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First trip to Italy

Washington DC...
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First trip to Italy


I am planning a trip with my girlfriend (both early 20s) this coming June. We have about 10 total days of vacation (2 of them flying) and we have set our sights on Rome, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast. I've seen several topics similar to mine, but none with these exact cities and age range. We are probably not as into the historical aspect as most, but will definitely make time for sightseeing. We enjoy outdoorsy things and quality food/drink.

I was hoping I could get a few travel tips in terms of (1) what to absolutely make sure we do in each city (2) what might not be worth it for the amount of time we have (3) recommended places to stay and (4) any other tips that you guys have picked up on during your travels. Also, any other do's and don't as far as Italian customs/manners would be appreciated. Our budget after airfare is probably between 1.5k-3k each all in (1.5 being "optimistic", 3 being "hopefully not").


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1. Re: First trip to Italy

For eight days I suggest two destinations and flying open jaw [Naples/Rome?].

New York City, New...
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2. Re: First trip to Italy

First, you guys need a good guidebook - a lot of what you are looking for will be in it and you will need it when there anyway if you have any interest in knowing the history and background of the sites you choose to see.

You have just 8 days - really 3 places, especially one has challenging to reach to the Amalfi Coast - is pretty difficult to do and still make it an enjoyable time; with this itinerary, you will spend about 1.5 or more just on travel time which is a terrible waste with just 8 days.

I'd suggest you consider two place, whichever are more interest to you. If you choose Venice and the Amalfi Coast (which should be booked ASAP by the way as should Venice really too but the AC places have been long booked by now) - I'd fly into Venice and probably home from either Naples or Rome; or if you choose Rome and the AC, fly into Rome (or to Naples if you can get a flight there), go directly to the AC and return to Rome after your time on the AC so you are in the city from which you will be flying home the night before your flight as you need to be at the airport 3 hours pre-departure time (no joke.)

Rome to the AC is about 4 hours plus especially in high season; from Venice, it is a full day travel. From Venice to Rome it is 3 hours, 45 minutes on the fast train and, with checking in and out of hotels, getting to and from stations, etc - it is really more like 6 hours.

If you stick with your plan - fly into Venice, then make your way to the AC (maybe fly EasyJet to Naples to save some travel time), then make your way to Rome, visit there for your two days and fly home from there.

www.venere.com and www.booking.com are good sites to look for where to stay, you can sort there by your budget - is that budget in dollars or euros? If not in euros, check current exchange rate at www.xe.com - the other day, it was costing $1.37 per euro so you can see we are on the losing side of that transaction.

Info for AC:



There is also a bunch of threads on this forum about tips about being in Italy - this one has a bunch of suggestions:


Washington DC...
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3. Re: First trip to Italy

Should have mentioned this in the initial post: so far we've booked flying into Rome and out of Venice so our tentative plan was to go Rome 3 days-->AC 2 days-->Venice 3 days then home.

Would taking a flight from AC to Venice make it more reasonable to do 3 cities? Or do you still think we would be better off doing just 2? We really would like to see all 3 but do not want to sacrifice the full enjoyment of the trip for it.

Thanks for the help!

New York City, New...
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4. Re: First trip to Italy

You can't fly from the AC - there is no train or airport; as I said, it will take you pretty much a full day to get from the AC to Venice and about 4 hours to get from the AC to Rome.

So - say you want to fly from the area of AC to Venice - you need to first get to Naples (1.5 hours away from Positano, further away from Amalfi itself (the village) - about 2.25 hours from Amalfi to Naples; you will need to get to the Naples airport about 1.5 hours pre-departure time - so, right there, even without the actual flight, you have killed off about 3 to 4 plus hours - then there is the flight time (about an hour I think, can't recall), then from the airport in Venice to wherever you are going - either way - it is pretty much a full on day of travel.

Would I do it? No. I don't care to travel like I'm on a job - I personally like to take my time to see things I want to see and also relax and enjoy my surroundings - but, everyone is different.

IF you think you will not return to Italy, then you can give it a try to squeeze the AC in there - but, it is a hassle getting there from anywhere. If you want to see a beautiful place on the Mediterranean for such a brief amount of time, I'd choose Capri - you can catch a ferry from Naples (after taking the 70 minute fast train from Rome to Naples) - the hydrofoil takes only about 40 minutes to the island - it is easier to get to than the AC:


I still don't think it is a great idea to waste such precious little time you have there on just traveling but if you really want to see it, then you could at least get a small taste of it - again, if you consider this - book ASAP.

As it is, you will actually have 2.5 days in Rome, 1.5 days on the AC (or Capri) and 2 days in Venice (given the day's worth of travel to get there from AC) - do count up the days/hours of travel time so you know what your trip will really be vs what you are thinking it will be.

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5. Re: First trip to Italy

I know you're young and have lots of energy but I'm not sure you're taking into account how much time is eaten up with all the traveling around, as well as checking into and out of accommodations.

Day one you'll arrive in Rome early in the morning from the States. If you head immediately to the Amalfi Coast by train you'll arrive there sometime in mid-afternoon, even though it's only 180 miles from the airport to Positano, for example. By the time you get from the airport into Rome, then from Rome to Naples by train, then from Naples to Sorrento by train or boat, then from Sorrento to Positano by bus or boat ... most of the day is gone. Count on dinner as pretty much your only activity on this day.

Getting back to Rome from the AC will require the same trip in reverse, obviously without the leg out to the airport. You'll lose half a day of your trip making this transition as well. You'll also lose half a day going from Rome to Venice.

That leaves you with something like five and a half to six days to see/enjoy three places. If that feels right to you, go for it.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: First trip to Italy

Oh justchillin...as much as I love the Amalfi Coast, and as much as I realize how much better it might seem if I was in my early 20's and with my girlfriend, with what you want to see in Italy on your first trip...you will not be doing much "chilling" if you try to include the AC on this trip. I would suggest you just do the big 3 cities of Italy...Venice, Florence, and Rome. Fly into Venice (blow a 110 euros on a water taxi into Venice and to you hotel...amazing experience), stay 3 nights, train onto Florence and stay 2 nights, train on to Rome and stay 3 nights, and fly home from Rome. Save the Amalfi Coast for your honeymoon! Two days in the AC just doesn't cut it...whether your in your 20's or 70's. But whatever you do, I'm sure your trip will be wonderful!

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7. Re: First trip to Italy

Instead of the Amalfi Coast, have you considered the Cinque Terre? It still would be rushing with only 8 nights, but can be done by train.

Rome 3 nights

Train Rome to La Spezia (3.5 to 4 hours on train), then local train to one of the 5 Cinque Terre towns.

Cinque Terre 2 nights.

Train Cinque Terre to Venice (4.25 hours up to 6+ hours on train)

Venice 3 nights

The hard part is the train from Cinque Terre to Venice. There is a train that can get from La Spezia to Venice S.Lucia in 4 hours 14 min., but it requires many train changes with quick/tight connections. Other options are available using the train, but will be around 5 or 6 hours on a train. If you get an early start, and think of this as some down time/time to relax, you could be in Venice by 2:10 or 2:20 in the afternoon.

The Cinque terre would provide you with sea views, hiking, seafood. Some trails still remain closed, but there are others that are still open.

Tips: pack very light. Just carry a backpack. It will make hoping from place to place, using trains/stairs/boats/bridges much easier than lugging around luggage. Just wash clothes in the sink and hang to dry. Buy clothes that dry quickly. You'll have a great time where ever you end up! :)

8. Re: First trip to Italy

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