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For the trek from Rome to the Amalfi Coast, your main transport options are to take a train or drive. It all depends what you want out of your transit experience. Driving will, of course, take a bit more planning upfront, because you’re the sole determiner of the route. However, it also gives you the freedom to make the stops you want to make en route and go at your own pace.
With the train, you don’t have to navigate the Italian roads (or relearn how to drive a stick shift), but you’re at the mercy of the Italian transit schedule. On the other hand, it’s an opportunity to take in the views without being behind the wheel.
Of course, there are also ferries and private helicopters to consider. Ferries are a great resource once you get to Naples or Sorrento, and when traveling along the Amalfi Coast, but there's no direct route from Rome to the Amalfi Coast. Helicopters are more direct and can make the trip in about an hour, though you miss stopping at sights (like Pompeii) along the way.
Finally, there’s the option to hire a private car to bring you down the coast, which could be the best of all worlds. A chauffeur can bring you to the coastal towns you most want to see en route, and you don’t have to be behind the wheel yourself.
Here’s a more in-depth breakdown on how best to get from Rome to the Amalfi Coast:
The Private Car Route
You can book a door-to-door private car to get you down to the Amalfi Coast, and it should only take three hours if you drive the inland roads. If you’d prefer your driver take a more coastal route, you’ll be looking at about a five-hour drive. You can book a high-end car with a company like Positano Limo Service, or rent a car that comes with a driver through a service like Giordano Car Service.
Renting Your Own Car
Renting a car in Rome is a popular choice for those looking to tour Italy. The route will vary from three to five hours depending on your route; You might choose to drive along the coast, primarily following SS148, or you could opt for the shorter, inland route and take the Autostrada 1 straight from Rome to Naples. Hertz has 35 pickup locations in Rome, which makes renting a car exceptionally easy.
The Train Route
You can ride with Trenitalia directly from Rome to Naples. From Naples, you can catch a ferry or a local bus to get to the Amalfi Coast. The trains traveling directly from Roma Termini to Napoli Centrale run frequently. To catch a local bus from Naples, you’ll take a train from Napoli Centrale to Vietri sul Mare, which is where the buses to Amalfi leave from.
The Ferry Route
Ferries only run in the high season, available from the beginning of April to mid-September. These ferries (or hydrofoils) run between Amalfi Coast and southern Italy destinations but can’t get you from Rome to Naples. Once you get to Naples, the ferry can take you to ports like Positano, Capri, Salerno, and Sorrento, among others.
The Chopper Route
A heli transfer from Rome to Capri takes about an hour and 15 minutes. HeliItaly will do transfers from Rome to the Amalfi Coast, Rome to Positano, and Rome to Capri.
What to See Along Your Journey from Rome to the Amalfi Coast
Halfway between Rome and Naples, you’ll come to Terracina, which is in the Latium province and right on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Terracina is known as the best vantage point for the sunsets over Mount Circeo, an enormous rock jutting out of the sea that’s fully visible from Terracina. This is also the perfect place to get into the Amalfi spirit with a seafood meal and an Aperol spritz enjoyed right on the coast. And finally, if you have time, visit Terracina’s most notable historical site, Temple of Jove Anxur, which sits on Mount Saint Angelo and offers magnificent views of the city, Mount Circeo, and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The key to stopping in Naples on your drive to the Amalfi Coast is, of course, enjoying a traditional pizza pie. Head to Sorbillo, right on the water, for a twist on the classic Napoli crust. They manage to make a chewy dough light enough to melt in your mouth, with a perfectly crispy exterior. Naples’ modern art museum, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (or Madre), is also worth a visit while in Naples, as is an aperitivo break at Piazza Bellini.
In the Campania region, just south of Naples, you’ll find Pompeii, the ancient Roman town that was famously covered in volcanic ash in the year 79 (common era). Since excavation in the 19th and 20th centuries, visitors have been able to see a remarkably well-preserved historic town when coming to Pompeii. For your first stop, visit the Antiquarium, a museum that will provide much-needed context to inform your Pompeii experience. Then see the Teatro Grande, the largest theatre in Pompeii, and the Forum, known as the town’s central square.
A stop in Caserta focuses mostly on the city’s architecture and historic churches. Their most noteworthy attraction is the Reggia (Royal Palace). Completed in 1774, a year after the original architect Luigi Vanvitelli’s death, the palace was built to compete with the architectural likes of structures in London, Paris, and Madrid. Complex of Sant'Agostino, built in the 15th century, should be the next stop in your historical tour of Caserta. A basilica honoring St. Augustine, the cloisters and church are meticulously decorated.