can count on them. Both Orvieto and Assisi could also be visited as a day trip from Rome. Orvieto is especially easy as a day trip.

I would advise you to split your time between Rome and Florence. There is always the risk of cold rainy weather at that time of year, and Sorrento is really not at its smiling best in those conditions. You can take day trips from both Rome and Florence; from Florence you can easily visit Lucca and Pisa, or a smaller town such as Fiesole or Greve in Chianti. From Rome, you can visit Tivoli or Orvieto, or one of the towns in the Castelli Romani area. You might also want to stop over in either Assisi or Orvieto for one night en route between Rome and Florence.

In order to be back in Rome the night before your flight home, and avoiding unnecessary changes of hotel, I suggest that you head straight for Florence when you land in Rome, spend some time there, and then head back to Rome for the last part of your trip.

I've lived in Italy now for 15 years; I used to live in New Jersey, and I've driven in Manhattan with no problems. I wouldn't dream of driving in Rome or Florence, and neither would my husband, born and raised here. The only people who should drive in a large Italian city are the people who live there and know the traffic rules and zones by heart.

nickoooch
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10. Re: Best way to see as many cities as possible

thanks for you help! =)