From the Ancient Roman Villa of the Roman Emperor Tiberius (the Villa Jovis) on the eastern tip of Capri. On a clear day you get a stunning panoramic view of the entire bay of Naples and the brooding menace that is Mount Vesuvius.
Dish to die for
“Filetto di manzo gratinato in crosta di pane alle erbe con carciofi e patate novella” at the Trattoria da Gemma in Amalfi. A simply divine main course of succulent beef fillet wrapped in a thin potato and herb crust and roasted to perfection. Accompany it with a glass of full-bodied red wine grown on the slopes of Vesuvius, look out over the lively main piazza of the town laid out below the roof-terrace dining area, and you’ll feel as though you are in heaven.
Limoncello. The various towns and villages dotted around the Bay of Naples and along the Amalfi Coast all produce their own variants of this liquor, which come in many different hues and strengths. All are worth a sip, especially after a hearty meal!
Exploring the vast cultural heritage of the area. From the beautiful islands of Capri and Ischia to the towns and cities of Baia, Pozzuoli, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Amalfi and Positano, the area is filled with some of the most spectacular and evocative archaeological sites in the world, nearly all of which are handily situated next to some fantastic restaurants and bars. There are very few other places where you can so easily indulge an interest in first class culture, food and fine wine.
I didn’t have time this trip to climb to the summit of Mount Vesuvius. Visibility is often perfect in the first couple of months of the year, and the views from the summit are simply breathtaking.
Advice to Travellers
The road and motorway network in the area is woefully maintained, and the drivers are …. innovative … in their application of the finer points of the highway code. Travel by public transport where possible or, better yet, tour the area aboard one of Peter Sommer Travels’ elegant, comfortable and traditional wooden gulets.
Meeting the owner of a small restaurant in Baia, who turned out not only to be almost single-handedly responsible for saving and protecting the vast underwater archaeological park in the bay there, and turning it into a self-financing visitor attraction, but who also had the keys to the nearby ancient Temple of Venus. Being able to walk alone into that soaring, open-air structure in the dead of night, lit only by the light of the moon in a cloudless sky, was a magical experience.
Dr. Michael Metcalfe
Michael studied for his PhD. at University College London - focusing on the ancient Greek cities of western Turkey and for many years he was Assistant Professor in Ancient History at The Mediterranean Center for Arts and Sciences in Sicily, before joining Peter Sommer Travel's, that specializes in Cultural Tours & Gulet Cruises in Greece, Turkey and Italy. A specialist in deciphering ancient inscriptions, Michael is the co-editor of the Blue Guide to the Aegean Islands and is currently revising the Blue Guide to Sicily. He speaks Greek, Italian, and Turkish.