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ITALY- Naples, Rome, Venice

(12 Posts)
breward Fri 19-Dec-14 09:31:21

Trying to plan next summer's holiday. Family of 4 (dc 13,14) traveling in August. We would like to fly into Naples then base ourselves around the Pompeii area to see the sights.

How far is it- Naples to Pompeii? And is train the best way to do this leg? Any hotel recommendations welcome. How long should we need to do it well?

We would then travel up to Rome for a few days? Again hotel recommendations welcome, how many days would be best?

We then plan to travel up to Venice for 3 days before flying home.

Flights are very cheap, BA C £50 each per flight. Are we trying to do too much? Are the trains going to cost us more than flying?
Advice welcome. Thanks.

MumsyFoxy Fri 19-Dec-14 09:35:59

Pompei is an amazing site BUT you should do it as a day-trip from Rome. For god's sake don't go to Naples. It's dirty, dangetous and not a beautiful city.
Rome/Florence/Venice stunning.
I grew up in Rome.

breward Fri 19-Dec-14 13:25:37

You would not recommend staying in the Pompeii area then? I presumed you would need longer than a day to make the most of the sights.

Was going to avoid Naples except for using the airport then working our way up the country.

PingPongBat Sun 28-Dec-14 21:53:11

We went to Rome & Sorrento last summer with 2 DCs 14 & 12. We flew to Rome, stayed in the Hotel Santa Maria (Trastevere district) in Rome for 4 nights days, took the inter-city train to Naples, then connected with the local train (called the Circumvesuviana) to Sorrento & stayed there for a week. We flew home from Naples (we used a private car transfer from Sorrento).

Rome was VERY hot, but not too crowded as all the Romans leave (because it's too hot!) for the summer months. Make sure you have super comfy shoes, & take empty water bottles to fill up at the many water fountains in the city. Don't buy water from street sellers, they will rip you off. 3 days was fine for us - any longer & I think our DCs would have gone on strike. We saw the Colosseum/Roman Forum, St Peters Basilica (but not the Vatican), the park at Villa Borghese, Pantheon, & the Capuchin Crypt (highly recommended for teenagers if they aren't creeped out by skeletons!). Make time for ice cream stops too... smile

The train from Rome to Naples is fast, air conditioned, comfy, only just over an hour. There are loads of threads on TripAdvisor which will give you info about booking before you leave the UK - we did it & it all worked fine. From what I've heard train travel between most major cities in Italy is really good - our experience was good & I'd recommend it. With flying you'd end up spending a lot of time waiting in airports, not seeing anything but other travellers.

Having said that the train from Naples to Sorrento is a non-air conditioned, slow, hot train which is often packed in the summer with day trippers out of Naples. Not a great travel experience, but the most practical option. Sorrento was a great place to stay for going to Pompeii. The train from Naples to Sorrento goes through Pompeii & Herculaneum stations, and the sites are no more than 5/10 mins walk from the stations. Pompeii is HUGE - takes half an hour to walk from one end to the other, so allow plenty of time. We also went up Vesuvius - but it does involve a bus ride + very bumpy 4 wheel drive from the station which takes about an hour in total, before you get to the half hour walk to the top. But the DCs enjoyed it a lot. Loads of good hotels in Sorrento - I'd make sure you get one with a pool so you can cool off after sightseeing.

Have fun planning your hols - I came across your post while planning mine!

Rosa Sun 28-Dec-14 22:06:20

Book trains as the tickets come out usually 90 days before the schedules come out and you can get low fares. Also look at italotreno as they have fast services as well Often. Easy jet does low fares from Rome could be worth keeping an eye on them as well.
August can be hot and humid and not much fun sightseeing so keep that in mind. maybe in venice pick the Lido as a base so you can have a day on the beach or a swim in the sea?
Think waterbus passes in venice as a break from walking ( as you do alot of that) getting to and from the airport or vaporetto and land bus. water taxi is about €100 from hotel to airport fun but expensive.
Happy to help with venice ...happen to know it pretty well !!!!!!

breward Mon 29-Dec-14 21:11:54

Thanks for your advice.

We are all booked- flights and hotels.

We decided to do the holiday in two parts over the summer. We are having 4 days in Venice (2 nights) and Verona (1 night). Then the following week flying back out to Rome (3nights) and then take the train to Pompeii (5 nights) and fly back from Naples.

Only 3 of us doing the Venice/Verona part. We hope to book tickets for the opera in Verona. It is such a spectacle if you ever get the chance to see it. They happen throughout the summer in the open air Roman Arena. The one we will see starts a 9pm and will probably go on til 1am!! I saw AIDA there many years ago, they had real camels, donkeys and tiny babies on stage. Before the opera starts the locals light candles and have a sing-a-long of all their favourite arias... It really should not be missed if you visit Northern Italy in the summer. Tickets are only £20 too. I have also booked a free walking tour of Venice too. The are usually done by locals and you paid what you want as a tip at the end. The ones we did in New York and Washington last year were brilliant.

Thanks for the train advice for Rome to Naples. We are staying near the station in Rome for ease of transfers. We will probably do a free walking tour there too to get our bearing, but have not planned anything else yet.

Not a clue about Pompeii. What is the difference between Pompeii and Hurculaneum? Will we need a day at each? Is it best to go on an organised tour? Any recommendations? How far is the sea from Pompeii? Can you walk to a decent beach or will we need to take the train further down the coast?

LIZS Mon 29-Dec-14 21:18:05

Beaches between Naples and Sorrento are nothing special. Yes you'd need at least a full day at Pompeii, now a fair way inland, and a good half day for Herculaneum. A good guide book will see you round Pompeii, it is nice to just roam about but you need some pointers to avoid missing key sites out. A guide would allow access to some locked areas though .

PingPongBat Tue 30-Dec-14 08:41:48

Pompeii is massive, the scale of it is just so impressive. Herculaneum is just a morning or afternoon visit, there are some more well preserved remains there including tile decorations, wooden beams, pots etc. They are both very hot, but Herculaneum is hotter as you have to walk down into it - they excavated hundreds of meters of volcanic material to expose the buildings.

If you have time then I think a guided tour of either would be a really good idea (if you like that sort of thing), we just got the audio headsets for Herculaneum which meant we could wander around and pick and choose the bits to see and in what order, and the DCs could sit in the shade while we wandered about. Definitely recommend either the audio tour or a guided tour to get the most out of either place.

senua Tue 30-Dec-14 08:55:20

There are other sites apart from Pompeii and Herculaneum. You can get entrance for them all on a thing called Artecard.

Any chance you can fit in the Amalfi coast?

breward Tue 30-Dec-14 12:35:20

We have a hotel booked 300 yards from a train station in the Pompeii area so if the Amalfi Coast is doable by train then we would certainly head there for a day. We have 5 full days in the Pompeii area so we are up for any ideas/suggestions.

LIZS Tue 30-Dec-14 12:39:31

Amalfi Coast not easy by train but you can get a boat or coach trip from Sorrento around the peninsula to Amalfi and Positano. From the bus stop at the top of the hill out of Sorrento you can access a lovely cove with ruins of a Roman villa.

PingPongBat Wed 31-Dec-14 11:24:10

We did a full day boat trip out of Sorrento, all round Capri, with a few hours on the island. Had a boat to ourselves & felt like filmstars! Quite pricey but really worth every penny (even DH, who's a skinflint, said it was smile ).

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