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Modthyrth 12-09-2008 06:59 PM

Naples and Rome
We just cashed in our frequent flier and hotel miles, and booked ourselves a trip to Italy in late January/early February. We'll have two days in Rome and a week in Naples. I already read the excellent thread about two days in Rome and noted those suggestions. Anyone have any recommendations for the Naples area?

egalecki 12-10-2008 08:54 AM

Re: Naples and Rome
I like Pompeii and Herculaneum. I really liked Sorrento (there's a good restaurant near the water, I'll have to see if I can find the name for you) for it's views and the funny little street with all the shops. It can't be but about 10 feet wide, if that. The museum for Pompeii is in Naples, and it's pretty neat.

There are other places to see actually in Naples, but I haven't seen them for myself. I personally despise the train station there. And the last two times we've been through there (we stayed there once, but last time we stayed near Sorrento) there's been a garbage strike, and the most horrifying piles of crap I've ever seen. It just didn't make a very good impression. We only had the one day (2 nights, one day in between) there, so we did Pompeii and the big museum.

Take a trip down the coast a bit- the views are lovely. There are lemon trees everywhere! Pompeii, if you go on one of the days the cruise ships descend on it, can be a bit of a slog, but if you manage a day without 4000 cruise shippers, I thought it was pretty cool. Some things will be open and some things won't be. You can take the train there, just be sure you get on the right one. It's not as easy as you might think...

egalecki 12-10-2008 01:17 PM

Re: Naples and Rome
I looked up the restaurant- it's called Capanna. It's either in St. Agnello or Sorrento, sorry I'm not sure which, but we walked from our hotel and they're next to each other. I had really good swordfish with tomatoes, olives and peppers... I'm still trying to figure out how to make it that good at home. I suspect it has something to do with non-frozen fish.

Another place the Sorrento locals will tell you is to die for is Da Franco- a pizza place. No ambiance at all, but pretty good pizza if you don't have a wfo at home!

I got sort of lost re-reading my journal today- I don't write at home, but I always take a leather bound journal on trips. I like the ones with pockets, so I can stick in my train stubs, museum passes, etc. I like to write down the names of restaurants and what I ate, and where we stayed and what we did, so I can go back and remember the trip. This one has little drawings of a sweater I saw a woman wearing too- I was in a knitting mode and I'm always on the lookout for something I can use to make a pattern. I'd forgotten all about it until today! Might have to figure out how to make that sweater finally...

Sorry I can't really help more with Naples proper, but the whole region is worth exploring and you can use your hotel as a base for day trips, etc. On our next trip, we're planning on spending more time on the Amalfi coast than we have before.

james 12-10-2008 05:44 PM

Re: Naples and Rome
Here's my two-cents. :-)

I think it is fair to say that there is less to do and see in Naples than other large Italian cities -- it's more of a feeling and experience city. Also, I would say that not everyone likes Naples, though I like it a lot. In fact, I haven't been there since the garbage strike or the revelations on the illegal dumping, so I don't know how things feel right now.

Naples is a great place to eat and walk. If you like Ferrari's, you have to walk the Mergellina and the port area. Some people like walking the inner neighborhoods and some don't. It is totally different from walking the tourist areas of Rome, or even Rome neighborhoods. It's very rough and tumble, and loud. You've never lived until you almost get run over by a little old lady in Fiat -- who is running a red light. Everyday Naples is huge and densely populated, and less wealthy that northern Italian cities.

The food is incredible. Stunning. I really like seafood, so I am always in heaven there.

Pompeii is one of the coolest places in the world (and one of the motivators behind FB!), and I thought Heculanium was a little less interesting. Sorrento is nice, and the whole peninsula is very interesting. Elizabeth -- we even stayed in St. Angelo for a couple nights one spring break. Capri was the most crowded single place I have ever been (it was, after all, Easter week).

Lots of people end up staying in or around Sorrento, and exploring Pompeii and Naples from there.

Hope this helps.

gjbingham 12-10-2008 07:39 PM

Re: Naples and Rome
Good comments by all. Naples was called "the arm pit of Italy" by American Sailors stationed there, and my still be. Horrible thievery. Driving is the most insane thing you can do in your life (but the most fun if you like driving wrecklessly). I highly recommend it for the adventurous.

The entire Amalfi Coast is a must do from there. No nearly as sensuous in the winter as in the summer, but I wouldn't miss it. There's city type busses you can ride that will take you all the way up and back.

A trip to the Island of Capri on a hydrofoil boat on a rough winter day, and holding a couple hundered seasick passengers it quite a sight to see as well. Vomit bags filled quickly and loudly as horrified onlookers try to ignore the stench. Quite a trip indeed! The Island is one-in-a-million though, and once again, is an incredible jewel in the summer, probably less-so in the winter.

I did Pompeii. From what I've heard and read, Herculineum is better. Regardless, you should defininitely do one or both.

Too bad you've got so little time in Rome. Pick up a good book, perhaps Rick Steve's to research the Rome portion of your trip. There's week's worth of travel to cover in just a couple of days.

Good luck.

RTflorida 12-10-2008 09:07 PM

Re: Naples and Rome
I was going to post earlier but was a bit afraid to offend, now that a few shots have been taken at Naples, I will jump on board. George - "armpit of Italy" is exactly what I was going to say. We really only had one enjoyable evening in 3 days (this was pre garbage strike and dumping). One on one, the people are wonderful. In public, they all acted like wild animals. NO ONE obeys ANY traffic laws and constantly scream at pedestrians, those on scooters, and other drivers...literally "riding the asses" of all of the above. The pedestrians and scooters scream back, daring the motorists to run them down. LA, NY, Miami, are all a strole in the park in comparison. The port area is nice, the only peaceful part of our stay. I will say the food was wonderful everywhere, as well as the people in every establishment visited. (again, there is something about them on the streets...must be something to do with Naples being a more working class, bust your ass, try to rush home to your family, city - with 3 million others who are trying to do the same).
Capri - WONDERFUL - we visited in October, no crowds at all, weather was terrific. If I could have, I would have stayed. The only downside, being the start of the off season, many shops were closing the week we visited (many of the hotels aready had closed). I would say stay away in May, June, July (far too crowded) and visit in Sept or early Oct.
Again, the food and people were the best.
Sorrento - the most touristy of the Amalfi coast. Nice, but not my cup of tea...far too many tourist buses and dare I say - American "blue hairs" (Those from the US residing in retirement states know exactly what I mean).
Amalfi and St. Angelo - On my next trip I will not go anywhere else, I hope to spend a week in each. Very laid back, truly "God's country" in regards to the sceneary and setting. Wonderful down to earth people and of course great food.
My question, has anyone ever had a truely bad meal while visiting Italy? I only spent 10 days (gained 15 lbs), other than something I ate from a kiosk at the Rome train station, everything I ate was simply perfect.
As for the ruins and can't go wrong visiting any of them....come on, we have nothing in the US that compares to the ancient history of Italy (or other parts of Europe for that matter).


james 12-10-2008 10:31 PM

Re: Naples and Rome

Originally Posted by RTflorida (Post 46933)
My question, has anyone ever had a truely bad meal while visiting Italy?

Far, far too many in Florence. :-)

Modthyrth 12-11-2008 06:17 AM

Re: Naples and Rome
Thanks for the advice, everyone! We've never been to Italy before--well, one day in Venice on our honeymoon, but that hardly counts. We're cashing in hotel points, and that limited our options, and Naples seemed like the best hotel/location (not right next to the airport, Marriott doesn't have many options in Italy). I was an English and Anthropology double major in college, and my husband was an English and Latin double major, so any and all ancient sites are of intense interest to us. Naples seemed like a good jumping-off point for neat day trips in that regard, but now I'm wondering if we should flip it and take the worse hotel in Rome for the bulk of the trip and the two days in Naples.

Thanks for the advice, everyone, and keep it coming if you think of anything you'd like to add! I typically spend months in advance planning out a trip (the research is half the fun!), so leaving in just a few weeks has me rushing my investigation.

egalecki 12-11-2008 07:17 AM

Re: Naples and Rome

Originally Posted by james (Post 46938)
Far, far too many in Florence. :-)

Wow. I've not had a bad meal in Florence. I have, however had a really awful meal in Rome near the Vatican. There was this large bunch of rude tourists (not Americans, btw) all but swinging from the chandeliers and the waiter kept bringing me the wrong food. I eventually gave up and just ate, but it was terrible. I don't remember why we ate there at all, but I suspect my husband was really hungry and when he's hungry there's no reasoning with him.... so I keep him fed. Well fed.

egalecki 12-11-2008 07:21 AM

Re: Naples and Rome
Nikki, I'd do Rome longer if you can do it. Rome's big fun- lots of places to go and see, and for me, just walking around is wonderful. George is right, I'd get a good book (I like Rick Steves too) and decide what to see.

You can still see a lot anyway in a couple of days in Naples.

How big are you going to be at this point? That may also decide how much you can do...

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