Previously on Rou5a travels: Buongiorno Napoli, Treating your stomach all Napolitana. A series of stories from my personal experience in Napoli and around the Amalfi coast.
Napoli is well connected to the other coastal cities via ground and marine transportation, so if you’d like you can use a boat or a train to Sorrento then a bus to anywhere else around the Amalfi. Buses linking the Amalfi coast cities are considered public transportation and cost as little as 2 euros per person, but that also means you could be stacked inside like anchovies in a tiny glass jar, enjoying the view and an extreme physical experience. Boats are generally expensive, you pay at least 15 euros for a one way trip but there is no other way if you are heading to an island (Capri or Ischia for example), unless you have rich friends who own yachts of course. The train to Sorrento stops in at least 30 stations and coasts 4 euros, that could be less depending on your travel distance. There are other private companies that schedule buses to anywhere in the coast but the round trip would average around 30 euros.
The problem with Italy that every single location has been well explored and exploited barring very few places. Those venues have turned into a cliche and the government gave it a face lift as well. So the place of your dreams is no longer there, even worse you are sharing it with millions of people when it’s the right season. It’s not all ruined though, la vita e ancora dolce a Capri (life is still sweet in Capri).
The beaches are not sandy if there are any, sometimes it’s just a rocky edge and maybe a small pool ladder to help people out of the water, the sea is clear and beautiful and if you’d take the funicular uphill you’d enjoy a beautiful scenery and a cosy mini city centre with a church on top packed with overpriced shops while small city buses and colourful taxis roam around. If you are on a budget, go visit Capri but pack some snacks to avoid extra cost, some cliches are just worth it.
There is a restaurant in front of the port ticket reservation office that serves great “Gelato”, it’d also be a lovely treat as it melts in your mouth under the fading warm sunlight while you are waiting for your ride…
Sorrento is not a beach destination, or so they’d say but you’d find floods of regular Italians riding the train with you to Sorrento as their final destination, why? Because Sorrento is infact a beach destination, however the seaside is a bit far from the city centre and bus/train stations but that’s life around the Amalfi, you are normally uphill and you’ve to go down and down away from town or sometimes in town to get there.
Amalfi towns are picturesque, specially Salerno and Positano, you could go there on a day trip or you could stay for sometime and enjoy a laid back timeless holiday. There is a very small native population that is normally old and curious. They gather around the main town bar in the afternoon chit chatting and lightheartedly observing idiots, I mean tourists, strolling around and running to catch their buses as their daily entertainment show while sipping on their cold beers.
That train to Sorrento will take you to Pompei, Vesuvius view points and Ercolano. the later is a small town that was also destroyed by the volcano and can be considered as a mini Pompei so some would go there instead because it’s easier to navigate. Personally, it was a childhood dream to walk in Pompei ruins, the most intact ancient ruin thanks to the thick lava melt that froze like a hard stone over the houses, people, market, temples preserving everything for us to see. Visitors usually don’t survive inside for longer than 2-3 hours specially in summer, however that’s more than enough to see a good part of everything. There is also a display of the house hold utensils and furniture with the humans frozen inside. Afterwards, you can go chill on a beach of your choice.. The restaurants around the site are over price, i’d have a beer or a fresh juice to cool down and eat elsewhere.
When you are back to Napoli, remember you are still in a city by the sea, a big one but still by the sea. There is a beach side, either a small stretch near the marine walk or a black sandy beachside, it’s a bit far from downtown and requires a variety of public transportation means but it’s a few steps away from the tram station Bagnoli, so you don’t really have to commute for hours to enjoy a splash in the mediterranean. The quality of water is not the same though, but no complaints here.
If you are done bathing and feeling a little hungry and still have time before dinner, you could skip the bar and head inside a small grocery shop ask the guy to prepare a mortadella panini for you, in my case I was confused if I should couple with Zucchini or spinach?? And ask hi to open a bottle of Nastro Azzurro special edition of Napoli for you, take that combo and head to the big Bagnoli pier, there is an elevator on the side so you don’t have to take the stairs, people are normally jogging and you’ll be eating but it’s still ok. The hazy mountains in the middle of the sea, the sunlight reflections on the water and the city rolled over a hill with its colourful architecture and gorgeous cloudy skies will simply take your breath away at any given time of the day.
There is more than beaches to Bagnoli, you can resume your church tour, check in the maritime museum or simply take a walk in the archeological site nearby if it’s not too hot. The site contains roman ruins of the ancient Rome noble summer homes. It’s nearly destroyed but there is enough for you to build a picture on how it used to look like.
Next: Napoli off the beaten path…