From Rome To Naples
Organising a roadtrip in South Italy was the price i had to pay for my solo trip in April to Ethiopia. Been 4 times this year to the country of Michelangelo, Cesar, and Galileo Galilei I have to admit that i was very sceptical there is much more to discover. However, as I learned later Italy has much more to offer and can manage to surprise me constantly.
This is the entrance of Castel dell'Ovo
It might look strange that those two came up with the most unusual place to enjoy reading books at the edge of the Castle dell'Ovo. But the ambience and the summer sun make every visitor to relax...
To rent a boat in Naples turns out it's one of the most affordable thing. Usually locals go to the nearest cliffs and spend the time under the sun or jumping in the sea.
In this kind of beach houses locals store their beach items such as lounges, umbrellas, inflatable boats, etc. I really like their blue, blue, very blue colour on a sunny day.
Making pictures of big yacht is very challenging due to the tight security. But walking around i have managed to discovered this small peer. I was kneeling and trying to capture the sea boats when somebody grab my shoulder. Turning back I have noticed the little boy. He went in front of me...initially i thought that he wants to pose but just the opposite. He only wanted to fish without giving a damn about my camera and what I was doing.
The Ancient Ruins of Pompeii & The Sleeping Volcano
Being so close to Pompeii we decided to step by.
On the horizon you can notice Vesuvius a sleeping active volcano. Its last eruption was in 1944 and who knows when it will start to spew lava and ashes again. The most notorious story dates about 2 millennia ago, when Vesuvius caused the ancient city of Pompeii to be erased from the face of the earth...till 16~17 century when parts of its buildings were discovered. Starting from then archeologists keep digging and digging. I was amazed to see what Pompeii looks today. It's actually with the size of a normal town...with well preserved streets, even the name plates of the streets you can see, theatres, coliseum, houses, villas...speechless.
Early morning run around the hill and i was ready for the new adventures!
This is the entrance of some nobel roman villa. The ashes preserved the paintings on the wall for 2000+ years.
Capri: The Perl Of The Adriatic
It has been a dream of many to visit the favorite island of roman emperors and various noble people. Frankly speaking i doubt after being in so many places around the world that Capri can surprise me with anything. It was full of posh boutiques, villas, rich Italians & Americans, and Russian tourists visiting it just for a day. You can hear mixing italian with russian speach here and there on the narrow streets...not my cup of tea.
I like the basic cactus garden on the rooftop. However, far more impressive is the nature of Capri.
That day i decided to climb to the top of the Monte Solaro. On my way, just short before Anacapri village, my wristwatch alarm me that the air pressure is droping - a signal of upcoming storm. I have turned towards the marina and notices that i was moving slow, because the first day light already broke btw. the rainy clouds. Few shots and i have continued my island exploration to the top of the mountain.
I had to hike for about 5km in order to get to Monte Solaro which is supposed to be the best panorama spot on the island based on my pre-research. On my way the wind start blowing in my face. It was just matter of minutes before the storm unleashes its might. Quickly I have climbed on top of the roof of the only building standing there to have better viewing angle. I have set my tripod and camera. Exactly in the moment i was ready the clouds open, the sunlight lit some part of Capri village while the rest of the view was covered by dark clouds. I have manged to make few shots and suddenly the rain came.
One and a half hours later i was happy back to our hotel with Milena. Both of us check the pictures I made that morning. All my efforts were rewarded!
That day i eat for 3 people. Wonder why?! And just like a woman the weather changed again its mood again.
Via Krupp was a narrow stone footpath made after the order and financing of a German entrepreneur. For simplicity let's call him Mr. Krupp. So, Mr. Krupp felt in love in Capri. He enjoy it so much, that he event spent a fortune to made a little beach accessible from the extremely steep rocks in 19th century. There were rumours that on that "Grotta di Fra Felice" there used to be many sex orgies btw. rich businessmen and young locals...till the officials noticed that many small and medium size rocks were falling exposing to a big danger any pedestrian. Who knows what cause this frequent avalanches or this might be just a nice moral excuse. However, the entrance of "Via Krupp" was closed for several years when we went there.
Positano & The Amalfi Coast
Getting to Positano on the Amalfi sea coast is real challange. Italians seems to enjoy narrow streets a lot. When i say narrow i mean like two small cars can hardly pass. Well Italians have different opinion on that. There are bikes, motorcycles, small cars, big cars, buses, busy traffic. Steep slopes make driving a nightmare if you are scared from heights, don't know well the dimensions of your vehicle or just happened to come from outside Italy. But once you reach Positano, you will be welcomed by the little cute houses, landed on the cliffs. Some of them even touching the water. This explains why Positano was selected by so many writers such as John Steinback to create their novels.
Time Travel In Matera
Next day we decided to go to Lecce. On the diagonal part of Italy, right at the "heel of the boot"
Cecile - dutch ex-colleague of mine from my Korean odyssey, happened to be in Lecce exactly when i was about to go there. She noticed my post on fb and ping me to meet for drinks. Also she mentioned that on the way to Lecce she and her friend stopped by the city of Matera. So, Milena and I didn't know much about Matera...but while driving to Lecce somehow we decided to make a coffee break there.
Upon arrival in Matera we were immediately struck by its colour and its light. Just looking at it, we realised how much the scene is shaped by the time itself, like a fairytale full of history.
In every corner we could feel the special spirit of Matera which makes it so different. Numerous movie producers like. Mel Guibson selected it as a major scene of their blockbusters (The Passion, 2003). Matera deeply enchanted us with its purity and authenticity.
We wish could stay longer in Matera and enjoy the very special place also admired by UNESCO as world heritage site, but we had to go to Lecce and meet my friends. However, definitely I will return to Sassi and continue my exploration of the rock churches, get lost on a bike and drink some local wine.
Gallipoli: Beautiful Small Town At The Adriatic Sea Coast
After an amazing night in Lecce full of laughter with Cecile and her friend, delicious South Italian pasta, wine...wine..lots of wine, we ended up going to the beach near Gallipoli.
This is South Italy...
Locorotondo: Ancient Architectural Tradition That Last Today
Days are flying fast. Milena and I were moving from place to place, discovering hidden gems. Then we were about to buy some postcards when we noticed the stone roofs of Locorotondo on a picture. Instantly both of us wanted to go there....And there you go. We are already there!
Pescara: The Surprise Of The Ionian Sea
Before we moved back to Rome, we wanted to complete a real circle of South Italy. And because we wanted to avoid long hours driving, we were looking where to stop and have easy going time. Only by checking the map, we set Pescara as our next base. The only thing we knew about it, was the fact that it's on the Ionian sea coast, and that in booking.com you can find descent accommodation. That was all!
But how surprised again we were. Lovely beaches, covered with the finest sand you can find in Europe. Along the beach there were dedicated alleys for runners; and lots of young people (mostly italians). There were hundreds of bars and restaurants along the beach.
Pescara turns out its a big centre for fishing industry.
The time we had for our South Italian road trip unfortunately was over. I really wish could stay there for a month, or two, maybe a bit longer and do what i love most...photography, explore tinny villages and towns while running on their streets or on a bicycle, eat mozzarella & salami with home made bread & white wine...
PS: maybe I should consider a Italian language course. And now I know where is best place to do it