From where to eat, to what sites cannot be missed, Christine shares her Top 5 favourite moments in Southern Italy and why you need to experience them for yourself:
I’ve always been a person who enjoys culture and food, and have always had a soft spot for Europe. My husband and I decided we wanted to try Intrepid Travel‘s ‘Rome to Amalfi’ tour which included stops in Rome, Naples, Sorrento and Amalfi.
There were tons of amazing things to see and do here, and I wanted to share our Top 5 favourite experiences!
5) Dine at Da Michele Pizzeria in Naples:
Known as one of the oldest and most original pizza places in Naples, this Pizzeria is so authentic that the famous scene from ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, where Julia Roberts indulges in the local pizza, was shot here. It’s a small little place that usually boasts a small line up out the door. But trust me, the wait is very worthwhile. They only serve two kinds of pizza here: Margherita and Marinara. We got to try both of them, and it was hard to pick a winner. The service is quick and the prices are extremely affordable – some of the cheapest pizza we ate all week! The walls are covered in old black and white photographs and newspaper clippings showcasing the infamy of the pizzeria. Definitely a fun experience!
4) Hike Mount Vesuvius:
If anyone is familiar with the histories of Pompeii and its doom from a volcanic eruption in AD 79, you can appreciate the size and magnitude of the looming Mount Vesuvius in the background. This volcano, the only active volcano on mainland Europe, is open for people to climb! I know it sounds pretty scary, but the volcano is very closely monitored for seismic activity and is currently ‘sleeping’. The local buses will take you half way up the volcano, where you will then ascend the rest on foot. It’s about a 45 minute to an hour climb, and can be fairly steep in areas. So bring comfortable shoes and a hat! The views from the top are incredible and showcase the coast line, as well as the surrounding cities and towns at the base of the mount. A camera is a must for this experience!
3) Watch a Gelato-Making demonstration in Sorrento:
Gelato is a staple in Italy and Gelaterias can be found on almost every corner. As a tourist, I like to eat as much gelato as I possibly can. If you get the chance to take part in a Gelato making demonstration, I highly recommend it. It’s pretty incredible to see the difference between North American ice cream, and the Italian gelato, as well as see the fresh ingredients used to make it.
You also get included on privy information like some of the new flavours coming out (the demonstration we watched said they were coming out with octopus flavoured gelato – eww!). Usually the end of the session includes a free gelato on the house- which is always a plus in my book, and a copy of a recipe if you want to try to make your own at home.
2) Visit the Beaches of Amalfi:
Nothing says relaxation like lying on beach with the blue sea ahead of you and towering cliffs above you. Beaches in Italy are mostly rock beaches (be careful, the stones are hot!), but the water and views make up for it. Umbrellas and lounge chairs are available for daily rent at reasonable rates, or depending on your hotel, this may come included. The coast line is absolutely stunning and there is nothing like reading a good book under the shade of an umbrella while watching the people go by. Why not have a gelato on the beach as a nice way to cool down?
1) Hike the ‘Path of the Gods’.
It is said that if the Gods were to be on Earth and choose to see the scenery of the Italian coast, this is where
they would’ve hiked. Hence the name! Originally this path was used strictly by horse riders and donkeys, but has more recently become a leisure afternoon for tourists and locals alike. It’s a vast landscape of cliffs, rocks, mountains, ruins and vineyards. You can take a local bus to Agerola and start the path from there. This 4-hour hike will take you along the coast to Positano where you can rest, have some lunch and take a boat or bus back to Amalfi or wherever you are staying. The views are incredible, and it really doesn’t surprise me that the Gods would choose to walk this pathway.
Looking for more information on travelling to Italy? Christine Vickers is an International Travel Consultant at our Fanshawe Park Place location in London, Ontario and can be reached by e-mail or calling 1-866-862-7015