“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore!” That’s the song that’s been stuck in my head every since we landed in this beautiful, hectic, ancient, chaotic slice of the world. Am I in love with Italy? I’m unsure, but this place is certainly unique.
The land is vast and beautiful, from the tiny villages cascading down from the mountainous Amalfi coastline and the dramatic flat plains with umbrella pines flanked by the Apennine Mountains, to bustling cities and languid islands, this place has a soul that is tangible.
Italians themselves are a game of two halves, we have met some incredibly gracious and generous people and in the same hour some of the most rude and surely people ever. I put it down to the tourism trade, the tourist hotspots do not seem to bring out the best in the Italians! Vesuvius and Pompeii were good examples of this, having been totally ripped of on our visit to Vesuvius we were more savvy the following day when visiting Pompeii.
Both sites were stunning for completely different reasons… Vesuvius was so massive and so high, I felt we were in the clouds at just over 4,000 feet. The crater was still smoking which was a little disconcerting especially when Isla was asking every 5 minutes about the possibility of it erupting! Nanny Margaret, ever the teacher, was quick to point out that Vesuvius is overdue for a blow! That didn’t help! It was well worth the trek to the crater just to see the enormity if it all, as well as tasting the wine from the slopes of the volcano. We put a brave face on it, Ryan, Mum and I, but it was possibly the worst wine I’ve ever tasted, and I’ve tasted a lot!
The following day we trekked off again in search of Pompeii. If you could see beyond the crowds and allowed yourself to really feel Pompeii, the site was incredible and so much bigger than I expected. Ancient roads crisscrossed through a vast area, pebble stone floors marked with the grooves of old cart wheels with fallen terraced housing flanking the roads. The whole site interspersed with jaw dropping architecture and hints of life from the past. The backdrop of Vesuvius and the view of the bay of Naples from Pompeii’s majestic hill top station gave you such a real sense of what it must have been like to live in those times. As we walked the same trodden paths as those ancient Pompeiians the kids played ‘it’ and ran through the streets just as I believe they would have done had they had lived 2,000 years ago. I’m so pleased they and I got a sense of such a historically emotive place.
We’ve seen so much these last couple of weeks, Rome, the Pontine islands, Ischia, Naples, the Amalfi coast and Pompeii and Vesuvius. We’ve completely worn Nanny Margaret out and with her packed safely on the train to Rome to catch her flight home for a rest, we are back to normality and are all glad to not be spending whole days walking for a while. In fact we took a little holiday from a holiday ourselves yesterday and went to a water park, shared by only 10 or so other users as it’s out of season! I’m not sure who had more fun, the girls and Ryan on the slides, or me snoozing on a sun lounge, on second thoughts it was definitely me!