I am glad to say that James and I are less than 2 weeks away from our next trip to Italy! I can't believe it has been over 6 years since we've been to Europe. We have been counting down the days while eagerly awaiting this trip. We've had this trip on the radar for about 2 years and something always came up where it just didn't work out for some reason or another and finally the time is right. We vacillated between a one-week river cruise on the Rhein River or a Rick Steves tour or just plan it ourselves like we always have. We even had a deposit on the cruise at one point, but backed out after much discussion and opted for our own planned trip. However, we did follow the famous Rick Steves itinerary. He has such good itinerary suggestions (check them out at www.ricksteves.com). We have visited his Edmonds travel store and attended his seminars and talks many times and have found them to be very helpful when planning and navigating our trips over the years.
So we leave early September and are taking a couple of weeks to try out the bottom of the "boot of Italy" this time (see map above). We are re-visiting a few of the same places we've been before (Rome and Amalfi Coast) because we will be in the vicinity, but we are excited to visit new locations. We are particularly excited to see Hadrian's Villa with the gardens and then the Eastern coast with beaches in Vieste. We are going to stay in a cute town of Alberobello with adorable "trulli" houses. There's nothing else out there like it.
Then we will do a day trip to Matera which is the last city in Italy to get electricity and plumbing to the houses (so I've heard), sometime in the 50's or early 60's possibly. It was a VERY poor town literally carved out of the rock. I'll post pictures on my Facebook as I get them and update on the history when I find out more. It sounds fascinating. So stay tuned there. We will also check out the town of Monopoli (James had to see that one).
Then we will head on over to the Amalfi Coast which has a bunch of towns perched on the hills overlooking some of the best views you can imagine. One of the more famous towns is Positano. Well, we're NOT staying there. We are staying in a gem of a town a few miles away and a little quieter called Praiano. A co-worker from about 2001 had family there and recommended it to me for our 2004 trip and it was a GREAT find and much cheaper than Positano. We are even going to stay in the same hotel as last time. After a few days in Praiano we will head to the larger town of Sorrento where we will take a 1/2 day to check out Pompeii/Herculaneum, which we missed last time (we opted to see the island of Capri instead). The shopping in Sorrento is fantastic, so I'll bite the bullet (I'm not a shopper; weird I know) and buy gifts from here most likely.
The last leg is back in Rome again for our final 2 days and then home. I am positive the trip will feel too short. Normally when we go to Europe we take at least 3 weeks. One time we took almost 6 weeks! Ahh, those were the days when neither of us had to worry about bosses and how many vacation days we had. Maybe some day again (retirement?).
So be sure to check out my Facebook for photos. I hope to post some as I can when wireless is available.