Five nights: Tuesday, May 1 to Sunday, May 6
After a busy four nights in Florence, we headed south to the Bay of Naples for a five-night stay in the small town of Massa Lubrense. Besides seeing Pompeii and the island of Capri during out visit, we were looking forward to spending a little down-time in a scenic, seaside locale. We were not disappointed!
As it was a little off the beaten path, getting to the apartment was more involved than usual. We took the train from Florence to Naples, then hopped the regional Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento and planned to catch a bus from Sorrento to Massa Lubrense where our host Tiziana and her husband Ciro were to meet us to take us to the apartment. However, when the bus was running late, they drove up to Sorrento and took us directly to the apartment – just a sample of the great hospitality they offered us during our stay.
Speaking of the apartment, it was on the lower level of an amazingly scenic Italian villa next to Marina della Lobra, overlooking the Bay of Naples. Surrounded by lemon orchards, with multiple patios and direct access to the beach below, it was the perfect place to relax a bit.
The first couple of days, we took it easy: lounging on the patio, reading books and enjoying the view. We also hiked about a kilometer uphill to check out the center of Massa Lubrense, which itself was a small, quaint town.
We saved the more active activities for our last couple of days. On Friday, we hiked up to Massa Lubrense Centro, caught the bus to Sorrento and took a half-hour Circumvesuviana brian ride to see the ruins of Pompeii. This ended up being one of the most impressive sights on our trip to date (despite my winding up with a bit of sunburn). While some of the earlier Roman ruins we had seen were impressive (Pont du Gard, Arles, etc.) Pompeii was an extensive and amazingly complete site.
On Saturday, we walked next door to the marina and hopped a boat for a tour of the island of Capri, which was just about five miles off the Sorrento Peninsula from us. The weather was finally being less than perfect, but we had some amazing views of the island despite the chill. We circled around to Marina Piccola, hopped off and spent the day on Capri. The towns of Capri and Anacapri were chocked full of shops (many quite expensive) and it was hard to find a good view other than the death-defying bus ride up the hill to Anacapri! After a tasty lunch of Neapolitan pizza, we caught the boat for more sightseeing along the island’s coast before heading back to the marina at Massa Lubrense. Overall, it was quite scenic and I can see why Capri has been a vacation spot for over 2000 years.