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Marlene asked

Which part of Italy to see

Trying to decide between renting a car and driving to small towns and areas of interest. Was thinking about Capri and the Amalfi Coast but now wonder about going a different route and seeing what you think about Hotel LaSpiaggia and touring that area. Really don't think I want to spend 3 nights in Positano climbing steps all the day/night... though I want to see Ravello and go to Capri. So torn...I have about 5 nights to plan for after spending 5 nights in Florence. Is that too many nights in Florence? We really want to just rent a car and drive...

1 Answer
answered first by
Mary from Leicester

I don't think 5 nights in Florence is too much at all. Apart from the city's own historical interest (you'll need at least 2 full days to even scratch its surface) it makes an excellent base for visits to other parts of Tuscany (SienaSan GimignanoLucca etc) even if you don't have a car. If it were me, and given the hassle of parking and ZTLs in all the places I've mentioned, I'd stick to using public transport to explore and only hire a car if you want to do a 'Tuscan vineyards' day. 

If you do decide to have a car in Florence make sure that you choose a hotel which is outside the ZTL (restricted traffic zone, more or less the historical centre of the city), otherwise you'll have to leave the car somewhere else and walk or take a taxi or public transport to your hotel. It's best to get a hotel outside the ZTL which has its own parking.

You say you don't want to spend ages going up and down steps in Positano and I absolutely agree. Whilst very pretty, the town is extremely visitor-focused...and parking is not only very difficult but may well cost you a (figurative) arm & leg. Imo, both Sorrento and Amalfi make better bases for exploration of this area.

Sorrento is the larger town, with plenty of hotel choice and parking options as well as its own historical interest. It is also nearest to Pompei and Herculaneum (both of which are unmissable if you haven't visited the area before). There are frequent ferries and hydrofoils from Sorrento to Capri throughout the year.

Amalfi is smaller than Sorrento, with less historical interest and perhaps more steps. I don't know it well enough to comment on parking options but I do know that ferries to Capri are much less frequent than those from Sorrento and do not run year-round.

Hope that helps a bit. :-)

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Florence (city)
  2. Siena (city)
  3. San Gimignano (city)
  4. Lucca (attraction)
  5. Positano (city)
  6. Sorrento (attraction)
  7. Amalfi (city)
  8. Pompei (attraction)
  9. Herculaneum (attraction)
  10. Capri (attraction)

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