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Three nights with easy access to Monte Cassino, Paestum and Pompeii

Discussion in 'Italy' started by Wendy&Rob, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. Wendy&Rob

    Wendy&Rob Member +

    Hello to all, we have all but three (3) nights figured out of our six (6) weeks in Italy this coming April & May, 2017.
    We are starting with three nights in Rome, then the following three nights are the up-in-the-air, then five nights in Matera, followed by a month back in Rome.
    Those three nights of "not-quite-sure" needs to put us accessible to - Monte Cassino, Paestum and Pompeii. Yes, we will have a car and Rob lives to drive in Italy.
    Originally I/we were looking at Gaeta (one of the top 10 most romantic towns/villages in Italy - I saw the article you posted Pauline), but it is a beach resort and April 22-25 is not beach weather. Plus, I looked/researched the hotels and they were new and not necessarily ...what we are looking for. Of course, suggestions are always welcome...Please.

    So, my question is: where to stay with relatively easy access to Paestum, Monte Cassino and Pompeii?

    Thank you ahead of time,
    Wendy and Rob
  2. Pauline

    Pauline Forums Admin

    Hi Wendy! If you stayed in Amalfi or Vietri sul Mar, on the Amalfi Coast, you could drive to Pompeii in an hour I think. But it would be 90 minutes to Paestum (I think).

    Monte Cassino would not be reachable, but you could stay near there 1 night, then do 2 nights in Amalfi.

    Or were you thinking 3 nights each in different places? Then I would stay in the town of Pompei. I remember reading a trip report from @Jim Zurer and they stayed in Pompei. You might not find a good hotel there - and instead could stay in Sorrento or Naples and drive or train from there. For Paestum stay in Agropoli. @Valerie took us there after seeing Paestum and it would be an interesting town.

    Late April is not beach weather, but it should be mid to upper 60s.
    Wendy&Rob likes this.
  3. jonathan

    jonathan Member +

    Hi Wendy! If you're going to be able to get to all 3 destinations easily, then you don't want to be on the coast! And, as you say, it's not really the season for it. How about Caserta? We've never actually stayed there, but have had tantalising glimpses of the huge royal palace from the train - and, having passed it on the autostrada, many times, we've always said 'must visit someday...'.

    A quick look at booking.com shows that there seem to be a few hotels there with a bit of character. The town is near to the autostrada, so the 80km up to Monte Cassino, and the 50km down to Pompeii should be easy enough; Paestum is 120km, but a lot of that is on the autostrade, too.
    Wendy&Rob and Pauline like this.
  4. Ian Sutton

    Ian Sutton Member +

    My gut feel is this sounds better as a 'road trip', living out of the car and getting different accommodation each night.

    If you wanted to avoid driving, then I'd suggest the port city of Salerno as a place with bus links to Paestum, and circumvesuviana train to Pompeii, but if Rob is happy driving in the area, then I reckon the road trip option gives much more flexibility.

    Indeed I reckon this would be perfect - Rome gets you out and about, over jet lag / plane travel and gets you adjusted to Italian roads, drivers and signage. Take the train down to the nearest station to Monte Cassino, to hire the car there. Make that day as easy as possible to get used to the driving & car. From there to Pompeii and from there to Paestum, before driving onto Basilicata. Of all of those I'd say Monte Cassino to Pompeii, walking Pompeii (it's big and quite tiring on the feet especially if hot), plus getting to a reasonable place after Pompeii (some of the local area is very run down, so plan carefully - maybe somewhere in the Vesuvius national park) is the biggest challenge.
  5. ncp

    ncp Member

    We stayed several years ago at Hotel Forum in Pompei, literally across the street from the ruins. It was nice, clean, reasonable and had parking! Not difficult to find either, given GPS. I'm sure I found it on a listing with Slow Travel. (RIP).
    Wendy&Rob likes this.
  6. Wendy&Rob

    Wendy&Rob Member +

    Thank you Ian, this is our 21st trip for a land trip to Italy, with Rome always being front and center, and lots of bombing around the countryside - wherever that may lead us.

    With each trip we try to incorporate something new, this time several new things - Matera for 5 nights, staying at La Dodici Luna highly recommended by Deborah Horn. Rob has wanted to go to Monte Cassino for years (as he is a lifetime student of WWII, and the history of battles - naval and land based throughout history. The history and misconception of the Abbey and its occupants, or not, is fascinating). We also thought we would try to add Pompeii (been to the site a few times from day stops on a ship) and I want to go to Paestum. Since this is my 60th bday trip I hope I can get the last two in and maybe squeeze MC in on the drive south (we are leaving our large suitcase and city clothes in Rome so that we can travel 'lightly', versus the normal looking like we are immigrating). A thought, at least.

    Making several stops for a night here and a night(or two) there does not interest us, as we call that "a hiccup". As it is, we will be in Rome for three (maybe two nights if I need to adjust for the area under discussion), somewhere for these three or four nights, Matera five nights and Rome 29 nights. Enough stops, some slow... some not-so-much.

    Jonathan, Caserta is a good idea. I need to take closer look at two properties of interest - Tenuta Torre Gaia and the Hotel Royal Caserta.

    Heidi Johnson suggested staying in or near Vico Esquese and I found the Grand Hotel Angiolieri

    Pauline, I did a bit of poking around Acropoli, but we should really be closer to somewhere in the middle, and as you have probably figured out we just need three, maybe four, nights in one place accessing us to the three sites before driving to Matera.

    The hunt continues and suggests still needed. I will post here when a desicion has been made. Now to take a closer at the three hotels I just mentioned.

    Ah, Italy ❤️
  7. Pauline

    Pauline Forums Admin

    Thanks for this info. We needed a stop midway between Rome Airport and Trivigno in Basilicata, so I booked the Hotel Royal Caserta, beside the Royal Palace.
  8. Engred

    Engred Member

    I would visit Monte Cassino on your drive down from Rome. And I would stay in Salerno (or Vietri Sul Mare if you are looking for a village). Both Paestum and Pompeii are easily reached from Salerno.
  9. Wendy&Rob

    Wendy&Rob Member +

    Pauline, I will be curious to see what you think of that hotel. Will you take a tour of the palace?
    Engred, our plan is to definitely go to MC on the drive south.
    We are looking at staying at Tenuta Torre Gaia, the drive times to Pompeii and Paestum are acceptable, but not quite sure so we are still hunting. I found a place
    in Salerno, or near it, but I want to search more. Unfortunately we are staying at the analog house so my research will have to wait till Monday.

    Please keep the suggestions coming. And Pauline, we really look forward to seeing you and Steve in Matera.
    Anne likes this.
  10. Anne

    Anne Member +

    I love that you're spending 5 nights in Matera! We were there a week and could easily have stayed longer. Hope you have time to check out the park on the other side of the gorge. We took a wrong turn down one of the dirt roads and ended up having a fabulous picnic lunch amid what we thought were the ruins of an old farm, but turned out to be still in use. Which we discovered when I peeked into a dark room and a white object moved in the far corner. I shrieked and jumped back...took me a few seconds to muster up my courage to look back in and discover that it was only a goat! I don't know what I thought it was at first...a ghost or monster or some such, I suppose! haha)
    Pauline and Wendy&Rob like this.
  11. Wendy&Rob

    Wendy&Rob Member +

    That is a terrific travel experience story Anne. Originally I felt five nights would be perfect, esp after everything Deborah Horn had talked/written about, then in the last few days I have been second questioning myself...but, I think it will be great.
    And, how many people, these days, can say they celebrated their 60th birthday in a cave?

    Ok, now to the analog house aka no internet, though we plan on having lunch where we can access on-line...
    Anne likes this.
  12. Valerie

    Valerie Member +

    I would stay in Vietri sul Mare, which is lovely and has some wonderful restaurants. Easy access to Pompeii and Paestum from there. Then since you'll have a long stay in Rome maybe go to Monte Cassino as a day trip? There are lots of day tours that will take you there.
    Wendy&Rob likes this.
  13. Pauline

    Pauline Forums Admin

    Maybe on Sunday morning before we leave. At least a walk in their gardens.

    Wikipedia: The Royal Palace of Caserta is a former royal residence in Caserta, southern Italy, constructed for the Bourbon kings of Naples. It is one of the largest palaces erected in Europe during the 18th century.
    UNESCO World Heritage Site
    Hours: 8:30 - 7pm every day except Tuesday
  14. Anne

    Anne Member +

    @Wendy&Rob If you're second guessing because thinking it's too long...I feel sure you will find it isn't. :) Matera itself can consume days, but there's also lots to explore in the surrounding area, if you'll have a car. A couple places I'd never heard of before we were in the area were Castel del Monte, a UNESCO site about an hour's drive away, and the Crypt of Original Sin, maybe 15 mins away. The crypt is a 9th century rupestrian/rock cave and is absolutely stunning if you like frescoes/cave art....we were lucky to have a private tour, simply because we were the only ones who booked our timeslot!
    Pauline likes this.
  15. Valerie

    Valerie Member +

    The gardens are beautiful! Very extensive, they seem to go on for miles!
    Pauline likes this.
  16. Engred

    Engred Member

    One of my favorite restaurants on the Amalfi Coast is in Cetara - a quick drive from Vietri Sul Mare. There is also a winery near Vietri where we spent a lovely few hours taking a tour of the vineyard followed by lunch - Vigne di Raito.
  17. Wendy&Rob

    Wendy&Rob Member +

    Pauline, Rob said the palace in Caserta was Marc Clark'S headquarters during WWII, just an fyi

    Thank you Engred, yes, we will have a car. Always. I will take a look at Vietri Sur mar, later today, and I will go over your other very good information.
    We have been out of Internet range since Fri. Night. (We have a second home, Rob's parents home left to Rob, that is on the Big Sur coast and it is what we call our "analog house" - no cell coverage, no internet. But we do have a landline and satellite TV.
  18. Wendy&Rob

    Wendy&Rob Member +

    And Anne, thank you.
    Anne likes this.
  19. Alpinista

    Alpinista Member +

    Don't want to put a damper on things, but Caserta was a disappointment when we visited -- the palace is not maintained and is pretty threadbare. It was more heartbreaking than anything else to see something that should be so beautiful look so sad (if you are a fan of literature, think "Miss Havisham" in "Great Expectations". The grounds and fountains did add beauty and interest, however.
  20. Pauline

    Pauline Forums Admin

    What about the town? We are spending one night driving from Rome airport to Basilicata. I was thinking maybe we should drive further and stay in Salerno.

    We get into Rome airport on a Saturday at 2:15pm, so if lucky should be on the road by 4pm at the latest. I am sure it will be the usual chaos getting a rental car at the airport. Two hour drive to Caserta means we get there 6pm. Next day we have a 2 hour drive to Valerie's.

    We are flying from the UK so won't be jetlagged and we are overnighting at Heathrow so don't have the long drive from Dorset the day we fly. I'm always worried now about doing too much driving on a travel day (as we get older).

    Originally I thought we should stay in Castel Gandolfo (Pope's Summer Residence) but thought it was too close to the airport so we would have a longer drive the next day.

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