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Italy

When we found out that we were going to Germany for a month, Italy was a natural destination for travel afterwards. Bursting with history, I wanted to show the kids another culture, another country, another time. Italy delivered. They experienced and saw so many new and old things that they had never seen before. We made many memories that we will all cherish for many years to come.

Rome (Roma), Lazio, Italy

Rome – where to start? Rome has so many attractions to cover, it was overwhelming to plan. Piazza Navona was our first stop, since our apartment was closeby. It sits on a 1st century AD racetrack, which is why the piazza is an oval in shape. Entrance to the piazza is free and it’s a cool place to come to enjoy the Italian evening stroll with hundreds of your fellow travelers.

Matera, Basilicata, Italy

Matera boasts a history of some 9000 years.  Some consider it the second oldest town in the world, after Jerusalem.  The oldest part is known as the Sassi.  There are 2 sassi – Sassi Barisano and Sassi Caveoso.  The sassi consists of homes and churches carved into tufa rock and alleyways connecting them.  Look for the alleys and roads that sometimes went over top of the cave homes and cave homes built right on top of one another.  The Sassi dwellers also had a method of collecting rainwater through a system of pipes and cisterns, all dug into rock.  Under Piazza Vittorio Veneto, the main piazza of modern Matera, there is a large cistern that collected rainwater for the townspeople up until the 19th century. 

The Amalfi Coast, Campania, Italy

Sentierro degli Dei hike (Footpath of the Gods)

We started our hike at 7:45 am at Bomerano heading towards Positano.  We took a taxi there, pre-arranged by our wonderful apartment owner for around 50EU.  The hike was around 4 miles in distance, ended before noon with breaks to enjoy the view.  Starting at Bomerano allowed us to avoid the many uphill stairs, had we started at Praiano.  Bring water, hat, sunscreen and snacks.  We found the hike to be about 70% shaded and mostly downhill in this direction.  Of course it helped that we started early, to keep cool.  In fact, my kid’s chief complaint was that the hike wasn’t much of a challenge.  The part that slowed us down the most was the many DOWNhill stairs from Nocelle to Positano.  On our way to Positano from Nocelle, we encountered a man lugging his luggage uphill to Nocelle.  We felt quite lucky to be heading the other direction.  Nocelle is a beautiful colorful little village tucked into the side of the Lattari Mountains that used to be accessible from the coast only by way of the stairs. Now there is a bus. The views along the trail were fantastic.  Coastal views of the Amalfi Coast, vineyards on hillsides and ruins of farmhouses all along this ancient walk path that connected the villages of the Amalfi Coast. 

Mount Vesuvius (Vesuvio), Campania, Italy

Mount Vesuvius is the volcano that erupted in 79AD and buried the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, killing many residents, some of whom are still somberly present today.  Mount Vesuvius itself, looked very much like other volcanoes we had seen, with a few steaming vents inside the inner crater.  Its amazing tranquility very much disguises its true power.