Cruising through Campania, Italy
Italy is a place I could go back to again and again. The rich history, combined with incredible food and beautiful scenery is enough to draw anyone in, particularly those who are partial to a sunny getaway. Visiting the Campania region of Italy in May provided us with decent weather, less crowds and a chance to explore bustling Naples, the dramatic coastline and Pompeii pretty much on the cheap (yours truly be the queen of budget travelling.) To give you more of an idea of where myself and Rebekah headed to, here's a map of Italia:
Campania is on the west coast, heading south. Our Airbnb was situated in Naples but we had the chance to visit a couple of other places whilst we were there. Naples is unlike any other city I've been to - it's crazy busy, it's got amazing cuisine and an edgy feel to it. It still boasts some beautiful historic buildings but it's definitely not for everyone! In Naples you choose your fate - death by moped or pizza.
We stayed in the Quartieri Spagnoli area, which is slightly west of the city. Also known as the Spanish Quarter, the area is boisterous, dirty and colourful, teaming with pizzerias, cafés and other local businesses. There are kids riding mopeds at aged 10, old ladies having a natter through doorways and the laundry of the residents is everywhere like flags. If you want to experience the real Naples, this is it! Some recommendations: - PIZZA - PASTA - GELATO - COFFEE AND PASTRY - The seafront promenade - Castel Sant'Elmo - for amazing views over the city - The Duomo - Naples' very own cathedral - Church of Gesù Nuovo - the interior is absolutely stunning in here - Naples National Archaeological Museum - this houses many recovered items from Pompeii, which are 3000+ years old Pompeii If you're going to Campania, you simply have to visit Pompeii. Now, I had heard very good things about the ancient city, but honestly, seeing it in the flesh (or should I say ruins?) exceeded my expectations. Pompeii was a major city at the time of the Roman Empire, and was a major hub for business. Mount Vesuvius erupted one day and the whole city was buried under meters of ash. Fast forward centuries later, and Pompeii was discovered, having been partially preserved by the volcanic debris. To this day parts of Pompeii are still being discovered - it's that huge. Without any knowledge of the history the city can feel like a bunch of rubble, but we had a fantastic guide who gave us an insight into what life would have been like back then - and it all just completely blew my mind! It felt absolutely amazing and yet so surreal to be walking around Pompeii.
^ An original ceiling (apologies for the blurriness)
^ Beds in one of the 25 brothels! Don't know about you, but that looks mighty uncomfortable...
^ Original. Absolutely incredible.
Sorrento and Positano
Lastly, a trip to Campania wouldn't be complete without visiting the Amalfi Coast. From Naples you can take a train to Sorrento, which takes about an hour, and from Sorrento you can travel to some of the smaller towns by bus. Sorrento and Positano had a completely different vibe to Naples - in fact, most people pass through Naples to get to the Amalfi Coast. It was incredibly picturesque, with dramatic coastline and beautiful coloured houses. Tip: bring good walking shoes.
Capri was another destination we had in mind, however I think I'd like to go when the weather is banging and do it justice! All in all, I feel very satisfied with how much we managed to do and see (feel like I need a holiday to recover from this holiday!) As with most city breaks, it's rewarding but not necessarily relaxing! Italy hasn't seen the last of me...