"You may have the universe if I may have Italy."---Giuseppe Verdi
The Amalfi Coast
On our first full day in Rome at Rick Steves' pre-tour recommendation, we booked a day long excursion with Avventure Bellissime to the Amalfi coast and Pompeii. Everyone we spoke to while planning this trip said that Pompeii was a "must see". Since we had a couple extra days before our tour started we decided to take their advice. David and I were picked up at our hotel around 7:00 AM and joined five others in a mini-van for a wonderful, but long, day of spectacular scenic coastal views, visits to charming and sophisticated Amalfi and Positano, ending the day in amazing Pompeii.
Did you know? Italians on the
average eat around
66 lbs of pasta and drink
60 liters of wine per year.
After a three hour drive south from Rome and past Naples, we began driving along the scenic Amalfi coast. Our driver & guide, Carlo, was an expert at navigating these very narrow "Mamma Mia" roads often having to bend in the side mirrors to keep from scraping the hillside or a passing car. Our first stop was Amalfi. What a beautiful little town. We walked straight up the narrow main road to the charming and busy town center where we stopped to admire the beautiful 9th century Amalfi Cathedral with its detailed golden mosaic facade. The cathedral was dedicated to the apostle Saint Andrew whose remains were brought here from Constantinople in 1206. We drank from the fountain of Sant'Andrea for good luck, or was it good health? After indulging in a little lemon gelato we wandered through the busy streets amazed that scooters and delivery vehicles managed to make their way through the crowds.
"Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real when you are gone."---John Steinbeck
Our next stop was elegant Positano. Even the mini van couldn't navigate the streets leading to the beach. Carlo dropped us off about halfway down and it was an easy downhill stroll to the lovely beach with its seaside cafes, endless shops, and umbrella strewn shoreline. We randomly picked a nice cafe with a great ocean view and a perfect people watching vantage point. We had a leisurely lunch watching the "beautiful people" walk by and later wandered back up the hill past shops selling pretty biscotti jars and limoncello.
Along the Way:
The Faithful, Funny, and the Flavorful
In Hindsight: We wish we had more time to spend in this area. Ideally a couple nights in Sorrento with side trips up the coast would have been preferred. It was a very long day, but we're glad we did it. Also, I wish I had stopped at one of those pottery shops and bought a biscotti jar.