The Amalfi coast in the region of Campania is one of the most visited areas in all of Southern Italy, and it’s easy to see why after spending a weekend in the beautiful towns of Sorrento, Capri, Pompei & climbing up Mount Vesuvius.
This weekend, we took a group of 57 students from different programs down to the Amalfi Coast: NCSAC (our Northern California Study Abroad Consortium), SDICCA (our San Diego & Imperial County Community College Association), and Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland. Our hotel was located in the little town of Sant’Agnello, just next to Sorrento, with a gorgeous view overlooking the bay.
It was a short bus ride and a steep walk down the staircase built into the cliffs to get the port of Sorrento on Friday morning, where we took a ferry over to the island of Capri. By 11:30 am, we were relaxing on a private guided boat tour around the island, enjoying the spectacular views of the many grottos and the crystal clear blue waters surrounding the island.
After the boat tour, the students split off into different directions to explore the island. While some people enjoyed the freshly squeezed lemon & orange juice slushies known as granitas in the center of Capri Town, others took the bus over to Anacapri and rode the chairlift up to Monte Solaro, the highest point of the island. After enjoying the views from the top, one of our students made a new friend while waiting for the bus to go back down to the Marina Grande port.
On Saturday, everyone was free to explore the surrounding area on their own, so a big group of students headed off to the train station trying to decide where to go first. A few students decided to visit Naples for the day, with a stop off first to check out the ancient Roman ruins at Herculaneum. Other students decided to take advantage of the sunshine and visit the towns of Positano & Amalfi, where they spent the day relaxing on the beaches.
Sunday morning we set off for our guided tour of Pompei. Our guides showed us around the highlights of this ancient ruined city, from the preserved amphitheater to the Casa del Fauno, one of the villas that still has its original mosaic-tiled floors.
After eating one last delicious Napoli-style pizza, we hopped back on our private bus and made the winding drive up to the summit of Mount Vesuvius. Once we arrived, we strapped on our hiking shoes and trekked up to the very top of the volcano, admiring the views of the gulf of Naples and staring straight into the mouth of the beast that destroyed an entire town in 79 AD.
It was a long and action-packed weekend, and by the time we arrived back at the Naples train station everyone was looking forward to being back in Firenze. Within a few hours on the fast train, we’d left behind the Amalfi Coast and were back in the heart of the Renaissance, exhausted but content at having seen such a beautiful region of Italy.