While in Rome, we decided to head to the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii for a day. And, what a day it was. We woke early in the morning and caught a train from Rome to Naples. At the Naples train station we were met by our guide, John Luca, of Amalfi Coast Tours. Let me tell you, John Luca made our day absolutely perfect. If you are ever in need of a private tour guide for the Amalfi Coast, he’s your man.
We began our day excursion with a winding drive along a coastal highway that eventually led us our first photo-op on the Amalfi Coast: Meta di Sorrento, Italy. Meta di Sorrento used to be marked by a splendid temple in honor of the goddess Minerva, later replaced with an early Christian church, whose remains were used to build the 17th century Basilica in honour of Madonna del Lauro, now a symbol of Meta di Sorrento. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the Basilica, but, I’m sure it’s lovely. Meta di Sorrento is also known for its Limoncello. We spent some time enjoying the coastal views and the warm sea breeze before continuing on the journey to Positano. (Pictured: Olive trees while on the move. Images like this accompanied us through Meta di Sorrento.)
Just before we entered Positano, there was an amazing fruit stand that we pulled off to sample local bits from. You can see in the photo below, the lemons are massive. We tried lemon soaked in olive oil and salt and I was delighted with how tasty it was (definitely not expecting that). We also tried the tiny little oranges that look like tomatoes (skin on and everything). So yummy! Then we walked just behind the fruit stand and saw the stunning town of Positano (photo op number two). If you’ve ever seen the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, this is the city Frances journeys to with Marcello. It really is a stunner. I would love to go back to Positano and spend a week soaking up the sea and the sun. It’s one of those charming seaside towns with warm people, amazing scenery, and fabulous food. After wandering the tiny streets and shops in town, we made our way down to the beach for lunch.We landed at Chez Black for lunch. This restaurant was suggested by our guide, John Luca, and it didn’t disappoint. The views were phenomenal and the food was nice and light as well: Perfect for lunch on the sea. Everyone was totally delighted to be in Positano as you can see in the photos below. After lunch, we spent some time seaside; skipping rocks, admiring the views, and enjoying the sunshine. After our seaside fun, we rejoined John Luca for the next part of our day, a trip to Pompeii. Now, this is something that I have always wanted to see, and I am so grateful that we were able to spend some time there.
Once we arrived at Pompeii, we met our guide, Giovanni. He is a former archaeologist that participated in excavations of Pompeii. As such, he was brimming with knowledge and knew every answer to every question. He painted the history of Pompeii in such a way that it was brought to life for us. Truly exceptional. Here is a quick synopsis for those who are unfamiliar: Pompeii was once a thriving and sophisticated Roman city, but was buried under 14 to 17 feet of ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD that killed thousands. The site was so well-preserved by the ash and pumice that excavated ruins of streets, homes, bath houses, amphitheaters, and more from 79 AD are open to visitors to explore today. (Pictured: Inside the Ampitheatre of Pompeii – the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre.) (Pictured: The atrium of the House of the Menander: One of six well-preserved homes open to visitors.)(Pictured: Even the paint from 79AD was preserved. Amazing.)(Pictured: Brothels were a popular and accepted practice in Pompeii. The locations were noted by folic symbols on the street and on buildings.)(Pictured: One of the public bathhouses used in 79AD.)(Pictured: The main square of Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius in the background.)(Pictured above and below: The bodies of victims (and pets) were covered by a thick layer of ash and as the bodies decomposed, empty cavities were left in their place. These cavities were filled with plaster and today, we are able to view the casts. It’s quite somber to see in person and really drives home the catastrophe that occurred here.)After the tour concluded, John Luca gifted us with Limoncello from the Amalfi Coast (so thoughtful) and dropped us at the Naples train station to catch the train back to Rome. Once back, we headed to dinner and enjoyed some Limoncello in honor of the truly amazing day we had. Cheers to living life to the fullest 🙂