I’d say the Amalfi Coast is right on up there with the top 10 places to see before you die! You have got to experience it for yourself. Take your spouse on a romantic getaway. Fly into Rome, rent a car, and drive from Rome to Positano by car. See it for yourself, at your own pace and leisure. That’s what we did on our 19th wedding anniversary! But you know me, I am used to living life on the road!
Rome to Positano!
Off to Positano, we go!
We landed and went from Rome to Positano by car. We headed out straight from the airport, as we didn’t want to waste any of our valuable Italian time. Of course, we landed early in the morning and so we were a bit jet-lagged. Once we got the car and finally figured our way out of the airport, we were off to the open road. The one main sight to see as you are driving from Rome to Positano is the Abby of Monte Cassino (about 82 miles southeast of Rome). This is totally worth a pit stop, as by this time you will be ready to get out of the car to take a gander and stretch your legs.
A drive down the Amalfi Coast:
This is article #1 in a series of articles about how to take a drive down the Amalfi Coast (from Rome to Positano by car), where to stop, where to stay, and what to do.
- Arrival into Positano (Part 1) (This article)
- Positano bites deep (Part 2)
- Furore, Italy: the most beautiful place on earth, and then there is Ravello
TIP: To get the BEST airfare deals to Rome, use Travelocity’s calendar to see if alternating your travel dates will save you cash.
How to get from Rome to Positano
To drive from Rome, take the A1 Autostrada (toll road) to Naples, then the A3 Autostrada.
To get to Positano, follow the directions toward Sorrento, then take the SS 163 (Via Nastro Azzurro) to Positano.
You can find out about car rentals in Rome here.
First Stop: Abby of Monte Cassino
The Abbey of Monte Cassino is a monastery built in 529 AD on the top of the hill above the town of Cassino. It has some amazing views of the valley below. And the best part is that there is practically nobody there!
Second Stop: Herculaneum (Scavi di Ercolano)
Then it was back in our rented Peugeot and on to Herculaneum. We opted to go see this mini Pompeii because of time constraints on the way to Positano. It is right dab smack in the middle of Naples and we enjoyed seeing it. Herculaneum was buried by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, so it is basically a preserved city from that era.
Look at the picture below, where above the ruins, you can actually see modern-day apartments. It is above because these ruins were buried and then dug out and there are just regular Neapolitans walking around in their neighborhood above with this ancient ruin right in their backyard.
More of Herculaneum from Rome to Positano by car:
These photos actually depict art from the walls and floor, tile inlays, and the tiled fireplace inside one of the houses. It is amazing to me that this is so well preserved. That the people of this time were so advanced in their designs, art, and architecture.
You will love to stop and explore Herculaneum!
Eat Lunch: We are in the Birthplace of Pizza!
We thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and it is actually unbelievable that this ruin is right smack in the middle of Naples, with apartments and condos all around the area. Upon our exit, we were starving by then and decided, since we needed to get on the road fast to get down to Positano, that we would go for some fast food pizza, especially since pizza’s birthplace is Naples.
Well, we were pleasantly surprised when we found a quick little pizza joint just outside of the parking lot of Scavi di Ercolano called La Terra di Ercole.
After rushing in the American style, we realized that this was not the place for fast food pizza even though it looked like that on the outside. Instead, they asked us to sit and brought out the white tablecloth and offered us a refreshing limoncello, while they began to actually hand make the pizza dough in front of us. We had to just slow down and go with the flow…and we are so glad we did, as it was memorable pizza, to say the least!
Back on the road quickly (well almost!)
Then it was on to a quick exit of Naples, and back on the road to Positano. One quick tip about renting a car and driving in Italy from an American perspective: We skip the extra insurance and just rent with a credit card that has primary auto insurance (we figure the chance of anything happening is slim). We usually get a GPS with the car if we are going to be getting out of a city, as the city can be hard to get around in. You won’t need one if, of course, you have an international phone.
QUICK TIP ABOUT RENTING A CAR IN ITAY: Always pay attention to the CONTROL signs overhead, the drive-thru signs on the freeway. Apparently, there are lots of speed traps on the roads of Italy and every time you go through one of these CONTROL signs, you will hear a little ding sound coming from your car. This is some kind of signal that a contracted company knows who you are based on your rental agreement (or who the owner of the car is).
Why does it matter? Because the rental company will give your information and credit card number to the Italian Government, that is why it matters! And then for years, you will be receiving a ticket from the Italian Government for you to pay. Use a credit card to rent a car that has no foreign transaction fees and is primary auto insurance. Then cancel the card when you get home. That way the Italian Government can’t charge your $190 Euros fee on the card since it has been canceled!
Precautions: Going From Rome to Positano by Car
If you’re traveling from Rome to Positano by car, I can offer you a piece of advice: be careful!
July and August are extremely busy, as well as public holidays. It can also be quite harrowing, as the curves along the Amalfi Coast are quite narrow and sharp. I would recommend that the person who chooses to drive, be a good driver! It is more for an experienced driver and not a novice. Also, many times it is jammed packed,, so be sure and pick the proper time to go.
Timing: Since we landed in the early morning, we were able to get the car and leave right away, but if you are flying into the airport in Rome in the afternoon or evening, you may want to consider spending the night in Rome BEFORE you get started on the open road.
Arrival into Positano (Part 1) (Next article)
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