Amalfi Coast and Pompeii

5 Comments

Hey Everyone! We’re wrapping up and starting to feel all the feels. Only a couple more posts before we’re back in the good ol US of A.

 

 

One last adventure to the sea! We picked up our rental car n Rome, drove through Naples, and after narrowly avoiding collision with at least 100 psychotic Italian drivers, we climbed up and over the mountains to the spectacular and ritzy Amalfi Coast. It was the end of the season, so things were really slowing down, but we had a fantastic time regardless. We stayed in Maiori, which is about 3 miles down the coast from the town of Amalfi. Not as much of a glitzy locale, but it was perfect for us. We were a block off the beach with a small market just a few steps away. The pool was also close, but it was icy cold, so that was a no go. The sea ended up being much more comfortable for a swim, which is where we spent most of our time.

Our days there were wonderful but fleeting as we spent much time reflecting over our trip. We were mostly lazy, playing on the beach and playing in the sand. We took one big outing during our stay and it was well worth the death defying drive down the coast. On our second full day there we decided to make the trip to Punta Campanella, the point where the Amalfi Coast meets the Gulf of Naples. We drove to the appropriately named Termini, the last town at the end of the peninsula and continued on foot down the ancient stone path. The views of the coast and the island of Capri were breathtaking and the well cared for olive groves we hiked through gave us the feeling of a time long past. We eventually made it down to the point where the sea met the stone. The waves crashed violently down below and the old stone ruins remained above perched on the limestone cliffs. There we found remains from the ancient Greeks, Romans, bases for Napoleon’s cannons as well as WWII cannons. This was clearly a point that has been of cultural significance since even mythical times. In fact, this was said to be the location where Odysseus founded a sanctuary for the Goddess Athena and where he met the Sirens. We took in the views before heading back up the trail to the car. On our way back, we stopped at a wonderful cliff-side restaurant between Positano and Amalfi for a picturesque sunset and a Campari Spritz.

After we bid farewell to the coast, we made another frightening trip on the highway to Pompeii. This was really an incredible place. Excivated from the ash that had buried it centuries ago, the ancient city remains somewhat as it was the day Mt. Vesuvious erupted in 79 AD. There we wandered the streets and pondered what it must have been like to live in ancient Pompeii under the looming volcano. The highlight was definitely the Amphitheater where battles once took place between Gladiators and beasts. Also, in more recent history, Pink Floyd made a recording and movie there in 1972. The archaic halls had been preserved, and inside was an exhibit displaying photos and a recap of the famous recording session. It was a surprising and entertaining fusion on ancient and modern history. We wandered a bit more before getting back in the car and hitting the road once again. We headed back to Rome,  but made a quick pit stop at Mt. Vesuvius. We drove up the rocky crater in hopes of a hike and a view, but we found the top congested with tourists and ourselves running short on time. So we hopped out, took in the view, snapped a photo or two and sped off toward the airport. There we would depart our beloved Italy for our final destination, Athens. This also happened to be our first destination of the trip, if you recall, but we were mostly in the islands as it was a bazillion degrees in Athens in August.

One more stop and we’ll be headed home!

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Samantha Spiwak

    Im heading to Amalfi at the end of June. Love to hear any tips and must see spots. Also we were planning to drive from Rome. Is the driving that terrible? Not sure an easier way to get around as we are planning to do Sorrento, Positano, Amali, Ravello and Pompei. Thanks for the tips. IM so jealous of your amazing travels!

    • Doug Braam

      Hey Sam!
      The driving was a little scary, but its the only way to do Amalfi Coast really. I was in the passenger seat so I didn’t get the thrill of the drive. Just be careful and make sure you have good insurance coverage of your car. Parking can be tough too so make sure to secure reserved spaces at your lodging. The hiking is supposed to be really great in the interior of the peninsula and you can go right from the coast. The whole area was really great but Positano and Amalfi area definitely busy areas. Other than that, make sure to try a Campari Spritz and the Lemoncello, some restaurants have homemade stuff that packs a good punch.

      Have a blast if I don’t see you first!

  2. dick freese

    In 1957, I went by small boat from Naples to Capri, with bunch of college kids, stayed in a filthy youth hostel; but it was all fun at age 19 years. In 1980, Sigrid, Louis, Alice and I went to the Alafia Coast, stayed in a old charming hotel overlooking the slope of vineries to the sea, feasting on delicious food in a room of tile and magnificent size and view. What memories you bring!

  3. LOUIS FREESE

    On Dad’s sabbatical in 1980 we arrived in Naples by boat from Greece. I remember going to Pompeii. I also remember staying in a little town called Ravello. That is probably what Dad is talking about. Italy is an amazing place so full of history.

    I can hardly wait to see you all again.

    Louis

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