Southern Campania has many beautiful beaches. Here are a few:
Whichever beach you choose, the beaches of Southern Campania will please you. In Italy, life is about enjoyment and happiness. Beaches bring both to you. If your headed for Italy in the summer, bring your bathing suit. Spend some time at the beach and allow the stresses of your life to dissolve.
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Beaches, Campania, Europe, Italy, Romance, Traveling without a tour
Tags: Beach, Campania, Italian, Italian people, No Tour Touring, Romance, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism
Jo Anne has started a new powerful BLOG. It is called Mezzogiorno Living. The Mezzogiorno was a play on a Latin word, Merides, meaning South. Garibaldi made Mezzogiorno famous in the 18th century.
The link will take you there. Also on my Sidebar (to the right) under Links is a link to it as well. It is under construction but growing each day. This will be the most powerful BLOG on Southern Italy to date. You will be able to find:
and so much more. Her BLOGs will be on living in this beautiful area.
I ask all my readers to go there now and leave her a welcome message. Check her BLOG out each day. She expects to have it up and running fully by December 1st.
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Mezzogiorno, Southern Italy
Tags: Italian, Italian cuisine, Italian people, Italy, Mezzogiorno, No Tour Touring, Southern Italy, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism
Who doesn’t like a good beach on a hot summer day. If you have been reading our BLOG, you know that Italian beaches have clubs that give you a chase lounge or two, table and umbrella. They have great food service or you can bring your own, You can also go to nearby stores to get a pizza or panini. They serve all kinds of drinks right on the beach. A prosecco in a glass on the beach is divine!
There are many different types of beach in Southern Italy. Some with lava stone, small rocks or sand. All of these beaches are awarded the much coveted Blue Flag status.
Here are a small list of beaches to visit:
- Amalfi Coast – There are numerous small towns along the stretch from Positano to Salerno. Each may be on a beach or high above with stairs down. Some beaches are reachable only by boat. These beaches tend to be lava rock but the water is great. Pack a lunch and enjoy them.
- Capri – This island has two main beaches but they are small and heavy in boat and ferry traffic. Capri may not have the best beaches to relax on but is well worth a visit.
- Agropoli – has wonderful beaches and great for boating. This is a major town with an old section high up and worth exploring. The high-speed train stops here.
- Santa Maria Castellabate – This is a wonderful seaside town with small but nice beaches and a great promenade. There is the old mountain town of Castellabate high above and waiting to be explored.
- Casal Velino Marina – This is our beach town. It can get very crowded in August. The beach is wonderful sand. The waves are non-existent in the summer which makes it idea to swim and for small children. The beach clubs are wonderful. Friday is market day and an entire street is closed to an open air market.
- Ascea – We often go to this beach town as well. The sand has small pebbles but it is soft. There are beautiful rocks along the waterline. There are also great clubs here. Thursday is the market day and worth a visit. It is located on the road that parallels the beach. There is a train stop in this town.
- Sapri – Is a small town with a high-speed train stop along the sea. It is a cove with beaches and a great promenade.
Many of these towns have ferry services or small boats that can take you to other towns. You have so many choices in this part of Campania and it is home to the world-famous Mozzarella di Bufala. Have breakfast in a bar by the sea, have lunch in a restaurant or get a panini at a bar. There are so many choices of restaurants for dinner. This is paradise for both the beach goers and the explorers. Enjoy!
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Amalfi Coast, Ascea, Bars, Beaches, Blue Flag Beaches, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Capri, Casal Velino Marina, Castellabate, Europe, Ferries, General Travel, Italy, Mountain Towns, Panini, Pizza, Positano, Prosecco, Ristorante, Salerno, Sapri, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Trains, Traveling without a tour
Tags: Amalfi, amalficoast, Campania, Capri, Food, Italian, Italian cuisine, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Pizza, Positano, Romance, Salerno, Tourism, Trains, Travel, Travel and Tourism
Southern Italy has so much to offer. It is different from the north but has great places to see, great food to taste and wonderful people to meet. First let’s look at some of the differences:
- Fish – Is the main food in the south. There are meat dishes but great fresh fish is so prevalent.
- Language – Italy is barely 150 years old. It was formed by individual and warring states (small countries). As the Italian country was formed, Italian became the official language as it was spoken in Bologna. Each small state had their own languages and dialects. To this day the dialect is still spoken.
- Beaches – The south has many of its cities built on the coast. Beaches are important. Each seaport had a walled castle town in the mountains nearby. These would protect the people from pirates. These have become major resort areas for Italians and other Europeans.
- Wines – Wines and Olive Oil are a local made commodity throughout Italy. They differ by region and should be experienced as you travel. Always order the local wine.
The main places that should be on your bucket list are:
- Naples – Modern Naples is trying to clean up its act as a dangerous city. It is very old and poor but there is so much to see here. Most of what we think is Italian in America comes from the south and much of it from Naples. This is the birth place of Pizza and spaghetti with red sauce.
- Amalfi Coast – This very rich area is the vacation spot of the rich and famous. The island of Capri, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello are very beautiful. Each town is built on a mountain side and worth a visit. This is an area of ferries, steps and steep hills.
- Casal Velino Marina & Ascea – Two resort towns with beautiful sandy beaches. Ascea has a train station and Casal Velino Marina is very close to the north.
- Alberobello – A very unusual town with dome-shaped homes. You can not change the architecture of a building in this town. These homes are called Trulli.
- Sicily – This is a beautiful island with many ruins, great cities and an active volcano. Many Italians argue it is not part of Italy.
- Ischia Island – This is a beautiful island off the coast of Naples in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Ischia is the name of the main port town on the island. The architecture is old and city is beautiful.
- Procida Island – Is another island between Ischia and Naples. The architecture is middle ages and a great place to explore.
- Matera – A town in the region of Basilicata southern Italy. The historical center is well-known and called the Sassi. Homes were built into the side of a mountain. This is one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. It is dated from the Paleolithic Period.
There so many other small mountain and beach towns that are worth a mention but too numerous to list. Just get out and explore each region.
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Alberobello, Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Ascea, Beaches, Capri, Casal Velino Marina, Europe, Ferries, Food, General Travel, Italy, Matera, Mountain Towns, Naples, Pizza, Positano, Ravello, Sassi, Sicily, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Stairs, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Truilly, Wine
Tags: Amalfi, amalficoast, Capri, Food, Italian, Italian cuisine, Italian people, Italy, Naples, No Tour Touring, Pizza, Positano, Romance, Sassi, Sorrento, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Travel Guides, Truilly, Trulli, Wine
More and more travelers are headed to Italy. It is romantic, it has great food, the scenery is beautiful and the wine is world-class. These are the top destinations people are headed to:
- Venice – What can we say about Venice? It is truly a unique place on this Earth. To visit a city with canals instead of roads is unique. There are small pathways for pedestrians to walk on. You can find large and small piazzas. Saint Mark’s Square is the largest.
- Rome – Rome is ancient with evidence of the early Romans everywhere. The Colosseum, Old Rome, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Villa Borghese and Vatican City are a few of its main attractions. Rome has many piazzas that full of flowers, statues and markets.
- Florence – This is the true city of enlightenment. It is where the renaissance started. Attractions to see are Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizzi Gallery, Uffizzi Palace, The David Statue and the many piazzas like Piazza della signora.
- Siena – Siena is a big small town with a lot of character. The duomo here is far more magnificent than its counterpart in Florence. Attractions here include Piazza del Campo where the annual horse race takes place (Palio of Siena), Duomo and its many churches. Siena has small streets with shops and great restaurants. Explore and enjoy it.
- Pompeii – This is not a current living city but a dead archaeological one. The original was Etruscan and then Roman before it was wiped out by a volcano (Mount Vesuvius) in 79 AD. It is just south of Naples and north of the Amalfi Coast. There are many homes you can visit here as well as hotels, shops and piazzas.
- Positano – This is one of our favorite cities in southern Italy. It is on the Amalfi Coast Road. This is a city of one road (one way down) and one million steps. It is not a place for the handicapped. Even staying on the road is a steep climb back up but there is a city bus that loops around from the bottom of this road. The two beaches are worth visits. Its restaurants and hotels are world-class. Most hotels have million dollar sea views.
- The Italian Lake District – Italy’s lakes are at the foot of the alps. With magnificent views and romantic small towns this is a must for anyone’s bucket list. The lakes are: Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano, Visit the cities of Bellagio, Luzern and Ticino.
- Pisa – No trip should be without a visit to the famous leaning tower of Pisa. The duomo and baptistery near it are also worth seeing.
- Cinque Terre – The five lands! Here there are five cities on the mountain above the sea. You can take a ferry to some or train. There is a footpath between each town. These are very romantic with great views.
- San Gimignano – This is our favorite town in Tuscany and maybe in the world. It is preserved from the middle ages. You park or get off your bus outside the city walls and walk in. You can easily walk this entire town. It has towers that used to represent power, a duomo, piazzas and great restaurants and bars.
All of these and so many more should be on your bucket list. Tomorrow we will look at top places to visit in Italy’s south. Most tourists never make it here!
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, Duomo, Etruscan, Europe, Ferries, Florence, Food, General Travel, Il Palio, Italy, Museums, Pantheon, Pisa, Pompeii, Positano, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, San Gimignano, Siena, Spanish Steps, Stairs, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Tuscany, Vatican City, Venice, Villa Borghese, Wine
Tags: amalficoast, Food, Italian, Italian cuisine, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Positano, Romance, Rome, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Tuscany, Venice
This is the last BLOG in the series How to Plan a Trip to Italy. You are on your flight home and you can not stop thinking about your trip and Italy. In your mind you review each place you visited, the people you met and the food you tasted. You already want to return. Maybe you start to think about the next trip. How much will you have to save? Where will you go on that trip? What will you do differently?
You might spend the next year planning and saving but you will return to Italy. She is calling you. This time you might rent a car and explore small hill towns in Tuscany, the lake region in northern Italy, the Amalfi Coast or southern Italy and Sicily. You can see so much more in a car and outside the big cities.
If you don’t see yourself driving, you might plan a train trip and see the towns near a train station. You can hire a driver to take you from each train station to the nearby towns. However you see Italy it will be memorable.
On our first trip to Italy together, Jo Anne said to George I may never be able to eat American Italian food again! She was so taken back by real Italian food. It is so fresh and simple but tasty.
If you go to Italy, let us know. Tell us where you went and what was your most memorable experience. Buon Viaggio!
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Europe, Food, General Travel, Italy, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour
Tags: amalficoast, Food, Italian, Italian cuisine, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism
All good things come to an end. It is your last day in Italy. Most large cities have several ways to get to the airport. Listed in order from least expensive to most:
- Hotel shuttle – Many hotels have a shuttle bus to the airport.
- Train – You can usually find a train to the airport. In Rome for example you can take a Metro (subway) or taxi from your hotel to the train station. Then there is a special train to the airport. In Rome it takes you right into the parking structure where the rental cars are. It is a short walk to the terminals.
- Driver and Car service – Hire a driver to take you from your hotel to the airport. In Rome there are several of these services.
- Taxi – Take a taxi from your hotel to the airport.
We did not include a car since you really don’t want a car in most Italian large cities. The streets are crazy, you need a special permit to enter the old town areas and it is expensive to park.
At the airport you have time and look at all the stores. These are usually very expensive stores but fun to look at. Then you see Duty Free Shopping. I am amazed at how many people get duped into duty-free buying. Duty free doesn’t mean cheapest it just means no duty (tax). We find that wines and liquor at duty-free is 20-30% higher than our tax-free store, Total Wines, in Delaware. Duty on these products is nowhere near that high.
Buy your gifts in town at small inexpensive non tourist places and wait to buy your alcohol at home. The only exception is if you find something you can not get at home or if it is a local product and much cheaper than home. Never buy it at duty-free.
Remember if there is any possibility of a trip back to Europe, DO NOT EXCHANGE YOUR EUROS BACK TO DOLLARS! Save your money for the next trip.
Board your plane and relax. You are on your way home! Yes it is depressing to leave Italy but you will be back. Italy has a pull on us. It makes us want to return. It forces us to eat well and be romantic. It slows us down … If we allow it.
Tomorrow is the last in this series. We will talk about cultural shock of coming home!
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Airplanes, Duty-Free, Euro, Europe, Italy, Metro Travel, Parking Garage, Taxi, Trains
Tags: Duty-free, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Romance, Rome, Travel, Travel and Tourism
OK you are in Italy, have a great room and know where to eat. What do you want to do? In the big cities there are Dumo (Cathedral) and museums that are a must see. Even if you are not a museum person, some museums are a must see. The Duomo and museums get VERY crowded so plan ahead and go early in day or later just before closing. Most cities have city tour tickets that get you into the museums fast and free. These tickets are usually very expensive and have a time date expiration. They are worth it only if you will visit most of the attractions they get you into within the expiration period. This is seeing many museums and churches in a day or two. This is not our choice of hope to see Italy. Some cities like Florence have a reservation system that gets you into major attractions with no line for a small fee (in addition to the entrance fee).
By now as a reader of this BLOG, you know that we are in favor of being like Italians while in Italy. Take it slow and enjoy your visit and time there. Don’t try to do too many cities in a week or two. It is better and more memorable to see one or two places well than ten cities in a rush. We also do not believe in organized large tour groups. The food you get is not real Italian food but fast prepared for a large group. Get on a tour that gives you free days to do your own thing. Take small tour groups of 10-12 people in a small van. These can get to interesting mountain cities that the larger busses can not get to. The best way to see Italy is to plan your trip and go by yourself or with friends. We do this all the time and have had the most memorable trips.
Sit and have a coffee, gelato or a drink and watch Italian life around you. Engage the Italians around you. If you are speaking English, speak very slowly and clearly. Avoid idioms and contractions or slang. You will be amazed how interesting it is to speak with the locals. They are as interested in speaking to you as you are to them.
Tomorrow we will talk about leaving Italy. Yes it is unfortunate but all vacations do come to and end but the memories created do not!
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Duomo, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Museums, Planning a vacation, Traveling without a tour
Tags: Duomo, Food, Italian, Italian cuisine, Italian people, Italy, museums, No Tour Touring, Romance, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism
Now you are in Italy and have a great small hotel. Where do you eat? I have posted on this before but to be complete in this series, we will post it again.
Italy is an easy place to find great local food. It is always fresh and usually organic. Italians love their country, their food and their wine. It shows when you eat in one of their restaurants. We have a few rules about food in Italy:
- Do not eat at tourist places – they are usually close to the monuments tourists go to see. The food is not real Italian. You can find hamburgers, poorly prepared pasta and cheesy pizza.
- Restorante are top of the line restaurants – They serve excellent food but are expensive.
- Trottoria’s are local food for a moderate price – This is where we like to eat. They are everywhere and have fresh local food prepared correctly.
- Pizzeria – These are restaurants that serve Pizza. You can have Restrorante and Pizzeria, Trattoria and Pizzeria or just Pizzeria.
- Enotecca’s – these are wine bars that allow you to buy and sample different wines. You can usually eat small dishes as well. This is a great way to taste some of the local wines and determine which you like.
- Breakfast is easy! Go to a local bar … that’s right a bar. They serve coffee (espresso or American or Cappuccino) and pastries. Cornetto is a croissant like pastry. The pastries are magnificent. Crispy and light. Normally you pick what you want and eat and then go to cash register and say what you had and pay. Some bars require you to pay in advance and take the ticket to the bar and order your food.
Cornetti (multiple cornetto)
- Gelateria – Italian ice cream. These places have a large number of types of ice cream. They are all made fresh and served soft. You can ask for a sample of several types and then choose what you want. You can get your gelato in a cone or a dish. Some places even make fresh waffle cones. Gelato is generally lower in calories, fat, cream, and sugar than other styles of ice cream.
- Auto Grills – These are restaurants on the autostrada. They have surprisingly good food. You can get a panini, pasta, or sweet rolls. They also have tourist things like bags of pasta, candy and cookies.
- Fruit & Vegetable stands/stores – Most large and small towns have these. Stop and buy some fruit to eat. Grapes, strawberries, peaches, apples or what ever is in season. Smell the fruit! You can actually smell fruit that is in season and ripe. Choose the most aromatic ones.
Choose wisely and enjoy the food. You don’t need to speak Italian. Just read the menu. Most items are listed the same as in nice Italian restaurants in the states. Point to what you want. Ordering the house wine is usually a treat in Italy. It is very good and inexpensive. It doesn’t come in a bottle but a litter or half litter pitcher.
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Auto Grills, Autostrada, Bars, cornetto, Enoteca, Europe, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Panini, Pastry, Ristorante, Trottoria, Wine
Tags: Food, Gelato, Italian, Italian cuisine, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Pasta, Pizza, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Wine
Your big day has finally come. You are going to Italy! Get to the airport early. We like to stop at Vino Volo after we get through security. We have a flight of wine (4 different glasses with about an ounce of wine each or one regular glass of wine). We also order some appetizers to go with the wine. For us this is the official start of our vacation.
We board the airplane early to ensure we get overhead space. The flight from Philadelphia to Rome is always full. We normally took US Airlines but they merged with American and they are one airline under the American name now. The planes are all newly painted with the new American logos. The plane is an airbus A330-300 – wide body. The non-stop flight is American 718 going to Rome and 719 returning. The 718 flight leaves Philadelphia at 6:25 pm and arrives in Rome the next day at 9:10 am. Coming home we leave Rome at 11:55 am and arrive in Philadelphia at 3:45 pm the same day.
The overnight flight going is mostly in darkness. After the meal service they turn off the cabin lights and you can sleep. If you don’t sleep onboard, you can watch movies or play games on your personal monitor in the back of the seat in front of you. You can also read. The flight goes fast if you can catch 2-3 hours sleep. Before landing you see the sun rise over Europe and a small breakfast service is given. The return flight has a lunch service and a snack before landing in Philly. It is in sun-light all the way so you can easily stay awake. We watch 3 movies to pass the time.
Arriving in Italy you are tired and your body is confused. After all it is 3:10 am back in Philly. We rent a car and drive to our first destination. We will stop on the Autostrada for a Panini (sandwich). This helps adjust your body to the new time zone. It is VERY important to not nap during the day! If you do you will wake-up in the middle of the night and be starving. Force yourself to stay awake and tour. Find something interesting to do. Have dinner and don’t go to bed before 8 pm. You will crash and sleep like a baby. When you wake up the next day you will be fully on Italy time.
Returning is easier since it is in daylight all the way. You arrive at 3:45 pm and by the time you get home it is after 5 pm (11 pm Italy time). Have some dinner to help adjust the time zone and go to bed around 8 pm. You will again wake-up on the correct time zone.
Arriving in Italy you have your adrenaline going, you are excited to start your vacation. Italy is a safe country. Violent crime is very low (even in the big cities). There are pickpockets so beware of who is around you. George puts his wallet and phone in front pockets. Jo Anne puts her purse straps over her head. Don’t stress about it! You are here to enjoy yourself and be romantic.
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Airplanes, Auto Grills, Autostrada, Europe, Flights, General Travel, Italy, Panini, Romance, Rome, Wine
Tags: Flights, Food, Italian, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Panini, Romance, Rome, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Wine