Seven trips to Italy: the third trip to Naples and surrounding areas
When I planned my first trip to Italy and got to know about Villa d’Este in Tivoli I found a lot of places to visit also. With my book about Italy sights and travelers reviews I made a rout of my third trip to Italy — to Naples and surrounding areas. I would like to visit Sperlonga also, it was far enough from Naples. — in the middle between Naples and Rome. So we could also first to stay at Rome then to get Sperlong and from there to get to Naples — as a variant if we had more trip days. There were a sand beach and very pretty antient town in Sperlonga, it worth to stay here for one-two days.
The route of my trip
Duration: vacation week (5 working days and 4 weekend days)
- Arrival to Naples
- Sperlonga and Gaeta
- Naples and Caserta
- Vesuvius and Pompei
- Departure to Capri
- Departure to Ravello
- Departure to Ischia
1-st day: Arrival to Naples
My introduction to Naples
When we arrived in Naples airport we went from the airport to the city by bus. There were rubbish dumps on all the way on road sides. But when we went into the city center we were meeting by brightly elegant buildings looked joyful in sunshine, I felt if I was in Naples huges. Though in the center rubbish was flying in air by wind, so I covered my eyes by sunglasses to defend from the dust. People in reviews highly recommended to stay not in Naples, or at least not in the center, so we stayed in one of the best Naple districts — in Chiaia. We choose Hotel Royal Continental**** with a pool on a roof, splendid sea and Castel dell’Ovo view and from a balcony — Vesuvius view. The hotel had also tasty breakfast and was good at all. One thing disturbed — a traffic street under our windows noised day and night. — and it was one of best places in Naples, there was a seaside promenade area along the street, there people had a run or a stroll with children or doggies. And one more thing: it was not easy to get elsewhere, first we had to to walk to bus stop and then to get to railway station.
When after a bit rest in the hotel we went by subway to Pozzuili — antient volcano crater, Solfatara, always active and always inhabited. From subway stop Pozzuili Solfatara we went about 20 minutes to Solfatara — area of volcano crater with… camping and infrastructure — with even concerts on evenings. The crater was no large for 40 minutes one can walk around, But the landscape was fantastic, with fumaroles with sulfurous fumes and mud ponds — infernal place. Not without a reason there were The Gates Of Hell in Solfatara.
2-d day: Sperlonga and Gaeta
Next day we went to Sperlonga by taxi(118 km, 1 h 44 minutes), because if we got there by public transport the way will take half day. First we came to a beach, It was super wide sand beach, Buy day was windy and water wasn’t so warm too (end of September) so we went to explorer picturesque historical town part, It was tricky labyrinth of narrow street passes and more looked like one house with numerous corridors, — perhaps, that’s why Sperlonga seems to me so cute and pretty. Besides, Sperlonga was very beautiful by its graphic of windows-doors-balconies-plants-wires.
From Sperlonga we took a taxi to get to Gaeta (17 km, 20 min) — buses didn’t work on Sundays. In Gaeta we had to wait for working hours to enter the Grotta del Turco and the Montagna Spaccata — split mount Orlando — according a legend which spited at the time of the crucifixion of Christ. Then we came down to a beach — sand wild beach as in Sperlomga. To swim here was more pleasant, the weather was nice, the sun was running down opposite us and we enjoyed the sea very much. To come back decided by public transport: first we went by bus to Formia (17 km) then by train — to Naples.
You can look useful touristic info in Sperlonga & Gaeta, accommodation in Sperlonga in an article
What to see & where to stay at Sperlonga
3-d day: Naples and Caserta
Next day we went to explorer Naples. First we went along via Toledo with dropping into Quartieri Spagnoli — Spanish Neighborhoods. Then we came out to Gesu Nuovo Church and then San Domenico Maggiore. Further we went among narrow street of antient district and appeared opposite Basilica di San Paolo Maggiore. There were antient Naples ruins under nearby San Lorenzo Maggiore church. Then we came through street with Presepio — very amazing life scenes with humor. At the end we came in Archaeologic museum.
After Archaeologic museum we went to Caserta. First we went by subway 2 stops and then — by bus to Caserta(50 min). (By the way station Museo had extraordinary interior, it was also a Naples sight). In Caserta we had to walk for a long time — 3 km was length of the alley with cascades. There was a bus going along the alley, but we didn’t wait for it so we wasted a lot of time and strength and came to English garden when it was already closed for enter. On back way we again couldn’t take the bus because of big crowd of bus waiters. …I think better use some bicycle for these spaces which made for walking on horses. I think we could be get in time and visit also and English garden, if we took a taxi (24 min from Naples to Caserta) and took the Caserta bus to get to the top. After walking along cascades we visited Royal Palace and went back by train (45 min)
4-th day: Vesuvius and Pompeii
Next day we went by train to Pompei. When we arrived in Pompei we took a bus to Vesuvius. It was a transfer to and from Vesuvius with couple hours to explorer the volcano — to climb up to walk along the crater and climb down back. So we could look into the crater and see a little smoke had risen from there.
After Vesuvius we came to antient Pompeii and walked on their streets just as in the past Pompeii inhabitants did. The day was close to evening, touristic groups disappeared and we could feel the antient city in full silence and loneliness. Only dogs became awoke and looked to us with their piercing eyes.
5-th day: Departure to Capri
Departure to Capri
And so the day became to depart Naples. The sky was beautiful with the sun shining through the clouds. We walked by foot (about 10 minutes) to the port to sail to Capri (45 min).
Arrived in Capri we bought a bus abonnement. To our hotel we get up by bus to Anacapri. On the way on a corner it was awful to look into window and see a huge deep under. Our hotel was in quiet place in living area Anacapri as opposed to more glamour and hotel part of Capri island — fashionable resort Capri with main promenade and restaurants. We liked our hotel Mediterraneo Guest House*** it was very cute and home, in the same time has very splendid mediterranean interior design, we felt us living on the Island like inhabitants, not as guests.
We went to explorer Capri. First we came up on cable car to Monte Solaro. Then came to villa San Michele (I recommend to read The Story of San Michele by Axel Munte). After that we took a bus to get to Capri. In Capri we took another bus to Marina piccola beach. It was splendid to swim there, in a beauty green-blue transparent warm water. After swimming we went back to Piazza Umberto I square by bus and then walked by foot to see Arco Naturale — Natural Arch, admired on the way the views and cute tasty mediterranean houses and roads. After this stroll we went back to Anacapri by bus took there another and came to Blue Grotto. It was the evening, no boat sailed to Blue Grotto already, so anyone willing could swim in Blue Grotto. So did and I. But the sun was already low too, and shined not brightly, through clouds, so one couldn’t see all beauty of blue color. I saw it blue, yes, but no more. I think no sense to swim in Blue Grotto when the sun low — and when it is not so — the boats still get into there. So one should have enough time to wait for one’s turn to get to Blue Grotto by boat.
You can look useful touristic info and accommodation in Capri Island in an article
What to see & where to stay in Capri
6-th day: Departure to Ravello
Departure to Amalfi
Next morning we came to see San Michele church with unique floor mosaic and then after check out with luggage before departure to Amalfi we dropped in Augustus Gardens. To get down to Marina Grande port we used Capri funicular. We sailed to Amalfi (1 h 15 min) to get further to Ravello. Our ferry passed all Amalfi coast so we saw it from the sea. In Amalfi we visited Cathedral with the relics of the Apostle Saint Andrew.
Departure to Ravello
To Ravello we got up by a taxi (14 min, 7 km), we didn’t wait for a bus to spent our time for visiting villas. We stayed in Hotel Parsifal*** with amazing garden and antient house — there was a medieval convent in the past. So we felt like living in that times. The views were stunning, and from our room and from the garden — everywhere we enjoyed the coast Amalfi deep views like further — from villas. The hotel was a bit outside from Ravello, we walked to the center about 10 minutes. We visited villa Rufolo with organized concerts and villa Cimbrone with famous terrace of Infinity (it is a luxury hotel ). Combining of deep views, gorgeous gardens and medieval buildings was just a miracle, and name of the miracle was — Ravello.
You can look useful touristic info and accommodation in Amalfi Coast in an article
What to see & where to stay in Amalfi Coast
7-th day: Departure to Ischia, via Naples
Next day early morning we departed Ravello by a transfer to Naples port, via Salento (1 h,57 km). Then we depart to Ischia by ferry (1 h 40 min). On Ischia we took a taxi to our hotel (7 min 3 km). We stayed in San Montano Resort & Spa***** with stunning views to everywhere — you can see and sunrises and sunsets. The hotel had also no less stunning outdoor pool with warm thermal water, and very delicious breakfast on open terrace in amazing garden. Add a jacuzzi overlooking San Montano bay — it would be just a fairy tale you don’t want leave.
But we left this paradise for exploring Ischia — for a bit, to visit thermal complex Negombo. From hotel we took a transfer to there, it was included to staying price. The beach umbrella-loungers were also included in the price, for Negombo tickets we had also a discount. The sea wasn’t so pleasant, it was windy and the water wasn’t warm enough. The beach was in a gulf, so I couldn’t enjoy the wide spaces sea view — but it was no sea resort but thermal resort: It was fantastic to swim in warm or hot thermal water in numerous pools of Ischia and as we did — in Negombo thermal park. The park had a lush spending gardens with pools among the plants — it was majestic and just a paradise once more.
8-th day: Ischia
Next day besides swimming in the hotel and Negombo pools we went to La Mortella gardens. It was just a tropical jungle with a lot of plant types. What you only could fid here! For me the gardens had more various number of species then one botanical garden, — at least it seems so. As designer. I spent a lot of time to get photo of that forms variety.
On evening we had a Neapolitan dinner at the hotel, with neapolitan songs and a great variety of delicious dishes — it was buffet dinner. It was unforgettable dinner and was like final chord of our trip dedicated to Naples.
You can look useful touristic info and accommodation in Ischia in an article
What to see & where to stay in Ischia
9-th day: Departure, last glance to Naples
So our trip came to end, and we went back to Naples port, then by bus — to airport. On the way we once more saw Castel Nuovo or Maschio Angioino — visit card of Naples, once more passed by jolly houses in sunshine.