Easter morning we left Taormina and took a train from Sicily to Italy. To cross the Tyrrhenian Sea the train boarded a ferry; it was a very unique experience. We eventually reached Salerno and we were met at the station to be driven to Ravello. The coast line here is stunning, but unfortunately it was grey and raining. We took a slight detour to stop in Amalfi and sought shelter indoors with a short exploration of the large Cathedral there.
We continued on and climbed the winding roads high up to the small town of Ravello. It has striking views overlooking the Amalfi Coast. Here Leanne and I separated from Doug and Carol as we splurged to stay in the Hotel Caruso for a night. We were welcomed with rainbows in the sky as the sun broke through and we swam in the beautiful infinity pool overlooking the coast. For Easter dinner I had a taster menu at an incredible restaurant and two of the courses I will remember for a long time: asparagus with poached egg and Tovere sheep cheese, and lasagna with braided beef (the best lasagna I’ve ever tasted). The views, the pool, and the meal perfectly paired with regional wines made for a wonderful, romantic evening.
Late the following morning we met with Giovanni for our tour of the Amalfi Coast. He is very Italian, very animated and opinionated. He was a perfect guide and a great driver. The rain from the previous day disappeared and it was a sunny day for the most scenic drive in the world. Before leaving Ravello, we visited the gardens and the view at the Villa Rufolo. Next stop was a return to the town of Amalfi. This time we explored the outdoors and walked out on the pier for photos. Having a driver here was ideal. He was able to drop us off and pick us up from the little coastal towns avoiding traffic and parking headaches. He also knoew the best points along the road for photos. Picturesque Positano was our last village on this side of the coast and it was my favourite. We meandered through its narrow streets and visited the beach. Easter Monday is a holiday and it was packed with people from neighboring areas. Having a knowledgeable guide and driver was invaluable. We had one last look-out stop after leaving Positano before going to our final destination for the day, Sorrento. Giovanni took us through the packed streets down to a fishing area for a very late lunch. As he was driving into the tight roads leading to the restaurant a tourist driving out from the area stopped him to let him know that his van would be too big to get in through. Giovanni said thanks, laughed and drove through it with ease. It was very funny. We spent the night in a boutique hotel nestled amongst the pedestrian streets. A porter met us and we walked with him through the crowds to the inner courtyard of the hotel where our rooms were a few flights up.
The next morning we took a catamaran to the island of Capri. Here we bused to Anacapri where we took a chairlift (only one person per chair) to the top of Monte Solaro. It provided a great view of the entire island, particularly of Capri and the iconic stacks called Faraglioni. We later made our way to Capri itself and had an awesome hike down to Marina Piccola. That evening back in Sorrento I was hopeful to visit to the “best restaurant in the region” instead we ended up going to Franko’s Pizzeria. It was ok, but a particularly funny contrast to the other place. Franko’s deliviered our food with plastic cups, plates and cutlery.
The next day we left Sorrento and had a guided tour of Pompeii. Pompeii is remarkable as it was buried under four to six meters of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. This preserved it until it was partially unearthed over 1500 years later. It offers a fascinating look into what life was like so long ago. It was sad to see the remains of people who perished in the ash. The shapes of their bodies were preserved in positions of desperation.
Following Pompeii we went into the heart of Naples, not a pleasant town from what we saw, and from there we caught a high speed train to Rome.