Roma & Campania Holidays: Part 1

30 August 2013

  

In the beginning of August we went on a week long holiday to Italy. Even though our plans for the summer were very different, after discovering that Jakub's passport expires in July, we had to drop the idea of a big trip to SE Asia I already started planning (but I'm hoping we will get to do perhaps next year).

After looking at different options of what we could afford on our budget, we decided that Italy was going to be our destination. The choice wasn't obvious, as August is the highest season and Europe is far more expensive than Asia but we were determined to make it work. The fact that I was listening to "Under the Tuscan Sun" audio book on my daily commute to medical school was also a contributing factor.

There are so many things I love about Italy that I could list, but on this trip I realized that what really appeals to me is Italian charm and hospitality. In Polish I would say that to me Italy is swojska, which means homely. We are also big coffee enthusiasts so we were hoping for a relaxing 7 days, featuring great coffee, food wine and gelatos plus some amazing sights. I started my search for accommodation with looking at Tuscan farms and reading about Chanti region. I pictured sitting on a terrace overlooking hills with vineyards, sipping white wine and stargazing.

But then we put the sea as a must-to-see-and-do list and eventually we decided on going to Capri. Again, not an obvious choice for a budget holiday but after extensive search it turned out to work out perfectly for us and  that it was everything we could have hoped for. While it would be very easy to go for a luxurious holidays to Capri (funds permitting), my favourite memories of this holiday are those that we could not have paid for:  eating home-made pasta and listening to Italian jazz with our hosts Umberto and Ciro, watching the most amazing sunset over Ischia or being taught how to pronounce pistacchio by a random gentleman in Rome.

I'll start off by describing the practicalities of our trip and in a couple posts I'll share more.

Flights

Edinburgh - Roma Ciampino (no-frills airline)
Roma Ciampino -Edinburgh

Itinerary

Day 1:  in Rome
Day 2: Rome-Napoli (train)
Afternoon in Napoli
Ferry to Capri
Day 2- Day 6  in Capri (4 nights in total)
Day 6:  Ferry to Salerno
Day 7: Morning in Salerno
Train to Rome
Afternoon and evening in Rome
Day 8:  Flight to Edinburgh

What I loved 

We decided to fly to Rome as it was cheaper than a flight to Naples and we knew we'd need to visit Naples anyway on our way to Capri. We've been to Rome before but never had enough time to explore the city the way we like to do it. We didn't want to see any "big sights" and monuments. We just wanted to feel the city and  walk until our legs hurt. I loved the fact that we started and finished our trip in Rome. We stayed in different places and thanks to that we could explore two neighbourhoods.

 I loved that we chose Capri as our base by the sea - I've been to on holidays by the Mediterranean sea before, but Capri was just different than anywhere else I've stayed before. I think our experience of Capri was not the usual luxurious one, as we stayed in a tiny pensione  in an area of summer houses perched on a cliff near Anacapri. We could still go to Capri in the evening and watch the glamorous crowd, but it was nice to take a wobbly old bus up the windy roads at night, admire the view from the cliffs and then walk down a narrow path to our quiet part of the island.

I loved that Umberto kept calling me bella and when we were leaving our room he would call ciao ragazzi!
I loved stargazing at night and a clear view of Ischia from the terrace where Ciro served us croissants and strong coffee for breakfast.

What I would change

On the 5th day on Capri we took a ferry to Salerno. I'm not sure if it was the city itself or the fact that we loved Capri so much, but Salerno left us with a feeling of a slight disappointment. We had a view of a cargo port from our window, got a little lost on our way to dinner and all the cafeterias we wanted to visit were closed for the summer holidays. It was a convenient transit route back to Rome, but next time I would choose to spend the night in one of the small towns on the Amalfi coast. 

The ferry trip to Salerno was a absolutely beautiful though, we went to Positano, then Amalfi and left Capri and the sun behind us with three silhouettes of Faraglioni  on the horizon. 

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