Here is one VERY excited woman....planning the holiday she's waited her whole life to take...six weeks in Italy.
First time there, first time travelling alone, have no firm plans other than four nights booked in Rome when I arrive...after that, it's an open calendar. There are a few 'wish list' destinations...Venice, Florence, Pisa, Tuscany, Positano, Cinque Terra, Lake Como...other than that, I'm open to suggestions, recommendations, directions, assistance....I'm a sponge for information.
I arrive in Rome on July 3 and depart from Rome six weeks later. Should I head south and do the Amalfi Coast first or head to Venice and do the northern part first? I'm on a bit of a budget but am no princess, so not adverse to hostels if need be. Will be travelling by train so any helpful tips would also be greatly appreciated.
This is my very first thread EVER so please be kind :-)
Thanks and I wait with bated breath for someone sweet to answer me and help me have the most amazing trip.
Hi there Kim, it will be wonderful to stay in Italy for 6 weeks! But.... also hot and crowded, because lot's of people visit Italy in this period.
Hopefully you'll get lots of tips and I'll do my best to give you some special ones.....
I would go South from Roma. Take the train to Napoli (2 - 3 hrs) and further on to Pompeii (30 min).
Take at least 4 hrs for Pompeii.
My suggestion is to take the ferry from Napoli tot Palermo (Sicily), boarding about 9 PM, arrival in Palermo in the early morning.
Palermo will cost you a day and from there take the train to Milazzo (3 hrs) and from the station go to the little harbour. From there consider to visit the Aeolian Islands, for instance Lipari and Vulcano (climb the vulcano) by ferry.
After coming back to Sicily you can visit Taormina and from there take the bus to Messina.
From Messina you can take a train to Tropea (2 hrs) and relax at the beautiful beach.
From Tropea you can head to the North (Pisa will take 7 hrs).
Kim, perhaps these are not the thing that you should be expecting, but I'm sure it's worthwhile considering the option.
If you want more/other information, don't hesitate to ask!
BTW where are you from?
by train is easy and quick moving north than south.
august is the better month to visit rome, as all italian are on holiday so there's less traffic, noise and so on but may be you'll find less bar, restaurant and nightlife.
Cinque Terre had some wethear problem a friend of mine stay there last week and told me is not easy moving around, i suggest to check situation before going.
visit before north or south it's up to you it's not so different.
if you are interested in italy summer sales start in july (around 7).
and i don't if you have any doubt i can help you...
That is wonderful help and advice, thank you. I was leaning more towards doing the southern part first then heading back up north when the weather got a bit warmer. The advice you've given is great, thank you.
I'm from Victoria in Australia. I've only ever been to Paris, for two nights, back in 1986 so it's been a long wait to get back to Europe.
Unfortunately my dates to arrive in Rome are locked in for early July but I do get to come back to Rome before I depart on August 10 so if i've found it all too busy in those first few days, I can cover what I missed when I come back before heading back to Australia.
Good advice re Cinque Terre....I'll do some more research to see what I can find...worst case, i can think of more horrible views to look at from a hotel room while reading a book or having a wine. Also good tip re the summer sales...did you mean for clothing or for travel?
for cloth! for travel it will be high season...
or you can choose other lovely view :-)
ahh, so much to write about! ok first I recommend going south first then north, due to heat in south as summer goes along. Amalfi coast is amazing and definitely worth a few days. Napoli = don't bother, crowded city. The beaches in this area are where the beauty is. I recommend seeing some part of the coast by boat if you can, even if it is a ferry from positano to capri or another island. The hilltowns are gorgeous from the sea. Amalfi is a lovely tiny place, but try to avoid weekends, as this whole area can get crowded with tour buses for the day. If possible, and you have a car, stay overnight in Amalfi or positano because when the day-trippers go, it is wonderful. By car, you cannot be faint of heart in southern italy, as the roads are crowded and narrow here, so if you are nervous about it, take a bus there from Rome. There are some cute places to stay in positano, but I recommend finding a reservation here since it is a small place and you could find yourself without a place to stay in this area, esp if you do not have a car and need to be in the city center.
Pompeii is interesting if you are into history and archaeology, but it is also a bit of a tourist trap, so best to go as early as you can and wear lots of sunscreen, and as soon as you get through the gates and into the exhibit, it is magnificient (but lots of vendors, etc outside and by buses)
When you head north, take the fast train from Rome to Florence, which is expensive but a wonderful, walkable city. Then there are hourly (or nearly hourly) trains from Florence to both Lucca and Pisa, which is my favorite part of Italy. I recommend a day to visit both of these places if you can, or to stay overnight in Lucca after your day in Pisa/Lucca. A good place is Hotel Puccini right in the center of a pedestrian town that is magical at night. You can also rent bikes and go all over sightseeing or in nature here.
Then cinque terre and ligurian coast is also a must-see. Very stunning like amalfi coast, and a bit quieter. You can get there by train from Lucca/Florence but it can take several hours, so not a good day trip, you will need to plan some overnights along the coast. Other hilltowns in Tuscany that are nice for a day are: Siena, Montepulciano, Montalcino (esp if you love wine), Cortona, Pienza. If you are going to rent a car at all in Italy, this area is where I would recommend doing it, because the countryside is magnificient, and you can stop at several places in a day, as well as drive to smaller towns to eat very authentic and delicious tuscan cuisine.
Lastly, both Verona and Venice are nice cities to visit in the north, and it is possible to get back to Rome from Venice fairly quickly on high speed train, so I would end your journey there or in Milan to get back to Rome via train or flight. Verona is very nice, and the outdoor amphitheatre rivals the colisseum in Rome, adn they have operas in summer that I would recommend if you can still get tickets.
Lake Como is nice - I have been there several times, but if you do not have enough time to see it all, it is the one place I would recommend skipping for the others - reason is that it is not as "classic Italian" as other spots, and since there are lakes elsewhere in Europe, it often feels more like you could be anywhere, and has some Northern European influences since close to Switzerland. Nice, but similar to many lakes in USA like Tahoe, Utah, NY, etc. The beaches of Italy in my opinion are the more stunning vista.
I hope this is helpful, and if you want specifics on any of these places (where to stay ,what to do, etc, please do not hesitate to ask. I have been to each multiple times, alone, married, and now with kids, so I have lots of perspectives on where to do depending on your interests.
Kemby aka globalmomma
You are awesome, what a wonderful amount of information. I apologise for my delay in replying and expressing my appreciation for all your wisdom...it is fantastic.
I have decided to take your advice and head south after my first four days in Rome. Here is where I have my first question: I've been looking online via Travellerspoint at accommodation down south and I would like to know which area you recommend basing myself out of Positano, Sorrento or Agerola/San Lazzaro?
The accommodation I have been considering is:
Hostel Brikette, Positano
Nido degli dei, Agerola
Beata Solitudo, Agerola
Casa Rachele, Sorrento
Resort Campogaio, Sorrento
Domus San Vincenzo, Sorrento
Do you know any of these?
I wont have a car so it's public transport all the way for me (I was meant to be doing this trip with my boyfriend and hiring a car together but we have since broken up so now this holiday is a solo adventure on my own....I've travelled before around Britain, America, Asia but only Paris in Europe and I've NEVER done it on my own....so I am very excited/nervous).
Here is my list of where I plan to go:
Cinque Terra (which town though??)
Tuscany in general
Plus Amalfi coast etc.
Any suggestions re accommodation, eating, sights, transport, what to avoid, things not to miss etc for any/all of the above would be amazing.
I leave in 11 weeks so whenever you get a chance to respond would be great. Thank you so much for the interest and support.
The apartment looks amazing...can you remember what it cost per night before I get too excited haha? Saves disappointment that way