Currently posting from northern Scotland, where the days are long, the air is unseasonably hot, and the golf is plentiful. A fantastic way to recalibrate between Italy and the U.S.! Following is a re-cap of our final weeks in Italy.
The last update was written mid-way through our stay in Sorrento, with a view onto the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Sorrento is a great jumping-off point for popular day-trip destinations, including Capri, Positano and Amalfi:
Above: Island of Capri with indescribably blue (and sometimes green) water. Below: Positano, and then Amalfi.
Husband and I were left speechless and grateful that we followed our hearts and spent a day in Paestum, home to three incredible temples from the ancient Greeks dating to 600 B.C., along with an impressive archaeological museum. If your travels take you to Naples, Sorrento/Amalfi or Salerno and you have an interest in ancient history, I highly recommend you plan a day in Paestum. The local staff at our hotel was a bit blase about Paestum and encouraged us to instead spend our time at the nearby buffalo mozzarella ranch (!), but, having never been to Greece (#2 on my travel bucket list behind Italy), I was left awestruck after a few hours at Paestum, and truthfully, wanting more time there.
Before leaving the Naples area and on our way to Rome, we stopped at Herculaneum, a once seaside resort for the ancient elites destroyed in the Mt. Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD which also leveled Pompeii.
Next came Rome. We hadn’t intended to set up camp in the Eternal City on this trip, but we are glad we did, as Rome never disappoints. We found a great little apartment on a quiet but well-placed street, perfectly situated for exploring the city on foot.
One new experience we highly enjoyed was the night tour of the Forum, part guided tour, part special effects, both of which give you a good feel for the Forum in its original use and form.
After two months of travel and making our way up and down Italy, we were happy to head from Rome to the far south, the “heel of the boot”, in order to be spoiled by my family in Puglia. Longtime readers of this blog may remember that the house where my grandfather was born in the early 1900s is still in my family, restored and modernized by recent generations.
This old street is off the main piazza of my Grandfather’s small town. I have been fortunate to visit his birthplace several times and form a bond with my cousins still there. Walking the same little streets that he did as a child feels very full-circle. (For more heritage stories click here and here.)
Making our way back to Rome and wanting to be close to the Ciampino airport, we spent the last two nights in Italy in Castel Gandolfo, a charming small town perched above Lake Albano, and home to the Pope’s summer retreat, now a museum (pictured above). Travel tip: Ciampino airport was much smaller, more manageable and closer to central Rome than Fiumicino, and I would recommend routing your flights through Ciampino given the choice.
Castel Gandolfo is easy to reach from Rome, either by car/taxi or train (although the station in Castel Gandolfo is unmanned), and is a refreshing break from the hot city in high season.
And there we have it! Roughly 260 miles walked, 1765 photos taken (thank you, Google Pixel phone and Google Photos!) and a new afternoon gelato and/or aperitivo habit as our daily routine.
Part study abroad, part sabbatical……wanderlust satisfied. ❤
If you have any travel questions related to the above areas, please get in touch!