Friday, April 23, 2010

Naples and the Amalfi Coast

Day 1

I will depart from Roma Termini, Rome's main station and arrive in Naples' Napoli Centrali. Other travelers have written that train is the way to go, it takes only one hour and twenty minutes for the newer trains, with the older yet cheaper trains taking about three hours. The trips are frequent, inexpensive and usually on time.

I will check in at my hotel, the Doubletree Guest Suites Naples, which was rated number one in customer reviews on The hotel is reasonably priced so it won't break the bank. One reviewer writes that they were treated like royalty. This hotel also has a great restaurant so I'll be able to eat breakfast in the hotel to start out my days hassle-free.

Having already eaten lunch on the train, after I check in I will spend the afternoon beginning to take in the sights. I will take a cab to this historic center of the city, centro storico, and get lost wandering around, as one traveler advises. The old center is special in that it is at the same time historic and alive. The street plan is very ancient. This area has been a bustling residential and shopping area for centuries. Yet it is not a static museum display gathering dust, but is rather very much alive. It is alive yet connected to and a continuation of its rich history.

It has been advised though to carry a map as you wander. That map will come in handy as I wander to find I place to eat dinner. Pizzeria Lombardi A S.Chiara‎ looks like a great place to eat. It is in the heart of historic Naples, and one reviewer raves that they serve the perfect pizza. One thing I have read about Naples is how they are famous for their pizza. The restaurant is easy to get to and has many interesting shop around it.

Now that I have tasted a bit of the flavor of this city, after dinner I will head back to my hotel to get a good nights rest for what lies in store for me tomorrow.

Day 2

On my second day I will arise, prepare for the day and eat breakfast at the hotel.

In the morning I will visit the National Archaeological Museum. The Museum houses one of the most amazing collections of Roman artifacts and art in the world. Also it would be great way to prepare for my anticipated trips to Pompeii and Herculaneum, where from much of the sculpture in this collection is taken. The collection boasts marble and bronze sculpture as well as ancient mosaics and wall paintings.

After I have taken in the collection of the museum I will eat lunch at a restaurant in the immediate vicinity called the Pizzeria Starita A Materdei. The rankings that customers have given this restaurant are impressive. It is ranked number 3 out of 297 restaurants in Naples. One reviewer wrote the the food was superb and that their service was excellent even when they were very busy. This looks like the real thing.

After lunch I will head to the section of the city called Spaccanapoli where the Duomo Resides.

The Cathedral is dedicated to San Gennaro (St. Januarius), who is the city's patron. The Church has a vial of the saint's blood which is brought out two times during the year, on the first Saturday of May and September 19th. When the blood is taken out it usually liquefies, there is a legend that something bad will happen to the city if the blood fails to liquefy. The Church houses precious pieces of art which I'd be very much interested in seeing. The main attraction of the interior is the Chapel of the Treasure of St. Januarius.

After spending the afternoon at the Cathedral I will head off for dinner at a restaurant close by it, the Pizzeria La Bufala.

A reviewer wrote that this restaurant is of high quality, is professional, and has family restaurant. Looks to me like a great way to unwind and conclude a great day. After dinner I will head back to my hotel and get rested up for my last full day in the area.

Day 3

My last day after preparing myself for the day and eating breakfast in the hotel I will head out to the nearby sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. I plan for the touring of these two sites to occupy me for the entire day. Visiting these two locations will be a journey to the past, taking me to ancient Roman times. I will be able to see the original context of many of the works I already have viewed in the National Archaeological Museum.

These two towns almost two thousand years ago were buried in volcanic debree. The sites have been excavated. I will spend the morning in Pompeii, the larger of the two sites, heading to Herculaneum after lunch.


After checking out the ruins of Pompeii I will take break for lunch. I will eat at the moderately priced Ristorante Lucullus. This restaurant has a large outdoor dining area which is just lovely during the summer. Frommer's review of the place raves about their large buffet of antipasti and delicious grilled meats.

After being refreshed and reinvigorated from my meal I will head the the smaller, more intimate ruins of Herculaneum. Unlike the city of Pompeii where most of it's residents, 90% 20,000 people escaped and therefore survived, all living beings of Herculeums (which had significantly smaller population)died instantly.

It will be fascinating to ponder the immediate wiping out of an entire village.

After my excursion to these two sites of Ruins I will head back to Naples for dinner. I will dine at a restaurant near my hotel, the Fire Pit City Grill. After eating all that pizza, delicious as it was, it may be nice to have some American food. The website says that "The Firepit is the product of old world flavors brilliantly clashing with new-world attitude". Sounds like a hoppin' place!

After having dinner I will head back to my hotel and rest up well after my long day.

Day 4

After eating breakfast at the hotel I will spend my last day in the area soaking up the sun at the nearby Amalfi Coast. After all my walking during my travels I will kick back, relax, and take a dip in the sea.

Homer imagined this area as the home of the alluring Sirens in “The Odyssey,” which is reflective of it's captivating beauty.

For lunch I will eat at the Ristorante Da Vincenzo in Positano. Reviewers say that the food here is fist rate. I'm looking forward to eating some seafood.

After lunch I will head back to the beach to relax some more. In the mid-afternoon I will head back to Naples to check out of my hotel and be on my way to my next destination, Sicily.

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