Sorrento

Two Important Large Cities of Italy

Two great large cities in Italy are Rome and Florence. This doesn’t mean Naples, Bologna and Milan are not great or important. Italy has four categories of city that we love:

  1. Large cities – These are Milan, Bolgna, Florence, Rome and Naples
  2. Famous smaller cities – Venice, Verona, Capri, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Salerno, Palermo
  3. Mountain Towns – There are so many of these from good size cities to very small towns that we could not begin to list them.
  4. Seaside Towns – Again way too many of these as well. These are towns that are on the sea and not in any other category above.

Today we look at two of the large cities in Italy that we have VLOGGED on:

Rome

Roma is the capitol of Italy and is a very cosmopolitan city. Roma has subways (the Metro), busses, and taxis. Driving in the historic central is difficult and illegal without a pass. If you are staying at a hotel in the center you can get a pass. Streets are crazy. One ways going against where you want to go. We once mapped walking to a place in Roma but had the GPS on driving by mistake. It took much longer to drive it than walk it.

Roma has everything a tourists needs:

  • Great restaurants (Bars, Ristorante, and Trattorias)
  • Museums
  • Architecture – Roma is one big outdoor museum
  • Parks
  • Shopping

Walk with us in our video below and see the famous sites of Roma. Walk the small narrow streets and see the wide large avenues. Roma is to be studied slowly with a glass or two of wine. Study it, observe its people, enjoy its sites, marvel at its museums and pay attention to its fashion. Place your hand into the mouth of truth if you dare (Bocca della Verità).

Florence

Firenze is another very modern cosmopolitan city with all the forms of transportation as Roma. The museums are unreal (the renaissance started here). A visit to Firenze is incomplete without a visit to the Uffizi museum. Learn about how the Medici leaders travelled in secret from their offices (Uffizi Museum today) to their palace (Palazzo Medici Riccardi). Climb the stairs to a vista overlooking the city central and walk across the Ponte Vecchio bridge. See Saint Peter’s Basilica and Vatican City (An independent country not part of Italy where the Pope is President). Come walk with us and see all of this and more in the video below.

Be Romantic! Visit Italy!

– George

Categories: Bars, Beach Resorts, BLOG, Bocca della Verità, Bologna, Capri, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Metro Travel, Milan, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Planning a vacation, Ponte Vecchio, Positano, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, sea, Shopping, Small Towns, Sorrento, Spanish Steps, Taxi, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Uffizi, Vatican City, Venice, Verona, VLOG, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Magnificent Views of Italy

It doesn’t matter where you are in Italy. There are views and eye-catching sights everywhere. You can be in a big city looking at a famous monument, on a small street, looking at a small city high up on a mountain, at the beach, climbing stairs or sitting at a small trattoria. Italy is all about its architecture. It has a personality all to itself. Here you stand on ancient roads, some dating pre-Roman. You feel and see its history. At the same time there is a modern culture all around you. iPhones, iPad and computers are everywhere. Most bars have free wi-fi service.

We come to Italy for the food, the people and these views. I love the feeling of being in an ancient place. Thinking about those ancient people and what they did, what they felt. Was their life that different from ours? These views can talk to you! Just listen and hear what they are saying. This is not a country to be rushed. Stop, relax and take in these views. Listen to them. Imaging yourself back in those times. Soon your modern problems give way to an appreciation of this great history.

My wish to all my readers is to be able to travel. experience another culture. Enjoy life more. There is so much to experience and learn. Pick a place you are passionate about and visit it. Put it on your bucket list. life is short but memories are forever.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My passion is Italy, what is yours?

George

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Ascea, Beaches, Campania, Capri, Casal Velino Marina, Coliseum, Driving in Italy, Duomo, Europe, Florence, General Travel, Greek Ruins, Italy, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Perugia, Planning a vacation, Ravello, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Siena, Small Towns, Smart Phones, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Spanish Steps, Stairs, Traveling without a tour, Tulli, Tuscany, Umbria, Velina, Venice, Villa Brunella, WiFi | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Why you really want to spend a night in Capri

Most tourists take a ferry from Naples, Sorrento or Positano to the Isle of Capri. They spend a day mostly waiting to get into the Blue Grotto and then return by ferry in the evening. This is a big mistake! After all these tourists leave, the natives of Capri come out. The streets of Capri City are much less crowded. You can enjoy your stroll without being knocked about by tourists. The island and the city become magical. The lighting is perfect for photographers. Restaurants gear up for the evening meal. Bars await customers looking for a drink.

B-Capri de B-Capri ad B-Capri df

We had found a few small (alley like) streets off the main piazza. They had stores and restaurants. One store made custom sandals. You are measured one day and can pick up your shoes the next day. There were also small grocery stores. We decided to spend one evening eating at our hotel. We were able to get a bottle of wine, cheese, bread, olives and chocolate at one such shop. Our hotel with the fabulous view became a romantic restaurant for the evening. We dined on our private balcony overlooking Capri and the sea.

We tend not to like places were a lot of tourists gather. But these small streets were a real find. They are cooler in the summer, have fewer people on them and offer small cheaper shops that normally do not cater to the tourists. It would seem that tourists like to stick to the main piazza and streets. They shy away from small streets. Their loss!

Go to Capri and be romantic. Stay an evening or more. Make the island your island. If it is a special occasion, spend the extra money and stay at Villa Brunella. You pay once but will remember it for the rest of your life.

B-Capri ad B-Capri de

George

 

Categories: Bars, Blue Grotto, Bread, Campania, Capri, Cheese, Chocolate, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Ferries, Food, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Naples, Positano, Romance, Sorrento, Traveling without a tour, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pamper Yourself in Capri Italy

Capri is a magical Island on the Amalfi Coast. It is south of Naples and south-west of Sorrento. You get here by ferry boats from Naples, Sorrento, Positano or Salerno. Some ferries are slow speed and others are high-speed. The ferries from Naples are as follows:

  • High Speed – Departs from Molo Beverello Napoli, duration is about 45 minutes and costs around 20 Euros (higher in summer),
  • Low Speed – Departs from Calata Porta di Massa Napoli, duration 1 hour 20 minutes and costs about 13 Euros (higher in summer).

B-Capri aa B-Capri ab

From the time you board your ferry until you leave Capri, it is a magical experience and a memory maker. This is a romantic island that offers beaches, museums, two wonderful small towns and unlimited sightseeing. The famous Blue Grotto is here but you will wait to get in especially in summer months. Typically you take a boat from one of the two marinas to the blue grotto and transfer into a smaller row-boat that will take you into the grotto. Then after exiting you transfer back onto your original boat.

Jo and I had just come off a 8 hour overnight flight with only an hour or two of sleep from Philadelphia to Rome and a 3 hour drive south to Naples. We were tired and just starting our day in Italy. As we boarded the high-speed ferry, I felt my adrenaline surge. This was very exciting and romantic. Soon we were out of the Bay of Naples and into the Tyrennian Sea. Almost immediately we could see a dot of land ahead that was Capri.

B-Capri cu

Soon our ferry pulled into the large marina (Marina Grande) on Capri Island. Surrounded by pleasure yachts and other ferries we docked.

B-Capri ad

As we disembarked the ferry with two giant suitcases we were met by young men grabbing our suitcases and asking what hotel we were staying at. This could have been alarming but we knew what to expect here. Suitcases are delivered to your hotel quickly on small golf cart like vehicles that run around the pedestrian paths of Capri.

B-Capri ag

After leaving our bags with the gentleman at the marina, we were free to move about. We first went to the funicular stop at the marina, bought two tickets and boarded the next train. We were given views on the steep ascent up to the city of Capri. At the top we could see the marina we arrived in far below. Beautiful homes hung precariously on cliffs all around us. We were here in Capri and no longer tired.

We found a pathway that led from the piazza to our hotel. With a few wrong turns we were finally at Villa Brunella our hotel. Each room is on its own floor as the hotel clings to the side of a cliff. There are lots of steps here! We were ready and very excited.

B-Capri bd B-Capri cd

My next BLOG will explore the city of Capri and this wonderful hotel.

George

 

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Blue Grotto, Capri, Europe, Ferries, Funicular, General Travel, Italy, Naples, Romance, Rome, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I love the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is a cliff side road that winds from Sorrento on the western side to Salerno on the eastern side. It is located in southern Italy in Campania south of Naples. As you drive this ancient Greet horse road, you feel exhilarated. Some places you are high up overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea and other places you are close to the sea. The road is never empty but in the summer it can be a parking lot. Busses have a hard time navigating its tight curves. If you encounter a bus coming towards you on a turn, you must back up giving the bus room to make the turn. Busses always have the right of way.

C-Sorrento di

As you leave Sorrento you travel over the cliffs heading south and then east. as you turn east you can look out to your right a clear day and see the beautiful Island of Capri. As you head east you will twist and turn in and out of coves until you arrive high above the wonderful town of Positano. It is said this is a town of one road and a million steps. Bring comfortable shoes and be prepared to climb. The one road winds from the Amalfi Coast Highway (one way) down to the town and beach of Positano. It then climbs slightly and ends up again at the Amalfi Coast Highway.

D-Positano aeaD-Positano arF-Amalfi-Revino bg

Positano is very romantic. Enjoy a week here if you can. There are wonderful restaurants and two beaches. At the large beach you can catch ferries to Amalfi, Salerno, Capri, Sorrento, Naples and many small towns. You can arrive by ferry but you will have missed that wonderful road. Parking can be a problem but there are two large parking garages on the one way road. Most hotels will take your car to one of these. Once you rid yourself of the car, you will not need it until you leave. Positano is a city you walk in or take the Ferry to nearby towns.

D-Positano ai D-Positano aea D-Positano drD-Positano hnAs you leave Positano you head farther east on the Amalfi Coast Highway through tunnels and many small coves. You can see many lemon groves and wine bushes high on the hills. Try the famous limoncello in this area. You will pass many small fishing towns that are worth a stop. Eventually you arrive in the town of Amalfi. There is parking at the port and you walk into the town arriving at the main piazza. Here you can have lunch or a drink and view the magnificent cathedral in front of you.

F-Amalfi-Revino aa

Now we head farther east on the highway (not really a highway but a small two lane road) to Salerno. You will pass ceramic stores worth a stop. They can wrap things well for travel or ship them for you. Salerno is a major shipping port with cruise ships. High above the city is an ancient castle. Salerno is a large major city. Here you can find great high-speed trains with service back to Naples or Rome. You can also head south to Sicily.

This is a road trip you will never forget. Enjoy the many cities it has to offer and the people, food and wine. Be romantic and spontaneous. You are an adventurer in Italy.

 

George

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Beaches, Campania, Ceramics, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Ferries, General Travel, Italy, Lemoncello, Mountain Towns, Naples, Parking Garage, Positano, Romance, Rome, Salerno, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Trains, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Some of Our Best Memories

We have assembled pictures of some of our best memories in Italy. Italy is always romantic and it is always memorable. There are so many special little moments. The architecture, the sites, the history, the people, the food, the wine, … and so much more.

Enjoy your trip to see relatives, sites, museums or to just be Italian for a short while.

Dolce far niente!

George & Jo

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Assisi, Beaches, Blue Flag Beaches, Casal Velino Marina, Cilento, Coliseum, cornetto, Dolce, Dolce far niente, Duomo, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Greek Ruins, Italy, Marina Casal Velino, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Owning a home in Italy, Paestum, Panini, Pantheon, Pastry, Pizza, Planning a vacation, Positano, Ravello, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Siena, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Spanish Steps, Stairs, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Trottoria, Tuscany, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Top Places to Visit in Southern Italy

Southern Italy has so much to offer. It is different from the north but has great places to see, great food to taste and wonderful people to meet. First let’s look at some of the differences:

  1. Fish – Is the main food in the south. There are meat dishes but great fresh fish is so prevalent.
  2. Language – Italy is barely 150 years old. It was formed by individual and warring states (small countries). As the Italian country was formed, Italian became the official language as it was spoken in Bologna. Each small state had their own languages and dialects. To this day the dialect is still spoken.
  3. Beaches – The south has many of its cities built on the coast. Beaches are important. Each seaport had a walled castle town in the mountains nearby. These would protect the people from pirates. These have become major resort areas for Italians and other Europeans.
  4. Wines – Wines and Olive Oil are a local made commodity throughout Italy. They differ by region and should be experienced as you travel. Always order the local wine.

The main places that should be on your bucket list are:

  1. Naples – Modern Naples is trying to clean up its act as a dangerous city. It is very old and poor but there is so much to see here. Most of what we think is Italian in America comes from the south and much of it from Naples. This is the birth place of Pizza and spaghetti with red sauce.
  2. Amalfi Coast – This very rich area is the vacation spot of the rich and famous. The island of Capri, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello are very beautiful. Each town is built on a mountain side and worth a visit. This is an area of ferries, steps and steep hills.
  3. Casal Velino Marina & Ascea – Two resort towns with beautiful sandy beaches. Ascea has a train station and Casal Velino Marina is very close to the north.
  4. Alberobello – A very unusual town with dome-shaped homes. You can not change the architecture of a building in this town. These homes are called Trulli.Alberobello
  5. Sicily – This is a beautiful island with many ruins, great cities and an active volcano. Many Italians argue it is not part of Italy.
  6. Ischia Island – This is a beautiful island off the coast of Naples in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Ischia is the name of the main port town on the island. The architecture is old and city is beautiful.
  7. Procida Island – Is another island between Ischia and Naples. The architecture is middle ages and a great place to explore.
  8. Matera – A town in the region of Basilicata southern Italy. The historical center is well-known and called the Sassi. Homes were built into the side of a mountain. This is one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. It is dated from the Paleolithic Period.

There so many other small mountain and beach towns that are worth a mention but too numerous to list. Just get out and explore each region.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Alberobello, Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Ascea, Beaches, Capri, Casal Velino Marina, Europe, Ferries, Food, General Travel, Italy, Matera, Mountain Towns, Naples, Pizza, Positano, Ravello, Sassi, Sicily, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Stairs, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Truilly, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ravello Pictorial

Yesterday we were in Amalfi and today we take a short bus ride (or taxi) up 3 miles of very narrow winding road to the town of Ravello. Ravello has a population of only about 2,500 people. This two towns are on the Amalfi Coast in Campania in southern Italy. Ravello was a refuse for the rich and famous. They could come here and relax without photographers or the public. The list included Richard Wagner and Greta Garbo.

Ravello has a Duomo (Cathedral) and two villas:

  1. Villa Cimbrone (both 11th century) and
  2. Villa Rufolo (13th century)

These are worth a visit. We loved Villa Cimbrone. It has wonderful gardens and old buildings. You can walk out to the edge of the cliff and see the sea far below. You can also see the mountain road you took up.

The square in town is a nice place to relax and have a drink or gelato. You will find a tourist information place just off the square. The bus stops outside the town. Walk through a small tunnel that takes you through the old wall to the city center.

F-Amalfi-Revino ak

Villa Cimbrone

F-Amalfi-Revino am

Path at Villa Cimbrone

F-Amalfi-Revino ao

The road up

 F-Amalfi-Revino bc

Edge of Villa Cimbrone with sea view

F-Amalfi-Revino be

Edge with sea view

F-Amalfi-Revino bg

The view

If you are going to the Amalfi Coast, don’t miss Amalfi or Ravello. They are worth a day trip. Take the ferry from Sorrento, Positano or Salerno.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Campania, Duomo, Europe, Ferries, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Mountain Towns, Positano, Ravello, Salerno, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Taxi, Villa Cimbrone | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Amalfi Pictorial

Amalfi is a city on the Amalfi Coast between Positano and Salerno. It can be reached by car or SITA bus from Salerno or Sorrento. There is also good ferry service from other Amalfi Coast cities (Positano & Salerno) as well as Capri, Sorrento and Naples. Trains go to Salerno or Sorrento.

F-Amalfi-Revino aa

Duomo in Amalfi

F-Amalfi-Revino bq

Amalfi Harbor

IMG_0794

Beautiful Statues at the Duomo

IMG_0795

The Crypts at Duomo

IMG_0799

The Countryside

IMG_0801

Vineyards around the city

Amalfi is small but a good city to walk around. From the main piazza (just off the harbor) visit the duomo. Then shop the small stores off the piazza. Have lunch or a drink at one of the many restaurant/bars in the piazza in front of Duomo. Watch the Italians drinking from the fountain.

The busses stop in the harbor as do the ferries. Cross the road and enter Amalfi. In the harbor are busses that will take you up the mountain to Revino (see tomorrows BLOG).

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Bars, Duomo, Europe, Ferries, General Travel, Italy, Naples, Positano, Salerno, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Trains | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Positano Pictorial

There is no place better to leave your heart than Positano. Positano is a small city of steps, lots of steps (about a million) and two roads:

  1. The Amalfi Coast Road – which skirts around the town, and
  2. A one way (down) road – which is the only road in town. It starts up high at the Amalfi Coast Road and winds down through the center of town and ends at the Amalfi Coast Road where it  leaves Positano.

Positano has a population of only about 4,000 people. There are no trains here so you will need a car or bus to get here. There are busses from Sorrento going East and Salerno going West. You can fly into Naples to the north-west or Salerno to the East.

The land here is steep mountains starting at the sea and continuing up. It is amazing that a city was built on these steep hills. You can take steps up and down everywhere. From the top to the beach is about a thousand steps. You can also walk the one-way road up or down. It is steep but very walkable. You will pass hotels, restaurants, great little shops and bars.

There is a local bus that is inexpensive. It starts on the one-way road in the center and goes out to the Amalfi Coast Road. It turns left and climbs up the hill to the top of Positano. It then turns left onto the beginning of the one-way road and continues back down to the center.

There are many ferries that leave from the big beach to Naples, Capri, Sorrento, Amalfi, Salerno and many really small cities in between.

D-Positano aea

First view of Positano from Amalfi Coast Road

D-Positano aep

The 104 steps up to our rental

D-Positano ai

A porter carrying 100 lbs of luggage up the 104 stairs

D-Positano am

View of sea & city from our rental

D-Positano ce

The big beach

D-Positano ci

Duomo on the big beach

D-Positano ck

Looking back up the one-way road

D-Positano eg

Lovers lane – a walkway between the big & small beaches

D-Positano el

The small beach

D-Positano gi

From our rental looking up at the Amalfi Coast Road

D-Positano gk

Beautiful views everywhere

IMG_0757

Ancient tower to light a fire and warn of Pirates

IMG_0767

Bump on roof filled with sand to keep summers cool and winters warm

Positano is very romantic. A must stop for all our romantic readers. You can find great food, gelato and wine. The hotels and B&Bs have great views. Enjoy!

George & Jo Anne

 

 

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Bars, Beaches, Campania, Duomo, Europe, Ferries, Gelato, General Travel, Hotels, Italy, Naples, Positano, Ristorante, Romance, Salerno, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Trains, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: