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Jacada Travel Journal: The Amalfi Coast and Rome

Written by
Melania Siriu

Sometimes we need to top up our lives with pink sunsets, lemons, glamour and bright colours. That's when we've got to go (back) to the Amalfi Coast. I recently visited this beautiful part of Italy along with the Eternal City, Rome, which is only a short drive away and home to thousands of years of wonders.

The Amalfi Coast

After flying into Naples, I made my way down to the pretty town of Sorrento on the northern side of the Sorrentine peninsula.

The main square and the winding streets are filled with lovely restaurants and cafes, so I grabbed a delicious pizza – of course – before watching the sun go down over the Gulf of Naples, the lights of nearby towns twinkling in the distance.

Terraced cliffs, lemon tress, a jumble of white and pastel coloured houses that tumble down to the still blue waters: this signature landscape is only found here, on the Amalfi Coast.

And those charming towns dotted along the coast – Positano, Praiano and Amalfi –  each has their own character, vibe and romance, like different types of travellers…

Heading inland a little brings you to Ravello, a lovely hilltop town home to enchanting gardens and villas, and the views of the terraced farmland that surrounds it are no less impressive.

Pretty pastel buildings line the streets and there’s a lively main square, the perfect place for a coffee or gelato. If it’s peace and quite you’re after, there are plenty of tranquil lanes along which to wander and placid gardens in which to relax.

The views are what makes the Amalfi Coast so special with blue sea, still as glass, stretching as far as the eye can see.

The roads that wind their way along the coast reveal new vistas at every turn and half the fun of driving in this region is waiting to see what the next bend brings.

On my way to Amalfi I was treated to beautiful sunsets where the sky was lit up pink and purple, the late evening sun casting its last rays on the craggy clifftops.

The water had taken on the purple hue of the sky – I  was captured, I had to stay till the sun had fully melted behind the curved horizon.

Sunset taken from the mesmerising Monastero Santa Rosa

Rome

I was sad to leave the coast, but excited to get to what is arguably the most romantic city of them all – Rome, of course (sorry Paris!)

Rome is the Eternal City indeed, and its amazement renews itself each time: where else can you experience such an incredible presence of an ancient civilization strewn across what is simultaneously a thriving modern city?

There is so much to see and do in Rome and one of the best ways to explore it is like the locals: by Vespa!

With my very own Roman driver, we wove our way through the streets stopping to visit the city’s most iconic landmarks – the Colossuem, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Aventine Keyhole and finishing at the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola where all of Rome lay before me, glowing dusty pink in the evening light. Boom.

On my final day I visited the famous Vatican Museums. I arrived early, skipped the queue like the stars, and headed straight to the Sistine Chapel before the crowds. There I stood in silence, admiring Michelangelo’s painted ceiling. And time stopped.

It takes some time to recover from Rome’s immense beauty, and truly the only way to leave is by promising yourself you will go back. Arrivederci Roma!

If you are inspired to visit these iconic Italian spots, speak to one of our expert travel designers.

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Our favourite example trips to the Amalfi Coast and Rome

From
 
Classic Italy

For a country full of impossibly pretty and romantic cities, Venice, Florence and Rome perhaps win a hard fought battle as Italy’s most iconic.

This ten day luxury tour splits its nights evenly between the historic triumvirate, beginning in the Venetian Lagoon. Be introduced to Serenissima with a privately guided walking tour of St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace before an unforgettable gondola ride through Venice’s maze of canals.

On your third day, boat to three famous islands, each with its own character and history; Murano and its fine glassmaking, Burano’s brightly coloured fishermen’s houses and rural Torcello, the first island to be inhabited by the Veneti.

Next, take a train south to terracotta Florence and envelop yourself in its Renaissance masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s ‘David’, Brunelleschi’s great Duomo and the bustling Piazza della Signoria. Based in the city, head out into the surrounding Tuscan countryside to discover the beautiful Chianti region and its renowned wines, and explore rustic Medieval towns such as spectacular Siena.

Then head via Orvieto along a road that leads to Rome, Italy’s capital and largest city. First get your bearings aboard a vintage Vespa through cobbled streets, then visit the vibrant Campo de’ Fiori market to shop for ingredients with a local culinary expert before a private cooking lesson of regional specialities.

Uncover the ancient past on a walking tour from the Roman Forum along the Via Sacra up the Palatine Hill. You’ll see the magnificent Colosseum and astounding Pantheon, two of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering, and find Rome’s other jewels such as the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. Spend your final afternoon in the Vatican City, touring the museum, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and grand St. Peter’s Basilica.

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From
 
A Luxury Italian Honeymoon

A country synonymous with passion and romance, Italy is a perfect setting for a honeymoon. This intimate two week luxury tour has been crafted with handpicked hotels, private tours and exclusive experiences in our favourite Italian destinations – Rome, the Amalfi, Florence, Tuscany and Venice.

Begin your romantic sojourn with three nights in Rome, perhaps the most historied city in the world. Discover ancient sites such as the Pantheon, Forum and Colosseum, and visit the quintessentially romantic Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. You’ll also take an exclusive early hours tour of the Vatican and learn to make an authentic Pizza Romano with a native expert.

Next, train south to Naples and enjoy a scenic drive along the Amalfi Coast, your base for the next four nights. You’ll explore this magical stretch of coastline, take a private boat trip out to the island of Capri and take in sweeping views as you take on the Path of the Gods hike. En route back to Naples, you’ll discover the ancient and fascinating site of Pompeii.

Step back into the Renaissance in Florence, a beautiful city whose grand piazzas and palazzos play host to the world’s great masterpieces. Then explore the surrounding hills of Tuscany, littered with vineyards, rustic villas and Medieval towns. Arise one morning with the dawn’s mist for a stunning hot air balloon flight over the Chianti region.

Finally venture north to Venice. Wander amongst its maze of canals and take a private evening tour of St. Mark’s Basilica, seeing its glorious golden interior illuminated by chandelier.

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