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Two weeks in Italy for our honeymoon

Two weeks in Italy for our honeymoon

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Old Mar 15, 16, 4:33 pm
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Two weeks in Italy for our honeymoon

Greetings! I would like to get some takes on our upcoming trip to Italy! This will be the first trip for both my wife-to-be and me. We will be there for approximately 2 weeks (in July, though - I know, I know - not the best of timing, but circumstances have dictated it! ;-) We will be there from July 6-21

Here is the plan - poke holes in it, make suggestions, etc.

We will be flying in to Milan (got some pretty good prices on the tickets), arriving around 8:30 A.M. Milan time. I thought that we would spend the first few days in Florence, though, so we would take the train to Florence and spend the next 4-1/2 days there (6th through the 10th.) I wanted to take a day trip from there (maybe the 8th) to Arezzo, as her favorite movie is La vita č bella.

Then, off to Rome (I'm a sucker for history and architecture.) I was thinking we would travel (again by train) to Rome on the 11th and stay there through the 15th (with a possible day trip to Vatican City.)

Now this may be the "too much" part of the trip, but I was thinking that we would head to Naples for the 16th, 17th, and 18th, with yet another day trip to Pompeii. (I would love to squeeze in the Amalfi coast for at least a day, but I know it is probably overkill!)

We would then travel back to Milan on the 18th, and spend a day and a half there just relaxing, flying out on the 21st (10:30 A.M.)

So what say ye? Too much? About right? Too little here or there? Thank you in advance!
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Old Mar 15, 16, 9:19 pm
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Sort of too much but still fine. I have two suggestions:

1) Pompei and Costiera amalfitana: Go to the scavi really early (8-ish). Then, when done, arm yourself with lots and lots of patience and drive through Castellamare di Stabbia towards Sorrento and then, after that, towards Amalfi etc. After enjoying the view for a while and before you get a stroke driving at a very slow pace behind a bus/truck/tourist take a U-turn at the first possibility and drive back to Naples having stopped on the way for a granita.

2) Scratch the two days of Milano. There is nothing (but really nothing) worth seeing in Milano except for a) the Cenacolo, b) La Scala and c) Boutiques. For the Cenacolo you need to queue a long time (or buy your ticket on-line), the Scala and its museum can be handled in a couple of hours max (if you care about opera, otherwise nothing special) and as for the boutiques, they're really costly. Spend the extra day you saved in any of the places you'll have visited before.

Enjoy your trip and the honeymoon!!!
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Old Mar 15, 16, 9:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Cobrajet View Post
Greetings! I would like to get some takes on our upcoming trip to Italy! This will be the first trip for both my wife-to-be and me. We will be there for approximately 2 weeks (in July, though - I know, I know - not the best of timing, but circumstances have dictated it! ;-) We will be there from July 6-21

Here is the plan - poke holes in it, make suggestions, etc.

We will be flying in to Milan (got some pretty good prices on the tickets), arriving around 8:30 A.M. Milan time. I thought that we would spend the first few days in Florence, though, so we would take the train to Florence and spend the next 4-1/2 days there (6th through the 10th.) I wanted to take a day trip from there (maybe the 8th) to Arezzo, as her favorite movie is La vita č bella.

Then, off to Rome (I'm a sucker for history and architecture.) I was thinking we would travel (again by train) to Rome on the 11th and stay there through the 15th (with a possible day trip to Vatican City.)

Now this may be the "too much" part of the trip, but I was thinking that we would head to Naples for the 16th, 17th, and 18th, with yet another day trip to Pompeii. (I would love to squeeze in the Amalfi coast for at least a day, but I know it is probably overkill!)

We would then travel back to Milan on the 18th, and spend a day and a half there just relaxing, flying out on the 21st (10:30 A.M.)

So what say ye? Too much? About right? Too little here or there? Thank you in advance!
Pretty good plan! Just forget the day trip to Amalfi, and you can do this.
Vatican City is not a day trip. It's technically another country, but in essence, it's just another neighborhood that you can walk to from central Rome, and then walk back. You really should drop the day and a half in Milan. Milan in July is too hot even for people coming from Houston or Pensacola. It's a big industrial city. You won't relax there. You just go there because it has great fashion and food, or on business. Milan is not a place to relax. Stay the extra day in Rome or Naples. I'd get to Milan the night before your departure and check into the Sheraton Malpensa. You can relax there better than if you were in the city. Chill out, use the spa, and fly out in the morning. Use the extra day for Milan or Rome.

Keep in mind that July is pretty bad for these places, but it's going to be better as you go South. Florence will be rough. Rome will be hot and crowded, but as a big city, it can handle it. It's like New York City doesn't get overwhelmed by tourists, just some particular parts. You can do OK in Rome in July. Naples is another story. Now in July, it's the perfect time to be there. Tourists are too scared to go there, and for no reason except they watch too many movies. Get a nice hotel on the lungomare, watch sunsets over Pompeii from the shore, drink prosecco. An ending in Naples will be the only part of the tour that will be natural Italy, off of the tourist pathway. What a place to end. From there, I'd take the 5 hour train ride, first class, to the MXP Sheraton for my last night, and go back with memories of a nice vacation.

Florence, Rome, Naples, in two weeks is about it. I don't count the day trips. That's part of it. Arezzo will take a day out of Florence, and that's OK. Pompeii will take a day out of Naples, and that's OK. Squeezing in the Amalfi Coast you'd only have one day, and it's a very bad idea to spend one day there. It deserves way more than that, or don't go there at all.
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Old Mar 17, 16, 10:37 am
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Thank you!

Thank you two for the replies. I'll adjust the schedule accordingly - 1 more day in Naples it is! I really do not get why Naples gets such a bum rap - it seems to be a nice city, even if it is a little dirtier than other cities. I see a lot of gripes online about petty theft, but I would expect it is no worse than in Rome or Florence, no?

Again, thanks for the confirmation! Could you two (or others) recommend any restaurants, museums, churches, or other places of interest that are definitely worth a visit? Maybe even some that are off the beaten path that one would normally not think of? (For instance, I hope to get to the Catacombe di San Gaudioso and Napoli Sotterranea in Naples, obviously the Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain & Pantheon, etc. in Rome, ... two weeks may not be enough!)
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Old Mar 17, 16, 5:15 pm
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Two weeks in Italy for our honeymoon

I spent a month in Italy starting in Naples and ending in Milan. If you wife likes movies then the boutique partenope hotel in Naples is fun on the waterfront area. I'd suggest a day trip to Capri for Blue Grotto from Naples. I did a great bike tour in Naples -I was the only person and ended up on Italian tv but that's another story. The underground tour was interesting -you definitely need google maps to find it.

I'd suggest Herculeaum from Naples too - as much as I love Pompeii this was a great surprise, less crowded and short train from Naples. I haven't posted about it yet but definitely a highlight

I have a ton of posts - food tours Florence, a fun unique Fiat500 tour, hotel reviews, etc on my blog (same as user name) and happy to help with further queries. I know private guides in Rome and Sorrento (for Sorrento and Amalfi Coast but as others have said long slow drive in July)
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Old Mar 17, 16, 7:27 pm
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Wow, I am surprised no one has said this yet but IMO Naples is not the greatest city. Instead of Naples, why not do Sorrento? You could take the high speed train from Rome to Naples then get a car across from the station (that's what I did) and drive to Sorrento. The hotels are stunning - they are perched on cliffs just above the water. Still plenty of Napolitan pizza in this area. It has the almalfi feel to it, without going quite so far. I would definitely consider spending 3 days in Sorrento as an alternative. Much more romantic and picturesque.
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Old Mar 17, 16, 8:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Wenckebach View Post
Wow, I am surprised no one has said this yet but IMO Naples is not the greatest city. Instead of Naples, why not do Sorrento? You could take the high speed train from Rome to Naples then get a car across from the station (that's what I did) and drive to Sorrento. The hotels are stunning - they are perched on cliffs just above the water. Still plenty of Napolitan pizza in this area. It has the almalfi feel to it, without going quite so far. I would definitely consider spending 3 days in Sorrento as an alternative. Much more romantic and picturesque.
I do share with you the belief that Sorrento is very beautiful, but certainly not more than that. You can "see" the nice parts of it in a couple of hours (provided you find a place to park your car), take selfies, and basta. As far as antiquities are concerned, one can only mention the hordes of Miss Marple lookalikes that populate the city from April to October (they're at their home in England during the off-season) and other that a pizza al metro at its original pizzeria in Vicco Equense ("Pizza a Metro - l'Universitą della pizza", previously known as Gigino's, the "discoverer" of the pizza al metro), that's all that you can talk about in terms of good neapolitan food. Not strange that the only thing that one thinks of nowadays when mentioning Sorrento is the song "Torna a Surriento", either in Italian sung by a gondoliers in Venice (?!) or, usually, in its Elvis version, "Surrender".

No wonder that Goethe wrote "See Naples and then die" and not "See Sorrento and then die". Since spending a couple of months there for work in the mid-80s I've visited Naples about 15 times, and every single one I discover (or re-discover) yet another reason to come back. Yes, Naples is dirty, loud and there is some petty criminality, still I list it among my 5 most interesting cities in the world (Rome is also part of the list). If I have some time later on I'll send a new post with some must-see places in these two cities that are off the beaten path.
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Old Mar 17, 16, 9:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Wenckebach View Post
Wow, I am surprised no one has said this yet but IMO Naples is not the greatest city. Instead of Naples, why not do Sorrento? You could take the high speed train from Rome to Naples then get a car across from the station (that's what I did) and drive to Sorrento. The hotels are stunning - they are perched on cliffs just above the water. Still plenty of Napolitan pizza in this area. It has the almalfi feel to it, without going quite so far. I would definitely consider spending 3 days in Sorrento as an alternative. Much more romantic and picturesque.
Sorrento is a cruise ship, tourist drop off point, where english is spoken in the streets, in the shops, and everywhere else. Every time I've walked into a store or restaurant in Sorrento and started talking to the shopkeeper in Italian, they unconsciously answer me in english. I've worked as a Visiting Professor at a major university in Torino. I live in Italy half-time. The times I've had to go to Sorrento (usually to take the bus down the Amalfi Coast), I always speak to shopkeepers in Italian, and they respond to me in English.

After a few back and forths I always ask in Italian, "excuse me, do you find it strange that I'm speaking to you in Italian, and you are speaking to me in english, even though both you and I are Italian? They usually come out of their stupor and respond with, "Oh, I apologize, it's just that there is nobody here except the tourists. We just assume that everybody here is from England or the USA. I didn't even notice that you were speaking to me in Italian."

You can say the same thing about certain areas of Venice, but at least Venice has charming neighborhoods that you can go to that are Venetian. There are a few pretty photo shots you can take off of the cliffs overlying the sea at Sorrento, and then what? Look at the ten story tall cruise ships, for which Sorrento is the major drop off point to funnel tourists back and forth to the main street to shop for trinkets?

I was in a class in Modena two years ago. There was a student from Spain. She was having trouble with her Italian. She said that she was going to spend the break in Sorrento, in order to improve her Italian. A lot of people think that Spanish and Italian are so similar that if you can speak one, you can speak the other. Nothing can be further from the truth. Studies have shown that Spanish speakers make more mistakes when they speak Italian than people from almost any other country. When the student from Spain said she was going to spend the vacation in Sorrento to improve her italian, the italians in the class said, "Why are you going to Sorrento to improve your Italian, of all places? They only speak english there!"

Sorrento would be the place to go if you want to experience the anglicized version of Italy.

The crime rate in Naples is lower than the crime rate in the average city in the USA. Since the end of January I've been back in the USA in one of California's largest cities, where the crime rate is probably five times higher than the crime rate in Naples. Statistically, Naples is much safer than Paris, London, and Barcelona.

And interestingly, they don't speak italian in Naples. Italy is a collection of separate countries/kingdoms that were united into one country during the time of the USA's civil war. Each of the previously separate nations had their own language. Even today, just a little over half of native Italians have given up the original language that they spoke before the conquest of the peninsula that formed the country of italy 155 years ago. The Napolitani are one of the few peoples that have never given up their original language. Almost no one can understand it, and many, perhaps most Napolitani don't speak Italian.

This past January I was with a group of friends in Venice. One was a native born Venetian who was Professor of Italian language study, another was an Austrian from Salzburg who was reading the Italian archives to write her PhD thesis on why Vivaldi was not as popular as Marcello during their times together in Italy. She spoke italian well enough to be able to read the old stuff. I don't remember the 4-5 others, but all were fluent Italians.

I mentioned that I was recently in the USA and someone had requested me to go to a hospital to translate for a person who was sick and who was from Italy, and who needed surgery, but who didn't speak any english. They needed someone to explain it and get consent, so they called me.

When I was back in Venice I told my friends that I didn't understand a word that he said because he was Napolitano, and only spoke Napolitano language. Some of the others in the group who had never been down south before, the woman studying for her PhD, and a french housewife who had married a Venetian and spoke fluent italian asked, "can anyone here understand Napolitano?" No one could. Even the Professor of Italian language studies said she couldn't. One lady said that she couldn't but that her husband could because he is a gondoliero. Gondolier drivers have to learn a lot of languages, and they can usually speak Napolitano.

When I am in a Napolitano bar and ask the bar person for something in Italian, if they are over 50, they develop a frightful look on their face. Most usually have a youngster around, and they call them over to translate italian into Napolitano and back, because it is now the law that all Napolitano children must learn italian in grammar school, so most young people in Naples can now speak italian.

When you go to Naples, you are going to Italy in its original state. Almost everyone in the USA with roots in Italy came from there, or points south, unless they are 5th generation, which usually means their roots are from Genova, or other parts of Liguria.

In Naples, you will find Italy. In Sorrento, you will find, "Little Brooklyn," or "Little Chelsea," but with lemon trees and a few nice places to take a picture. Food, with a few fancy exceptions, will be to the anglo taste, the pizza likely frozen.

It's OK if that's what one wants, but if you stay in Naples, then you get Italy. If you stay on the Lungomare, near Castell'D'uovo, or however it is spelled, you'll be in one of the safest places in Italy. And your morning walks and sunsets on the sea will be beautiful. Unlike most other places in Italy, you won't find it hard to find authentic italian food, and there is no reason to pass a law banning inauthentic food in the tourist area, as Florence just did. Unlike Sorrento, where the pizza sold in shops is almost always frozen and factory made, in Naples it will be real.

It just depends on what you want.
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Old Mar 17, 16, 10:46 pm
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What a beautiful post! You actually made me want to go back and rediscover Naples :-) I suggested Sorrento because I thought, given the desire to see Almalfi, Sorrento might be a compromise.
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Old Mar 18, 16, 5:33 am
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Originally Posted by Cobrajet View Post
Then, off to Rome (I'm a sucker for history and architecture.) I was thinking we would travel (again by train) to Rome on the 11th and stay there through the 15th (with a possible day trip to Vatican City.)
For Vatican City you do not need a day trip as Vatican City is IN Rome
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Old Mar 18, 16, 8:16 am
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Originally Posted by MarcoGT View Post
For Vatican City you do not need a day trip as Vatican City is IN Rome
I do actually know that; what I meant by "day trip" here is that, because of the lines and crowds, I would take a day exploring Vatican City as opposed to the rest of Rome.
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Old Mar 19, 16, 9:17 am
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I would get a private guide/tour of the Vatican. There is one early in the a.m. and another a 7:30 or so. You'll need to google it. As to Naples we asked our guide to take us to his favorite pizza place. His favorite was closed but his second favorite was L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele where Julia Roberts was seen in Eat, Pray, Love. Gosh that pizza was good. Very laid back place with lots of locals surprisingly. We were the only English speaking customers.
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Old Jun 10, 16, 8:34 am
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Originally Posted by Perche View Post
When I am in a Napolitano bar and ask the bar person for something in Italian, if they are over 50, they develop a frightful look on their face. Most usually have a youngster around, and they call them over to translate italian into Napolitano and back, because it is now the law that all Napolitano children must learn italian in grammar school, so most young people in Naples can now speak italian.
Don't get me wrong, but having spent almost all my entire life there I can testify that this is something I have never heard, told or seen before, and I can actually hardly imagine the scene.
But it could be a nice scene for an american movie, though, provided they start using some theatrical gestures, too.
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Old Jun 10, 16, 2:59 pm
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Originally Posted by flapane View Post
Don't get me wrong, but having spent almost all my entire life there I can testify that this is something I have never heard, told or seen before, and I can actually hardly imagine the scene.
But it could be a nice scene for an american movie, though, provided they start using some theatrical gestures, too.
You lived in Naples met of you life and don't know it has its own language? Those in the tourist or services industry speak Italian, but with a strong Napolitano accent.

In 2008, the Neapolitan language was recognized by UNESCO as a protected language and heritage. It’s spoken by about 8 million people in Southern Italy, though it enjoys no official status and is not taught in schools. It’s somewhat intelligible with Italian, as most Romance languages are, but the two truly differ to the point where a northern Italian would have no idea what was being said in a bar exchange in Naples. There are many words that cannot be translated back into Italian; in fact, many Neapolitans may have to switch from speaking Italian to Neapolitan just to get their true point across. I've walked into many a bar on the periphery of the tourist area, and the bartender shrugs and calls over a kid because to learn Italian for the first 8 years of school, because it's not spoken at home. Go to a pizza shop on via Tribunali, or a restaurant or hotel on the lungamare, or one of the fashionable areas and you will be able ton understand the Naples accented Italian. But if you wander out as I do, that's by the case. They'll always find someone in the bar who can communicate with you, but many older ones cannot. I've walked into neighborhood bars where they are speaking Napolitano and ask them a question in Italian. They'll answer in Italian. Then go back to Napolitano and I have no clue. Not even a word, there's enough Italian for commercial purposes, but if you're sitting in a real local restaurant, that language you here around you is not Italian being spoke. Same in many parts of Venice, slices of Piemonte and Abruzzo and Sicily. This is less as you go up the educational and professional ladder because all higher education is taught in Florentine (standard) Italian.
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Old Jun 10, 16, 3:16 pm
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I know that it is an UNESCO recognized language and indeed I can speak it, even though I don't but jokingly with some friends.

My remark is on what I quoted. Frightened faces, youngs called in for translating. It may sound quite cinematic and gives that post-WW2 or Goethe's writings taste that appeals to some foreigners, but definitely not realistic.
The same goes for "it is now the law that all Napolitano children must learn italian in grammar school". It is "Napoletano", and it is at least since 1867 (not from now) the law that everyone who attends an italian school must learn italian (as of now, until the last year of high school). No special laws, as far as I am aware of, let alone recent ones.
Sorry for being picky, I am sure you will understand my point.
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