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Staying in Ravello-2 days to see coast

Staying in Ravello-2 days to see coast

Old Sep 19, 17, 4:57 pm
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Staying in Ravello-2 days to see coast

I am so glad to have found this forum. Many thanks to all the contributors on here for giving your time, knowledge and opinions to those of us less in the know.
I am traveling to Ravello next week for a wedding at Villa Cimbrone. We will be staying in Ravello for 5 nights and then on to Rome for 4 nights. The first 3 days in Ravello are filled with wedding activities (one of which is a sailboat trip to Capri). So we will have two days to see the Amalfi coast. I am trying to decide if I should book a private tour (4 adults) or just go out on our own. We can easily get to Amalfi, Atrani, Positano, Salerno by public transportation but am I better off hiring a driver who knows the area to take us around? Our friends want to go to Pompeii (husband and I have been there) and will hire a driver for that. Most tours that I see go to Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento but we have been to Sorrento (friends have not) but Iím thinking Salerno might be better. If we hire a driver what towns would you recommend seeing that are not so easily accessible by public transportation? We just found out a couple of weeks ago that we were going to this wedding so I donít have a lot of time for planning. Any suggestions you can give me will be greatly appreciated! Next I have to work on Rome!
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Old Sep 20, 17, 11:57 am
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Originally Posted by Teddy151 View Post
I am so glad to have found this forum. Many thanks to all the contributors on here for giving your time, knowledge and opinions to those of us less in the know.
I am traveling to Ravello next week for a wedding at Villa Cimbrone. We will be staying in Ravello for 5 nights and then on to Rome for 4 nights. The first 3 days in Ravello are filled with wedding activities (one of which is a sailboat trip to Capri). So we will have two days to see the Amalfi coast. I am trying to decide if I should book a private tour (4 adults) or just go out on our own. We can easily get to Amalfi, Atrani, Positano, Salerno by public transportation but am I better off hiring a driver who knows the area to take us around? Our friends want to go to Pompeii (husband and I have been there) and will hire a driver for that. Most tours that I see go to Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento but we have been to Sorrento (friends have not) but I’m thinking Salerno might be better. If we hire a driver what towns would you recommend seeing that are not so easily accessible by public transportation? We just found out a couple of weeks ago that we were going to this wedding so I don’t have a lot of time for planning. Any suggestions you can give me will be greatly appreciated! Next I have to work on Rome!
There isn't much point in having a driver who "knows the area" to take you around, because the bus drivers know the area too. It's not really a place where you need a guide. You really just drive along the coast, and stop at towns you might like, and wander around and sightsee. Public transportation is by SITA bus company, and they just drive along the coast, and you can get on or off at the towns you might like, just like a private car will do. It's a matter of preference. The buses won't be that crowded next week, and are dirt cheap. A private car is nicer of course, but far more expensive. If your goal is to drive the Amalfi Coast and stop off at towns like Positano or Amalfi, either one will do, and it's a matter of taste and budget.

I don't see why anyone would want to drive to Sorrento, which isn't even part of the Amalfi Coast, and is just a cruise ship port, when the beauty is down on the Amalfi Coast. A lot of people have heard of Sorrento because so many tourists and cruise ships stop there, but it doesn't have much to offer.

Salerno isn't at the top of my list because it's a large industrial port. Like Sorrento, it's also technically not part of the Amalfi Coast. Being an industrial port it is quite large and urban, but at least it's not a cruise ship port. That means it has a historic center and many decent places to eat, whereas Sorrento does not have an authentic historic center, and is a tourist stop to buy postcards, cheap limoncello, eat at touristy restaurants, while heading somewhere else. It is so touristy that pretty much anywhere you go in Sorrento you are more likely to hear english or german being spoken than Italian.

You can choose a few towns along the coast and take the bus from town to town, or hire a driver take you to them. Walk around Amalfi. Shop and eat in Positano. The rest of the towns are really small, but it's worth seeing one or two. Cetara is the least touristy of all, and is actually a working fishing village, not a tourist spot. Praiano has great views, and is midway between Amalfi and Positano. That's a lot for one day, because you said you are going to Pompeii the next day, and that will pretty much take up that day. So you only have one day, not two days to see the coast, as your title implies.

When you get back from Pompeii you should just rest and eat, not try to do more traveling around or else you'll be exhausted. By the way, you should have a tour guide for Pompeii, or else you will miss the high points.

Welcome to FlyerTalk and the Italy Forum!

Last edited by Perche; Sep 20, 17 at 12:09 pm
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Old Sep 21, 17, 5:21 pm
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Thank you Perche for responding. My husband and I will have a full 2 days to see the coast—we have been to Pompeii, just the other couple we are traveling with will be going to Pompeii and meeting up with us for dinner, maybe in Salerno or back in Amalfi.

So after a lot of reading of this forum and Perche’s advice above I think the best thing for us to do is take public transportation, either the SITA or ferry, to Amalfi, Praiano, Positano one day. The next day we can walk down to Atrani then to Amalfi and go the other way towards Cetara and Salerno. Would you recommend stopping in Minori or Maiori? Any nice restaurants anyone can recommend in Salerno or one of the small towns? Thanks again for the great advice!
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Old Sep 23, 17, 3:22 pm
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The Sal de Riso pastry shop in Minori is well worth a visit.
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Old Sep 24, 17, 8:42 am
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Originally Posted by Teddy151 View Post
Thank you Perche for responding. My husband and I will have a full 2 days to see the coast—we have been to Pompeii, just the other couple we are traveling with will be going to Pompeii and meeting up with us for dinner, maybe in Salerno or back in Amalfi.

So after a lot of reading of this forum and Perche’s advice above I think the best thing for us to do is take public transportation, either the SITA or ferry, to Amalfi, Praiano, Positano one day. The next day we can walk down to Atrani then to Amalfi and go the other way towards Cetara and Salerno. Would you recommend stopping in Minori or Maiori? Any nice restaurants anyone can recommend in Salerno or one of the small towns? Thanks again for the great advice!
Neither Minori or Maiori. If you insist, I would recommend Minori. Maiori is not a quaint, beautiful town. The Amalfi Coast is supposed to have 100 beaches, if you count even the tiny little slips. Few of them are good. Most of them have rock and pebble shorelines, not sand. You have to know the hidden little coves where there is sand, otherwise you'll be walking on pebbles saying ouch. Or, as in Positano's main beach, where they have sand, they have umbrella after umbrella lined up in a precision manner like a military parade. You rent an umbrella for the day. You don't get to see the beach, just the people occupying the umbrella in front of you.

Positano beach:
http://files.salsacdn.com/article/71...0804185225.jpg

People go to Maiori because it has a sandy beach like Positano, but is less crowded, not because it is a quaint town. At the time of year you are going the beach is an unlikely possibility, so there is little reason to visit Maiori. It does have an important Roman ruin, but Italy is full of them, so it's not worth it for just a two day trip. Minori is cuter and quaint, and has some of the best food on the Amalfi Coast. Just don't make the mistake that tourists to Italy make, that is the second worst way to ruin a trip, led only by leaving your iPhone sticking out of your back pocket on a train in Rome, or making yourself susceptible to the completely preventable crime of being pick pocketed.

You only have two days on the coast. The most common mistake to ruin a trip, or to enjoy it at a much lower level than its potential for enjoyment, is to try cram in as many places to see as possible. You may be thinking, "I only have two days to see the Amalfi Coast. I need to try to go to as many places as possible."

That's a surefire way to ruin a trip to Italy, or to reduce its potential for enjoyment. Yet, 95% of travelers to Italy do it that way. They have a good time, but not as good a time as they could have. They come back without really having the right to say they've been to Italy, because by trying to go everywhere, they went nowhere.

Packing your itinerary with as many cities as you can get to is a surefire way to turn a vacation into a stress, and to make each stop off so brief that you don't get to see any of the places you are stopping off at.

I'll go out on a limb with the following statements. Anyone who went to Rome for less than five full days should not say they've been to Rome. They should just say they, "passed through Rome," or "had a layover for a few days in Rome." There is so much to see and do in a city founded in 753 BC,that you cannot see it in two to three days. Even on a ten day itinerary you still will have missed most of Rome. I was there for three weeks in July and I still couldn't fit in all of the "must see and do" things, and I was there for 3 weeks in February too, and I can't count how many times I've been to Rome before that.

Rushing from city to city without having enough time to see any of them is a surefire way to ruin a trip to Italy. Realize that it's not possible to see everything, narrow down the focus, and stop trying to squeeze in another city or two. This is not just my opinion. I am confident that every traveler with significant experience in Italy will tell you that.

The rhythm of a trip to Italy should never be rushed.Spending enough time to see and experience what you came to see and experience is the key. Otherwise, you went to Italy and won't have seed or experienced anything. For too many people, trip planning comes down to Google, and seeing how many cities they can "do."

For example, it is not possible for anyone who went to Venice and spent less than three full days and nights there to say that they have visited Venice. It's just not possible. Part of Venice is the outer islands like Burano and Murano. The city itself has six distinct sections with their own personalities, and there is the island of Giudecca. Even three days and nights is not enough.

Actually, I'd say that if someone visited Venice or Florence and didn't spend four days and nights, they just got a small taste, not really a visit.

I would say that someone who went to Rome for less than five days, and to Florence or Venice for less than 3-4 days hasn't even yet had a chance to taste the food. The reason I say that is because there is no such thing as Italian food. This has been discussed in this Forum before. Italian food doesn't exist.

Italy was just founded as a country in 1861. Before that, it was just the Italian Peninsula, with many different countries on it, each speaking there own separate language. Not different accents: different languages (dialect). Even then, the formation of the country of Italy wasn't even completed in 1861. Just small parts of it was conquered to become the country of Italy. Torino (Turin), in Piemonte, part of the Kingdom of Savoy until it became part of Italy, was the capital. Then as more and more of the Italian peninsula was conquered, including Tuscany, they moved the capital to Florence.

Venice wasn't conquered and made a part of Italy until 1866, five years after Italy was formed.Rome hadn't yet been conquered, and wasn't even part of Italy yet. Finally, Rome was conquered by overthrowing the Pope in 1870, became part of Italy, and the capital was moved there.

A big chunk of northern Italy was part of Austria. Italy joined what turned out to be the winning side (England, France, and Russia), in the war versus the Austro-Hungarian Empire, also known as World War I, and the victors gifted that area to Italy. That's why the people who live there today still eat strudel, wurst, speak German, and call themselves Sud-Tirol, or southern Tyrol, rather than the name the Italians call it, Alto Adige. Friuli was even give to Italy as a post-WW 1 gift

It wasn't until the 1970's that 50% of people living in Italy finally learned how to speak Italian. Although Mussolini tried to require Italians to learn to speak Italian, it wasn't until enough people had TV, which was broadcast only in Italian, that Italians started to learn to speak Italian. Before that, people primarily spoke the language (dialect) of their original country that was conquered to become part of Italy. It wasn't until the 1990's that surveys indicated that the majority of Italians could finally speak Italian. It makes sense, because until the Italian peninsula was finally conquered and made into a country called Italy in the latter half of the 1800's, there was no such thing as the Italian language.

So why is there no such thing as Italian food? Because each of those former countries that were independent until Italy was formed continues to make the food they made before Italy was formed. While most people now speak Italian, the local foods have not blended into one another. There is practically nothing on the menu in a restaurant in Venice that you will find on the menu of a restaurant in Florence. There is practically nothing on a menu in Florence that you will find on a menu in Rome. Of course, sort of like in the USA we will say, "let's go out and have Chinese, or Mexican," even though we are not in China or Mexico, there will be a couple of restaurants in Rome that serve Florentine steak, which is like going out for foreign food to a Roman.

There is little on the menu in Rome that you will find in Naples, just 130 miles to the South. Even the pizza in Rome and in Naples don't look anything like each other. The menu in Naples will have very different food than a menu in Palermo, Sicily. In Torino, there are dishes that you will not find in Milan, 130 miles away, because Torino was part of Piedmont under the King of Savoy, and Milan was part of the Kingdom of Lombardy. They were different countries that spoke different languages, had different foods, and neither country spoke Italian because there wasn't a such thing as the Italian language yet.

There is Roman food, Piedmont food, Napolitano food, Venetian food, Milanese food, Florentine food, Sicilian food, Pugliese food, Amalfi Coast, food. There is no such thing as Italian food.

In other words, each part of Italy is different and unique. Breezing through each one in a series of stop-overs means that you don't get a chance to see any of them, or to even have a reasonable sampling of the unique food and culture of each place. The average time that a visitor to Venice coming by cruise ship spends there is six hours. A small percentage spend only one night Therefore, anyone who went to Venice on a cruise ship has not yet visited Venice, or even have had time to try Venetian food.

So, this is a long way to suggest that you not try to squeeze in more places in two days, Maiori, Minori, Salerno, Amalfi, Positano, etc. It's not how many places you can say you've been to. It's how many places you got to experience.
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Last edited by Perche; Sep 24, 17 at 8:51 am
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Old Sep 27, 17, 6:53 am
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Once again, great advice Perche. I enjoyed reading your response. You are right--I am always trying to see as much as possible but miss a lot along the way. So we have loosened up our "plan"--we will go to Amalfi, Praiano and Positano and see if we have time for anything else (although I do love a good pastry shop so Minori is on the short list--thanks Speedlog!). Our first three days in Ravello will be filled with wedding activities so it will be nice to slow down a bit before we go to Rome. Unfortunately we will only "pass through" Rome for four nights. I have been there before but our friends have not. We are booking a tour of the Vatican, will go see Colosseum/Forum on our own and have tickets for Borghese gallery since we have not seen it. Last time I was in Rome my favorite thing to do was to give my husband the address for a gelato shop or out of the way restaurant and have him find it. We walked through neighborhoods where there was laundry hanging from balconies, neighbors outside chatting, kids riding bikes, women walking with baskets of bread or fruit, a little upholstery shop, shoe maker, etc., and charming homes to see. I was happy to get “lost.” I have my list of gelaterias ready! So far we have a reservation for Roscioli's and will try to get a reservation for DeCesare or L'Orso 80. We are meeting up with other friends so I’m not sure where we will end up with a group of 8. I have compiled a list of restaurants through the advice on the forums so hopefully one of them will be available.
We leave tomorrow. Again, thanks to all the posters on this forum—I have learned a lot! Grazie.
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