Pompeii

Pompeii, Italy

This is the famous city that was destroyed by the Mount Vesuvius volcano in 79 AD. It was originally an Etruscan city and then a Roman one. It is located in Campania south of Naples and north of Sorrento, Italy. It was buried in 13 to 16 feet of hot ash from the volcano. Years went by and people forgot about the city and the people who lived below the surface. It became a Roman colony in 80 BC. 1500 years passed until the city below was discovered.

Today it is an outdoor museum where you can see homes, stadiums, restaurants, houses of prostitution and bars. This is a stop well worth your time. As you walk around the streets of Pompeii, imagine the original occupants who lived here. Then imagine that fateful day when Vesuvius blew its top.

Come walk with us through this impressive ancient city that has been perfectly preserved in time. Click on the YouTube VLOG video below …

Ciao,
– George

Categories: BLOG, Eating Italian, Etruscan, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mount Vesuvious, Mountains, Naples, Pompeii, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Vesuvius, VLOG, Volcano | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Naples, Italy

Naples is one of Italy’s main cities. Many Italian-Americans came from Naples or the surrounding areas. Naples is famous for pizza and tomato sauce on pasta. It has an old section, castles, a Pantheon and a sea port. It also has a dangerous view of Mount Vesuvius. It is an old city with a vibrant life and style. Come to walk the old part of the city or to stop and have a pizza. This VLOG is based on a one day stop in Naples on our way to Pompeii. This is NOT enough time to spend in this great city. We will do a future VLOG on exploring the old section and sites.

From Naples you can easily travel by ferry to Capri or Sorrento. If you have a car, drive the fantastic Amalfi Coast from Sorrento to Salerno with stops at Positano and Amalfi. You can get to Naples by car on the A1 Autostrada from Rome or on a high-speed train from Rome or Salerno. This is a very beautiful part of Italy.

-George

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Beaches, Campania, Capri, Driving in Italy, Eating, Europe, Ferries, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mount Vesuvious, Naples, Pantheon, Pasta, Pizza, Planning a vacation, Pompeii, Positano, Romance, Salerno, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Tyrrhenian Sea, VLOG, Walking, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is it Time for you to Take a Trip to Italy?

Have you longed for a trip to romantic Italy? Have you dreamed about eating real Italian food? Do you long to see the museums or architecture? Maybe you have relatives there and just want to reunite old ties. What ever your reasons are, Italy is a great place to spend a vacation. After a week you are feeling relaxed and enjoying life. After two weeks you are totally relaxed, speaking some Italian words and loving the food. Longer periods in Italy will make you an Italian for life!

The northern lake Area offers beautiful scenery overlooking the Alps or maybe Tuscany with its wines and romantic scenery. The large cities of Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome or Naples are great places to see Italians being themselves. They also are great for seeing living history. Look at the buildings the architecture and envision the people that built these great cities. Maybe southern Italy with its Amalfi coast and Capri or farther south into the Cilento National Park. Beauty unspoiled by man and pristine beaches. What is stopping you?

If it’s being afraid of big tours or doing it on your own, we offer an alternative for the selective traveler to see what they want to see and spend as much time as the want. If you find a great Italian spot, the last thing you want is to be taken away by a tour bus. It would be wonderful to change your plans and just stay in your new found location. Italy is all about love, romance, beauty and spontanaeity.

Italy creates many wonderful memories and experiences but you have to touch it! Get away from the crowded tourists areas and meet real Italians. See places that will change you forever. Don’t eat in tourists restaurants. These will be memories you will never forget.

George

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Anacapri, Architecture, Beaches, Benvenuto al Sud, Blue Flag Beaches, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Capri, Casal Velino, Casal Velino Marina, Castellabate, Cortona, Eating, Eating Italian, Fish, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Maratea, Matera, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Naples, Paestum, Pantheon, Pasta, Pastry, Perugia, Pizza, Pompeii, Positano, Romance, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Tuscany, Umbria, Vatican City, Venice, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Top ten Destinations in Italy

More and more travelers are headed to Italy. It is romantic, it has great food, the scenery is beautiful and the wine is world-class. These are the top destinations people are headed to:

  1. Venice – What can we say about Venice? It is truly a unique place on this Earth. To visit a city with canals instead of roads is unique. There are small pathways for pedestrians to walk on. You can find large and small piazzas. Saint Mark’s Square is the largest.
  2. Rome – Rome is ancient with evidence of the early Romans everywhere. The Colosseum, Old Rome, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Villa Borghese and Vatican City are a few of its main attractions. Rome has many piazzas that full of flowers, statues and markets.
  3. Florence – This is the true city of enlightenment. It is where the renaissance started. Attractions to see are Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizzi Gallery, Uffizzi Palace, The David Statue and the many piazzas like Piazza della signora.
  4. Siena – Siena is a big small town with a lot of character. The duomo here is far more magnificent than its counterpart in Florence. Attractions here include Piazza del Campo where the annual horse race takes place (Palio of Siena), Duomo and its many churches. Siena has small streets with shops and great restaurants. Explore and enjoy it.
  5. Pompeii – This is not a current living city but a dead archaeological one. The original was Etruscan and then Roman before it was wiped out by a volcano (Mount Vesuvius) in 79 AD. It is just south of Naples and north of the Amalfi Coast. There are many homes you can visit here as well as hotels, shops and piazzas.
  6. Positano – This is one of our favorite cities in southern Italy. It is on the Amalfi Coast Road. This is a city of one road (one way down) and one million steps. It is not a place for the handicapped. Even staying on the road is a steep climb back up but there is a city bus that loops around from the bottom of this road. The two beaches are worth visits. Its restaurants and hotels are world-class. Most hotels have million dollar sea views.
  7. The Italian Lake District – Italy’s lakes are at the foot of the alps. With magnificent views and romantic small towns this is a must for anyone’s bucket list. The lakes are: Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano, Visit the cities of Bellagio, Luzern and Ticino.
  8. Pisa – No trip should be without a visit to the famous leaning tower of Pisa. The duomo and baptistery near it are also worth seeing.
  9. Cinque Terre – The five lands! Here there are five cities on the mountain above the sea. You can take a ferry to some or train. There is a footpath between each town. These are very romantic with great views.
  10. San Gimignano – This is our favorite town in Tuscany and maybe in the world. It is preserved from the middle ages. You park or get off your bus outside the city walls and walk in. You can easily walk this entire town. It has towers that used to represent power, a duomo, piazzas and great restaurants and bars.

All of these and so many more should be on your bucket list. Tomorrow we will look at top places to visit in Italy’s south. Most tourists never make it here!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, Duomo, Etruscan, Europe, Ferries, Florence, Food, General Travel, Il Palio, Italy, Museums, Pantheon, Pisa, Pompeii, Positano, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, San Gimignano, Siena, Spanish Steps, Stairs, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Tuscany, Vatican City, Venice, Villa Borghese, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

POMPEII pictorial

Pompeii is an ancient Roman city that was destroyed by the volcano Vesuvius in 79 AD. It is estimated to be from the 600 BC. There were about 11,000 people in the city when it was destroyed. This was a big city with bars, houses, bread stores, restaurants and houses of prostitution. The homes were spacious, even by our standards. They had gardens and were beautiful. The streets had speed controls to slow down horse and buggy. The streets could be cleaned by opening a water pipe at the top of the hill and letting the water run down taking the trash with it.

Pompeii is just south of Naples and west of Mt. Vesuvius. It is easy to get to by car on the Autostrada (A1 then A3). There are tour buses from Naples and Rome. You can also take a train to Naples then a bus.

IMG_5262 - Pompeii 3

Ancient coliseum steps

IMG_5262 - Pompeii 4

Courtyard of a private home

IMG_5262 - Pompeii 5

Inside a private home

IMG_5276

Entrance to a coliseum

IMG_5281

Coliseum

IMG_5285

Street

IMG_5290

Private home

IMG_5308

Speed bumps in street

IMG_5333 c

Huge courtyard in the city center

IMG_5333 d

Bread oven

IMG_5333 e

Etruscan pottery

IMG_5355

The sleeping Vesuvius behind a cloud

Pompeii is rich in history and well-preserved because of how it was destroyed.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Campania, Coliseum, Driving in Italy, Etruscan, Europe, Italy, Mount Vesuvious, Naples, Pompeii, Rome, Trains, Traveling without a tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why do Americans Love Italy?

Why do so many Americans vacation in Italy and buy homes there? There is a love affair going on between America and Italy. Maybe it’s that we have so many Italians in America and even more Italian restaurants that it feels familiar. I think it goes deeper than that. Italy has obvious charm:

  1. Old cities with buildings we can’t see in America
  2. Famous places we read about
  3. Clean beaches
  4. Majestic mountains
  5. Walled mountain top cities that are so unique to us
  6. Cities like Venice that are unbelievable
  7. Food that is so much better than anything we get back home
  8. Cheap table wine that rivals the best of wines
  9. Italians love for life
  10. Italians love for Americans

Is it any wonder we love Italy? Where else can you get people who love us, food that is the best, wine that is superb and views that rival any other place? Italy is unique. It was created by violent earthquakes and volcanoes millions of years ago. Today it is a pl;ace artist go to see the wonders of nature. Even places like Vesuvius, a still very active volcano, attracts us like a moth to the flame.

Is it any wonder we look to visits this country over and over again? The views take our breath away. We want a piece of it. If you haven’t yet been to Italy, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Go and see the major cities: Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice and Milan. See smaller cities like Capri, Positano, Amalfi, Verona (Romeo & Juliet). Get off the beaten path and see small walled cities with fantastic views. Experience chocolate in Perugia (home of Perugina chocolates – Baci). Go to Assisi and Siena and our favorite San Gimignano.  Don’t miss Tuscany, Orvieto and Pompeii.

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclos...

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclosed with walls, causing crowding and the building of tower houses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italy has so much to offer it would take a life time to see it all. So don’t wait, get started on your adventure. Be adventuresome, be romantic and enjoy your life.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Beaches, Chocolate, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, General Travel, Italy, Milan, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Naples, Owning a home in Italy, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Pompeii, Positano, Romance, Rome, San Gimignano, Small Towns, Tuscany, Venice, Verona, Vesuvius, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should you spend 4 days or less in Rome?

Castel Sant' Angelo, Roma.

Castel Sant’ Angelo, Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In our humble opinion … NO! Rome is more than a city, more than a tourist destination, more than the sum of its parts. Rome is about the sights, the buildings, the ruins, the architecture, the people, the food and the wine. It is life. Italian life at its fullest. When you visit Rome take time to know it. Forget visiting 10 Italian cities in two weeks. Visit Rome for a week. You can take two side trips:

  1. Orvieto and

IMG_5424 Duomo

  1. Pompeii.

IMG_5333 a

Walk the city, watch the people, eat the food (not at tourist places) and drink the wine. Watch as families break for a long lunch and walk together afterwards. Savor the smells of the food, the tastes. This is Rome. The Rome We love.

The monuments are important but they are not what makes Rome a wonderful city. It’s the people, the architecture, the small streets and the hustle bustle of a big city. Try not to go in July or August. It is too hot and crowded. August is European vacation time and everything is expensive and crowded. May or September are better summer months to enjoy Rome. We also went Christmas week and saw a new side of Rome. The lights, the festivities and the decorations. News Years Eve in Rome is spectacular. Millions of people in the streets with champagne.

Travel light, Don’t take tours and enjoy yourself. Become a Roman even if it’s for only a week. Walk to everything. In that way you will see more small streets and shops. If you get tired, stop for a drink and watch Rome go by you.

For lunch have a panini (sandwich) at a bar. For dinner have pasta (the best in the world) or pizza. You can also find wonderful meats and fish in Rome. Stopping for a gelato is one of our favorite treats. Rome is romantic, historic, full of life and unique. Enjoy it!

Yes you can see the main sights in 3 or 4 days but you will be rushed and tired. You also will miss Rome and the Romans. You have to have enough time to be relaxed and take your time. This is an Italian City. It is not to be rushed but enjoyed. Savor it!

IMG_4932 - Trevi FountainIMG_4941 - Spanish StepsIMG_5022aIMG_5023 aaIMG_5023 jIMG_5072 e 5IMG_5134 - Colosseo

George & Jo Ann

Categories: Bars, Europe, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Orvieto, Pompeii, Romance, Rome, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting to the famous Amalfi Coast

Positano

Positano (Photo credit: jimmyharris)

The Amalfi Coast in Italy is a famous place to the well-travelled tourist. It is just south of Naples and Pompeii. It includes Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Salerno. Capri is an Island off the coast of Sorrento. There are also many smaller towns worth seeing like Ravello. How does one get to this area that is sandwiched between a very high mountain and the sea? There are no trains here (except the end towns of Sorrento and Salerno). There is one road, the Amalfi Coast Highway. It is not a highway but a two lane road that on some curves goes down to 1-1/2 lanes. Busses always have the right of way. If you can not get by a bus, you must back up to allow the bus passage.

Getting to the Amalfi Coast can be confusing and difficult. Here are several ways and comments on each:

  1. Plane – Fly into Naples and take one of the transportations below. You can also fly into Rome and take a train or private car to Naples.
  2. Car – Driving is easy but when you get to places like Positano a car is useless. It is expensive to just park it for a week or longer. It is great to visit some of the smaller towns along this coast.
  3. Taxi or Car Service – Taxis are very expensive but there are private reliable car services that will take you in a nice car to your destination. You have a private driver and get door to door service. These services also leave from Rome. They can be expensive but are very convenient.
  4. Shuttle Bus – There is a shuttle bus from Naples airport that can take you to cities along the Amalfi Coast. Shuttle service one way each to Positano is about 35 Euros from Positano Shuttle Service.
  5. Ferry ServiceThere are numerous slow & fast ferries (hydrofoils) from Naples port to Capri, Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi. The ferry is the best option, in our opinion, to move from town to town along this coast.
  6. Trains – You can take a train from Rome to Naples, Sorrento or Salerno. There are NO trains that reach the Amalfi Coast directly. The mountains prevent easy access.
  7. Bus – There is a bus that runs from Sorrento to Salerno and back. It stops at each town along the way. In the summer this bus is crowded and can take a long time because of traffic. It is the cheapest way to move around this coast. There is another bus that runs from Amalfi up the mountain to Ravello and back. You can also take a taxi.

B-Capri deC-Sorrento di

                                         Capri                                                          Sorrento

D-Positano aeaF-Amalfi-Revino aa

                          View of Positano                                                         Amalfi

F-Amalfi-Revino bg

View from Ravello

If you are going to Positano there is a great hotel on the main road through Positano called Villa Delle Palme. All rooms have a sea view. Enjoy your trip however you get there. Once at a city on the Amalfi Coast, you can take bus or ferries between the various cities. They tend to get very crowded in the summer especially August. These cities are small and are perfect for walking. around. There can be a lot of hills or stairs (as in Positano). Wear comfortable walking shoes. If you get tired stop in a bar for a drink and refreshments. Move slowly, be romantic and enjoy this part of Italy. Be Italian!

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Bars, Campania, Capri, Driving in Italy, Europe, Ferries, Flights, General Travel, Italy, Naples, Pompeii, Positano, Ravello, Romance, Rome, Salerno, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Trains, Traveling without a tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Early Etruscan Life

Before the Romans there were the Etruscans. They were an advanced people. They built some great cities like Pompeii. This civilization lived in ancient Italy in the current areas of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio. It started just after the Iron age and last up to the Roman period.

etruscan1

Livescience” has an article on early Etruscan life. It was titled “Skeleton of early Prince Reveals Etruscan Life”. The Etruscans they are talking about lived between 616 & 579 BC. That’s a long time ago. If you have been to Pompeii or are planning a trip to Naples or Rome Italy, go and see Pompeii. It’s that famous city that was destroyed by the volcano Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. It was not destroyed by lava but very hot volcanic ash that covered the entire city killing everyone inside. After they found this remarkable city they dug out the ash and discovered a modern city. Some of the things that were amazing to us were:

  1. Stone ovens like our brick pizza ovens probably for bread
  2. Speed bumps to slow down the horse and carriages inside the city
  3. A water gravity system that when turned on cleaned the streets automatically
  4. Homes that were very large and beautiful. Several we would love to live in today
  5. Graffiti on the walls as a form of communication
  6. Hotels
  7. Theaters
  8. Hotels catering to prostitution

Don’t miss this wonderful glimpse into the past.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Etruscan, Europe, Italy, Lazio, Pompeii, Tuscany, Umbria | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Plan an Italian Vacation

We are planning a trip to Tuscany and then our home in Campania. Tuscany is a popular spot for vacationers. Here is what we do before boarding the airline:

1) Get a general idea for timeframe. This is important to determine airline costs, clothes to bring, and sites to see.

2) Price your airlines and hotels. Remember saving a few hundred dollars on an airfare that adds 10 hour stop overs is not a wise use of your money. We choose Italian hotels but insist on private baths.

3) Pick the main cities you want to see. Don’t try to do all of Italy in a week or two. All you will see is the inside of planes or trains. Good size trips are a) Northern Italy (Milan, Verona, the lakes and Venice), b) Tuscany, c)Rome and Orvieto and Pompeii, d) Naples and Capri, e) Amalfi Coast, f) Southern Italy and g) Sicily.

4) Now look around each city on a map and see what small cities are close by. Research them on the internet. If you find a great city plan on a visit. Maybe it is to see a festival or a museum or taste wine.

5) Now list the top ten things you want to see in each place. More than ten starts to use up a lot of your time. If you are going to a major museum list the top ten things in the museum you want to see.

6) Determine how you will travel to each city and in what order. Will you need a car or go by train or plane?

7) Now estimate the amount of time you will need in each city. This is critical in doing the things you want to do.

8) If your total time is more than you can take, cut something out. If you have more time, add it to tight cities.

9) Make a list of hotels, addresses, phone numbers and costs as well as museums, etc. This will help when you arrive.

10) Make a check list of what to pack and what to do before leaving like Passports, Euros, turn water off, camera, umbrellas, etc.

The most important thing about traveling in Europe is to be spontaneous. If you find something unexpected, add time to enjoy it and cut something else out. The important thing is not to check off everything on your itinerary but to create lasting memories. Be romantic and enjoy the country that created romance…Italy!

City Passes sometimes look expensive unless you are going to see most sites included but can still be worth the money to save hours of time avoiding lines. City Passes usually allow you to go to the head of the line and have minimal or no delays.

Also don’t miss out on enjoying Italian life:

1) Try some gelato
2) Local wine
3) Pastries
4) Expresso
5) Pizza
6) Pasta

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Air Fares, Amalfi Coast, Capri, City Passes, Eating Italian, Espresso, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Milan, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Orvieto, Pastry, Pizza, Pompeii, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Sicily, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Trains, Tuscany, Venice, Verona, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: