This has been a whirlwind summer filled with a lot of road traveling. Our main road trip was to explore almost the entire country of Italy over the past 3 weeks and we used just about every mode of transportation to do it (planes, trains, automobiles, and boats)! To help you plan your next (or first) Italian adventure, I’ll be sharing what we saw, what we learned, and what we ate, over a series of posts.
Immediately after landing in Rome, we got on a couple of trains that took us to Naples for 4 nights. I chose Naples as our first home base mainly because of the location.
Day 1: Arrival
The original itinerary had us arriving in Naples for lunch. Unfortunately, the travel gods had other plans. We didn’t get to our B&B until late in the afternoon and needed to recharge a bit (aka needed to shower) so we didn’t do any sightseeing. We did grab our first apperitivo (Italy’s version of happy hour) in the Piazza Bellini and dinner at a neighborhood restaurant.
Day 2: Naples
We walked all over Naples today starting along the charming Via San Biagio dei Librai and seeing the difference between old and new Naples along the S The royal apartment at the Palazzo Reale was free so we took advantage and marveled at all of the Italian opulence. The plan was also to explore Castel d’Ovo, but it was unexpectedly closed (this was not uncommon for Italy). We also ate (and wore) our first “real” gelato and pizza.
Today’s highlight was touring the Mueso Cappella Sansevero and seeing the “The Veiled Christ” statue. Holy crap it is an amazing piece of work! This chapel should be on your bucket list. Pictures were not allowed but needless to say this was a highlight of our trip!
Day 3: Capri/Sorrento
The best way to see Capri is by boat! In my opinion, the island itself is a typical beach/resort town (overpriced and no real substance), but the views and the caves (aka grottos) are outstanding! We took a 4 hour private boat tour through Gianni’s Boat tours and were wowed by the blues and greens of the water, the bright red coral, and gorgeous rock formations and cliffs. The Blue Grotto was closed due to the rough water, which ended up being a blessing, we still got to see the blue water in a different cave and got to spend more time swimming and exploring all of the other sites of the island.
After our tour, we spent a couple of hours grabbing lunch and then walking around Capri a bit. I wasn’t too impressed with Capri, but then again we didn’t get over to Anacapri or see the Augustus gardens, so maybe we missed the true highlights.
We finished the day by taking the ferry to Sorrento for dinner. The town of Sorrento seemed more charming than Capri. We had an amazing dinner and sunset at Ristorante Bagni Delfino. Seriously, go here. If you can, make reservations so you get to sit along the water.
The original plan was to take the train back to Naples, but there were discrepancies between the online train schedule and the actual schedule and so we missed the last train. Lucky for us there was a bus that we were able to catch late that night. Lesson learned: confirm your travel at the actual location.
Day 4: Volcano Day!!
We had high aspirations for Volcano day: hike up Vesuvius, the see Herculaneum, and finish with Pompeii. What actually happened: we saw parts of Pompeii. In order to fit everything in would’ve meant a really early start for us – we aren’t generally early risers and due to the train snafu the night before, had gotten in really late from Sorrento.
Flexibility is key when travelling epically. We could’ve pushed ourselves and gotten up early, but I don’t think we would have enjoyed the day as much.
Pompeii was really neat. It’s a lot bigger than one might think (until you remember that it was an entire city). The audio guide does a good job explaining what you are looking at and what life was like back then, but if I was to do it again, I think I’d book a tour. There were a couple of things I wanted to see (the brothel) and we couldn’t find them. Also there is very little shade…something to keep in mind if the weather is hot (especially traveling in July). We did find Pompeii’s finest gelato shop!
All in all, the first leg of the trip was a huge success! We left Naples feeling pretty good about what we had seen, ate, drank, and were excited about what was ahead!
Stay tuned for more adventures and things learned from our epic Italian road trip!