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Naples?

jan

100+ Posts
One of these days I'll post our whole (nearly 3 month) itinerary for your input but right now I have a quick question.
This is in late September.

After 2 weeks in Puglia/Basilicata, we will have 2 weeks in Lucca--we have 2 nights in between.
So I was thinking of Naples.
Question:
We will be driving a rental car. Are we crazy to think about driving into Naples to stay at a "downtown" hotel???
 

ncp

10+ Posts
We stayed in a nice hotel literally across the street from the ruins at Pompeii that had parking. It was also within walking distance of the train station for getting in and out of Naples. That's one way to go.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
We have never driven in Naples, but are planning on picking up a car at the train station and driving out from there. I don't think the driving will be easy, but it must be doable. :) Have a good map and a GPS! And pick a hotel that is easy to get to.
 

BryanS

100+ Posts
Have a good recent map, a navigator and don't rely solely on a GPS. It is common for one way streets and other routing to change before updated on a GPS. I've driven in the center of Naples a few times and it is different...all driving in Campania is different than northern Italy. It isn't for everyone.

Jan, have you considered a stop in the Circeo/Sperlonga area? You could take a ferry to Ponza for a day - very charming area.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Pauline, why don't you pick up the car in Sorrento or Salerno? A lot easier driving!! :D
I haven't booked the car yet. We fly into Naples and spend two nights. Then I thought we would pick up the car Saturday morning at the train station and drive to Positano for the 4pm checkin, stopping along the way at an archaeological site near Pompeii (we will all be going to Pompeii together from Positano). I remember reading about a site we have not see - not Herculeneum.

Our friends who are spending the first week with us are taking the train from Rome to Naples, then getting a car service to Positano (they will pick one from the list on the Summer in Italy site). We could meet them at the train station in Naples and all go together, but 4 adults and luggage will need a mini-van I think. They are on a 3 month long trip, so will have a 24" bag each and we always seem to travel with that much.

The only other time we were in this area (2001) we picked up the car in Sorrento, part way through our time there. We could do that again. Or not have a car.

What do you think?
 

BryanS

100+ Posts
Pauline, Salerno would be easier to get out of...and back in when you return the car. Salerno is the end for some of the high-speed trains and there are several car rental offices within a block or two. You can then take the A3 to the Pompeii area. Once you've done that just back towards Salerno and get off at the Amalfitano exit.
 

jan

100+ Posts
Pauline-- I totally don't car if you have high jacked my thread. :D
Especially since now we are thinking of flying from Bari to Florence on a cheap air line and just taking the train to Lucca from there. That would give us 2 more nights in Puglia. Decisions decisions.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
It must be because Bari is not as popular of a car rental destination. We picked up and dropped off there last year and they were small offices. Still, it might be worth phoning them to see if they give you a better rate on the phone.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Pauline, Salerno would be easier to get out of...and back in when you return the car. Salerno is the end for some of the high-speed trains and there are several car rental offices within a block or two. You can then take the A3 to the Pompeii area. Once you've done that just back towards Salerno and get off at the Amalfitano exit.

Driving Times:

Salerno - Positano - 1hr 27min via A3 to Pompei then to Positano
or 1hr 47min via the Amalfi Coast road

Naples train station - Positano 1h 12min

The Naples driving will be crazy, but Steve will be driving :dork:. We are flying into Naples and spending two nights there before Positano, so I think picking up at the train station will work. I might look into picking up in Sorrento. We could take the train there - but I remember what an uncomfortable train that was.

Or, if we can't face the drive - car service from Naples hotel to Positano and pickup a car in Sorrento later in the week.

I am still trying to get this figured out.
 

BryanS

100+ Posts
If you are spending time in Naples you could still take the train down to Salerno or to Sorrento. The drive into Sorrento is not "fun", anytime of the year.

Also be aware your driving times listed are probably based on a Sunday afternoon in Feb during pranzo when the roads are not clogged and there are no road projects.
 

ellen

100+ Posts
I agree that the drive into Sorrento is a pain at any time; the narrow two-lane highway is simply too small for the everyday traffic that uses it, much less tourist traffic on top of that. However, in the middle of the day it's not as bad as during the school commute hours, when the stop and go of school buses can drive you crazy.

I would rather stick pins in my eyes than stand on the Circumvesuviana (sitting is rarely an option) for more than an hour from Naples to Sorrento. If you really want to avoid driving consider taking the ferry, it's faster and you get a seat. It is more expensive, of course, and you have the issue of getting up into town from the port in Sorrento, but that's a tradeoff I'd make all day every day. I can deal with the Circumvesuviana for shorter trips (Pompei, or Ercolano) when necessary but ...
 

Valerie

100+ Posts
We personally prefer to drive along the Amalfi Coast from the Salerno side than the Sorrento side because of the traffic and smog-filled tunnels on that end. I was sick from the fumes and it wasn't even high season!
 

Roz

500+ Posts
We personally prefer to drive along the Amalfi Coast from the Salerno side than the Sorrento side because of the traffic and smog-filled tunnels on that end. I was sick from the fumes and it wasn't even high season!
That just reminded me that the only time I remember encountering beggars at our car window while waiting in line at a toll booth was on that road going to Sorrento from Rome. I guess they came there because the traffic was so backed up and slow. That drive to Sorrento was one of our worst ever in Italy -- and as I said, it was way off-season, in November.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
We had beggars at our car window years ago in Umbria! I always keep my purse where it cannot be easily grabbed. I will keep this in mind when we are there.

Well, against all advice we have rented a car.

We fly into Naples, taxi to a hotel and spend two nights. Then we will taxi back to the airport to pickup a car on the Saturday morning. It is 20 minutes from hotel to airport or to train station and I thought the airport would be better because there are more cars (we reserve an automatic and sometimes there is a problem with that) and it would be easier to hop onto the autostrada. But the car rental pickup will be a zoo, as will be the one at the train station.

The villa checkin is 4pm, so I will figure out somewhere to go along the route where we won't be worried about leaving our luggage in the car.

Then after our two weeks, we will leave early Saturday morning and drive back to Naples airport.

We rented a compact (Audi A1 or equivalent) and I got the measurements and description of the parking spot from Summer in Italy to make sure parking will be easy enough, and it seems like it will. We won't use the car every day.

And I will be cautious about driving into Sorrento! I am sure the Amalfi Coast road will be busy too.
 

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