Day 8 Best of Amalfi Coast Adventure

Saturday, November 10th, 2018

We left our hotel in Sorrento by 8:30 AM to head to Pompeii.  The road is very narrow and little room for error!


When we arrived in Pompeii we met our local guide.  We walked through a brothel and the forum.  We also walked through a villa that had only been open for 1 1/2 years.  The weather was perfect for exploring this uncovered city from the past.

Mt. Vesuvius is in the distance and looks so unassuming.  It is about 6 miles away.  Pompeii was a busy port city before the eruption.  Pompeii was covered by 20 feet of ash when Vesuvius erupted and that ash added over a mile to the coastline.  Pompeii is no longer on the coast when it was discovered.

After our tour of Pompeii, we drove back to Rome.  On the way we saw Monte Casino which was Italy’s bloodiest battle during WWII.

We arrived at our hotel around 5 PM.

IMG_2783  It was the Romanico Palace Hotel.   Our room was quite unique.

The view from our room!

Once we checked into our room, we put our belongings in the room and took off to visit Trevi Fountain.  It was within walking distance of our hotel!  The fountain was packed with people but we finally made it up close to throw in our coins so we would return to Roma!


The US Embassy was down the road from our hotel.  We walked by the complex on our way to Trevi Fountain.  We met a couple from our group and joined them for dinner at a “mom and pop” restaurant that was recommended by the hotel.  It was called Ristorante La Lampada.  It was a delicious meal.  IMG_3660

It was a great ending to our trip!  Tomorrow we leave to head home!  Our time in Italy was amazing and we look forward to our next adventure!

Day 7 Best of Amalfi Coast Adventure

Friday, November 9th, 2018

We were on the motorcoach by 8:30 to travel from Sorrento and drive along a different section on the Amalfi Coast!  The scenery was spectacular!

Our first stop was Tenuta Vannulo, an organic farm which specializes in buffalo mozzarella.  It was an interesting tour and the buffalos are well cared for and even have massagers.

The shop with yogurt and other products made from Buffalo milk.
Buffalo yogurt with orange marmalade.
Making the buffalo mozzarella by hand!
The automated milking station.
The buffalo massagers!
products made from the buffalo leather.


Tasting the buffalo mozzarella.

After touring the organic farm, we went to the town of Paestum.

Part of the town of Paestum.

The town has three of the world’s best preserved ancient Greek temples.  Because it is off the beaten path, it wasn’t crowded.  These Doric temples are thought to be dedicated to the city’s namesake Poseidon (Neptune), Hera and Ceres.  The Temple of Hera is the oldest and was built about 550 BC.  Next door is the Temple of Neptune which dates from about 450 BC and is the most intact except for the roof and some parts of the inner walls.  The third is the Temple of Athena which was built about 500 BC. IMG_2686

The middle of the area consists of the Roman forum and a small Roman amphitheater.

They were filming a movie called “Last Words”.  So we saw evidence of the film crew and scenes set for filming.  It is a futuristic drama that takes place in 2085 and stars Charlotte Rampling, Alba Rohrwacher, and Nick Nolte.  The film is supposedly to be released in 2019.IMG_2676

We toured the National Archaeological Museum of Paestum.

The Tomb of the Diver which depicts a young man plunging toward a pool of water. The set of frescoes from this tomb is one of the main attractions at the museum.

Below are more of the limestone slabs that formed the chamber of the Tomb of the Diver (470 BC) that was discovered in 1968 by an Italian archaeologist, Mario Napoli.

After the museum, we traveled back to Sorrento.  On our way we stopped at an overlook of the city and took some pictures as the sun was getting ready to set.


That evening our group had dinner at a local Sorrento restaurant.IMG_2749

Our menu was printed for us!


The food was delicious and the entertainment was fun!  It was a great evening for our last night in Sorrento!

Addio a Sorrento! (Goodbye to Sorrento)

Day 6 Best of Amalfi Coast Adventure

Thursday, November 8th 2018

No alarm this morning!  We ventured from the hotel after breakfast.  We were walking down the Corso Italia road by 10 AM.  Our first stop was to visit the Cloister of San Francesco.  It dates back to the 8th century but it has been restored several times and is now used to host concerts, weddings, and other activities.

We took a long walk along the main road to explore the Roman villa ruins on Punta del Capo.  We had to be careful and watch for traffic because there weren’t any sidewalks or berms!

IMG_2527As you can see it was a narrow road!

Punta del Capo is a point of land that sticks out from the Sorrento peninsula.  This is where we saw the remains of a 1st century Roman Villa.  The wealthy Romans build vacation villas on panoramic points along the coast.  We explored the ruins and took some wonderful pictures of the views from here!

Looking down on the Roman Villa.

The weather was perfect for taking pictures and hiking the area.  We also saw a painter working at the remains.

The views were stunning so you can understand why the wealthy would want a holiday villa along the coastline of Sorrento!


Walking back into the city center we saw some interesting buildings and a sundial!

When we got back into town we stopped for lunch and had pizza at a cafe and we ate outdoors which was awesome for November!

We walked around the ancient walls of Sorrento.  These walls were built in the 16th century to help defend the city from attacks.  The first evidence of walls around Sorrento dates as far back as 400 BC.

We saw the Arch Dominova Seat.  The seat was built in the 14th century by some nobles and is completely covered by frescoes.

It was used by the nobles to meet in order to talk about the problems of the town.  It was also used as a guard house and a prison but today is used for dining or some of the locals come to play cards at the tables!

There was a photo exhibition by the Italian photographer:  Raffaele Celentano entitled “Memories in the Wind”.  There also was a collection of photography of Sophia Loren in her honor.  We visited the exhibition and really enjoyed the photos.

We purchased one of Celentano’s prints entitled “Old Lovers”.  We loved this print and have it hanging in our home!

It was another fun-filled day in Sorrento!

Day 5 Best of Amalfi Coast Adventure

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

We were out of the hotel and on the bus for our trip to Napoli (Naples) by 8:00 AM and it was raining.  When we arrived at our destination the rain held off and it was partly sunny the rest of the Day!

Our local guide was Vincenzo.  He did a great job taking us around Napoli and explaining the sites that we saw and their historical significance.  Its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.IMG_2227

Castel Nuovo is located in central Naples and is a medieval castle that was completed in the early 1200s.

This is the Royal Palace of Naples that was constructed in the 1600s but wasn’t used as a royal residence until the1700s.IMG_2399

We visited the Baroque architectural style, Gesu Nuovo Church.  It was completed in 1750.

The Church of Gesu Nuovo


view toward the main altar


On the west side of the Piazza del Plebiscito (the city’s main square) is the Royal Basilica of San Francesco di Paola.  This church was finished in 1816.


The Church of Santa Chiara lost part of its edifice in a fire after the Allied bombings during WWII.  It was repaired and finished in 1953.

We found this restaurant along the bay of Naples and had a delicious lunch.  Many of our fellow travelers had the famous Napoli pizza but when you have to eat gluten free that wasn’t an option.


Naples was very busy and there were scooters, cars and people moving everywhere!


On our way back to Sorrento we stopped at a cameo factory.  We saw a demonstration as the worker created a cameo out of a shell.

Some of the people in our group purchased some beautiful cameo jewelry!  It was a busy but informative day!

Day 4 Best of Amalfi Coast Adventure

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Of our group, we were the only travelers that did not take the excursion to Capri.  We have visited the island before so we opted to spend the day exploring the city of Sorrento.  We left the hotel around 9:00 AM to begin today’s adventures.  The weather was perfect.

We walked down the main street of Sorrento, Corso Italia, and we came upon the Villa Fiorentino.  We were going to visit it buy it didn’t open until 10:00 AM so we plopped on a bench in the piazza close by because we only had 10 minutes to wait.  At opening time we walked back over to the villa but we couldn’t tour it because they had no power.  We noticed there were screeching sirens and at least one city block was without power!

Villa Fiorentino

We walked over 10 miles exploring the city.  We were up and down the steep roadways.  In the morning we visited Marina Piccola (little harbor).  In the afternoon we visited Marina Grande.  Grande is smaller but we saw more boats.  Its waterfront has many seafood restaurants.  We had lunch at one of them.  It was called Azzurra Ristorante (1931).

It’s quite a climb down to the water!


It’s a long way back up!


This is where we had lunch!

We saw the old city wall and the medieval street, VIA San Cesareo.

Our guide mentioned that we should visit the Correale di Terranova museum.  It was our last stop of the day.  The museum is in an 18th century villa and gets its name from the Correale family that owns the villa!

Piazza Tasso

Piazza Tasso is located in the central area of Sorrento.  It is named after the poet Torquato Tasso.  Located nearby is the Santuario del Carmine church which is beautiful inside.  The ceiling painting depicts the Virgin Mary with Saint Simon and angels and completed in the early 1700s.


Day 3 Best of Amalfi Coast Adventure

Monday, November 5th, 2018

We were on our motor coach by 9:00 AM for a drive and tour of a portion of the Amalfi Coast.  The road twists and turns and is narrow!


Hold on as we travel the highway!


Very narrow road with really no room for error! Yikes!

It was difficult to really get a great picture of the twists and turns along State Road 163!  We stopped at some of the towns along our drive.  Others we viewed from the bus.

Our first stop was at a lookout over Positano.  Looking down on the beach area it reminded us of the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”!  (In that movie the main character, Frances, played by Diane Lane drinks Limoncello on the beach with Marcello, played by Raoul Bova.)  The views were breathtaking!

A few pictures from Positano.







As we were motoring along the Amalfi Coast road we saw tucked into the rock face a miniature village of Praiano and it has a nativity scene!  IMG_1838


We also stopped at the town of Amalfi which also had steep cliffs.  IMG_1938IMG_1937The Amalfi Cathedral was worth the time to visit.IMG_1881IMG_1923

We had a wonderful lunch at a small restaurant along the piazza before we were back on the bus to continue our drive. Ravello was the next town where we stopped and walked around. It hosts concerts during the summertime and is known for the Ravello festival which they’ve hosted for 66 years!

After visiting Ravello, we took a road through the mountains and the highway to the road that leads back to Sorrento.  The traffic was horrendous and it took much longer than expected.  We had time to freshen up and meet our guide to walk into town and she pointed out highlights of places to see and places to eat and shop.  Because we had a big lunch, we stopped in a local market and bought some cheese and crackers and had that for dinner with some local wine!

Day 1 & Day 2 Best of Amalfi Coast Adventure

Saturday, November 3rd and Sunday, November 4th




We are packed and ready for our ride to the airport!



We departed Columbus for our flight to Atlanta with a close to an on time departure.  Our beloved Buckeyes were playing Nebraska at home.  We watched a lot of the game sitting in the airport.  As we took off, “The Shoe” was in the distance.  Go Buckeyes!swCq0nFs

We were sitting at our gate in Atlanta bound for Rome by 4:25 PM.  3IuzVrvk

Just taking off for Rome and we are excited!

We are scheduled to depart Atlanta at 5:58 PM for our overnight flight and landing in Rome Sunday morning close to 9:00 AM their time.3RV+ig1x

We got our luggage and met Romina, our tour guide for our trip!  We boarded our bus with Caesar as our driver and arrived at our hotel around 2:45 PM. vMQll+rg We checked into our hotel, the Hotel Michelangelo, in Sorrento, Italy.

The hotel was located on the main street of Sorrento which was convenient for exploring the city.

Our room had a balcony which we enjoyed!



IMG_1796 We met Giovanni, the hotel’s bartender, in the hotel bar and had a local white wine.  Of course there were quite a few of us there!

Giovanni and Libby
Dave enjoying his wine!

Before dinner the 29 of us traveling with the Hilliard Chamber met in the hotel’s meeting room with Romina to go over some housekeeping details and introduce ourselves!

Romina, our guide!

Dinner was provided at the hotel. After our meal we took a walk into town.IMG_1792

Piazza T. Tasso A statue of Tasso, a native born poet. The Piazza is a meeting of several roads and it is a focal point of the city.
Walking down Corso Italia and this road is the main shopping street in town.
A different angle looking over the Piazza T. Tasso.

We were in bed early this evening because it had been a very long two days with little sleep!