A couples trip through maybe the two most beautiful cities in Italy and along the incredible Amalfi coast
Highs & Lows
Driving along the Amalfi coast with a car, at moments you literally feel like you'e on a stairway to heaven
Can't think of anything, it was perfect!
Since my boyfriend was doing an Erasmus in Naples we decided to visit my old home town Rome, then exploring Naples and the incredibly beautiful Amalfi coast. In Naples a friend also came to visit. All three of us fell in love with the city for life.
I used to live in Rome as a kid (from 9 to 14 years old) and have since then been in love with the city. There are so many beutiful places to visit, I don't even know where to start. Every time I walk through the historical centre of Rome I can't help but thinking that it is kind of unfair that one city can have SO much cultural sights. I've never experienced anything alike it. So where to start?
Of course we visited all the famous sights, the beautiful Piazza Navona, Campo de' Fiori, Fontana di Trevi, Pantheon, Colosseum... The nice thing about the historical centre of Rome is that all these sights are in walking distance from each other. But since I know Rome as a non tourist I want to to talk about some other places.
First of all it is definitely worth it to visit the Vaticanian museums, including the sistine chapel eventhough you would need a whole week to see everything. The museum that impressed me the most, though was the Museo Nazionale Romano in the Palazzo Massimo, an old villa. It contains the most beautiful frescos I have ever seen, full of motives of nature. There is one room where you feel like you have just entered an orange garden. And to think that they are 2000 years old!
Although also very touristical, walking through the small streets of Trastevere is always very picturesque. Buildings in warm colours, restaurants and bars at every corner. From Trastevere there are stairs that lead directly to the viewpoint of Gianicolo, one of the spots with the best view over the city. From there you can walk to the less touristical quarter of Monteverde. I loved going there again, if you really want to get a feeling of how people in Rome live away from the tourism and have some nice pizza you shouldn't miss it.
A quarter that I newly discovered on my trip to Rome is San Lorenzo. It's the student quarter, full of street art, cheap bars, young people and colorful piazze. I especially enjoyed to experience the student night life here.
Also, Rome has very beautiful parks! Make sure to visit at least one of Villa Pamphili, Villa Borghese or Villa Sciarra.
While we were in Naples, I has the conversation with my boyfriend and my friend whether it is the most beautiful city we know. And I must say, besides Rome I have never been to a city that compares to Naples. It is located between the volcano Vesuvio and the ocean, which is already the perfect pre-condition. The architecture is just amazing, everywhere you look there are stunning buildings growing out of each other. Sometimes you suddenly stumble upon another incredible church in the smallest street imaginable. In comparison to other cities, Naples didn't only expand horizontally but also vertically. Sometimes you feel like you are in a gorge of houses, with fresh laundry hanging out of every window and people sitting in the street on plastic chairs. Naples is incredibly chaotic and loud and can sometimes not even feel european anymore. But that is part of the beauty. The everyday life takes place in the street and there are endless cultural sights to visit as well.
When I was there we visited the archeological museum to see more frescos that were saved in Pompei (also worth a visit of course!). This intensified my love for roman frescos which was ignited in Rome. Walking from the centre to the Lungomare at the sea, you come across the Galleria Umberto, a huge gallery with a mosaic floor and high ceilings. We also visited the adjacent Teatro San Carlo for a classical concert, a theatre which is all red velvet and gold. Magical!
One of the most beautiful places I visited in Naples is the Chiostro Santa Chiara, a monastery that offers an amazing garden on the top with a view over naples, the ocean and the Vesuvio. If you want to cet out of the city for a bit you can take a bus to Marechiaro, a stone beach which is a bit hidden. The road down to the ocean offers incredible views along the coast. In my next life I want to be able to buy a villa on the coast close to Naples.
Another great thing about Naples is the night life. I have never seen so many people in the street, it's incredible. The historical centre is packed with young people who enjoy having a few drinks on the Piazza and there are endless cute bars to discover. In naples there are a lot of so called social centers (centri sociali), old public buildings that were occupied and transformed in alternative meeting points for young people, full of street art, movie nights, parties, free sport offers, reading circles... So make sure to check some of them out (L'asilo, scugnizzo, EX OPG...).
And I haven't even started talking about the food in Naples... There are so many incredible pasta and pizza places where you can get the best Italian food you will have tasted so far for very affordable prices. Must do: get a Marinara Starita at Starita. It's the best pizza I know of.
When we were driving along the Amalfi coast I experienced the urge to cry out of beauty for the first time. It sounds really kitsch, but I was so moved by this beauty that I couldn't help myself. I don't even know how to put it in words. The coast is just wonderful, very steep white stones covered in plants that look out onto the ocean of such an intense blue that it almost looks fake. When we were driving along the coast there were moments we were suddenly so high up that it felt like we were driving into the sky. There are some parts on the Amalfi coast where you can't tell the difference between the ocean and the sky, the horizon becomes invisible.
We parked our car somewhere between Maiori and Minori and found a beautiful small lagoon where we could go for a quick swim (the water was still very cold) and lie in the sun for a bit.
All the small towns along the coast are incredibly beautiful, white buildings crawling up the mountainous landscape with the view on the ocean. So make sure to stop in at least one of them for a walk.
Another amazing place we visited is the Villa Rufolo, an old villa directly over the coast with over the coast with colorful and neat gardens and huge tiled rooms with the view on the ocean.
Q & A
What would you have changed?I would have liked to experience more of Rome's nighlife, but didn't stay over the weekend
Tips you would give a friend?Go to as many centri sociali in Naples as you can. And eat as much as you can, the food is amazing!
Transportation Tips?If you decide to take public transport in Naples or Rome be veery patient. The bus will arrive when it feels like it. But it's worth the experience and kind of nice to get out of the European mindset of always having to get to the next place as quickly as possible