30th BD Trip Of A Lifetime – Part I; Italy

I had to do it to em’. Never been to Italy before, and just turned 30, so wanted to celebrate the special occasion. Spent 7 nights in Italy (mainly on the southern coast), and another week in Scotland (see part II). After a fairly long flight (2 stops – NYC & Istanbul) I landed in Naples around 10am. Late enough to stop for my first of a week’s full of amazing bites – classic Neapolitan pizza.

It’s just like I’d imagined – fantastic bread, the freshest tomatoes, and a very simple yet authentic presentation. Naples was as described; grimy, fairly dangerous (saw a robbery in broad daylight), and somewhere you only need to check out for a day. The street markets were fantastic:

The train down to Sorrento took me to my destination city for the next four nights. What a romantic, accommodating and storybook like little town nestled on the Gulf of Naples in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The colors, the food, the wine, the people, the cobble streets. Tough to describe. I arrived around 3pm, walked the streets, and nestled into my airbnb for a long nap. Woke up, and found myself a fantastic restaurant for the freshest of Italian food.

After dinner, stopped by a local restaurant for one more glass of wine before bed. That turned into a few bottles, all shared by my newly adopted family. We shared photos, stories, and they refused to let me leave until sunrise. I regretted it in the morning, but never again. A memory I’ll never forget.

Woke up the next AM, had some coffee, and jumped on my tour bus to Pompeii, the ancient city of ruins. Only about an hour away, this was something I’ve always wanted to check out. It’s as unique as you’d think – an ancient town restored in volcanic ash.

Took it easy after dinner – my first full day. Had a beautiful dinner along the water, and took in the sunset. Easily one of the best views I’ve ever taken in.

Day 2 was the island of Capri. I was told by those that have been there that this would be the highlight of my trip, and they weren’t wrong. A majestic body of land roughly 30 minutes by boat from Sorrento. I opted for a private boat – one stocked with sandwiches, beer, and some local folks – and they gave us 3 full hours before needing to board to return. I chose to use my time to take the gondola to Anacapri, where I took in sights for miles.

Another lowkey night after a long day. Got back to my hotel around 7pm, nustled up to another pizza, walked the town, and had a beautiful dinner along the seaport district. Hit the hay as another long day to Positano and the Amalfi Coast awaited me early the next morning.

I actually missed my tour the next day – which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Rather than take a tour bus, I was forced to opt for public transit which provided some of the craziest driving experiences of my life (as a passenger). The windiest of roads, a big bus hugging the mountainside with scooters and motos swiping by left and right, to end at the most breathtaking town I’ve ever been to – Positano.

The views were incredible. Quite the romantic touristy town, the beachside manor was like none other. A slow, impressive pace. Had some of the best food during my trip – homemade gnocci for the win;

Took a fast ferry down a bit further to the Amalfi Coast. Similar to Positano in views, the town was a bit quieter.

Walked the streets and later took the bus home back to Sorrento for my final evening (more pizza and wine).

The next morning was tough; I had to leave the quaint town I called home for 4 nights. However, Rome was up next. Stayed there Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights. I took a 230mph train from Naples to Rome, and arrived at my hostel around 5pm in time for a quick nap, after walking the grounds for a few hours.

A good friend Mike – living in Spain – came over the border to meet me in Rome. We walked for days on Thursday night, and returned to the hostel to sleep. The next day was a tour of the Coliseum, some great dinner, and dancing at night.

Saturday was Vatican City – both our tour and stay.

Booked a quite little airbnb and met some good friends of friends after for dinner. It was the best meal I had – Roma Sparita – in Trasteverde. It was the definition of melt in your mouth. RIP, but Tony B was the one who directed me there (and e double).

Saturday night was late, Sunday was early, as I took off for Scotland. Not too early to miss the local market for some more pasta.

Loved absolutely everything about it. Flew out Sunday for Edinburgh, but left a good piece of my heart in Italy.

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