Buon Natale from Travel at your Leisure. It seemed a crime not to upload a picture of one of the MANY nativity scenes that we saw in Naples this year. This one is from the Royal Palace of Caserta. Notable mention should also be made of the Certosa di San Martino on the hill in Naples and the Royal Palace of Naples as well.
Travel at Your Leisure - Amazing Amalfi spent a fascinating day in Minturnae and Sessa Arrunca, just north of Naples. Our guide Luigi, a Professor of Archaeology, showed us around the seemingly forgotten site of Minturnae. Having already visited Pompeii with its massive footprint and crowds to match, Minturnae offered a much more intimate and in depth look at everyday life in Roman Italy. With its beautifully preserved theatre, which has perfect acoustics, as well as the remains of the defensive castle, forum, baths and much more, it was a really special experience. Please check out the website below for more information on Minturnae.
Our guru Luigi, was incredibly knowledgable, not to mention charming and we were all very appreciative of his time and tolerance. However, one of the best parts of the day came when we all packed up to move on to the next site - Sessa Arunca - and our trusted Archaeological guru jumped into his own vehicle to lead the way. Can you pick the Archaeologist's preferred mode of transport? It's not too hard is it?
How Time Team is That?
The alliteration could go on forever, but all that aside, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Positano is one of the most beautiful places on earth. This small town on the Amalfi Coast awes visitors with its pastel coloured houses perched on mountains seemingly rising right out of the sea.
Positano has lived many lives - as part of Amalfi’s maritime republic during the Middle Ages, a major trade route during the Renaissance, a forgotten fishing village, and finally, an idyllic beach town experiencing a modern-day renaissance. John Steinbeck, who lived here in 1953, wrote, “It is a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” Then again, you might never want to leave.
Travel at Your Leisure will be visiting Positano as part of our Amazing Amalfi tour in September. We still have a couple of places left, so why not join us?
Photo from Wikipedia
Carved by Guiseppe Sanmartino, from a model made by Antonio Corradini, The Veiled Christ is one of the most famous sculptures in Italy. Ever since it was finished in 1753 it has drawn travellers from far and wide to wonder at this depiction of Christ under the gauze like veil, with the instruments of his torture set at his feet.
The Marquis de Sade praised “the folds, the finesse of the veil … the beauty and the regularity of the proportions”, and famous Venetian sculptor Antonio Canova tried to buy it, swearing that he would give ten years of his life to have created this incomparable masterpiece.
Travel at Your Leisure are touring Naples and Amalfi for two weeks in September and will be visiting the tiny Chapel of Sansevero, where this sculpture is housed. Book your tour now and you will have the opportunity to visit and learn more about this amazing work of art and much, much more about Amazing Amalfi.
OK, I'll admit I have shamelessly stolen this recipe from the Naples Unplugged website. It's a Neapolitan cheesecake that looks and sounds amazing, and best of all, if you head to the shops now there's still time to make it for lunch tomorrow. So come on, give it a try and let us know how you went.
If you don't have the time or energy to make this today (too busy at the beach perhaps), you might be able to find something like it Naples if you join Travel at Your Leisure's "Amazing Amalfi Tour" in September. We still have places so book in now and get ready to learn about Neapolitan pastries and so much more ...
This month Gourmet Traveller has done a feature on Naples, which I think may have been inspired by our September 2015 “Amazing Amalfi" Tour.
Katie Parla at GT is recommending Hotel Romeo (YES), a trip to Pompeii (YES) and also some "less touristy" places like Pozzuoli (YES) and the Phlegraean Fields (YES).
She obviously didn’t have time for Capri, Casserta and Positano, but we do, so come on and book your “Amazing Amalfi" tour with Travel at Your Leisure and see all that Gourmet Traveller recommends and more …
It's only five weeks until we all head off for our "Spring In Northern Italy" Tour and the excitement is building. This means that our September Tour - "Amazing Amalfi" is getting closer too. I know I've been writing about it each week, but I thought it was time to remind you about the full the itinerary.
We start in Naples for 5 nights to exploring the millennia of history it has to offer, as well as using it as a base to visit Pompeii and Capri. Those two days almost sum up the whole history of this amazing region.
From Naples we "go west" to immerse ourselves in more history and archaeology, staying 4 nights in Miseno. We will have a ceramics class, take a boat to a beach restaurant, visit an active archaeological dig and ride bicycles around the grounds of Italy's very own Versailles.
Positano is next of course, toughing it out for 3 nights. We will do a cooking class in Ravenna, have a drink at Villa Cimbrone, and we will have plenty of leisure time to take in the beaches, the shopping and the views.
What more can I say except "book now to secure your place on Travel at Your Leisure's tour of Amalfi. It's going to be Amazing". For more details click on the button below.
Anacapri, at the base of Mount Solaro was the home of Swedish Physician Axel Munthe. In 1887 he bought the ruins of an ancient chapel, itself sitting atop the ruins of the villa of Emperor Tiberius and here he proceeded to build his dream home, Villa San Michele.
The villa runs across many levels and is landscaped to perfection with beautiful gardens enhancing the views in every direction. Munthe used the property to display his collection of ancient artefacts from around Italy and Egypt, including a granite sphinx in the garden, gazing out over the whole of Capri. On his death he willed the property to the Swedish nation and it is still administered by a Swedish foundation.
Travel at Your Leisure will be visiting this exquisite folly on our Amazing Amalfi Tour in September this year, so come join us and enjoy the tranquility that is Villa San Michele.
Oh what is more blest than when the mind,
Cares dispelled, puts down its burdens
And we return, tired from our travelling, to our home
To rest on the bed we have longed for?
So wrote Catullus in the 1st century B.C. and 2000 years later these words were inscribed on the tomb of Ernest Beckett, 2nd Baron Grimthorpe at the base of the Temple of Bacchus in the gardens of his beloved Villa Cimbrone.
Perched above the Tyrrhenian Sea near Ravello, Villa Cimbrone is one of the most beautiful properties on the Amalfi Coast, indeed in all of Italy. Beckett bought it as a run down farm house in 1904 and set about restoring and enlarging the villa and its gardens. After his death in 1917 it fell into some disrepair until being bought by the Vuilleumier family, who have restored it to its former glory and now run it as an exclusive hotel.
Travel at Your Leisure will be visiting Ravello and Villa Cimbrone in September next year, so come along with us and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.
photo Hotel Villa Cimbone
Having trouble with your Christmas decorating? Travel at Your Leisure can’t help you this year, but we can certainly lend a hand for the future if you come with us to Naples and Amalfi in September next year. The city of Naples is world famous for it’s crib and nativity scene making and is home to the largest crib scene in the world, with over 600 pieces.
Known as “Presepe Napoletano” these beautiful scenes are thought to go back to the 11th century, when a crib was displayed in the church of Santa Maria del Presepe. They became popular in the home in the 16th century and remain so today. They are traditionally put out on December 8th, but the figure of baby Jesus doesn’t go in until the evening of December 24.
Via San Gregorio Armeno in Naples remains the home of nativity scene makers to this day and you can buy wonderful hand made cribs and decorations as a special souvenir of your time in this fascinating city
To Travel is To Live.