Italy
Spiaggia di Tordigliano

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    • Day 65

      Fontanelle

      May 25, 2023 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

      Heading further to the cape, the trail is often really overgrown. At least not much brambles. But high grass and it is blooming! My allergy started immediately. That's tough.
      The ground is so uneven and someone's so sharp rocks/stones. Al in all, hard to walk. Hefty for the knees.
      We started at 6am too get a bit done in the morning hours. Now at 11am it is already pretty warm. I do not find often fountains to shower Lupo a bit.
      So I guess we will slow down now and try to relax in the shadow too.

      Passing the main road and some "villages" you immediately got the crowds. Tourists, cars, scooters and noise... Pulling on the nerves immediately. Better to leave and hike... Cause not too man tourists hike and I guess it will get more quiet after a short time.
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    • Day 9

      Amalfi Coast

      September 24, 2023 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

      After breakfast in the hotel at 8.00am, the bus departed full of excited Australians keen to explore the Amalfi Coast. Danielle, our guide, explained the history of the area as we marveled at the scenery from the bus and at the various stops along the way to take photos. It must be at the top of the list of the most amazing coastal drives in the world. We were blessed with sunny weather today so the coast looked its best.
      We stopped for photos at Positano, but spent most of our time in the township of Amalfi. We all met in the town square, but then went off to do our own thing. Some of us walked up high in the hills behind the town to explore the spectacular countryside and the waterfalls that supply the town with prodigious amounts of water.
      I also went to the single working paper mill and museum still operas with machines used for traditional paper making. If ever someone finds themselves in Amalfi, this museum is highly recommended. I actually got the chance to make paper from cotton distributed on water. Amalfi used to be the best paper manufacturer in the western world, and there were over 20 paper mills in the Main Street of Amalfi, all powered by the river running down the centre of town. Today there is only one paper mill and it operates as a museum as well as keeping the traditional paper making methods alive for visitors.
      I also visited the shipping museum. Amalfi was one of the four maritime powers of Italy, the others being Pisa, Genoa and Venice, and their ships were famous for the products they traded around the world. The museum has a galleon of the kind they moved goods around the Mediterranean during the heights of their maritime power. It was also interesting to see the towers from which they watched for pirates and warned the population from when pirates approached the shoreline.
      After spending the afternoon in Amalfi, which for many included a swim in the Mediterranean, we caught a ferry from Amalfi to Salerno and then the bus back to Sorrento. The views of the Amalfi Coast from the ferry were amazing, particularly with the dark clouds as a backdrop and rain on the seaward horizon.
      On the bus ride home, we watched the sun sink into the Mediterranean in the Bay of Naples, with Vesuvius lit up and golden in the diminishing daylight.
      Upon our return to Sorrento, we briefly stopped into our hotel before heading out for dinner in the township of Sorrento, our last evening in this beautiful town so famous for its coastline, its seafood and plentiful citrus and lemoncello.
      We had dinner at Restaurant Fuoro located on Via Fuoro which was spectacular. I had spaghetti carbonara, which is made with strong pancetta, and a lemon mousse dessert that was shaped like a lemon and had three layers, each as tasty as the next. A tasty way to end the stay in Sorrento. Tomorrow morning we arise early to travel to Siena.
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    • Day 26

      Positano and Beyond

      May 4, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

      We began the day by driving down the Amalfi coast. I had no idea of the spectacular scenery we would find. Towering mountains fall right down into the sea. The coastal road hugs a tiny ledge that often rises 2000 feet above the water of the Mediterranean Sea. Massive cliffs rise vertically out of the ocean to a crest another thousand feet above us. The coastline here is even more magnificent than the California road traveling from Carmel down to Big Sur. We stopped in Positano at a wonderful family restaurant called Constantino’s. Our five course meal started with a Caprese salad, continued with a pizza course. This was followed by a pasta course consisting of cannoli, tagliatelle, manicotti and a wonderful cheese filled crêpe. The meal ended with lemoncello cake followed by a small shot of the beverage itself.

      The scenery became even more magnificent as we swung back-and-forth on switchbacks. We went into higher mountains with terraces for growing white grapes, lemons, olives, and a host of other agricultural products. The terrain looked as though a giant accordion has been thrown down the mountainside. Each new turn revealed another mountain with hundreds of terraces going up the side. Each terrace was supported by a thick retaining wall made of huge stone blocks. Each of these blocks had to be hauled up the mountain side, usually by donkeys. It must have taken an unbelievable amount of work over centuries to haul all of the stone necessary to build those retaining walls. The terrain is so steep that even today stonemasons in brickmasons use donkeys to carry their loads to the worksite. We took time to visit a resort that our travel agents wanted to investigate. It is the opulent San Pietro resort near Positano. Rates here start at €3000 per night. We also saw the lovely town of Ravolo that hosts a classical music festival every June.

      At the far point of our trek we were delighted with the sites from the Villa Rufolo, an estate begun as a castle in the 13th century, modified by the Saracens around 1500, and completely renovated in the 19th century. The estate belonged to a cousin of the pope, a nobleman who essentially ruled the Amalfi coast. This building originally reflected an unusual balance between Norman, medieval, and Saracen styles. However, the major renovation in the 19th century incorporated some romantic fantasies which upset that balance. Nevertheless, the house and watchtower are interesting, and the gardens are stunningly beautiful in their springtime colors.

      We returned to our hotel after a long day, said good-night to a bejeweled Vesuvius and dropped into bed.
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    Spiaggia di Tordigliano

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