Well lots has happened since our last update. We spent a great last day in Rome at the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and the evening attending the ‘E’lisir de Amore’ at the Opera house. All three would make it onto my must-do list for Rome. The first two were free, the Opera was €59 for middle of the road tickets. The opera was an amazing experience, a gorgeous ornate opera house with the Italians dressed in their finest and spectacular singing…very ‘Pretty Woman’ 🙂 !
After Rome, we made our way to the Amalfi Coast. We stopped en route at Pompeii and were treated to beautiful, clear views of Mt. Vesuvius. Pompeii turned out to be very interesting and was much more extensive than I imagined. The state of the ruins and the extent to which they were preserved was incredible.
From Pompeii, we took a road through the mountain pass on the Sorrento Peninsula to reach the Amalfi Coast. Mama Mia, what a road! Zigzagging higher and higher to the top of the mountain with the coast miles below over steep cliffs, our coach clinging to the side of the mountain on a single land road with traffic going in both directions! Yikes, it was a close your eyes and hang on kind of ride. If you want to reach Amalfi on your own, you can take a train to Sorrento or Salerno and then ferries from there to several of the villages.
We stayed three nights in Maiori, the largest town in Amalfi Coast with 10,000 people. Our hotel was the Soleil Splendid and we had a large, lovely one bedroom suite overlooking the Mediterranean. It was very 1950’s style, but quaint, sparkling clean and with a nice breakfast each morning. We could always hear the sound of the waves from our room, I loved it!
Maiori has a good bit of shopping with friendly shopkeepers, a beautiful promenade running the length of the sea. Some of our best meals were here at local seaside restaurants. The food seemed a bit more inventive or less plain than what we found in Rome… local pasta with pumpkin flowers and fresh smoked cheese, ravioli with romano infused with local lemon and cherry tomatoes, yum! Plus the best tomato soup I have ever had! This area is well known for their lemons, they are everywhere! Lemoncello, olive oil infused with lemon, etc.
While in Amalfi we also visited Amalfi town, the oldest village in the area and the famous Isle of Capri! It was about 1.5 hours by ferry each way from Amalfi town to Capri. Once in Capri, you take a cable car from the harbour to the town built in the mountain above. The cable car takes five minutes and cost €1.80. The town is known to host the rich and famous, Tom Cruise, etc. There are some of the best views there, it is a really impressive island. There is a monastery with famous flower gardens and their own perfumery. There are top end hotels and villas owned by the rich and famous, as well as all the high end shopping, Gucci, Prada, Valentino and much more….every girl’s dream if you had an endless budget! We skipped the shopping, had a really nice lunch and went back to the harbour and spent an hour being lazy at the local free beach. It wasn’t quite swimming weather, but it was pleasant and relaxing to sit and look at the beautiful blue Mediterranean.
Now we are off to Florence and Venice for two nights each, which is sure to be a whirlwind of sightseeing and trying to fit everything into our last few days. There is so much to see and do here, two weeks is not enough!