Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Amalfi Coast Easter Weekend

This past weekend my roommates and I visited the Amalfi coast in Italy. I think I found my my new favorite Italian destination! We stayed in Sorrento, hiked in Capri, ruined in Pompeii, dined in Naples, and beached in Positano. All the towns (excluding maybe Naples....) were absolutely breathtakingly beautiful! Thanks to no school Thursday, Friday, or Monday we got to have a nice long trip and had the perfect balance of action and relaxation.

We stayed in little cabin/bungalows in the town of Sorrento. Sorrento to located right on the Amalfi coast and is a tourist hotspot! There were tons of people visiting there especially because of the long Easter weekend. Sorrento some very neat deep rooted Catholic traditions that take place around Easter and we had the experience of a lifetime being able to be there and take part in them. On the night of Holy Thursday there is a HUGE (about an hour long and including over 300 participants) processional. All participants wear white as they represent people 'looking' for Christ. They hold crosses and other religious items and the music is happy and upbeat. The next night, Good Friday, the mood completely shifts. The parade is dark, gloomy, even haunting. The people are dressed all in black and slowly process down the main street in town. This represents the people, not knowing yet about the resurrection, lamenting Jesus' death. These two precessions are put on by the Franciscan order which dominates the town of Sorrento. They were so neat and very unlike anything I have ever seen.

On Friday we took a 20 min ferry to Capri to spend the day hiking and exploring. Capri is stunning. The mountains are amazing and the water is crystal clear. There is also TONS of great shopping here! We got to cliff dive into the FREEZING water (still considered 'winter' season here). We also took a boat into the 'Blue Grado' where the water is touched perfectly by the sun making it appear an almost lucid teal blue color- SO NEAT.

Saturday we took a train to Pompeii to see the ruins there. In the year 79 a huge volcano erupted on mount Vesuvius. Volcanic Ash covered the entire city of Pompeii killing all life there but perfectly preserving the town coated in ash. Only 150 years ago an archeologist discovered something deep underground the land that was the ancient city of Pompeii.  After much digging and restoring (which continues to this day) the entire town of Pompeii has been uncovered and can now be visited as one of the largest and oldest collections of artifacts. It is truly amazing to walk around Pompeii (which is HUGE)  and see the temples, walkways, restaurants, even ash coated people, that are from the year SEVENTY NINE. 

After exploring Pompeii we got to climb mount Vesuvius!!! Climbing the entire volcano takes a pro about 2 full days... so we got bussed halfway up and then ventured to the top, which was PLENTY of hiking! Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano on mainland Europe and had it's last major eruption in 1944. We could see smoke rising out of the MASSIVE hole at the top which has scorching temperatures and is 4200 feet high. cool. 

After a long day we trained to Naples to eat at the 150 year old, Da Michele Pizzaria which was featured in the movie Eat. Pray. Love. with Julia Roberts. The pizza was the best I've tasted. ever. However, besides eating Naples is kind of a bust... (AKA the next day our guide told us that there was an article in that mornings paper about a lady who, upon refusing to give up her purse to pickpockets, was dragged up and down the streets in broad daylight, the same day we were there...) The pizza was worth it!!! 

Sunday we had a relaxing Easter on the beach in Positano. Positano has got to be the most beautiful beach I have ever been to. It is right at the foot of a large mountain which is lined with colorful beach houses stacked one on top of another; making facing the water just as beautiful as facing the picturesque shore. We had FABULOUS sunny weather and soaked up the sun all day! 


Beautiful Capri 

Ready to go Hiking in Capri 

Loving Capri  
Heading down to go to the Blue Grado

Inside the Blue Graddo

Easter Processions in Sorrento 

Ruins in Pompeii 

17 year old woman with fetus from Pompeii 
Church uncovered in Pompeii

Mount. Vesuvius! 

DIRTY feet from hiking... TB's aren't made for this....!

Beautiful views on our crazy bus ride to Positano Beach 


View from the beach,  laying out! 

Our Bungalow in Sorrento 
Back in Florence now where the weather is also beautiful! 

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