Last month, I went on holiday; a much-needed holiday. So, what better place to go than the very lovely country of Italy?
I love Italy, and it’s fast becoming one of my favourite countries. The food, the people, the weather, the sheer beauty… My list of pro’s could go on. But last month was the first time I had visited the area around Naples, and we were staying in the rather beautiful city of Sorrento.
A hell-raising drive to the town, and we were soon exploring and sitting out in the hot, Italian sun. Staying in the wonderful Imperial Hotel Taramontano, the first thing that struck us was the amazing view. Looking out from a terrace, was the Gulf of Naples in all its beauty. Mount Vesuvius stands proud, looming over the nearby towns. I found myself looking out for hours, watching the boats come in and out of the port. The sea looks inviting, blue and glistening in the sun; if I could have dived in from the hotel balcony, I would have done. Easily.
Sorrento itself is beautiful, with traditional old Italian buildings and stunning scenary. The Amalfi drive is a definite must, with the winding roads along cliff-tops flirting with danger but it’s worth it. I have never seen such a natural and stunning coast-line in all my years, and the city of Sorrento also adds to this.
Now it’s not just about the sun, and the hot temperatures Italy attract when the summer season arrives, oh no. This area of Italy is steeped in history, with plenty of tourist attractions to keep you busy (if you fancy a day away from the sunbeds). The famous anicent Roman city of Pompeii is simply incredible to see, the sheer size of the site is staggering. I only expected a small bit of the city to be perserved but no, it literally is an entire city. From the ampitheatre, to the forum and to the frozen bodies in shock, it is incredible. It’s well worth getting a guided tour for a few extra Euros.
If Anicent Roman ruins continue to take your fancy, then Herculaneum is worth visiting. Much smaller than Pompeii, it is as equally and beautifully perserved as the other city destroyed in the same eruption by Vesuvius, if not better. Stunning mosasics are still in tact,with grand halls somehow surviving thousands of years. The hundreds of bodies in the boat houses are haunting to see, but it’s all hugely interesting.
You can even take a trip up the only active volcano in mainland Europe, where you’re greeted by fresh, cool air and breath-taking (literally) views. The climb to the top is tough, but well worth it; the crater itself of the famous Mt. Vesuvius is enormous, and so impressive. You can’t quite believe the grand sature of it all, but it was easily one of the best experiences I have ever done.
But if volcanoes and ruins aren’t your shot of Limoncello, then the island of Capri is for you. With the world famous Blue Grotto stunning, the world-famous shops ready to shop-until-you-drop and the views from the top of the island incredible, it’s a definite place to see. One tip though – try not to visit Capri in the height of the summer season. You’ll expect plenty of queues and a very busy island. If you plan to visit the Blue Grotto, you may have to ‘queue’ (or what the Italians think queuing is, unlike us Brits) for two hours and end up feeling incredibly seasick. It is a sight to see, but not if you can’t fully appreciate it.
The feeling of not wanting to leave and return to work hit hard when the time came to fly back to Blighty. But Sorrento and this area of Italy has left a lasting impression – and I’m sure it will not be the last time I’ll be visiting.
Ciao Itaia, grazie.