The Amalfi Event -- we have an entire web site devoted to this week. As a re-cap of the event: we all flew into Rome, met at the Piazza Navona, went for dinner and then then next day traveled to Amalfi.
Well we did all fly into Rome with various individuals arriving on different days. On Friday, however, a major rain storm hit Rome. It just poured. It looked like any interest in meeting for dinner would fade away. By 7:30 pm the rain started to let up the group started off to meet at the Piazza.
There were toasts with Preseco, Italy's answer to champagne, in the Piazza. Then a great meal at the Restaurant Passetto. Located at the north end of the Piazza Navona, the restaurant is over 100 years old and known for its good food. We had originally planned to eat outside, however, with the rain the outside tables were closed and we sat inside in one of the three high-ceiling dining rooms.
|Colleen Bern meets Karen in the Piazza Navona.|
Marcus Travel made all the arrangements for the group to travel by train to Napoli, be met with a van and then be taken to Pompeii for a three hour tour.
After the tour of Pompeii, the van took the group to the Amalfi Coast and we all checked into the - Hotel San Michele in Castiglione (just outside of Amalfi).
After previous stays at the San Michele this has always been a favorite in our hearts. Our host, Nicola, looked after the group in his first class tradition. Hotel San Michele has long been one of the Great Places to Stay in our books. The rooms all look over over the sea, some had balconies or patios. We would meet in the morning for coffee, then in the evening for dinner and the meals were very good.
The week in Amalfi was incredible. The arrangements include chartering a boat for a day cruise along the coast and a private session with chef "Mamma Agata" at her house in Ravello. Chris Grant, Colleen Berno, Geoff Crampton, Glenn Marcus and Margot Arbogast took part in the cooking session. Mamma Agata and her daughter Chiara explained the recipes.
It was a morning in the kitchen and then after 1:00 the rest of the Amalfi Group came up by van for a fantastic lunch on the patio. We ate till we literally could not eat any more. Some even walked down the 5 km trail and steps back down to Amalfi. Others took the van that had been arranged.
The day on the boat along the coast was one of the highlights. Our boat arrived just after 9:30 and stocked with bottles of Preseco, beer and drinks as well as a crate of fresh figs, we spent the day traveling along the coast. There was a stop in Positano to meet Valerie, one of the contacts of Marcus Travel in making the arrangements.
Gennario, our captain, made arrangements for a lunch as a sea-side restaurant - we just arrived, sat down and ate. The food was fantastic.
There were numerous times where we would just stop, dive off the boat, swim in the sea and the continue on. The water around the Li Galli Islands was a sapphire blue that none of us will forget.
A most enjoyable day.
During the week in Amalfi, everyone was on their own. Other than the two group events for the boat charter and the cooking class each day individuals would go off and do their own thing.
One say Karen and I went to Pasteum to the the ruins of the greek/roman settlement. We catch a bus to Salerno and from there a train to the town of Pasteum. The ruins are an easy 1 km walk from the train station. The site was discovered in 1750 when the Bourbons were clearing land to build a road. The greek colony, Poseidona was build in 600 BC and has since been overgrown with vegetation. In 400 BC it fell to the Lucanian tribe and then later the Romans in 273 BC. A combination of the end of the Roman Empire and malaria in the end brought an end to the town.
The grounds are impressive, we rank it right up with Pompeii and find the site easier to navigate and even more impressive due to the three large temples that remain. The temples, built of yellow limestone, give off a soft comfortable colour. Walk along the ancient Via Sacra, an Roman street in remarkably good condition, past the temples: Tempio di Cerre, Tempio Di Nettuno and the Tempio Basilica.
On another of the days I decided to head out to see Napoli. I wanted to see the National Museum, we had missed seeing that on our trip to Napoli a few years ago. I had no takers of people to come with me so I walked to Amalfi, caught a bus to Sorrento and from there the train to Napoli.
|The streets in the centre of town are busy with stalls. Everyone is selling everything!||Majestic Galleria Principe in Napoli, now empty except offices on the upper floors..||The colours of Napoli.|
I have always been taken with the Galleria Principe, a majested galleria that now sits empty except for government offices on the upper floors. It was built between 1870 and 1883 as part of a urban renewal taking placed in Europe using new technology: steel and glass. It built to be a mall but its construction was never allowed to be fully complete (with four arms) as the Church of Santa Maria di Costantinopoli, which is adjacent to the Galleria, means the fourth wing would be impossible. I don't know why that would really make a difference, but according to the write-ups it did from an architectural point of view. Also, it never had the commercial success of the Galleria Umberto - the other major Galleria in Napoli. But, I am always moved as I walk thorugh the desserted walkways.
But the purpose of the trip to Napoli was to see the Museo Nationale which, in a number of 16th century buildings, houses an impressive collection of the works of the Farnese Family. They basically had all the major works from both Pompeii and Hereculaneum. There are large chunks of mosacis and hugh impressive statues.
Financially, good for me, but the time I got out of the museum, I was in the afternoon shut down so basically all the stores were closed, It was wallet-free sight seeing for the day and then to return by train, Napoli to Salerno, and bus Salerno to Amalfi.
In all it was an incredible week. Descriptions and information is on the Amalfi Event Site.