All posts tagged: holiday

In The Roman Countryside

The final stop on our tour around Italy, was a day in the Roman countryside. So after discovering the beautiful abbey of Montecassino, we boarded the bus to do the final leg of our journey. A couple of hours later, we found ourselves in a beautiful hotel about half an hour or so from the city of Rome. Mum and I were lucky enough to get a room on the ground floor of the hotel and our room looked out onto a little garden that had some lemon trees and I think a couple of other fruit trees. The building itself had probably been the villa of some Roman aristocrat in days gone by, but now it served as the last location for us on a holiday that while slow to begin, flew by in its final days. It was still quite light when we arrived at the hotel, and a group of us ended up sitting in a little gazebo in the grounds of the hotel, chatting about our holiday and feeling generally sad …

Monte Cassino

After our day spent along the glorious Amalfi Coast, we spent one last night in Sorrento, then boarded the bus the next morning to begin our drive back to Rome. On the way we stopped at the hilltop abbey of Monte Cassino. This Abbey is most famous for being where the Benedictine monks originate from, but also houses many important books and manuscripts from across the centuries. It was also the stage for a very important battle in World War II, the Battle of Monte Cassino. At that time the valley which the town of Cassino is situated in was being held by German and Italian forces and the allied forces were trying to break through as the valley presented an almost direct route through to Rome. The abbey itself was left unoccupied by the Germans (despite it’s strategic position), who instead took up positions on the hillside surrounding. This was still a highly superior position to be in, as the Allied forces would be going uphill to attack, while the German and Italian troops …

On the Amalfi Coast

Our long day on the island of Capri, was followed the next day by a leisurely drive along the Amalfi Coast, stopping in the town of Amalfi while there. This coastline can only be described as beautiful. At one point we stopped and looked down onto the famous beachside town of Positano (but couldn’t go there as it would have taken all day to get there and back up). The road along the coast is long and winding and was quite busy with cars and lots of tourist buses. We had been blessed with a gorgeous sunny day which only made the already bright blue water even more bright. Usually when people think of the Italian coast, this area is what they are thinking of – it was so amazingly perfect that it almost seemed a little unreal at times. The town of Amalfi itself was quite lovely as well, but still similar to all the other towns and villages we’d seen. But while the towns in Northern Italy sold lots of wine, leather goods …

On Capri

After our first night at our beautiful hotel in Sorrento, we hopped on a tour bus that would take us down to the ferries heading to Capri. When we arrived down there, we were surprised to see our guide from Pompeii, Francesco, who was to be our guide again that day. This was great as we knew that he was great at his job and it also helped that he was pretty good looking – in an academic scooter riding kind of way. It was quite a cloudy day and it had been raining earlier in the morning, but the sea looked reasonably calm which was good, as we were about to spend quite a bit of time on there as we made our way over to Capri. The ferry ride was around 30-40 minutes and as soon as we arrived, a few of our group hopped on a small boat to take a tour around the island. It was much windier on Capri making the ocean a bit choppier, which in turn made the …

Staying In Sorrento

After exploring Pompeii, we boarded the bus again to head to our hotel in Sorrento, which is right on the coast. Our hotel had the most amazing view and mum and I had a lovely little balcony which we enjoyed on our first evening there. The thing I remember and loved most about this hotel, was heading down to the bar before dinner and enjoying a couple of cocktails before we ate. On our first night there was a gentleman playing piano and singing, and a little group of us went down and listened to him after dinner. He was really amazing and had a lovely singing voice. The hotel itself had the most beautiful view out over the ocean and we were really glad that we would be spending more than one night there. Sorrento was to be our base for the next couple of days while we went out to enjoy the sights nearby, namely the island of Capri and also some sight seeing along the Amalfi coast. We didn’t see much of …

Pompeii

This morning we piled onto our bus again to begin our journey to Southern Italy. Mum and I were thankful that we would spend most of the morning on the bus, as we were a bit tired and sore from a trek to the Colosseum the day before. Our first stop in the south was to be the famous city of Pompeii, which is located near Naples and stands in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, the volcano who destroyed it. I’d always been quite fascinated with this city so I was looking forward to actually being there and seeing all the things I’d only seen on tv and in books for years. But before we began our tour of the city, we had a little time for lunch. There is a little eatery/restaurant near the entrance to the city (along with lots of little stalls selling various things). In the eatery, there’s a pizza place that makes your pizza right before your eyes. The dough is pre made but they stretch it into a base, put sauce …

Back to Rome

After a few hours on the bus from Assisi, we finally arrived back in Rome. Mum and I had decided that if we made it back to Rome early enough in the day, we would make our way to the Colosseum as it wasn’t part of our tour and we had missed it the first time around. Thankfully we made it back at about 3:30 in the afternoon and after waiting for our bags to get to our room for about half an hour and plotting our course through the streets of Rome, we headed out on our own for the Colosseum, hoping not to get lost. Mapping the walk on my Google Maps app the walk wasn’t too far. 3.9km to be exact which was due to take us about 45 minutes. I think it ended up taking us a bit longer than that, as my phone had some sort of conniption on the way, so we had to go it alone for some of the way until it sorted itself out. We didn’t …

The Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

This morning we started heading back to Rome to stay for the night before we made our way to the south of Italy. On the way we stopped in Assisi, the home of the Basilica of St. Francis, who was the founder of the Franciscan Monks. We didn’t have a lot of time in Assisi – only about an hour or so. Most of that time was spent in and around the Basilica itself so we didn’t get to see very much of the rest of the town. This didn’t bother us at all though, as the Basilica was just beautiful. The outside is a wonderful piece of architecture but is quite similar to many of the other churches we had seen along the way. The most beautiful part of this church was the interior – which we weren’t allowed to photograph. I could have snuck a couple of photos I suppose, but it didn’t seem right to do something naughty inside a church! So I just contented myself with a postcard that had a photograph …

The Farmhouse at Fattoria San Donato

After a couple of hours exploring the lovely San Gimignano, we hopped back on our bus and headed for Fattoria San Donato, which was about 10 minutes away. I was pretty hungry by this time and was really looking forward to eating, but first we went on a tour of the winery. Fattoria San Donato is in actual fact a small village which is largely dominated by a farmhouse. The family currently residing in the farmhouse has been there since the early 1930’s. Not only does the farm produce wine, but also olive oil, both of which we tasted during lunch. The lunch itself was a huge spread and was made up of everything from olives, fresh breads, cold sliced meats, cheeses and all washed down with wine produced on the farm. After lunch we were free to wander around the farm and visit the shop where you can buy wine and olive oil to take away. If you’re ever in the area, you should definitely visit and enjoy the lunch, it is definitely worth …

San Gimignano

The day of our trip to San Gimignano, we woke with the sun and watched as it gradually lit up the Siena Cathedral and the Basilica of San Domenico. It was the most relaxing and perfect start to the day imaginable. After breakfast we piled onto our bus and headed for the hills. San Gimignano is only about 45 minutes away from Siena, so thankfully we weren’t stuck inside for too long on what was shaping up to be a brilliant day weather wise. San Gimignano is a walled medieval town that has been around since about 63 BC, although the area around it had been inhabited a long time before – it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. When we first arrived, we had to park right at the base of the hill on which San Gimignano sits atop. It was a small hike up before we even got to walls surrounding the town but it was definitely worth the walk. The walls themselves are very interesting and it’s amazing to this that …