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Rome - Positano: Rental car or train??

Level Contributor
39 posts
Rome - Positano: Rental car or train??

We will be traveling from Rome to Positano in September. My husband suggested to rent a car in Rome (we stay in B&B near Vatican) from Hertz and drive to Positano, stopping at Herculaneum & Pompeii. Is this a doable thing? We are from NY, first time to Italy. Do we need International Driving Permit or any special documentation to drive in Italy? Also, how is the road condition? I mean, is it relatively easy to follow or very complicated roads/highways, etc.? Do they drive on the right side like in U.S. or the left side?

It will cost us about 72 euros for 1 day. Will this be better option versus taking a train from Rome to Naples then transfer from Naples to Sorrento then SITA bus to Positano and we won't be able to see Pompeii & Herculaneum!

I would appreciate if anybody can give me some advice!

Thank you!!

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
917 posts
5 reviews
1. Re: Rome - Positano: Rental car or train??

Personally I would not rent a car. I would not want one in Positano. We have driven in Italy before (thru Tuscany for a few days) and it was kind of crazy. We prefer train/public transportation.

When we went to Positano this last time we took a train to Naples and then had a driver take us from Naples straight to Positano. That cost about 90-100 euros. What I would recommend is seeing how much it would cost to get a driver and then have them stop and take you to Pompeii on the way. They can keep your bags in the car. Perhaps your hotel in Positano could recommend a driver. Just an idea. I guess your original plan would be cheaper, but it could be more stressful (just my opinion). See what others recommend too and see what sounds best for you.

Level Contributor
39 posts
2. Re: Rome - Positano: Rental car or train??

Thank you for your reply.

I thought I had made a good plan of renting a car and today I was reading through other posts and found that it was not really a good idea after all.. A lot of people had said driving southern Italy, especially around Naples is bad.

How much does it cost for train from Rome to Naples? Is that the Circumvesuviana train? I would like to find out the price and timetables. I can contact the B&B we're staying in Positano to find out about a driver..

Thanks again!

Destination Expert
for Tokyo
Level Contributor
25,870 posts
30 reviews
3. Re: Rome - Positano: Rental car or train??

train scheudles and fares (rome to naples): www.trenitalia.it

Train scheudles naples to sorrento: http://www.vesuviana.it/inv/a02.pdf

fare naples to sorrento: 3.2Euro valid for 180 minutes or 6.40 valid for 1 day. http://www.unicocampania.it/ita/tipol.htm

SITA bus fare also convered by this web page. use a translation website.

Level Contributor
39 posts
4. Re: Rome - Positano: Rental car or train??

Thank Bibimbob,

I have another question though.. I went to the websites you gave me.. On Trenitalia website, it says "NO" under "Buy" column. Does that mean all the tickets are sold out or it should be purchased in Italy??

Thank you again!

Mississauga, Ontario
Level Contributor
30 posts
12 reviews
5. Re: Rome - Positano: Rental car or train??

We were recently in Italy and rented a car. The highways are very easy to follow but we would not rent the next time, especially around Positano. The roads are very windy (not the Autostrada though) and the Italians still drive very fast on these roads. To enjoy the view of the drive, I would hire a driver.

Hagerstown, Maryland
Level Contributor
6,157 posts
23 reviews
6. Re: Rome - Positano: Rental car or train??

Definitely do not rent a car for this. Train travel in Italy is very easy and will be much less expensive than a car rental. Spend your money on great meals instead.

I think it would be safe to wait to buy your train tickets once in Rome. At the Termini station there, there are self-serve kiosks that are very easy to use. Trains leave Rome for Naples practically every hour, so I can't believe there's any reason to worry that all the trains will be sold out. But you can buy your tickets a few days in advance once in Rome.

If you'd prefer to purchase before leaving for Italy, you may have noticed you can't purchase through the Trenitalia website more than 60 days in advance.

At the Naples train station, you switch to the Circumvesuviana - this is a commuter train that will take you to Sorrento (where the train ends). But if I recall correctly, there's no AC on it. So if it's hot that day, you might opt for something else. Either a private driver as someone else suggested, or taxi over to the port and take a boat (don't know much about this though).

By the way, you can get to both Pompeii and Herculaneum using the Circumvesuviana train. In fact, I believe you'll pass through the stop for Pompeii when going from Naples to Sorrento.

Good luck.

Level Contributor
39 posts
7. Re: Rome - Positano: Rental car or train??

thank you jjkdc! It was very helpful to know all the details.. Does anyone know more about the ferry or hydrofoil from Naples to Positano or Sorrento? We're going to be staying in Positano but if there's no boat service directly to Positano from Naples, we'll have to stop at Sorrento or somewhere..

If anyone has info on boat service from Naples, (if we don't have to transfer 3 times to get to Positano, it would be great..)I would love to hear it!^^

Austin, TX
Level Contributor
52 posts
26 reviews
8. Re: Rome - Positano: Rental car or train??

I am so happy to see this converstaion, because we are going on Aug 8th and I had no idea how we were getting from Rome to Positano. I think we have decided to take the train to Naples, and then the ferry. This site shows a ferry from Naples to Positano if I am reading it correctly. http://www.metrodelmare.com. If I am not, let me know. I find the sites a little confusing. Does anyone know if it is more expensive to by the train ticket from Rome to Naples the day off vs in advance?

Salerno, Italia
Level Contributor
3,055 posts
3 reviews
9. Re: Rome - Positano: Rental car or train??

Dear beige1004,

The boats referred to in www.metrodelmare.com leave from Molo Beverello which is around 2-3 miles away from Napoli Centrale FS Train Station. You could take a taxi (most comfortable) to Molo Beverello and then look for the Metro del Mare's ticket counter which I'm guessing is within the string of ticket counters under the roof which reads "Molo Beverello." Otherwise, you might need to walk out the train station (crazy with construction, traffic, and pedestrians every which way) and catch the #1 or #4 trolley (on the 2nd of the tree bus stops from Napoli FS Centrale Train Station) to Molo Beverello (around the 8th or 9th stop, you'll see all the cruise ships and the huge castel Maschio Angioino as landmarks). Bus tickets around €1.00 (UnicoNapoli) and you need to stamp it when you board the bus.

According to this link, you can take a boat from Napoli Mergellina to Sorrento. Some trains from Roma Termini stop at Napoli Mergellina, a smaller station. Mergellina's a pretty nice area by Napoletano standards, but I'm not sure if the train station has an escalator or an elevator so you might need to carry your luggage down and up back to exit the train station. I'm guessing that the Mergellina FS Train Station might be pretty close to where the boats leave.


You could also take a Eurostar (ES) or Intercity (IC or ICPlus) train to Salerno and then walk out to Porto Turistico from the Salerno FS Train Station (two blocks out to the ocean, a right turn toward the pole-like monument (Piazza Concordia), and then a walk down the ramp to the port behind the monument-~10-15minutes). You could take a taxi to the entrance of Porto Turistico too (might cost a ton of euros even though it's less than a mile). This company offers boats to Positano and they charge €1.50 for each piece of luggage taken aboard:


Also, train are not more expensive if they're bought the day of train travel by the ways. Some people have had luch buying tickets from www.trenitalia.it and I've not been able to buy tickets for several years so I end up just going to the train station.

In general, one might consider factoring delays due to train strikes, bus strikes, taxi strikes, stop lights which don't work, train mechanical problems, bus problems (once a SITA bus broke down between Salerno and Napoli in the freezing cold and it around an hour until another bus arrived ), etc. The ferries tend to be pretty reliable as they're run by private companies.

Buona Fortuna...

Level Contributor
39 posts
10. Re: Rome - Positano: Rental car or train??

Wow.. kkushiba1 -- I really appreciate how you wrote down each step of what I should look for.. I can't thank you enough!^^

I tried to copy the the screen here but it won't let me.. Does it mean departure time is 8:25am, 5:15pm, 9:55am and 2:25pm? and the run time for each hydrofoil is different? This is really helpful.. Now I know where to get the tickets, how much it costs, how long it runs for, etc.. Once I get off from the hydrofoil then I guess I have to ask the B&B i'm staying if there is porter or other way to get to them.

Thank you again!