bells2 · 21/01/2003 08:22
We are thinking of renting an apartment for a week on the Amalfi Coast is late April. I wondered whether anyone had been at that time of year and also if anyone had any views on Sorrento versus Positano, Ravello etc. We would prefer to be somewhere that is relatively quiet. Many thanks.
Chinchilla · 21/01/2003 21:44
A friend of mine stayed in Sorrento, and they said that the restaurants catered more for the English customers (IYKWIM). So, I would suggest somewhere else if you are looking for the 'real' Italian holiday with proper Italian food. Some others might know more than this though. I have only personally seen Sorrento out of the three you mention below, so can't help any more than this...sorry.
Lucky you though, I love Italian, and am doing an Italian course. Hopefully a trip for us next year.
Chinchilla · 21/01/2003 21:45
Sorry, that was meant to be 'I love Italy, not 'Italian'.
SofiaAmes · 21/01/2003 22:12
I'm not sure how reliable the weather will be for sunbathing at that time of year. It might be great or it might be raining. We go to a lovely place in Sperlonga which is just north of the Amalfi coast. It is very quiet and very friendly.
bossykate · 21/01/2003 22:25
i second sofiaames's comment re the weather. went to sicily at the same time last year (quite a bit south of the amalfi coast) and it was not really warm enough for sunbathing or swimming. lots of sunshine though.
let us know how it goes i've always wanted to visit that area!
clucks · 21/01/2003 22:26
We have been to the Amalfi in April and other people were sunbathing, but not swimming. I didn't fancy it, but it was around 20-22 degrees. Sorrento has more shops/cheaper restaurants etc. but tackier than other places. Positano v.classy and lovely but steep, narrow streets and less british, more German and French (who always find classier spots, don't they). Fabulous restaurant Don Felipe or something, attracts celebs and posh Europeans somewhere up the hill, can't remember name of village but a bit of a hairy drive at night, though they do allow toddlers and kids to roam around without giving you dirty looks until well past midnight! Go for it.. I'd do positano for quiet and serene.
clucks · 21/01/2003 22:29
Aaah, just remembered, the restaurant is Don Alfonso. No pasta in sight which disappointed DH, its trendy, beautiful to look at food and tasted fine too. I personally hated Napoli and the little towns surrounding it.
lalaa · 21/01/2003 22:53
I'd second the vote for Positano over Sorrento, particularly if you're after quiet. Ravello also good. Also, if you're driving/hiring a car, be prepared for mad roads, and make sure you're properly insured!
clucks · 21/01/2003 22:58
Back to driving, DONT rent a child's car seat in Italy, they're as good as sticking your child in a bucket on the back seat. DONT give way to anyone, cos they'll think you're mad and cart you off. DONT wait at junctions for people to give way to you, because you'll spend your whole holiday waiting for that.
DO buy loads of Italian clothes and bags... must go and be a good mother, will catch up later, so hard to prioritise.
tallulah · 21/01/2003 23:05
We went to Sorrento in March/April 2001 & loved it. It was warm enough for shorts & Tshirts, but all the Italian children were in thick coats, hats & gloves!
Agree with mad driving, but seems more sensible than here. Just beep & go! No getting stuck behind slow people.
We didn't like Naples & found it scarey. Sorrento everyone speaks English.
susanmt · 22/01/2003 10:37
Wow, can't beleive you all hated Naples! We LOVED it! The buzz, the wee streets, the shops, the pizza sold out of a hole in the wall, the cheap food, it was brill! We visited out as far as Sorrento etc and found it really boring in comparison.
If you are there, DO go to Pompeii and DO try to climb up Mt Vesuvius. They were totally fab when we were there in 1996. Also try to visit the Solfratara Crater at Pozzuoli, it is excellent and really spooky!
Italy is the only country in Europe that DH and I have visited twice, we really like it.
On the driving front, we hired car seats when we were in Italy in October, and got Britax Clubclass, the same as we had at home. This was from Avis at Turin Airport, though, so no much use for the south.
bells2 · 22/01/2003 12:13
Thanks so much for all the replies and tios. We are actually now going to go in the first week of May when perhaps it may be a tad warmer. Sounds like Sorrento is not the place for us but we will definitely have a night in Naples. Palermo is one of my DH's fave European city so he should love it!
florenceuk · 22/01/2003 22:22
Have only been to Ravello for a few hours (walked up from Amalfi) but thought it was beautiful - quite small but with a very exclusive feel to it. Stunning views, although you are some way from the water. Amalfi nice as well, but busier - more restaurants, shops etc.
bossykate · 09/06/2003 11:18
have been meaning to ask how was your holiday? i am desperate to go to this part of the world - earliest would be next spring now though. did you go self-catering or hotel and how did you find accommodation. were the steep slopes/steps murder with a buggy?
above all, did you all have a good time?
bells2 · 09/06/2003 11:51
Hello there BK. We had an absolutely fabulous time. We had a flat for 7 nights near Positano and stayed one night in Naples, one night in Ravello and one night in Maoiri (all in Hotels).
There were however a few buts.... first of all we were unlucky in that it was unusually hot (30C+ every day).
The plus points are that the scenery was absolutely stunning, the locals fantasically friendly and the food superb and amazingly cheap. Day trips to Pompeii and Capri were fabulous. We absolutely loved Ravello, were a bit disappointed by Positano and liked Sorrento. We also loved Naples although the local population's driving habits made Palermo seem orderly in comparison and it is without doubt, a dangerous city in terms of crime.
In general my reservations for visitors with small children relate to accessibility and convenience. The roads are very very windy so an 8km drive takes a long time and can be quite frightening, not to mention stomach churning. One thing that suprised us was that the beaches are not great and are relatively few and far between. Most are covered in black pebbles which in 30c were too hot to walk on without shoes. Parking is also a problem as it is hard to find and very very expensive. Our garage was around 300 metres from our flat which seemed pretty standard but when you are pregnant with 2 small children and it is hot, feels like a long long walk.
Ravello is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited though and I would love to rent a house there for a week sometime.
We would have really struggled without our ATP and Pompeii was virtually impossible to get around with any buggy. So in conclusion, if you want good food, amazing sights (in both archaelogical and scenery) and don't mind a bit of hassle, I would recommend it. If however, you are looking for a beach based relaxing break with no hassle and where you basically want to stay put, then it isn't ideal.
bossykate · 09/06/2003 20:17
thanks for your reply. i'm glad you had a wonderful time!
tbh, i don't think we have "cracked" holidays post ds in our household yet. we have been lucky enough to go away four times since ds was born and so far have a 50% success rate in terms of enjoyment. the breaks we have enjoyed have been those where (surprise, surprise) it has been easy to amuse ds and of course at his age (2 next month) this could have completely changed between booking the holiday and actually going.
pre ds we would have turned up our noses at a beach based holiday. now, we're (a) much more exhausted so it seems more appealing and (b) have found that so far the sight-seeing we used to enjoy and toddlers just don't mix! well, not our boy anyway!
so thanks very much for the feedback, i think we will have to leave it awhile. one of my few "hobbies" is roman history and i want to be able to go to pompeii, herculaneum, paestum and capri and really get the most out of it... which is too much to expect from a 2 yr old, i think!
after a fairly miserable holiday to sicily last year, my plan is to reintroduce dh to foreign holidays by means of a trip to sardinia next year and hope he is convinced it is not too bad after all!
i will look forward to a trip to amalfi some time down the road...
bells2 · 09/06/2003 20:33
Given your interest in Herculaneum etc, I would definitely recommend leaving it a good few years. I had been to Pompeii etc. before so didn't mind whizzing around (although DS enjoyed it, after 3 hours or so he was getting bored). He is almost 4 though so a better age generally for sightseeing than a 2 year old. And a 2 year old does have a way of interfering with ones enjoyment of all those lovely shops in Capri.
One place I would recommend you bear in mind though is Venice if you do fancy a bit of culture / sightseeing. We found it a fantastic destination for children on account of the absence of cars, the endless boat trips and welcoming locals. Both our children adored it and were fascinated by the whole experience. Getting a buggy on and off the vaporetto wasn't a problem although the steps over the bridges became a bit of a pain.
tinyfeet · 09/06/2003 20:53
Bells2, would appreciate advice from you, as we will be renting a villa in Amalfi for one week - I will be with my then 18 month old, and I will be 6 months pregnant. So, sounds a bit like you, except one less child. Any advice on traveling there with a toddler? I was there once a long time ago when I was single and childless. What is an ATP?
bossykate · 09/06/2003 20:56
mmm, venice... sooo romantic... perhaps leaving the little blighter behind might be a good idea!
i'm so impressed you've got so much out of trips abroad, we clearly have a long way to go...
Boe · 10/06/2003 10:49
Went to Amalfi, Hotel Santa Caterina on ill fated Honeymoon. Was beautiful place though - Positano and Ravello were both beautiful too. Beaches in Amalfi are not to good for kids and there is absolutley nothing for children to do on Capri!!
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