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Old Mar 22, 12, 5:00 am   #1
 
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Suggestions for 6 nights in southern Italy?

Mrs Huge and I are leaving for Italy in a few days and still haven't nailed down where we want to go for the middle of our trip. We're spending our first 6 nights with friends in a villa in Tuscany (near Arezzo), and we're spending our last 4 nights in Rome, but in the middle (April 1-7) we're undecided. We've both spent quite a bit of time in Tuscany so wanted to try something different, and we've never really been south.

We've considered (and are still considering):

Naples (as a base to take day trips)
Amalfi Coast
Ischia
Sardinia
Sicily

Because we'll be in Rome the last four nights we probably don't want the middle 6 nights to be all big city time, so probably not Naples all 6, but we're not ruling out Naples in general because it seems like a good place to launch day trips from, and staying at the Naples Excelsior seems like a good use of my Starwood points.

We're moderately budget conscious (the Excelsior would be a splurge for us) but not super-cheap. We probably don't want to rent a car, but would consider it if it seemed like really the best way to do things (Sardinia seems like a good place to have a car?)

A small-ish or medium-sized charming town with good walking opportunities and big enough to have some good restaurants would be a clear plus. I feel ignorant about the whole agriturismo concept, but I'm intrigued by it. I just don't feel like I know enough about it to evaluate the options I see listed. We probably don't want to stay somewhere where the only attraction is the farm itself.

We like being by the ocean but it's not a requirement. We're open to doing 6 nights in one place or 3+3 or 4+2, whatever.


Does any or all of that fit the profile of somewhere you've been and loved (and where we might be able to get a reservation on short notice)? Or do you have any advice about places that might fit the bill, either on my list or not?

Thanks for any advice you can provide...
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Old Mar 22, 12, 9:16 am   #2
 
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I spent a week in Sorrento about 5 years ago. Hired a driver for one day and did the Amalfi coast: went up to Capri, Ravello and Positano. Beautiful day. Going through gardens, lunch with a rainbow outside. Sorrento was small and everything there is lemoncello
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Old Mar 22, 12, 10:59 am   #3
 
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I'd recommend going to Sicily, and splitting your nights between Siracusa(Ortygia) and Agrigento.

PM me for more thoughts if these destinations are of interest.
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Old Mar 23, 12, 3:01 pm   #4
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I found the southern interior state, Basilicata, with the cities Matera and Potenza very lovely and interesting - lots of antiquities from Greek interactions with excellent scenery and food. For coastal scenery you can add on the adjoining region of Calabria. You would need a car or a tour bus - railroads are sparse.
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Old Mar 27, 12, 9:32 am   #5
 
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I would recommend the Amalfi Coast area. I would suggest being based out of Sorrento (as it is perfect for what you described as ideal), and tour up and down the coast on different days. It is an amazingly beautiful area, with some of the best food in all of Italy.

From there you can also visit:
Napoli
Pompei
island of Ischia- more luxurious
island of Capri- more touristy, but still beautiful

There shouldnt be the typical bumper to bumper summer traffic that typically plagues the Amalfi Coast, however you may find many more tour buses trying to navigate the narrow two lane road. I would try to hire a cab driver for the day or multiple days. See if the hotel has any drivers they would recommend. They will take you to the best spots, leave you to sight-see and pick you up at a pre-determined location/time.

The water might still be too cold for swimming depending on your tolerance. But you can be assured that it will only be the tourists swimming! The Italians wont go in the water unless its 75 degrees + out (below 60 and they still wear jackets! )

If you visit this area make sure you sample:
Limoncello- this area is renown for it... youll quickly realize that.

The pizza- Napoli was the birthplace of pizza as we know it. You can find many antique pizzerias in Napoli's historic district.

Mozzarella di bufala- Mozzarella made from the milk of the water buffalo. This area makes the absolute best, and even have a DOC trademark.

Sfogialtella- a lobster-tail like pastry filled with baked ricotta cheese and semolina

Add to that all the wonderful seafood and pasta (gnocchi alla Sorrentina!!) and its a gastronomical delight!

Enjoy your trip!!
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