Would you consider a cruise. On the one we did the year before last we took the DC to see the leaning tower of Pisa, Pompeii, Rome, amoungst other places. On the one last year we went to visit the volcanic region of Mount Etna and Sorrento and then lots of other places that were not in Italy.
yes it will make a difference in heat and traffic around the place. Perversely, despite the numbers in town, you'll also find that some things will be closed for the whole of August because the proprietors will be on holiday. Agree you'll find somewhere just out of the city with a pool, but woudl strongly recommend that for a first trip to Rome, you don't beat about the bush and you stay in the Centro Storico. Sensible budget - Hotel dei Portoghesi on via dei Portoghesi, just off Piazza Navona is right in the action but very quiet. Generous budget - Hotel San Anselmo on the Aventine hill overlooking the city, right by the magic keyhole. A 15min walk / 4 min cab to the Ghetto / centre of town. Quiet, airy, gorgeous. The trains between cities are brilliant, but the bus around rome is purgatory, so stay as central as you can and walk for a much more pleasant experience.
Italy gets very hot in summer. Trekking around Rome and Pompei in the heat is hard work. I would avoid in August.
Pompeii good for a day visit but wouldn't stay there. You can stay nearby in Sorrento and get the train to Pompeii easily and Sorrento is nice but busy and quite expensive.
Trains in Italy are OK I have found. In terms of the areas you want to be and taking into account yo also want a beach, I would consider staying between Rome and Naples. There are seaside towns down that coast but they tend to be for Italians to go to their summer homes during August. Or maybe stay on Neopolitan Riviera and do Rome as a visit over a couple of days maybe.
Btw I wouldn't drive unless you have nerves of steel!
We were planning to go to France this summer, but are now considering Italy. DD has always been keen to go, she wants to see Rome and Pompeii in particular. My ideal would be, few nights in Rome, night or two in Pompeii depending how much there is to see/do and then a few nights somewhere on the beach.
I don't know Italy at all. Does anyone have any ideas for us of how this would work and where best to go?
What are the trains like in Italy to get from Rome to Pompeii or would a hire car be better.
Not got a big budget but hopefully it's possible!!