09 June 2008

Amalfi Coast, Capri, and Pompeii

This past weekend, Mia and I ventured south. We visited the Amalfi Coast, including Sorrento, Amalfi Town, Positano, the towns of Capri and Anacapri on Capri, and Pompeii (Dr. Benson's blog has a nice vignette about Pompeii this week, as well!). All of these places offer impressive panoramic views, scenery to rival the best scenes the world over, and, predictably, enough tourists clicking cameras to keep us running away from tour groups all weekend. Below, I am including slide shows of the highlights from each location.

The towns on the Amalfi coast offer a relaxing atmosphere to shop, rest, and take in the view. The coast is a rich grove for citrus fruit, and Sorrento is particularly known for its lemons. The two towns we visited on the south side of the Amalfi Coast, Amalfi Town and Positano, present views of bougainvillea, the bright blue Mediterranean, and houses and gardens clinging to terraced cliffs.

Capri Town and Anacapri are on the island of Capri, just off the end of the Amalfi Coast. They are filled to the brim with jewelers, high fashion shops, and tourists. The views are impressive. We skipped the famed Blue Grotto in favor of some of the less-beaten-path sites. Our favorite was the Villa S. Michele, home to Avel Munthe. The views from the garden alone were worth the price of admission, but his story was enough to encourage us to buy his book.

Pompeii is world-renowned for its preserved ruins. Covering 164 acres, we did not see all of the property. We also spent much time evading the tour groups; there were so many and many whose language we could not identify. The omnipresence of the tourist gaze made it difficult to capture the site, either on film or in mind, but we did get a feel for the place, thanks to Rick Steves’s suggested self-guided walking tour. The views of the surrounding countryside set us well to enjoy some of the most memorable vistas I have ever seen over the course of the weekend.

The Amalfi Coast is a must for those seeking to “see” Italy.

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Works Cited

Fiona Wild, ed. Eyewitness Travel Rome (London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1993), 2007 edition.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Marble Faun. New York: Penguin Books, 1990/1860.

James, Henry. Daisy Miller. New York: Penguin Books, 2005/1878.

Powers, Alice Leccese. Italy in Mind: An Anthology. Toronto: Vintage Books, 1997.

Steves, Rick. Rick Steves' Italy 2007. New York: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2006.