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Tinami Amori
06-01-2012, 07:52 AM
Tinami Amori thank so much for all of your work! You are very welcome! It is not that difficult for me, all the info is at my fingertips, since Italy is “my love” and I send myself and my friends and their friends there all the time.

I found out last night that my mum's guide dog is being euthanised today so I am not in the best frame of mind and only intend to book the Rome hotel and then do my work and not much else for the rest of the day :(

May the doggy rest in peace and my condolences to your mother and you. I know “that pain” of loosing an animal, and it is hard to function normally.

I like the look and price of the first hotel in Rome, free wifi too, and breakfast included! 110 Euro seems like a good price! It's 5 nights, right? 20, 21, 22, 23, 24?
Glad you liked Hotel San Carlo! Yes, you’ll be leaving on the 25th, so it is 5 nights. I recommend you sending them (to the reservations/reception) an email, and ask them to give you room 20, on the first level, or “as large as possible”.

I think the itinerary is GREAT! I want to speak to my friend in Milan before only spending 1.5 days there though, but she has mentioned Como and Maggiore.
I’ve allocated 2-1/2 days to Milan. You will take morning train ex Venice to Milan, and will have 2nd part of the day to see Milan. Next two days, sounds like you and your friend will go to Lake Como and Lake Maggiore. So you will spend 2-1/2 days together. If that works, then great! If not, pls let me know what other locations you want to “cut” for extra day in Milan/Lake Region.

Where is your friend (who is on this board)? Let’s have her/him participate…. :D. Hallo Friend! Please appear! I need you to check the Italian websites for the boats ex Naples, and see if you have any “connections” in Milan to get Angel in to see Last Supper on a short notice… and check if there are any good performances at LaScala, and please check on visitors’ hours at Duomo, when the roof-top walk is open, and when the organ music is on. Thank you!

Yes, I'd like to go to Capri.
Ok, how would you like to go to Capri?

You can stay in Sorrento, take ferry to Capri, spend a full day there, and return with the last boat to Sorrento in the evening. In one day, given there is travel time you will be able to visit about 50-60% of “must see places”.

Or, you can go to Capri directly from Naples, before Sorrento, spend 2 nights and 1 full day, take boat to Sorrento, and spend next 2 full days in Sorrento, 1 day to go to Pompeii, and 1 day down the Amalfi coast on a bus. Sorrento itself, the few nice blocks of tourist area, can easily be seen in 1 afternoon, and in the evenings after the day trips.

Which do you prefer, going to Capri for 1 day out and back to Sorrento. Or staying overnight and then arrive to Sorrento?

If you need more info on the two options, please let me know.

What about Tuscany? Can I fit that in?
The proposed schedule for “Florence” already includes “Tuscany”. Florence is in Tuscany. The below was just a recommendation.
July 1,2,3,4 – 2 full days Florence, 1 day – Siena, 1 day – St. Gimignano and/or Volterra, or visit to winery, or other…

The recommendation is that you “plant” yourself in Florence, spend (in any order) 2 days in Florence sightseeing, and the other 2 days going on day-trips to famous Tuscany Towns. The ones suggested (within 1 to 1.5 hrs train/bus ride) from Florence are: Siena, St. Gimignano, and/or trip to winery but you don’t drink, so no winery. Perhaps another hill-top town, like Volterra, but that is much further away from Florence.

In other words – while you’ll be staying in hotel in Florence for 4 days and 5 nights, you will decide how many days you want to stay in the City, and how many days to go into Tuscany country side, in any order, depending on how you arrange the tickets to museums, and day-trips.

My flight leaves Milan at 11:20 a.m. on July 11th.
Which means you’ll have to be at the airport by 9:00 or 9:20 o’clock at the latest. Which means (if your friend has a car) you can leave Lake Region (Como or Maggiore) between 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning and get to Malpensa on time EVEN if there is traffic.

There is also daily airporter bus service direct between Lake Maggiore Town of Stresa in 50 minutes from Malpensa Airport from mid-April through early October. Fare is Euro ~8 or 9 one way. Schedules at www.vcoinbus.it or on this http://www.safduemila.com/alibus-2012.html.

Stresa is THE town to see on Lake Maggiore anyway, if you have only 1 day. You can walk around town, and go to Isolla Bella a beautiful Island with beautiful gardens and palace in the middle of the lake.

So it is possible (if there is an early bus) to spend night in Stresa/Lake Maggiore, and make it to the airport by 9 or 9:30 in the morning.

If that arrangement works, it makes no sense to come back from the lakes back to Milan. From Milan to the Malpensa airport takes 1.2 hrs on a bus anyway.

Here is a map showing proximity of Milan (Malpensa airport is not on this map but it is slightly North-West, 1 hour from Milan, but closer to the lakes).

ETA: I checked the train site, and there are lots of options for each place, so I am not sure what to pick! For example, Roma has Tutti Le Stazioni, Termini, Aurelia, Tiburtina, Naples also has Tutti le Stazioni, Cantrale, Campo Flegrei, Granturo....I just select "all the stations/tutti le stazioni" and it gave me options (Roma Termini to Napoli Centrale is 19 Euro, leaving Roma at 1:45 p.m. (this also takes the longest, but there doesn't seem to be any morning ones!)

Here are the “main stations” in major cities, on major national routes. You probably know or figured out that Tutti le Stazioni as a search options means “any/all stations in this city”.

Roma – Stazioni Termini (central and most convenient, you’ll never be wrong selecting it). Tiburtina, Aurelia, Pyramida, are local/regional train stations, and yes, sometimes trans-national trains come to these stations on some routes.

Naples - Napoli Centrale - Piazza Garibaldi Station.
The other two stations are Mergellina and Campi Flegrei, they are usually used for local/regional trains, I don’t expect you needing them on this journey.

Circumvesuviana local train which runs to/from Sorrento past Pompeii – leaves from Napoli Centrale (separate tracks/section of station), and services this geographic region.

Florence – Stazioni Centrale called Firenze Santa Maria Novella.
Regional/local trains come to the following two stations, also in central Florence: Stazioni Rifredi and Stazioni Campo di Marte.

Train from Florence to Siena (for day-trip) take longer than a local bus, it leaves from S-ta Maria Novella and 1 transfer in Employ Town. Local bus is better but we can get to this later.
We can check schedules on busitali: http://www.fsbusitalia.it/

Same situation with travel ex Florence to St. Gimignano, train is longer with 1 transfer, bus is direct and faster.

The only staion you need to remember in Florence is Maria Novella.

Venice – only has 1 station Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia, like the song… :D.

Milan has 7 major train stations, the main one and the one you’ll need is – Stazione di Milano Centrale.
The other ones (in case a search refers to any of them) are:
Cadorna, Garibaldi, Porta Genova – are closer to central Milan than Milano Centrale, so if by strange event, you are offered any of these 3 – take them.
Lambrate , Porta Vittoria, Rogoredo – not that conveniently located in relationship to central Milan.

(I’ll list more train info below the last answer to your questions).

ETA: I can't get the Roma Card/other card site to work past the intro page! :mad: As soon as I click "BUY" it goes to a new page and says "not active". :mad:

Roma Pass works, passes are on sale.
Roma Super Pass (or called Roma & Piu Pass) are not on sale (for some odd reason).

Go this page.

On the left hand side you will see Option: Quantity (max 4) – Put “1” in the quantity window. Press continue on the bottom of the page.

This is next page. Press continue.

Now you’re on this page.
You will need to input date of pick up 21/06/2012.
And location of pick up: 3 blocks from your hotel (San Carlo).
Check address: PIT Minghetti, Via Marco Minghetti (angolo Via del Corso). 9.30 - 19.00.

You will not be able to pick up the pass at the airport or at Termini on the day of arrival, since they close at 7:30 PM, and you’re arriving much later. So, just pick them up few blocks from your hotel at the stated address.

Press “continue”.

And then you will be in this page: that’s were you need to put in your personal data, which must match your identification info when you pick up the pass. I cant go further than that.. the rest should work.

Let me know if it does not – we’ll search other ticket options.

Now about trains on TrenItalia, dates, time connections (not RailEurope).
Train Rome – Napoli.
I am putting in “departure time” in the search criteria starting 7:00 am.
The Trenitalia site gives me a number of voyages, at least 12, departing from 7:39 am until 12:30 pm.

For example, I randomly trying to buy this one and it works.
EUROSTAR EI 9373 10:45
Roma Termini 12:30
Napoli Centrale Monday
25/06/2012 Service : 2° Classe Coach : 8 Seats : 10A 36.00 € Delete

Add Return

Did you put in “early departure time” option? Is it possible you left that section blank, and it defaulted to 12 PM departure time, and the next available ticket was at 1:45 pm?

Make sure you check ALL sections which ask for information, dates, time, number of passengers, etc.

If you still have a problem, we can work it out by other means.

My next message will be about Naples/Amalfi area.

But, first can you clarify my question about time/nights spent in Capri vs. Sorrento, and if you want to cut any days to spend more time in Milan?

(May the earth be soft for your mother’s doggy).

06-01-2012, 08:06 AM
ETA: I can't get the Roma Card/other card site to work past the intro page! :mad: As soon as I click "BUY" it goes to a new page and says "not active". :mad:

If you can't get the website to work, you can always just buy one in Rome. There's a tourist information center at Termini station that sells them- not sure where else in the city they are available though.

06-01-2012, 10:44 AM
wow. what can I say, I'm totally impressed... Tinami's unbeatable when it comes to planning a trip! :)

I'll come into play at the very end of the trip: Angelskates will finally arrive at my place and we'll play tourists together! (plus I'll introduce her to my cats for a bit of pet therapy after being away from hers for a while!) I'm already thinking of something yummy to cook ;)

One thing I though of just now: did you make plans for a phone or internet connection? Availability of free wi-fi is still scarce, so I was thinking about how we could keep in touch once you're here!!

06-01-2012, 10:49 AM
The hotel I just booked in Rome has free wifi :cheer2:

Now I have booked my hotel and bought a Roma Pass :cheer2:

alhrayth - I have an iPad and an iPhone - what can I do to get connected??

What's your advice on Capri?

Okay, now that I have Roma booked (well, hotel and Roma pass!) What's next? I want to get the other card, but the site still won't work!!

And the trains, should I book them now? Which ones?

06-01-2012, 11:17 AM
uhm I was looking through some site to see how the situation is with the wi-fi and it seems to have improved. You'd be visiting mainly touristic locations so you should be able to find some hotspots here and there. I wouldn't bother with grtting an internet connection, then -you can cound on the random free ones, and possibly some of our hotels will have it too.
I don't know if you'd really need a phone then - but if you want to, getting a new sim card with a re-chargeable plan (no contract) should be pretty quick - and not really expensive. I could give you info on the companies, if you wish.

trains: the sooner the better - and check that you'r booking the seat as well! (well, for some it's compulsory - e.g. intercity, freccia rossa - so you can't miss it!!).

;) Tinami I'll check the details about Milan, (we're not lucky with the Cenacolo: there were places to be found before she arrives, and after she departs... but not in those exact days!), but you were wondering about some sites for Naples? Just tell me which ones (I already said you're waaayy better than me in this trip-planning!) and I'll go check!

06-01-2012, 01:37 PM
Okay, so what trains?

alhrayth - I definitely need a phone! And an internet connection (my iPad and my iPhone are both 3G)!

06-01-2012, 02:14 PM
I need to get Tinami to plan my holidays! :lol:

Have fun Angelskates! :)

06-01-2012, 05:10 PM
I need to get Tinami to plan my holidays!
Even reading the tips it's a trip on its own :D
Have fun Angelskates

06-01-2012, 05:33 PM
Have lots of fun! I am so jealous.

Tinami should be a travel agent! :rofl:

Tinami Amori
06-01-2012, 06:04 PM
Okay, so what trains?

a) Are you still having problems buying tickets on trains?
I wrote a note at the bottom of my last post about trains between Rome and Naples.

As far as buying train tickets for the rest of the journey - you need to look at your schedule (since you agreed to the dates for each location) and on Trenitalia site buy tickets for each segment, keeping in mind departure and arrival times.

- Rome to Naples: June 25th, as early as possible (after 8 or 9 in the morning).

- Naples to Florence: June 30th, after 12 noon (so that you have time in AM to get from Sorrento to train station).

- Florence to Venice (if no changes to number of days in Florence) - July 5th (early)
- Venice to Milan (if no changes to number of days in Venice - July 8th (early)

If you like, I'll look at schedules this afternoon and give you exact train/time/journey number.

b) In order for me to give you next set of info for Amalfi Coast/Sorrento/Capri Area, I would like you to answer the question (pls read last post) how many nights you want to stay in Sorrento and on Capri and IF you want to spend nights on Capri, or just take a boat for a 1 day trip.

Once you finalize your choices of dates/days in each location for Amalphi area, I;ll give you hotels in Sorrento and Capri to reserve, and local tour operators, and local transportation.

And, then I would be able to give you next set for Florence/Tuscany area... Because if you change something in the Amalphi area dates (add or subtract a day), it may affect Florence/Tuscany area dates...

So please read my question in the previous post on Amalphi/Sorrento and Capri.


Hallo Italian Friend "A".....:summer:

About websites for boats. I meant "boats on the Lakes" (not "Bay of Naples") as in ex Como to Bellagio and Varenna and back", and boats to Isl. Bella/Maggiore".

Also, can you pls tell me if I need to give Angel hotel list in Milan, Malpensa, Bellagio/Varenna? or will you be taking care of the arrangements on that segment of the journey?

Tinami Amori
06-01-2012, 07:48 PM
Maybe I am confusing you with so much info. So let me break up some of it into other format.

You have Hotel in Rome and RomePass, right? (we will worry about Vatican and other tours later, tomorrow, after hotels and trains reserved for the rest of the trip.

a) You next step is to reserve train tickets between Rome and Naples for July 25th.
Please let me know if you had any problems the 2nd time you’ve tried? Did you get any tickets BEFORE 1:45 PM departure option from last time? Let me know if you’re heaving problems with train tickets. We can “walk through” the reservation pages.

If you’re working on the Rome-Naples train tickets, then you might as well reserve the rest of the train tickets, IF YOU AGREE WITH DEPARTURE DATES listed in the proposed schedule and do not plan to ADD or SUBTRACT days from any of the “segments/locations”.

- Rome to Naples: June 25th, before 11 in the morning, or 12 noon.
- Naples to Florence: June 30th, after 12 noon (need time to get to Naples).
- Florence to Venice - July 5th (early)
- Venice to Milan - July 8th (early)

b) Next we need to finalize how many nights you want to stay in Sorrento and in Capri, between June 25th and June 30th.

Perhaps when I am asking to allocate time in Sorrento/Amalfi/Capri area, I am visualizing the area, and you are not.

So, here is the map of the Bay of Naples. Please see where Naples, Sorrento, and Island of Capri are located (and Town of Amalfi and Positano as well).

You see there are boats/hydrofoils/ferries run between Naples-Capri-Sorrento Triangle. There is “sea connection” between all the 3 places.

And there is a train ex Naples, which runs from Naples to Sorrento, and from Sorrento there are bus routes to Amalfi Town and Positano Town (Amalfi Coast is a name for the “area” and “Amalfi” by itself is “town”.

People “base” themselves in Sorrento to take 1-day trips to Pompeii, Amalfi coast trips, and other local attractions (like 1-day trip to Capri, or you can spend a night in Capri).

When you arrive to Naples Train Station on June 25th, you have 2 options:
- To go first by boat to Capri, spend 2 nights in Capri, then take boat to Sorrento, and spend 2 days and 2 nights in Sorrento. During these two days in Sorrento, you will: a) use 1 day to take a tour/train to Pompeii, b) use the 2nd day for a trip down Amalfi coast (to Amalfi and Positano).


- From Naples, go directly to Sorrento, by sea or by train, “base” yourself in Sorrento. And the next few days do same a) Pompeii, b) Amalfi coast AND instead of sleeping in Capri, take a boat from the port of Sorrento to and from Capri, and return to Sorrento on the same day.

I recommend spending 2 nights in Capri and then going to Sorrento. Sorrento itself (the best of it) can be seen in few hours and you will have plenty of time. Sorrento is good as a “base” for other day trips.

But if you rather not move around with luggage 1 extra time, from Capri to Sorrento, then “plant” your-self in Sorrento, and visit Capri for 1 day and come back. You can still see few “best of Capri” locations and views in a 1-day trip.

SO, NEXT, if you’re done with train tickets, MAKE A DECISION ON SORRENTO/CAPRI nights allocation, AND reserve the hotels (for the dates of your choice) in this area (Sorrento and Capri if you chose to).

We will worry about local transportation and day-trips slightly later.


Today’s exchange rate (Dollar to Euro) is 1 euro = 0.80 dollar (approximately).
So when you gave me your budget for hotel per night of 200 Euro, in USD it means you’re ok with hotel rooms costing up to $ 220-$ 230 USD. My server defaults me to travel websites in USD, because I am in the US now. So, I will list prices in USD.

Here is a list of the hotels in Capri, with rooms available on any day between June 25th and June 30th (if you decide to spend 1 or 2 nights in Capri, instead of seeing Capri on a one-day trip from Sorrento).

The hotels’ listings state “only 1 or 2 rooms left” on most of them. It’s good to decide quickly.

The following 4 Hotels are best located for a short stay in Capri. They all run between $150 and $ 210 USD per night, not including tax. Any of them are good if they suite you. The single rooms facing “garden” or “mountain” will cost the least, the ones with “sea view” naturally will cost more.

Hotel Regina Cristina

Hotel La Floridiana

Hotel ‘A Pazziella

Hotel Villa Sanfelice

If for some reason the 4 hotels listed above do not suite you, here are two more, but they are my 2nd choices, because of locations in respect to centre, transport and pathways to major attractions.
Hotel della Piccola Marina.
In a very good spot for Transport and Centre of Capri. But it is a little further to the side from the “centre of night-life” and pedestrian tourist area. Beautiful views. $185 to $230 USD per night depending on the day of the week and type of room. “Room with a View” will cost more.

La Reginella
Further from Transport and Centre of Capri. Beautiful views. $ 125 USD per night for minimal single room. “Room with a View” is possible, at higher price.

HOTELS IN SORRENTO (hotels available for any of the dates between June 25th and 30th) $ 95 to $175 USD min single rooms. Rooms with View – higher for the stated “base rates”.

There are only 3 hotels available in Sorrento under $220 USD, with in walking distance to city centre and transportation/Circumvisuviana train, for the specified time segment. (others are more expensive, or further up the hill). There are no hotels on the sea-cliffs overlooking bay of Naples for these dates and price range. It is a good idea to get a “room with a View”, because the whole point of staying in Sorrento (besides being a good base for local day trips) are the VIEWS OF BAY OF NAPLES AND MT. VESUVIUS.

Most hotels provide shuttle, as they are up on the hill, and walking in the evening may not be your choice.

Grand Hotel Vesuvio Sorrento – Fantastic views from many common areas, decks, verandas, restaurant.

Johanna Park Sorrento – 2X Fantastic views from many common areas, decks, verandas, restaurant.

Hilton Sorrento Palace (has everything – pool! Wi-fi, shuttles, night bar and club

Grand Hotel President Sorrento

Hotel Rivage Sorrento

Let me know how it is going. I am starting to work on hotels in Florence, then Venice, and “Friend A” needs to tell me if she’ll take care of accommodations in Milan/Lake Region, or should I list hotel near Duomo which is FANTASTIC AND INEXPENSIVE?

Tinami Amori
06-01-2012, 08:28 PM

There few good and well located hotels available in Florence for the dates of your stay (in June 30, out July 5th – 5 nights). You want hotels close to Arno River (with a “view”) and close to the centre on the river side where Uffizi, Duomo, etc are located.

Don’t worry about proximity to train station. In either case, you will need to take taxi, unless you stay “across the street” from Train station, and I don’t recommend it.

So here are my few choices of hotels close to centre and Arno River banks/Ponte Del Vecchio. People walk around that area for 24 hours, and you’ll be safe to walk around at any time.

Along Arno River (with in 1 block from river banks and few blocks from Uffizi Gallery)

Hotel Hermitage 3*** - $ 160 USD per night (right behind Uffizi Gallery)

Hotel Bercheielli 4*** - $ 195 – 210 USD per night (nice hotel with good services)

Residenza Castelli 4**** - $ 170 to 200 USD per night (right next to Hermitage Hotel, but more luxury)

(last choice, if others don’t work for you).
Hotel Alessandra - 2 blocks from Aron River/Ponte Del Vecchio – old city street - $ 160 to $ 190 per night.

The above are my best recommendations (given what’s available/dates/budget). If none work –we’ll go to B-list.

Once you chose hotel, we’ll start reserving Tickets/Tours while in Florence/Tuscany area.

Tinami Amori
06-01-2012, 09:07 PM

There are plenty good hotels available in Venice for the dates of your stay (in July 5th, out July 8th – 3 nights). 60% of hotel locations in Venice are good and convenient, it’s a matter of what you prefer, a view of Grand Canal, view of the Bay, view of Old Narrow Canal or Street.. There are at least 40 hotels which are decent and under $ 220 USD per night in good safe areas.

The best locations, IMHO – either in Dorsoduro section, or any hotel with Canal or Bay view.

So…. Let me give you the first 5 which I like and know.

Choice 1 – Pensione Accademia Villa Maravege DORSODURO– 3***, rooms start @ $ 124 USD, some have balconies. Close the bridge to San Marco, Accademia Museum, and wonderful area for walking and eating out (with 2 veggie restaurants!!!). Charming courtyard, well decorated rooms, “home feel”.

Do ask which rooms they have and check fotos – all rooms are different, it was a private house, and still feels like a “small palazzo”. You want a room with en-suit bathroom and balcony/patio.

fotos: http://www.pensioneaccademia.it/gallery.htm

If you like this hotel, and can get what you require – TAKE IT AND LOOK NO FURTHER. YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY.

Choice 2 – Hotel Antico Fiore (on a corner of Grand Canal and a small side canal, old world decore) - $ 145 - $ 220 USD/per room. Do splurge on a Room with Canal View and watch gondolas go buy.
fotos: http://www.anticofiore.com/en/photogallery.html

Choise 3 – Ca’ (Casa) Centopietre - 2** - $ 140 USD to $ 210 USD – another private Venetian villa/house turned into bed and breakfast – same area as “Accademia” in Dorsoduro.

Do ask which rooms they have and check fotos – all rooms are different, it was a private house, and still feels like a “small palazzo”.

Choice 4 – Ca’ (Casa) Di Sara – 2** - $ 115 USD to $ 180 USD – another private Venetian villa/house turned into bed and breakfast – same area as “Accademia” in Dorsoduro.

Do ask which rooms they have and check fotos – all rooms are different, it was a private house, and still feels like a “small palazzo”. You want a room with en-suit bathroom and balcony/patio.

Choice 5 – Hotel Marconi – right on Grand Canal, next to Rialto Bridge, center of Venice. Rooms start @ $ 140 USD TO $ 240. Canal View room is a “must” even if it costs more. Check foto and prices for “canal side room”.

The above are my best recommendations (given what’s available/dates/budget). If none work –we’ll go to B-list.

Once you chose hotel, we’ll start reserving Tickets/Tours for Venice area.

06-01-2012, 11:25 PM
:lol: Take a breath Tinami, because I have to!! :lol:

I already have a message from my bank saying I spent too much (or more than usual) money yesterday!!

I have no idea about Capri, I mean I really don't! What do people suggest? I would rather not lug my luggage around too much...

TA - is it possible to book all the trains at once, or do I have to book one by one? Every time I make a transaction on my credit card that is not in Australian dollars, I get charged extra, but I can't find a "multiple book" thing on the site.

I think I have worked out the train site - I was trying to go from the main page. I am assuming now that when I put in "6" it means 6 a.m. I'm not sure where you saw "EuroStar" though Tinami - I can't see what anyway.

For the train to Naples, I found:

Roma Termini 09:00 Napoli Centrale 10:10 Duration 01:10 FRECCIAROSSA 9501 Details 2ª CLASSE MINI 39.00 € BASE45.00 €

What do Mini and Base mean?

When I go to register as a customer, it asks for user ID - do I leave it blank or put in something like my passport number? (I don't want to click enter and see, in case it accepts and then is wrong!)

ETAA: I tried and it said, "User-id should consist of 6 or more digits (characters allowed: A-Z a-z 0-9 _ -)." :huh:

06-02-2012, 03:37 AM
I don't see why you have to spend more than a day trip on Capri and stay at your base the whole time. You will be moving around a lot so I'd minimize that as much as possible. It can be exhausting.