We took the boat from Forio on Ischia to Naples saying goodbye to our captain Flavio and our boat, Liberty. The first mate, Pasquale, left abruptly yesterday after getting a phone call to join a cargo ship on a 5-6 month trip through the Panama Canal, Mexico and Los Angeles and back – the start of his career.
We took a car from the port for fantastic pizza at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michelle. There was a crowd of people waiting to get in for a 1-hour wait so we got takeout instead. The place was a pizza factory that made only 2 pizzas: Margherita and Marinara. We got 2 of each. While I waited in line to get our pizzas I watched one guy flatten the dough, another put the sauce and toppings on, another guy took the pizza to the wood-fired oven and another guy plated or boxed and cut the pizzas. Over and over.
We sat across the street at a cafe that seemed to exist solely as overflow seating for the pizzeria, despite 4 other much less busy pizzerias in the same 2 blocks.
Both were great but I preferred the marinara, surprising to me, because of the garlic.
The driver gave us a short tour of Naples before dropping us at the train station. The train left right on time at 5pm.
We left Amalfi this morning after breakfast and went to the island of Capri, boated all the way around it checking out the grottos and all the mega yachts, had lunch in Marina Piccola, jumped off the boat’s gangway, went swimming and floating in the Mediterranean and then docked in the town of Capri for dinner.
We had to catch a 10am train to Naples, so here we are waiting for our taxi at the “front door” of our hotel, Palazzo Barbarigo:
On the train to Naples… train travel in Europe is always so comfortable (and the trains are almost always half-full):
Simona, our yacht person and pictured on the left pouring a Sprite, arranged for a car to pick us up at the Naples train station to take us across town and drove us right up on the dock to our boat, a Fairline Squadron 60:
Minutes later, we were leaving Naples and heading across the Bay of Naples.
Mt Vesuvius, the still-active volcano that is best known for erupting and immortalizing Pompeii in 79AD:
A view that became very usual to me over the next 5 days, wakes can be mesmerizing to watch:
We dropped Simona off at a small town next to Sorrento, went past Sorrento and around the tip of the Amalfi Coast and stopped for dinner in Positano:
Aperol Spritzes are a big thing in Italy, which seem like a good idea on a hot day and are pretty, but are usually too bitter for me:
We started America’s birthday with a walk around Venice and riding the water buses on the Grand Canal.
We went to get cicchetti, small pieces of bread with various toppings that is apparently a Venice-specific food, for lunch at Cantine del Vino gia Schiavi, one of Rick Steves’ favorite places, and ate it outside standing by the canal with wine. This was Hudson’s favorite restaurant of the entire trip I think and he tried every weird thing we ordered, even discovering that he really likes salmon. We’ll see if he eats salmon at home from now on!
This is not an alley between two buildings, this is the width of a street in Venice:
Then we did some more walking/boating around Venice.
Peggy Guggenheim’s old house on the Grand Canal, where she lived the classic life of a wealthy dilletante, is now a modern art museum — the Guggenheim’s only satellite museum:
Then more walking around, another stop for cichetti at, as it turns out, a place down the street from the first place, and then dinner.
Venice had its every-other-year art celebration Biennale (its history) this year and a new Banksy painting appeared. I knew then that we’d be in Venice soon so finding the painting was on my list of things to do. I did today:
For our second place in Tuscany we stayed at La Conda Rossa, a working olive farm near Capalbio. There’s a pool so the kids spent all day every day there while we sat and read.
We ate dinner at the hotel’s restaurant every night and it was quite good. The kids started eating more adventurously.
On the second day we went for a drive around the area. First, we went to a small nearby town for lunch and then drove by the coast to a cute town called Orbetello, a picturesque marina town called Porto San Stefano and then stopped at a public beach for locals for an hour or so.
There was a mixup with our reservation, we thought we had 3 days but the hotel thought we had only 2 and someone else was checking into our room on our last day. Fortunately, someone left one of the cottages early so they could move us there and it had a nice yard.
We left Casole d’Elsa and drove to Volterra, about 30 minutes away on very windy roads. We had pizza lunch in the square and gelato after a walk around the town.
We happened upon a museum of torture which was kinda creepy.
Before driving to Volterra we had to stop at the restaurant where we ate dinner last night because I left my bag there, which contained my Rylo 360º camera. I forgot my Rylo camera at a restaurant in Germany and now in Italy. I must not be meant to have it. At the hotel they were starting a classic car show so we got to see some cool old cars.