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Trip Report 3 Weeks in Naples, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast!

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It's been a couple of weeks since our first trip to Italy, and I definitely can't wait to go back and explore more! We were lucky enough to have nearly 3 weeks to spend, and time actually got away from us. We started in Naples for a few nights, and took time to really explore the Campania region. Our itinerary looked like this:

- Flight from Dulles > Munich > Naples - 3 days in Naples at Grand Vesuvio
- Hydrofoil to Capri - 3 days in Capri at La Minerva
- Ferry from Capri to Positano - 6 days at Hotel Marincanto
- Bus from Positano to Sorrento - 7 days at Hotel Antiche Mura
- Car to Naples airport from Sorrento, complete with Andrea Bocelli playing "Time to Say Goodbye" in the cd player (not kidding!) and home!

In hindsight, I would have spent another night or 2 in Naples (loved it, though we stayed in the old historic city!), another night in Capri, stayed in Amalfi versus Positano, and a night or 2 less in Sorrento. But for our first trip, we felt that we saw a lot of attractions, got to relax and spend more time in each place, and I actually made it to my grandfather's hometown in the Avellino province, which was extra special! So here is my Travelogue that I kept as I traveled, along with a link to photos from each area. I hope you enjoy!

Day 1 and 2 - Naples

Easy flight from the US to Munich. The Munich airport is one of the cleanest airports I've been in, and the smoking lounges sponsored by Winston and Camel are, uh, interesting. Our flight landed at 7:30am and we had over an hour to kill before our connection to Naples. We should have followed the lead of almost everyone there and had a liter of beer with our breakfast (!), but I would have been out before the day started! Our connecting flight into Naples flew right over the Alps which was spectacular, and then into the warmth and green of Naples flying right over Mt. Vesuvius!

It was a special feeling coming in. I kept thinking of how my family started a hundred years ago by leaving Naples, on the ship called Madonna. I wonder if they thought about their future generations ever coming back.

Our hotel, the Grand Vesuvio sits right on the Bay of Naples overlooking the Castle d'Ovo in the Santa Lucia neighborhood, and it's lovely. We settled in, then went for lunch for our first pizza Margarita and a bottle of chianti at Ettore. After an afternoon of light sightseeing and lots of photos of laundry hanging from old balconies, we stopped for espresso at Caffe Gambrinus, then came back for a three hour nap. Had a great dInner tonight at Antonio e Antonio - homemade fusilli with fresh cherry tomatoes and basil. And our first homemade limoncello. I think we gave Nino the best tip he got all night, which gave us a second one on the house. So far, I love this part of Naples! It's unpolished, and a working city, not at all manicured. But if the food is any indication of what Naples and Italy has to offer, this is going to be a great trip!

Day 3 - Last day in Naples

Lots of activity today and my feet are killing me. So much going on in the streets, and it hasn't slowed down yet...still going strong at midnight!

Friday we visited the Duomo, the Museo Cappella Sansevero, the Naples Archeological Museum, and squeezed in a late pizza at Pizzeria Da Michele! We waited an hour for the pizza, thankfully beating out the tour group of women I think were doing the Eat, Pray, Love tour! It was heaven.

I've never seen antiquities and artifacts that date back to the 1st century. We saw this famous sculpture called the "Veiled Christ" one of the most incredible things I've ever seen...it was the body of Jesus laying with a veil draped all over his body, all carved in marble, so beautifully done, and still with it's original patina from the 2nd century. The mosiacs and artwork excavated from Pompeii were really incredible including the "Secret Room", the erotic artwork that was uncovered from Pompeii and Herculaneum in the early 19th century!

Dinner was seafood pasta, fried zucchini flowers, and more wine and limoncello (at the seafood restaurant right across from the Grand Vesuvio). The seafront is alive with locals partying, lovers simultaneously arguing and kissing, single women parading their new fashions, and little kids running around playing soccer, at midnight!

It's sad that many people recommended NOT spending time in Naples at all. " It's dangerous, watch out for pickpockets, hide your jewelry, roving gangs of thieves are everywhere!" I'm so glad we didn't give in to fear and decided to linger for a while, because we honestly felt very safe, even with my camera backpack full of equipment on my back the entire time. I even carried my large camera openly, and though I felt people watching it, I never felt threatened or self-conscious.

I didn't find Neapolitans to be as friendly as we usually find in, say, Mexico or other Latin American countries. Children don't seem as carefree and happy as I've seen elsewhere either. Maybe it's a testament to how tough life is here. They aren't UNfriendly, but they can seem rude...I just don't think they care about what you're doing. What's odd about Naples is, it is still a medieval city, just built upon vertically over the centuries. Everywhere you walk, you see the decaying structure underneath. It's like that sculpture, with its original patina from the 2nd century. People here, it seems to me, live AMONG the ruins, and there are hidden treasures everywhere. I think Naples is like the good, the bad, and the ugly of all the cities I've visited - and I loved it!

Link to Naples photos: http://www.lorisorrentino.com/Travel/Italy/Napoli/26182689_tNdpkp

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