Naples to the Amalfi Coast

Before I start talking about today I want to mention one thing I forgot to mention yesterday. Museums in Italy are not air conditioned. Both the Vatican Museum and the Archaeological Museum of Naples were not air conditioned. I know that’s a small sample size but that’s my conclusion so far.

This morning we checked out of our hotel and walked to the train station where we picked up our rental car.

Our rental car – a Fiat 500 X

We made our way out of Naples and drove to Sorento, the beginning of the Amalfi Coast. In Sorento we parked and walked out to an overlook to enjoy a the view.

Sorento

From Sorento we drove down the narrow winding road along the Amalfi Coast.

We are staying about 2000 feet above the Mediterranean. It’s called Villa Paradise Resort. The small B and B really is an idyllic spot. We played cards on the deck outside our room.

I guess some of you may be wondering…. Duke has won every game so far! He’s very lucky!

The view from Brian and Jo Ann’s room.
Playing cards on our deck

For dinner we walked to a nearby restaurant, La Selva.

La Selva Restaurante

We had by far the best meal we have had so far. Duke and I started with fresh anchovies, parsley and olive oil.

Fresh anchovies in olive oil

They brought Jo Ann gluten free crackers and olives.

Duke and I each had sea breen which is like sea bass. It was moist and very tasty.

Sea Breen

After dinner we walked back up to our hotel. Look at the view from the terrace! By the way, the weather was lovely today. It was raining and warm when we left Naples, but on the Amalfi Coast the temperature is about 80 and there is a cool breeze. Perfect!

The Amalfi Coast

Naples

When I was a kid I was fascinated by the idea of Pompeii, a city buried in time. Today we went to visit the Pompeii archaeological site. Duke and I have been there once before but I think I could go back again and again. It still fascinates me.

Pompeii Forum with Mt Vesuvius in the background.

One of the things I love about Pompeii is the signs of everyday life you see there, like the stepping stones to cross the road and the ruts in the rocks from the chariot wheels.

Chariot ruts and stepping stones
A Pompeii bakery oven
The theater in Pompeii

We took the train to and from Pompeii

The train from Pompeii to Naples

When we got back to Naples after our visit to Pompeii we rested a bit then took a taxi to the Archaeological Museum of Naples. The museum is where much of what was discovered in the excavation of Pompeii is displayed.

Getting to and from the Museum We got to experience Naples taxi drivers arguing when two drivers both thought they should be driving us. We got to experience the crazy drivers, traffic and horns on the two taxi rides. And we got to experience each taxi driver try to rip us off.

After Duke insisted that the second driver use the meter not just name a price and the driver finally agreed, the driver asked Duke if he was French, Duke said “no I’m American”. The driver said “You no American. Americans tranquillo! (Easy going)”. I guess they don’t get many Americans who don’t want to be ripped off. What an adventure!

The museum was wonderful. Many of the statues, mosaics and murals found in Pompeii are there. The mosaics were so detailed and fine.

One of the mosaics
Look at the detail in his face
And the shadows and detail in his feet
Artifacts taken from the House of the Faun in Pompeii

They also had the Farnese collection of statues taken from the Baths of Caraclla in Rome. Next time we go to Rome I definitely want to visit the baths. They cover 60 acres and were built about 1800 years ago. The main hall was surrounded by these enormous statues. When Rome fell they were covered up and not rediscovered until the 1500’s

One of the statues from the baths of Caracalla
Hercules

For dinner we ate at a great restaurant near our hotel, da Donato.

Da Donato Restaurant
Fried seafood
Pizza

Rome to Naples

A couple of weeks ago we were only able to get tickets to the Vatican Museum by booking a guided tour at 8 am this morning. So we set our alarm for 6:30, had breakfast when the breakfast room opened at 7 and caught a taxi to the Vatican Museum soon after that.

My two favorite things at the Vatican Museum are the Sistine Chapel and the map room. Our guide gave us an excellent introduction and description of the paintings in the Chapel. You can’t take pictures in the Sistine Chapel.

Our guide explaining the paintings in the Sistine Chapel.

The Vatican grounds are a green oasis. As you can see today was overcast and cloudy. It was nice not to have the sun beating down on us but it was still quite hot and muggy.

The museum courtyard

The map gallery was painted in the 1580s. I like thinking of Popes walking through here and using these maps to understand their territory.

The map gallery
Sicily map in the Map Gallery

When we were done at the Vatican Museum we went to St Peter’s square. We had to wait in line about an hour to get into St Peter’s Basilica. The line seemed to move fast and it was well worth it. The church is incomprehensible huge and beautiful.

St Peter’s Basilica
Duke, me, Jo Ann and Brian in St Peter’s square

From the Vatican we took a cab back to our hotel retrieved our bags and then walked to the train station where we bought tickets and then took the high speed train to Naples. The train goes 300 km per hour (186 mph).

Buying train tickets
On the train to Naples

After checking in to our Hotel in Naples ( the Una hotel) we had a great time playing cards in the roof top bar.

Playing cards

*** Duke proofreads all my blog posts. Those of you who know Duke will not be surprised that he felt it is important for me to note that he won all three games of 500 that we played

Rome – Day 2

We had a very busy and hot day today exploring Rome. I should perhaps have titled this video shade spot to shade spot and water spigot to water spigot. The temperature was in the high 80’s and the humidity was high.

We started out by doing most of the Rick Steves Heart of Rome free walking tour, backwards from #13 The Trevi Fountain to #2 Campo de’ Fiori.

Rick Steves Audio Tour App
Italian Parliament building and the Obelisk of Montecitorio

Last time we were in Rome we didn’t get to go into the Pantheon. Today we did. It is stunning. especially when you realize that the Romans completed it in 19BC!

Pantheon

We stopped for a rest, drinks and people watching on Piazza Navona.

Piazza Navona
Taking a break

After finishing the walking tour we walked to The Forum.

Walking to The Forum

Whenever we couldn’t find shade the sun was intense. I don’t remember ever sweating so much. So, the first thing we did once we were inside the forum was to stop and refill our water. I think we each drank a full bottle and then refilled.

Water station
Inside the forum
The forum

We climbed up to the Palatine Hill where the emperors had there palaces. There was a nice breeze up there and we refilled our water again.

Refilling with water again

From the Palatine Hill we went to the Coliseum.

The Coliseum
At the Coliseum
Brian, Jo Ann, and me at the Coliseum
Duke in line for water

Once we finished at the Coliseum we took a cab back to our hotel and then celebrated our successful day with pizza and beer The owner of the restaurant was very welcoming. He even provided Jo Ann with a gluten free and dairy free pizza and beer.

Celebratory pizza and beer.
Celebratory pizza and beer.

Rome is an amazing city! It was wonderful to see so many of its monument and antiquities.

Rome – Day 1

It felt great to get a full nights sleep after spending the night before on the airplane. After a buffet breakfast at the hotel we went out exploring.

Piazza della Repubblica

Duke’s sister Jo Ann and her husband Brian flew in today. We met them at the train station about 3:15 and walked back to the hotel with them. A bit later we went out to see the Spanish Steps and the Trevi fountain.

The Spanish Steps
Trevi Fountain

On the way back to the hotel we stopped for gelato.

Gelato stop

Then we walked by the presidential palace

Quirinal Palace

From the Quirinal Palace we had a great view of sunset with St Peter’s Cathedral on the horizon.

St Peter’s cathedral from in front of the presidential palace.

We stop for dinner and ate outside on the roof.

Dinner
My Pasta
Duke’s beef with pepper sauce