We began our journey in the romantic city of Rome. After sipping a few cappuccinos in the late afternoon after our 9+ hour flight, we were ready to explore the city in a caffeinated furry. With only 12 hours remaining in this amazing city, our short visit was a blur, to say the least. Fortunately, despite our tight schedule, we were able to run (literally) to see the Pantheon in the Centro Storico (“Historic Center”), dine at a quaint restaurant on a river walk along the Tiber river, while hopping from bar to bar and enjoying the people watching – our favorite pastime. Our night was complete after our first taste of authentic Italian gelato and a cab ride, with our driver who fruitlessly tried to teach us Italian slang and profanity. The only thing that stuck with us throughout our trip (other than the obligatory niceties – Grazie, per favore, etc.), was a phrase we heard often: “sto bene!,” meaning “I’m good!” After a long day, our beautiful hotel room at Gran Melia Rome could not have felt more inviting. For any newcomer to Rome, we highly recommend this hotel. Attentive staff, modern (yet warm and welcoming) rooms, a late-night bar, and a private garden were just a few of the reasons why we will undoubtedly return again.
The next morning, we woke up refreshed and hightailed it to the Roma Termini train station. The seamless train ride to Naples was just a little over an hour long and cost approximately $100 for two one-way tickets to Naples, booking our tickets through Rail Europe. Upon arriving in Naples, we rented a car and started down the coast.
Imagine winding mountain roads where traffic rules do not apply – stoplights are merely suggestions and passing lanes exist on two lane roads overlooking dizzyingly high cliffs. Despite it all, we would not have traded this anxiety ridden trip down the coast for anything (Fortunately, George took the wheel!) At each hairpin turn, there was a more beautiful seascape view than the last. If you choose to drive, we highly suggest that you pull off the road for a few minutes at one of the scenic vistas to breathe in the salty fresh air and buy Limoncello or Italian ice. We stopped at Vico Equense, just outside of Positano.
After a 2 and a half hour drive, we arrived in Sorento at the Parco dei Principi Hotel, which became our home-away-from-home for the next 5 days.