October 17, 2014

Creating an Itinerary for Campania & Rome

Has it really been three months since we were in Europe?  Day-to-day routines, work, family -- life in general has a habit of spinning by at a dizzying speed (except when it's Monday and you're wondering how in the world it's not yet beer-thirty on Friday!). 

I've been musing over the Italian portion of our itinerary in Europe trip this past summer.  As anticipated, it was nonstop sightseeing action, balanced to the point of maximizing the number of sites we could visit without exhausting or crippling us.  Here's what we ended up with and a rough estimate of costs (all prices are per person except for lodging):

A whole row to ourselves!
Day 0 (July 3rd):
Washington D.C.
We arranged for my brother-in-law to drive us from Richmond to Washington Dulles International Airport to catch a 10:30pm flight to Naples via Brussels.  Europe, here we come!
$1,500 a ticket
165€ for 3 nights in Pompei at Hotel Vittoria
360,75€ for 5 nights in Rome at Hotel Andreotti

Day 1:
Brussels - Naples - Pompei
After a brief layover in Brussels, we flew to Naples, caught the transfer bus from the airport to Napoli Centrale station, and took the Circumvesuviana train line to Pompei.  We checked into the charming Hotel Vittoria, ate dinner, and passed out!
4€ - snack and beverage in Brussels
3€ - transfer bus to Napoli Centrale
2,90€ - Circumvesuviana train line to Pompeii Scavi
20€ - appetizer, dinner, and drinks at Hostaria Plinio

Day 2:
Pompeii Ruins
We woke up at the crack of dawn (translation: 10am), scarfed down our free breakfast at the hotel, and spent the rest of the day exploring the ancient city of Pompeii.
11€ - entry fee to ruins
12€ - one slice of pizza & drink for lunch
20€ - dinner and drinks at the Coffee House
Day 3:
Taking the Circumvesuviana train from Pompeii to Sorrento was easy, albeit crowded.  We wandered down to the water for a quick lunch then up to the cliffs and out to Punta del Capo and the Baths of Queen Joan.  We swam in crystal-clear waters, soaked up some rays on the rocky coastline, and marveled at the beauty of the Campanian coast.
8€ - roundtrip Circumvesuviana tickets
8€ - panini & Coke lunch
20€ - appetizer, dinner, and drinks at Hostaria Plinio

Day 4:
Mt Vesuvius - Naples - Rome
We woke up early to take the 9am excursion to Mt Vesuvius... only to be told the first bus didn't leave until 10.  We spent several hours from Vesuvius, then rushed back to Pompeii to catch the Circumvesuviana to Naples, and then the train from there to Rome.  Exhausted and hungry, we arrived in Rome around 7pm and enjoyed a meal at Ristorante Babbos that evening.
22€ - Mt Vesuvius transportation and tickets
5€ - crappy train station food
2,90€ - train from Pompeii to Naples
19€ - Naples to Rome tickets 
23€ - dinner and drinks at Ristorante Babbos

Day 5:
The "Caesar Shuffle" - Ancient Rome
Our first full day in Rome was spent doing the "Caesar Shuffle" around the ancient Roman monuments and ruins: the Colosseum, Arch of Constantine, and the Roman Forum were all on the list.  Thanks to the Roma Pass, we were able to bypass queues and get to the action faster!
36€ - Roma Pass
5€ - panini and bottle of water from street vendor
21€ - dinner and drinks at Steak House Ristorante & Pizzeria

Day 6:
St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican Museum - Germany TROUNCING Brazil
Utilizing our unlimited 3-day access to the Metro, we headed north to visit the Vatican for the day.  We caught stunning views of St Peter's Square from the Basilica and watched the antics of other tourists with amused annoyance before heading over to the Vatican Museum to gawk over Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel.  Later we walked along the Tiber to scout the next day's path before returning to our hotel to watch Germany spank Brazil in the semi-finals of the World Cup!
35€ - reserved entrance to the Vatican Museum with a rented audio guide
5€ - entrance to climb the dome of St Peter's
8€ - exorbitantly priced street food near the Vatican
5€ - delicious gyro from a Termini station stand for a light dinner

Day 7:
National Museum of Rome - Spanish Steps - Castel Sant'Angelo - Passeggiatiata to the (closed) Trevi Fountain
For our final day with the Roma Pass, we rambled all over Rome, starting with the Discus Thrower at the National Museum of Rome, zipping off to the Castel Sant'Angelo for the best view of Rome's skyline, and finally popping over to the Spanish Steps to pose a la Audrey Hepburn before we experienced a fast-moving thunderstorm and almost witnessed a bad scooter and pedestrian crash.  We ate dinner just around the corner from the Trevi Fountain (if we'd known how close it was to the fountain, we would've looked for less touristy food elsewhere) and then shed a disappointed tear or two over the fountain since it was closed for renovations.
7€ - entrance to Castel Sant'Angelo (30% off with Roma Pass)
6€ - street food for lunch
22€ - dinner at Osteria Allegro Pachino 

Day 8:
Pantheon - Mouth of Truth - Piazza Navona - Best Gelato OF MY LIFE - Circus Maximus
Our final day in Rome was spent visiting random sites and revisiting a few favorites.  It was also the first (and only) time we had gelato during our entire time in Italy!  (It's blasphemy, I know!)  Beyond a small donation at the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, which houses the Bocca della Verita (Mouth of Truth), our only expenses were food and a one-way metro trip from the Colosseum to the hotel. 
1,50€ - one Metro trip
1€ - donation to Santa Maria in Cosmedin
4€ - gelato at Tre Scalini Cafe
6€ - cafe lunch near Trevi Fountain
21€ - dinner and drinks at the Steak House (again)  

Day 9:
Rome - Stuttgart
After a quick breakfast at our hotel, we took the Leonardo Express train from Termini to Fiumincino Airport for our flight to Germany.
11€ - Leonardo Express train
70€ - flight to Stuttgart

I confess that I didn't actually budget when it came to our time in Italy.  We had a certain amount of cash in hand that we'd saved up, but otherwise we didn't have a specific limit in mind per day.  Seeing it broken down actually amazes me that we spent such a relatively small amount - for Italy, that is! - and that we managed to see so much in such a short time!

Have you ever broken down the costs of a trip and been surprised (in a good or bad way) or been amazed at how much you packed into your itinerary?


Linking up with other travel bloggers for #WeekendWanderlust!

* Approximate.  I may have overstated or understated some of the sit-down meals as I have misplaced the receipts I kept.  I also may have forgotten a snack or two purchased along the way.


  1. I usually break down my trips both before and after.... and I am usually surprised how much I go over budget. I have no self-control!

    1. We really don't either! I mean, we go with a certain amount of cash in hand with the understanding that we don't want to spend more than that. We probably should become a little more sophisticated in our budgeting!

  2. Thanks for breaking it all down for us! It's great to see your itinerary and where you spent your money. This was really helpful for me since I'll be planning my trip to Italy soon - we only have the flights booked (which we got for a great price, so we booked really early as we are going in May 2015!)

    1. Glad it helped! We definitely waited too long for our tickets; I didn't get a firm approval for my time off request until mid-February, so we only booked them 4.5 months before departure. I've heard that the best deals are 6 months out, so if we plan on returning to Europe in May, we need to book between now and mid-November!

  3. - Three months already, ours was four months ago, and it feels like last week.
    - I can't imagine going over 10€ per person [lunch/dinner] and even that is a little too much for us.
    - I usually break it down on google docs, so I can keep track of what/how much we spend on our trips for future references.

    1. Where did you eat in Rome for under 10€ a person? The prices I listed included alcohol and water (which of course isn't free), but otherwise an actual full-fledged Italian meal wasn't very cheap. We ate a lot of döner instead to keep things more affordable.

  4. Looks like a great trip! I have very fond memories of Italy myself, such a wonderful country ! And the ice cream, oh, the ice cream;)


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