Naples, Pompeii, + the Almafi Coast
The parents are here! After 4 months of studying abroad in London, we planned to explore Italy and Germany for 7 days. The first stop: Napoli!
After settling into the hotel our first day, we decided to go to the city center to explore for the rest of the day. When in Italy, remember to keep an eye on your belongings and beware of pickpockets, as we experienced this first hand in a bus (fortunately, he was not very good at it and basically everyone caught him).
With a 3 day travel card, we explored the city though the metro and came across this amazing installation underground at the last stop, Toledo. Designed by Oscar Tusquets Blanca around the theme of water and light, the ceiling reminded me of stars in one context, and then being underwater in another (a reference to how the metro station is below sea level) as it changed.
It is safe to say we stayed here for around 30 minutes taking photos going up and down the escalators!
NAPLES CITY CENTER
At the city center, we checked out St. Francis of Paola (San Francesco di Paola on Piazza del Plebiscito), a church with a large plaza where people can relax and kids can play. Everything else was walking distance, and the ports were nearby as well.
Kids playing in the plaza.
The medieval Castel Nuovo was closed by the time we arrived, but the outside was still impressive:
Galleria Umberto I is a shopping center with an amazing glass ceiling, and despite them doing renovations at the time we were there, it was still breathtaking:
The tiles depicted the 12 zodiac signs in a circle. Shown: Cancer.
The next day we had a tour booked, checking out Pompeii for the first half (Pompei with one "i" is the modern city that the Pompeii ruins are in). The volcano eruption was brutal, destroying around 20 thousand people with smoke and ashes filling up their lungs. Those preserved under the 10 meters of ash were found covering their noses with their hand after they were dug up!
The tour guided us through the ruins of their greek style theatre, as well as through the shopping streets, public bath houses, the brothel area, and where the government would have been.
Left: Theatre built in the hollow of a hill for the best acoustics. In the summer, there would be shade overhead for 5000 people.
In terms of the streets, we went through what would have been a major shopping area. The sidewalks are higher than the modern sidewalk because the streets had water and waste flowing through them. Pompeii also had a water system where everyone had access to drinking water through public fountains.
The stone blocks in the street shown above had two functions: speed bumps, and for pedestrians to cross over the waste water.
Stoves for cooking.
One of the public bath rooms. The brothels were also nearby, denoted with a phallic symbol on the wall.
At the center, The Forum was surrounded by many of the important government, religious and business buildings. This is where administration and trade was discussed.
Left: Statue overlooking modern Pompei.
After Pompeii and lunch (pizza, pasta, and gelato of course), we headed on over to the Almafi Coast.
Before arriving, the tour bus stopped at Limoncello factory where we saw how Limoncello was made. With the perfect climate for lemons, they have no shortage!
The drive took a couple of hours because of how "vertical" the cities are, but along the road, the scenery was beautiful out the bus window.
In Positano -- called the vertical city -- there is only one road that cars can go on, and the rest are steps. The tour made a quick stop before continuing here:
When we finally arrived at the coast, we only had 45 minutes because of how long the drive was. If visiting, I would suggest booking a hotel for a couple of nights to enjoy it all for more than a couple of hours on a tour!
And sadly, in just a blink we had to get on the bus to go back home! Maybe it was a good thing, since after we got on, it started getting cloudy and it started to rain.
The sun breaking through with Mount Vesuvius in the background.
With a train ride to catch the next day, our tour ended in time for us to head home and prepare for our next destination: Florence!