Italy: Amalfi Coast, Rome & Venice in 11 Days

December 16, 2019

Italy is a country that loves love. And, it’s not hard to immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle while experiencing the people, historical sites, food, “vino” and the picturesque views!

The itinerary below is packed of all of the above, so expect your daily step count to be high! Keeping to somewhat of a timeline will allow for tons of down time in between activities, so do not worry.

You don’t want to rush through these cities and miss out on things like an impromptu gelato, bottle of wine, time on the beach. etc.

 

DAY 1: NAPLES & POSITANO

We flew into Rome with a car service waiting to pick us up to drive to the Amalfi Coast. It was the pricier option, but we wanted to avoid the stress of navigating ourselves through the one-lane winding roads.

For us, experiencing the drive was a must! Not having to drag our luggage through train stations and then on buses, was an added bonus.

Almost 240 years old, we stopped for lunch at the famous Pizzeria Brandi in Naples. Pizzeria Brandi is said to be the birth place of the Margherita Pizza (named after Queen Margherita).

We were seated on the 2nd floor. The house wine, caprese salad and pizzas were delicious. Serenaded as we ate, conversation about the adventure ahead of us took over. The experience reminded me of an Italian restaurant scene I’ve seen in the movies.

Only a few hours in Italy, and I was already in love…

We arrived in Positano late afternoon.

Hotel Vittoria‘s bellhop met our driver at the roadside near steps that would lead down to the hotel. He threw my friend’s 50+ lbs bag over one shoulder and picked up my 50+ lbs bag with his hand. I think both our jaws dropped at the same time watching him whip down 100+ steps.

Impressed to say the least, I became immediately curious as to how he was getting them back up those stairs!

Choosing to keeping it low-key that night, we headed to the beach restaurant about 200+ steps down from our hotel. Watching the sunset, we sipped on a few well deserved Aperol Spritz’.

After climbing back up the steps, we showered and got ready for a late dinner near our hotel.

Yes, be ready for the glut workout of your life in Positano!


Pietro serenading us at Ristorante Mediterraneo, Positano

DAY 2: RAVELLO & POSITANO

We spent the morning on the pebble beach below our hotel, enjoying the sun.

The weather at the end of August/early September was perfect. Beaches were also not as crowded as they would be in high tourist season (July-August).  

In the afternoon, a local bus took us to the town of Ravello so we could explore Villa Rufolo.

After the little hike up, we walked through it’s gardens before stopping at the lonely little shop at the top for a libation.

 

Served with a dish of olives to snack on, we sat and took in the view. I STILL have yet to find another olive better than these! If I could have ordered a lifetime supply, I would have. But I digress…

Later, we caught the bus back to Positano. The bus driver serenaded us and even gave a stand-up comedy routine.

It was clear that he loved his job. That he loved his life. And in turn, I fell a little deeper in love with Italy that day.

 

Later that evening, a shuttle took us to a restaurant at the top of Positano, La Tagliata Fattoria. It’s a family owned and operated restaurant with amazing views and service!

It came highly recommended so, we made reservations (well in advance), for a cliffside view at sunset.

THIS WAS ONE OF THE BEST MEALS OF MY LIFE!

Arrive with empty stomachs! Every course convinced us to go back for “just one more bite”. By the time they served us the Limoncello and the bill, we were ready to bust.

A little kick down the hill, and we could’ve rolled ourselves back to the hotel! That said, we decided getting back on the shuttle was a better mode of transportation.

Not ready to call it a night, we then headed to Music on the Rocks. A few drinks and dancing helped to burn off some of our meal.

 

 

DAY 3: AMALFI

After a few hours in the morning on the beach, we took a quick ferry over to Amalfi.

Once there, we noticed that they had the Amalfi Musical set in what mimicked a castle inside. Inquiring on show times/pricing, we decided to purchase tickets for the earlier show that evening. Doing that, would still give us time to make the last bus back to Positano.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent exploring the city and finding a place to eat before the show.

What I loved about this musical was how intimate it was. The entire room acted as the full stage and we sat in seats around it. I felt like a guest just watching the drama unfold, vs. an audience in a large arena. In addition to that, screens were set up in various places that translated in English (and multiple other languages). Guests were never lost on the storyline!

I Highly recommend checking it out if you like operas/musicals but do not want to commit to 4+ hours.

DAY 4: POSITANO & PRAIANO

For our last full day in Positano, we opted to spend the day wandering the shops. We also spent some time laying on the beach by the port before our dinner reservations at Africana Famous Club. Knowing that would turn into a night of dancing, we wanted to conserve our energy.

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Africana had a shuttle that picked us up and dropped us off at our hotel. It was a approximately a 25 minute drive to it’s location in Praiano (in between Positano and Amalfi). The shuttle made it a lot easier to get to and from. Yachts can dock there as well with stairs that lead up to the restaurant/club.

Dinner was great and provided another amazing view cliffside. Although we had to wait for a bit between dinner and the club to get going, once it did, it was poppin’. My friend even managed to make her way behind the DJ booth. Giving the DJ suggestions and wearing the headphones (and no, she has ZERO DJ’ing experience lol).

 

 

DAY 5: SORRENTO

We checked out of our hotel early in the morning. In a single trip, our luggage was carried up the stairs that they were brought down a few days prior! We then made our way to Sorrento for a quick two-night stay at Hotel Palazzo Guardati.

The day was spent exploring the town full of small doorways, big containers of Nutella and random side streets. Stopping for lunch at Ristorante L’Abate for caprese salad, pizza and wine (of course!)

We then hopped on the little tourist train around the city before getting ready for dinner. After another recommendation (from a colleague of mine this time), we headed to Il Pozzo. The staff were friendly, the food was good and the wine was flowing. Through small chat, we eventually mentioned to our server that they came recommended by friends in Canada. Next thing we know, the owner brought over some Limoncellos and sat down with us for a drink. Needless to say, we left with full tummies and wide smiles.

 

*SPOILER ALERT: we went back for dinner the next night as well!*

 

 

DAY 6: CAPRI

Early in the morning we grabbed a hydrofoil ferry to Capri for the day. Our goal was to beat the larger crowds and maximize our time on the island. Ferry companies are all at the port in Sorrento, with schedules for departure times listed.

Once we docked in Capri, we stopped in the main square for a light snack and coffee. We planned to take the trail up to Villa Jovis. The hike was around 45–60 minutes on an uphill road, making a few stops into shops we passed.

Along the way, wild goats roamed the road and joined us for part of the journey. If you are planning on going, check the operating hours first (for example, it is closed Tuesdays).

Once we finished exploring the Roman villa, we headed back and stopped at a lookout point that had a small bar, Bar Jovis. Grabbing some seats and hydrating with an Aperol Spritz, we took in the view.

It was a great moment to reflect on just how beautiful the World is.

From there, we headed back to the main square to browse the shops before grabbing our ferry back to Sorrento.

Side note, there are many other sites to see while in Capri such as:

  • the Blue Grotto
  • Villa San Michele
  • Faragolioni, etc.

Research ahead of time so that you can prioritize where on the island you want to explore. It’s a lot bigger than you think – and I will be back!

 

 

DAY 7: SORRENTO TO NAPLES TO ROME

Our next destination was Rome (via Naples), so we jumped on a hydrofoil ferry to Naples. From there, we took a high speed train (via Rail Europe) to Rome.

Radisson Blu es Hotel was beautiful but a little bit out of the way to the big tourist sites. However, close proximity to the train was the main priority since we were only there for a few days. We saved money on transportation costs (we could walk to the train from the hotel), as well as travel time.

We quickly dropped our bags and did a quick refresh before we set out exploring Rome. Our first stop was the Colosseum.

It was amazing to be in THE arena where Gladiators entertained the masses along with emperors and aristocrats.

Then walked through the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, before making our way to other sites. The Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain (under construction while I was there), The Pantheon, Piazza Navona, etc. were larger than life.

 
 
 
FRIEND: “Should we have gelato right before dinner?”
ME: “When in Rome…”
Rome, Italy (2014)



DAY 8: ROME

We had an early morning Viator tour of The Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica pre-booked.

Side note, I’ve used Viator several times throughout my travels. They are well organized, safe, with easy-to-find meeting spots (if hotel pickup is not included). Plus, access into sites is much quicker than not pre-booking with a tour group. In the end, this proved to be a good move. By the time our tour was complete, the lines were long and the halls were crowded.  

Words and pictures will not do this tour justice!

The detail, history and awe that envelop these masterpieces are a sight to be seen and experienced first hand. At the end of the tour, we both wrote a postcard home to our loved ones. Stamped and posted from the smallest country in the world, Vatican City.

The rest of our day was filled with enjoying the city streets and shops before calling it an early night to prepare ourselves for the next leg in our journey!

 

 

 

DAY 9: ROME TO VENICE

We pre-booked an early morning train via Rail Europe to our last stop, Venice.

After checking into Carnival Palace Hotel , we decided that we were just going to get lost. Trying anything more, may be frustrating when you first arrive.

Getting lost here was pretty easy (and that’s not meant as a negative).

Two of our must-buys were the Venetian masks and the Murano glass. We wandered into a store that had some on display, and started chatting to one of the saleswoman. She then gave us a dinner recommendation as we were cashing out.

Casually making our way to the recommended restaurant, Osteria da Codroma, we followed the canal and took it all in.

The restaurant did not disappoint! We shared a few plates for variety (and probably just as important, FOMO). My friend also tried the baby octopus on the menu that night and liked it!

Highly satisfied, we slowly made our way back to our hotel stopping at shops, enjoying the bustle of the dinner crowds, and photo opportunities along the way.  

DAY 10: VENICE

With another early start, we made our way to the fruit/veggie and fish market, and then St. Mark’s Square to feed the pigeons and visit the Basilica.

Purchasing a one-day water bus (vaporetto) ticket, gave us the opportunity to see Venice from the water. We took the full loop to make the most of it.

For lunch, we met up with my friend’s colleague that was in Venice at the same time. He took us to Terrazza Danieli, where we had an amazing meal overlooking the canal. After lunch, we set foot to find the best gelato in the city, Alaska. It was no easy task, but had fun searching up and down the streets until we did. The water bus pass also allowed us to capture the night skyline on our way to dinner.

 

DAY 11: TRAVEL DAY

We had a very early flight home that day. Regular modes of transportation in Venice were not open that early. After the recommendation by our hotel concierge, we pre-booked a water taxi.

We were picked up on time and whisked along the waters at high speed. We felt like Angelina Jolie in a scene from the movie The Tourist. It was the perfect way to end our trip.

While completing this blog, I became aware of the floodings in Venice. My thoughts go out to them. I hope that everyone keeps safe, and the city can repair and rebuild.

TAKEAWAYS

Overall, Italy was a place I will never forget. Each place we visited had something new/unique to store in our memory banks and yearn to return to (Positano and Venice especially). If you’re planning a trip there, here are some key things to remember:

ACCOMMODATIONS

FOOD/NIGHTLIFE

  • Aperol Spritz – fresh, crisp, adult beverage
  • Caprese Salad
  • Limocello – lemon liqueur primarily produced in southern Italy

NAPLES

AMALFI COAST (AMALFI, CAPRI, POSITANO, RAVELLO, SORRENTO)

VENICE

OTHER

  • Book tours/attractions for early in the morning to avoid the big crowds. Focus the rest of the day on wandering and taking in the sites that don’t need admission or guided tours
  • Comfortable and sturdy shoes for walking as well as for the pebble beaches in Positano
  • Plan your destination stops in order of proximity, as well as set your daily itinerary of must-dos ahead of time. This will avoid wasting time jumping from one side of the city/town/country and back again. Not to mention, disappointment for not being able to do something you really wanted to. TripIt is a great app for building an itinerary that all travelers can share/contribute to https://www.tripit.com/web
  • Safety – Take extra precaution while in Rome. It is relatively safe, but pick pocketing is very common. Keep your valuables in your safe at the hotel and walk with your bag securely in front of you
  • Viator is great to book excursions that fit your travel style and pre-book as far ahead as possible to avoid disappointment (they have an app as well)
  • Wine – house wine is delicious, so don’t stress trying to find a more expensive bottle of wine on the list. A lot of these bottles cannot be found in stores. Enjoy the rarity of them while you save in your pocketbook

SIGHTSEEING

CAPRI

  • Blue Grotto
  • Faragolioni
  • Villa Jovis
  • Villa San Michele

RAVELLO

ROME

  • Colosseum
  • Palatine Hill
  • Pantheon
  • Piazza Navona
  • Roman Forum
  • Spanish Steps
  • The Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica (GO EARLY)
  • Trevi Fountain (under construction while I was there)

VENICE

  • St. Mark’s Square and Basilica

TRANSPORTATION

  • Amalfi Coast – hydrofoil ferry  to and from Capri and the rest of the Amalfi Coast towns
  • Rail Europe trains were comfortable and convenient. It avoided the stress and wasted time of getting to the airport hours ahead of the flight and lining up in security checks.
  • Venice – one-day water bus (vaporetto) ticket
  • Venice – water taxi to the airport

GUSTARE!

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