What to Know About Backpacking In Southern Italy

Time and time again, I’ve heard people rave about Italy. The way some people talk about it, I can’t help but wonder why they don’t just live there.

And now, I understand.

My girlfriend and I gave ourselves one week to visit two cities in Italy. It was our first time there, so we wanted to see what you must see.

Our first destination was Sorrento, similar and close to Amalfi. It sits atop high bluffs that look far out into the very blue ocean – and for those who’ve seen the pictures, yes, it’s really like that.

The brightly colored hotels, restaurants, and apartments stand next to one another, blending together to give Sorrento a very inviting feel. More or less, Sorrento is a laid back city. It’s easy going and much slower than some other modern Western cities.

But, people on scooters and in compact cars zip along the narrow, cobblestone roads quickly, making their way from one end to the next.

Traffic does get busy during the week, but luckily for us, high holiday season was over. We had a fair amount of open space, and a warm welcome by everybody (yes, everybody) we encountered.

I was warned on the plane by a professor who’s been conducting research in Italy for some time now that during this time of the year, some Italians are worn. The high travel time came through like a big wave and receded back into the ocean.

In some areas, I can see how this could happen. In fact, I traveled to Germany during mid-August years ago and ran into a similar situation. But, and I’m not sure how surprising this actually is, people were pleasant.

People in Sorrento were readily available when you needed assistance. Like other European cities, food service was hands off, but excellent when you asked.

And, in this day and age, the language barrier in many European countries isn’t an issue. It wasn’t in Italy, and we even managed to pick up on some basic sayings as we went along.

Getting From Rome To Sorrento

We left Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport Tuesday, Aug. 30. I took my first step in Rome the next morning.

Overnight flights are the best, in my experience, if you’re trying to avoid jetlag.

Rome’s airport can be busy, and it certainly was when we arrived Wednesday morning. The hustle and bustle wasn’t unmanageable, though. If you’ve been to places like New York City, Chicago, or other large metros, Rome was easy.

Also read: Here’s a Quick Guide To Rome’s Top Attractions

And, despite many internet warnings of theft, I thought the airport was just like any other – if not better – than many I’ve been too. It wasn’t overly shady or sketchy. It might’ve help too that there was a very noticeable security presence at the airport.

The long and short of it, just keep your wits about you. Stay aware of what’s going on, and keep one foot in front of the other.

Stepping away from the gate, we went to purchase our train tickets to Termini, the main train station in Rome. There are many self-service ticket machines that have different language options, English included.

Our tickets were about €30 for two. We went to the train platforms and onto the next part of our journey. So far, so good.

The high-speed train ride lasted about a half hour, if I remember correctly. The ride didn’t feel that long. The train itself had a bright staff and was nearly spotless. It sailed smoothly too.

Termini train station was busier, of course, being the central place for many in the area. Like the airport, there were dozens of self-service ticket machines.

Our plan was to go straight from Rome to Sorrento. We would spend half of our trip there, then come back to Rome and spend our remaining days in the city.

That said, from Rome, we needed to go to Naples in order to connect to a smaller, regional train to get to Sorrento. Once we did that, we were permitted to relax.