Sunday, April 12, 2015

Italia Part 3: Isle of Capri

A taxi, a train, and a boat. 

That was the manner of transportation that took my family and I from the thriving and anciently exotic countryside of Rome to the picturesque isle of Capri. It was a half day of travel, but the view that awaited us could not have been more divine.

Capri is a fairy tale, a island of plunging cliffs and turquoise waters nestled along the coast of Italy. The people are energetic and social, zipping along the narrow roads on their mopeds and tiny cars. The rocky landscape is punctuated with verdant and lush gardens filled with an abundance of lemon and orange trees.

My family stayed in the beautiful and somewhat dilapidated Villa Torricella. Situated with a costal view of the Mediterranean, it was a short climb up from Marina Grande. The breath taking views from the villa were the consolation prizes for the odd cold shower, electricity outages, and drafty rooms.

Front entrance gate to Villa Torricella

There was nothing like waking up to the sound of crashing waves, seagulls, and the brilliant sunlight sparkling off the endless blue of the Mediterranean. At night the air was so clear and still we could see the city lights of Naples glittering along the coast. Our days were spent hiking over the countryside, drinking lemoncello liquor, and eating bruschetta over crusty Italian bread. 

Walkway at Villa Torricella.

Breakfast nook

Veranda at Villa Torricella

Morning espresso overlooking Marina Grande

Lemon trees next to the villa

Exploring the grounds

Night time view of the marina and distant Naples coastline

Hiking the island

The natural arch

Justin inside Grotto di Matromania

The family in Capri town center

Sunset over Marina Picolla

Justin on our boat ride around the island

The Faraglioni, the three spurs of rock on Capri's southern coast

Grotta Verde

My parents sharing a traditional "good luck" kiss in Grotta Verde

Marina Grande

All in all, it was nearly two weeks of paradise. I feel so blessed to have gotten to experience such wonderful beauty and adventure with my whole family. We ventured from Venice to Rome to Capri, and finally back to Rome to catch our flight back to the States. Along the way we met wonderful people, Justin conversed in Italian with everyone from cabbies to airline hostesses, and I learned the true meaning of dolce vita. 

Sweet life. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Italia Part 2: Rome

Oh, Roma!

The Eternal City. It is a hodgepodge of ancient sites, Baroque and Romanesque architecture, and modern monuments. It is a city that has seen neo-classicism, Fascism, and the glory of the Renaissance. I have never been anywhere quite so distinct in its styling and culture.

Our trip to Rome took about a day. Justin and I drove from Venice to Rome via Maranello and Modena. We visited the Ferrari Museum and the Pagani factory, getting a quick glimpse of Horacio Pagani himself! The drive took all day but lead us through glorious countryside, mountain villages, and acres of vineyards. 

The final destination did not disappoint. 

Our first full day was spent exploring the ancient side of Rome. My family took a jaunt through the Forum, had glimpses of Palantine Hill, and stepped on the two thousand year old marble floors of the Pantheon. That night, we dined with two bottles of wine and gazed at an Egyptian obelisk and the facade of the Pantheon. 

Arch of Titus.

March 15th, the Ides of March and the cremation site of Julius Caesar.

My family inside the Roman Forum.

Justin by the Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum.

Inside the Colosseum.

Our second day in Rome was spent exploring the hauntingly romantic ruins of Hadrian's Villa. All six of us piled into our rented Fiat Panda and bumped down rainy roads to the outskirts of Rome.

Olive trees at Hadrian's Villa.

Wandering the grounds.

Justin inside what would have been the banquet hall at Hadrian's Villa.

Our third day in Rome was spent properly exploring the city. Justin, Tori, Becca, and I popped in and out of churches, catching glimpses of the Ecstasy of St. Teresa by Bernini, frowning at the construction being done on the Trevi Fountain, and climbing to the top of the Spanish Steps to gaze out at the city before meeting up with my parents at the Vatican.

 Tori and Becca from atop the Spanish Steps.

Sculpture Gallery at Vatican Museum.

Laocoon and his Sons unearthed from the first century.

Emperor Nero's bathtub atop thousand year old mosaics. 

Inside St. Peter's Basilica. 

St. Peter's from the courtyard.

Our last day in Rome was only able to be a half day as we had spent the morning taking boat, taxi, and train back into the city from Capri. Fabulously sunny with dewy air, Justin and I walked our toes off as we wandered from one end of the city to the other. We visited Via Appia, the ancient Roman road that served as an entry point to the city. We laid in soft green grass and watched kids play soccer inside what was once Circus Maximus, and haggled for fake Chanel with vendors outside the Vatican. 

But most of all we fell in love with the ancient and modern sitting side-by-side in Caput Mundi.

Next stop: the isle of Capri...