Our 15 hour ferry from Greece took us to the Southern port town of Bari. From here we drove to Matera, one of the oldest continuously inhabited places on earth. It was fascinating to walk around old one-room homes built out from caves where 8 family members would live, inside, with all their livestock and no electricity or running water. These homes remained in use until the mid 1950’s (!) when the government finally relocated people into healthier homes.
In stark contrast, we next journeyed along the beautiful Amalfi coast. Winding Cliff-side roads took us past medieval hill-top towns and picturesque villages stretching along any available flat(ish) ground to the sea.
The ancient ruins of Pompeii did not disappoint either. I knew the eruption of Mt Vesuvius had practically frozen the city in time, but it was so cool to really see what everyday life was like back in AD 79! One highlight was walking into a bakery and seeng the stones for grinding wheat, the oven and even the shop counter.
Exploring Pompeii certainly made us hungry, so it made sense to go to Naples (the birthplace of pizza) for dinner. Pizza here is ‘back to basics’ with a floppy base and minimal toppings. The pizza I had in Pizzeria Da Michele (below) was delicious.
The Eternal City of Rome was where we spent the next couple of days. Firstly seeing the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill remains.
We then went back to some of our favourite places from an earlier visit to Rome. This included the beautiful Trevi Fountain, where I threw in 2 coins. One to ensure my return to Rome (again) and another to make a wish!
St Peter in Chains Basilica, with an amazing Michelangelo sculpture and an impressive Grim Reaper and San Crispino’s gelateria were two new interesting and delicious places for us to go to. We also saw a very serious Tug-of-War competition, with the winning team of one heat shown below.
Our second day in Rome was spent mostly inside the tiny country of the Vatican.
In summary it contains lots of paintings, lots of sculptures, lots of tapestries and the Sistine Chapel with its famous painted ceiling. We also saw the enormous St Peter’s Basilica and the area outside where the Pope addresses the crowds.
And of course, there was more delicious gelato and Italian food consumed!