Advice on southern Italy trip November

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eddot98
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Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by eddot98 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:41 pm

DW and I will be traveling to southern Italy from November 16th to December 4th. We have been to Italy several times and have seen many of the major sights. The focus of this trip is to spend some time exploring Sicily as we haven’t been there yet, but we will only spend about half of our 17 nights there. We plan our own itineraries, rent a car, drive a lot, and arrange our own hotels. These are not relaxing vacations as we see as much as we can, but we do relax a few times each trip to chill out in a beautiful place. We are active, but we will not be hiking or bike riding.
We are soliciting advice from folks that have explored southern Italy extensively. Our itinerary so far:
Drive the 3 hours to Newark. Fly overnight from Newark to Rome, arrive in Rome the next day. We have been to Rome twice before, so we will not go to the center. We are flying to Rome as it is nonstop, DW is premier silver on United and we get upgraded to Economy plus. There are no nonstops to Naples, so that’s why Rome.
We will rent a car and drive from Rome to Casterta, recuperate, tour the Royal Palace of Caserta late that afternoon or the next day. Head out later that day to Sorrento for 3 nights. We have been to the Amalfi Coast twice before, but we love it and want to go back. We have one night between leaving Sorrento until we are scheduled to arrive in Palermo. It’s a 7.5 hour drive from Sorrento to Palermo including the ferry ride from Villa San Giovanni to Messina, so we think that we should stop somewhere near the ferry. We need some suggestions on that. Hertz said that it’s okay to take the rental car on the ferry.
Then it’s 3 nights in Palermo and 4 in Taormina, giving us time to explore Sicily. We have done extensive research on Sicilian sights, so we should be okay there, but any hints are welcome. Next we head across southern Italy to the Bari area, to see Lecce, Matera, Alberobella, and ????? We have booked 2 nights in Fasano, between Bari and Brindisi. We may need to stay in that area a little longer and we are just discussing adding an extra night. If we do that, we have one more night before we need to be at the Hilton Rome airport hotel before flying home the next day on December 4th.
So basically, we need some advice on going from Sorrento to Palermo, whether to stop along the route or just push through to Palermo and where to stop between, say Brindisi and Rome for a night and some sightseeing.
Thanks in advance for any help.

theplayer11
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by theplayer11 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:41 pm

Visited Sicily this past Feb..Taormina was fantastic, try to get a hotel overlooking the sea and Mt Etna. 4 nights might be pushing it if you are always wanting to see things. We were there for 2 nights and could have stayed longer just for the views. Palermo wasn't our favorite, kind of dungy. Siracusa was great, very unique city.

gtd98765
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by gtd98765 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:41 pm

I haven't been for a few years but I was never really wild about Palermo: I would probably find somewhere else, even if its just a base for day trips. And I hope you are not going to miss Agrigento?

chicagoan23
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by chicagoan23 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:51 pm

There are several lovely farm towns on the trip south from the Amalfi Coast. Two of them are Oliveto Citra and Sassano. My grandparents came from there; if you have Italian heritage and can “walk the streets” your ancestors did, it is well worth the experience. Campania has many charms.

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eddot98
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by eddot98 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:36 pm

gtd98765 wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:41 pm
I haven't been for a few years but I was never really wild about Palermo: I would probably find somewhere else, even if its just a base for day trips. And I hope you are not going to miss Agrigento?
Thanks for the response. Palermo will be a base for a few nights. Maybe a late afternoon and evening in Palermo itself. Then a half day at Monreale. A day to Trapani and Erice. Probably stop at Cefalu either on the way to Palermo or on the way back to Taormina.
I know that the Greek and Roman ruins are very interesting and important to some folks, but we don’t have a lot of interest in them.

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Raybo
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by Raybo » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:59 am

I rode a bicycle from Sorrento to the Sicily Ferry. If you like the Amalfi Coast, don't miss the coast from Sapri to Maratea. Since you are splitting the drive from Sorrento to Villa San Giovani into 2 days, you might add the drive from Palinuro to Sapri with nice views of the coast as you climb over the hills.

As for where to stay, I'd suggest Tropea. It was the only part of the coast from Amantea to the ferry that I liked. It is a hilltop town right on the water. The sunsets there are magical. Listen for the guy who plays music as the sun goes down.

As someone mentioned above, Agrigento is a happening town with shops and fabulous Greek ruins, even for people who don't like ruins. It is also right over the water. I spent a rest day in Siracusa. It is dripping with history and has a lively tourist area on the island. If you are going to Siracusa, Nota OR Modica are also worth a visit. I did both, which was one too many.

I agree that 4 nights in Palermo seems like a lot. I spent the day there and that was enough, though, with some effort, some interesting non-ruins sights can be found.

When in Sicily, don't miss an aperitif called Passito.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

BelVita
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by BelVita » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:27 am

I have a home ( I rent it out too ) about 30km from Bari. So much to see in Puglia! Stop in Polignano di Mare for sure. Definitly Alberobello like you mentioned. Maybe Gargano if you have time..If you want some great restaurant and bar ( cafe ) recommendations, PM me and I'll share them with you.

carolinaman
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by carolinaman » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:46 am

It sounds like a great trip. I hope you enjoy it!

Check www.tripadvisor.com for advice. They have locals and expert travelers who can provide advice on almost any destination.

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tennisplyr
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by tennisplyr » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:41 pm

Check out Rick Steves, see if he has any suggestions for your trip.

www.ricksteves.com
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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eddot98
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by eddot98 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:45 pm

Raybo wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:59 am
I rode a bicycle from Sorrento to the Sicily Ferry. If you like the Amalfi Coast, don't miss the coast from Sapri to Maratea. Since you are splitting the drive from Sorrento to Villa San Giovani into 2 days, you might add the drive from Palinuro to Sapri with nice views of the coast as you climb over the hills.

As for where to stay, I'd suggest Tropea. It was the only part of the coast from Amantea to the ferry that I liked. It is a hilltop town right on the water. The sunsets there are magical. Listen for the guy who plays music as the sun goes down.

As someone mentioned above, Agrigento is a happening town with shops and fabulous Greek ruins, even for people who don't like ruins. It is also right over the water. I spent a rest day in Siracusa. It is dripping with history and has a lively tourist area on the island. If you are going to Siracusa, Nota OR Modica are also worth a visit. I did both, which was one too many.

I agree that 4 nights in Palermo seems like a lot. I spent the day there and that was enough, though, with some effort, some interesting non-ruins sights can be found.

When in Sicily, don't miss an aperitif called Passito.
I’m glad to hear that Tropea is a nice place to stop as just after I posted this request, DW found a good hotel there and the photos that we found of the town are great.
We are only staying in Palermo for 3 nights, but will only spend about a day there as we will use it as a base to head west to Erice and Trapani.
Siracusa, Monica, and Nota are on the list as a day trip from Taormina.
The 2 drives heading south from Salerno sound great, but I doubt that we can fit them in. There is just so much to do in Italy, but just not enough time to do them all.
Thanks for the input.

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eddot98
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by eddot98 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:54 pm

tennisplyr wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:41 pm
Check out Rick Steves, see if he has any suggestions for your trip.

www.ricksteves.com
Thanks, we have been all over Rick Steves, watching his Sicily show from earlier this year at least twice, buying his new Sicily book, and watching one of his guides talk for an hour about touring Sicily on YouTube. As far as I know, Rick has not put anything out about the southern Adriatic Italian coast.
A friend lent us the Michelin guide to Sicily and we bought a Lonely Planet Italy book that actually has information on the whole country. The problem with some of these travel books is that they can make any place sound great.

Oreamnos
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by Oreamnos » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:01 pm

Wish I could help more, as my wife and I just returned home to the US this morning from a 2 week Rick Steves "Best of Southern Italy" tour (plus a few extra days). Our tour didn't go further south than Matera and the Amalfi coast, so I can't offer much. But I'll be tracking this thread for advice, as the stuff you're describing is next on our Italy agenda...

As for the missing southern Adriatic content in Rick's books, our tour guide told us last week that his publisher has constrained the number of pages in his current books, and that if he wants to add the Adriatic content he will have to remove other content.

metacritic
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by metacritic » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:12 pm

eddot98 wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:41 pm
I think you are spending too little time for so many places. In any event, in Puglia, for instance, don’t just focus on Lecce. Spend several days poking around the whole of the Salentine peninsula. It’s gorgeous. As are the towns just north of Salento. Don’t miss Ostunia and Albariño. Or skip all of Puglia and spend 10 days to two weeks minimum there another time.

Personally I’d spend the whole time in one or, maybe, two regions tops.

DW and I will be traveling to southern Italy from November 16th to December 4th. We have been to Italy several times and have seen many of the major sights. The focus of this trip is to spend some time exploring Sicily as we haven’t been there yet, but we will only spend about half of our 17 nights there. We plan our own itineraries, rent a car, drive a lot, and arrange our own hotels. These are not relaxing vacations as we see as much as we can, but we do relax a few times each trip to chill out in a beautiful place. We are active, but we will not be hiking or bike riding.
We are soliciting advice from folks that have explored southern Italy extensively. Our itinerary so far:
Drive the 3 hours to Newark. Fly overnight from Newark to Rome, arrive in Rome the next day. We have been to Rome twice before, so we will not go to the center. We are flying to Rome as it is nonstop, DW is premier silver on United and we get upgraded to Economy plus. There are no nonstops to Naples, so that’s why Rome.
We will rent a car and drive from Rome to Casterta, recuperate, tour the Royal Palace of Caserta late that afternoon or the next day. Head out later that day to Sorrento for 3 nights. We have been to the Amalfi Coast twice before, but we love it and want to go back. We have one night between leaving Sorrento until we are scheduled to arrive in Palermo. It’s a 7.5 hour drive from Sorrento to Palermo including the ferry ride from Villa San Giovanni to Messina, so we think that we should stop somewhere near the ferry. We need some suggestions on that. Hertz said that it’s okay to take the rental car on the ferry.
Then it’s 3 nights in Palermo and 4 in Taormina, giving us time to explore Sicily. We have done extensive research on Sicilian sights, so we should be okay there, but any hints are welcome. Next we head across southern Italy to the Bari area, to see Lecce, Matera, Alberobella, and ????? We have booked 2 nights in Fasano, between Bari and Brindisi. We may need to stay in that area a little longer and we are just discussing adding an extra night. If we do that, we have one more night before we need to be at the Hilton Rome airport hotel before flying home the next day on December 4th.
So basically, we need some advice on going from Sorrento to Palermo, whether to stop along the route or just push through to Palermo and where to stop between, say Brindisi and Rome for a night and some sightseeing.
Thanks in advance for any help.

criticalmass
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by criticalmass » Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:41 am

I would cross Brindisi off the list except for transportation infrastructure (ferries/airport). Lecce is interesting for an afternoon. Great place to avoid the touristy areas. How about Otranto? Beautiful town on the Adriatic/Ionian sea. Further inland you can do local shopping in Maglie.

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Artful Dodger
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by Artful Dodger » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:44 am

Thanks for your post. We’re thinking of doing a similar trip this spring so your itinerary and others suggestions are timely.

Wiess
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by Wiess » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:16 pm

I don't have anything to add but I am following for tips on our 2020 plans.

BelVita: I am interested in your property if you would like to send via private message.

Hockey10
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Re: Advice on southern Italy trip November

Post by Hockey10 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:22 pm

When you are in Palermo, drive up to the top of Monte Pellegrino. There is a beautiful view from the top of the mountain overlooking the bay in Palermo. It is very peaceful and tranquil, something that you won't get in the city of Palermo itself.

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