Italy trip - The Amalfi Coast, Capri & Naples
Wow, I cannot believe it has been two weeks since I came back from Italy. Time has seriously flown by so fast. It’s taken me a hot minute to figure out how I am going to group this post because there was just SO much stuff we did.. but here it goes!
My family and I booked our Italy trip through a travel company called Tauck. The difference with Tauck is the excess you have during your travels. People choose Tauck to travel because their standards are held higher than most travel groups. They give you special access that lets you become part of the culture and the trip is truly seamless and inclusive. Every single detail is taken care of for you - so you literally worry about nothing. Like I mean they take your luggage for you when you move from hotel to hotel so you never touch a thing! It was crazy how organized they were. (#Goals) We took a level 3 tour (I believe) which is not the highest activity rate, but it was definitely moderate. Tauck goes all around the world and they even have family group tours too! Those are called Tauck Bridges; meaning all ages!
Now, I have never flown over seas before so that flight was a trip within itself. Luckily though, the way we came in, our jet lag could have been so much worse. We flew from Miami to Milan then from Milan to Naples. We had a 6 hour layover in Milan and you bet I took a NAP. I have never fallen asleep in a public place before..but you know what? There is a first time for everything. Travel tip - if you have your luggage with you, prop your feet up onto the top of your bag and put your feet through the long handle and you got yourself a self made foot rest! Sorry not sorry ya’ll, ya girl was sleepy.
After arriving to Naples, we drove to the Positano. That took about an hour and a half, and what a ride that was.. I thought Jersey drivers were aggressive.. I think the Italians take the prize! Now, if you’re not familiar with the Amalfi Coast, everything is built on the side of the mountain, so the houses are structured vertical and the roads are VERY windy. I believe our driver said there are roughly 1,500 curves through the entire Amalfi Coast. After traveling almost 24 hours, and a brutal ride to our hotel we landed at the Hotel Le Agavi. I have never seen such a more beautiful hotel in my entire life before. I did not want to leave! It’s not like a regular hotel, each cluster of rooms is one level and you even had to take a ski lift to get to some of the other rooms! The architecture is unreal, I am still blown away.
We spent 3 days in Amalfi, but honestly I could have spent so much more. We went to visit the town of Amalfi, took a boat ride along the coast and visited a beautiful town called Ravello. Ravello is the less touristy town and they have a beautiful garden called “Villa Rufolo”. It was built by wealthy merchant family in the 13th century, the villa has a rich and storied past. The garden is absolutely beautiful and the views are truly something else! It’s so hard to imagine that something like that actually exists.
After spending a few days in Amalfi, we made our way to visit Herculaneum. If you are unfamiliar with Herculaneum, it’s the village that was closer to Mt. Vesuvius during the eruption. It’s also have been said to be the “wealthy” village of the surrounding areas. Visiting Herculaneum was literally like taking a step back in time. They have only been able to excavate a portion of the land because way way back when, they had no idea that there was anything underneath, so they started building an entire town above the ancient town. Yup, there is still more to be discovered! Unfortunately, they have no plans to excavate because that would mean removing people from their homes.
While there, you could see the architecture that still remains intact after the eruption. Majority of the roofs did cave in, so that has been something they have put in place to make sure the structures are secure. Unlike Pompeii, Herculaneum was affected by the ash; causing carbonization which then preserved everything. So when you visit, you can still see original wood! I was blown away that it didn’t disintegrate. There is even a tiny tiny piece of glass that out of everything Mt. Vesuvius destroyed, it survived! Now, a lot of people ask which one is better to visit. Pompeii is more excavated, meaning there is much more to see. Herculaneum on the other hand, still has so much more preservation of the buildings and organic materials due to the different impact the eruption had. Pompeii also is a full day trip from what I heard, and you can go through Herculaneum in roughly 3 hours.
After visiting Herculaneum, we made our way via bus AND boat to the Island of Capri. We defiantly took a whole lot of public transportation this trip, and if you’re like me and get motion sickness super easily..dramamine is your friend! Luckily, Italy has little medical shops everywhere. Once arriving to the island, we stayed at the Grand Hotel Quisisana. It’s been open since 1845 and still has a lot of its rich history within the decorations. It sits right in the middle of the town, so you can walk outside the hotel and grab a new purse from Gucci is you desire to do so! (not even joking)
After arriving in Capri, the next day we went to Anacapri. Thankfully, It’s only a 15 minute car ride away.. (same island) While there, we visited the Villa San Michele. Swedish physician, Axel Menthe built his dream villa on the ruins of an ancient Chapel, dedicated to San Michele and made it his place to escape. They say that Queen Victoria spent a lot of her life there, it’s not confirmed, but from what we were told it sounds like they were having a little affair if you ask me! The villa was beautiful itself, but the views are something else. I cannot even imagine waking up everyday to something like that!
Soon after visiting the villa, we went to a retired professor’s villa. She spoke to us about Italy’s economy and how things are changing in their country. Did you know their tax rate is abut 55%? They also have free healthcare and free education. That’s why they have little medical shops everywhere you go!
Something that we didn’t get to do that is a main attraction in Capri is visit the Grotto’s (ya girl does not do well on boats) My suggestion is to get a private tour that takes you to all the Grotto’s so you don’t get smushed in a boat with 50 other people. Another tip is going later in the afternoon on the boat. A lot of people come super early.. like BOAT loads of people, so try and beat the crowd as much as possible.
My tips for visiting the Amalfi Coast & Capri - bring water.. lots of it! Italians do not drink water like we do. You need to stay hydrated! Also, bring coins to use the bathroom! Although they do have public bathrooms - you need to pay a quarter 90% of the time. Waking up super early was a big thing for us because we beat majority of the crowds, so I highly recommend doing that.
Now that I am back home, I can really sit down and appreciate how much beauty and history there still is in Italy. I am counting down the days till I can go back!
If you have been to either location - what are your favorite things to do while there? Share them down below in the comments section!
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