Written by Lillian
November 8th, 2022
For Fall break, I decided to head south like so many of my fellow Yellow Jackets–I went to Italy! The first half of my break was spent exploring Naples and the Sorrento Peninsula.
On the first day, we headed to Sorrento from our AirBnb in Castellammare di Stabia. We walked to the Bagni Regina Giovanna, a secluded natural swimming hole near ruins of a Roman villa. Surrounded on three sides by limestone cliffs and a final side featuring a natural archway out to the sea, the cove was gorgeous. After swimming in the clear water, we headed back into the town of Sorrento to browse through the streets (and eat gelato).
The gorgeous views of Sorrento.
The next day at 9am, we hopped on a bus to Bomerano and began our five mile hike on the Path of the Gods. This trail follows the gorgeous Amalfi coastline, featuring an endless sea to our left and soaring, craggily cliffs to our right. We passed over small colorful oceanside towns beneath us and boats speeding along the Mediterranean. At the end of the trail, we made our way down the dozens of flights of stairs to the coast. Our calves were burning; it felt like the stairs would never end.
The Path of the Gods hiking trail– absolutely breathtaking.
After our long hike, we finally arrived in Positano which was built on terraces in the mountains right by the Sea. We stopped for pizza and headed down to the beach for a quick swim. Even though it was early November and late afternoon was starting to set in, people crammed into the remaining portions of the beach that the sun could reach and swam in the cold, refreshing water. In an effort to avoid some of the crowds, we walked a bit down the coast to Fornillo Beach. After swimming for a bit, we attempted to catch a ferry to Sorrento, but by the time we got to the harbor, the last of the boats for the day had already departed. Instead, we joined three other stranded travelers on a dizzying and rather dangerous taxi ride to Sorrento.
Postcard worthy views of Positano at the end of the Path of the Gods.
On our last day in Naples, we explored the ruins of Pompei— a roman settlement that was buried in thick layers of ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Fun fact: the volcanic ash did a great job of preserving the entire town and can give us a glimpse of Roman culture frozen in time. To me, the most surprising thing about Pompei is how large the settlement was. It’s also crazy how the suburbs of Naples are just built around Pompei; the archaeological excavation site is surrounded on all four sides by modern buildings, homes, and downtown Pompei. I would have thought that it would be located somewhere desolate— not in the middle of a bustling city!
From left to right: the Teatro Grande (a horseshoe shaped Roman Theatre), one of the houses featuring many frescos preserved on the walls, Foro di Pompei (the Roman forum or the center of the city) with Mount Vesuvius behind the Temple of Jupiter.
Aftwards, we were able to hike up Mount Vesuvius, the only active volcano on mainland Europe. The volcano is considered one of the most dangerous in the world because of the dense population that surrounds the base of the volcano and its high eruption rate. To get to the start of the hike, we took a 3€ bus ride to the ticket gates and then hiked another thirty minutes to the rim. If you want to hike to the top of Vesuvius, make sure to pre-book your entrance tickets online a couple days prior!
The crater of Mount Vesuvius.
Overall, it was nice to have a more relaxing time exploring all the facets of the Italian coast compared to the busyness of the three day weekends. Instead of quickly trying to hit the highlights, I explored some of the smaller port towns and spent more time relaxing. My biggest tip would be to always carry some emergency cash with you when traveling. The taxi cab from Positano to Sorrento would only accept cash payments and without that cab, we would have been stranded without a way to get back to our AirBnb.
P.S. it would not be a trip to the Campaigna region in Italy without mentioning the food. Pizza was consumed in almost every meal, and I had a lot of fun choosing between the unique toppings they offered.
Pizza was said to be invented in Naples! Shown here is a wide selection of pizza and pasta that I ate while in Italy. Top left going clockwise: a simple Margarita pizza, a pizza with walnut cream and fior di latte cheese, Spaghetti alle vongole— a clam and mussels pasta, and a pizza with pumpkin sauce, prosciutto, and cheese.