So silly us. “It can’t be that far, let’s walk to the Appian Way and catacombs.” Sure. 5 miles one way. Along the way, we walked by the Circus Maximus, imagining chariot races. Stopped to get a walking breakfast required more Italian than I know, but the shopkeeper was very gracious anyway. The road was beautiful on this early morning, even if we can’t understand why the Italians rush everywhere. Maybe because they are not on vacation! The tour of the catacombs was wonderful. 12 miles of underground crypts, with 4 levels dating back to the 1st century A. D. Before A.D. people were placed in “Cities of the dead.” Took the bus back to the city because five miles! Then a quick trip up to the garden of eden, or Villa Borghese. Yes, more sculptures! Our doggies were dragging, so after a peep at the Spanish Steps, and quick snaps of the Keats-Shelly House and Casa Byron, stopped to have gelato at Venchi. Delicious! Dragged ourselves back to Trastavere, and are now sprawled on the bed. A very good day.
From intricately carved busts of every day people from two thousand years ago to the mind numbing immensity of St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome is beyond description. Around every corner and in every niche there are wonders of the ages. Yet the people of Rome are everyday people. More friendly and happy than I have seen elsewhere in the world. There are however, lots of them. I have been overwhelmed in so many ways during my short time here. Everyone should visit Rome. You need to see and feel the march of humanity across time. Pictures do not do it justice, but below are a few. Some works, such as the Pieta, I could not bring myself to use the camera. Never have I been so moved by the works of humanity.
Today was all about Pompei, and a train adventure on the way back. First of all, Pompei is much bigger than I expected. I could have spent many days wandering the streets and discovering hidden wonders. The theater district was unexpected. The Grand Teatro held 5000 people, but right next to it was the much more intimate Odeion which was for singers and poets. The Frescoes were amazing with bright colors after 2000 years. The casts of people covered in ash caught at the moment of death were rather sad. If you are ever in Italy, it is a must. On the way Bach we experienced the not so regular Italian train system. It took us over two hours to go what should have been 20 minutes. We were packed body to body in a very hot train where you literally could not move. That is an adventure I do not wish to repeat any time soon. I think we will take the ferry back to Naples.
Just a little more about Pompeii. It’s enormous. Really. Streets and thoroughfares galore. Busts of Jupiter in unexpected places. Saw more roman profiles than ever before but the people couldn’t have been nicer. Well except for the one Whiney female but we will excuse her as she was only three and Fa Molto caldo.
10/1. Walked to Sorrento today from Saint Angello. The town dresses up in black and goes “strolling” daily. Why black? I have no idea. We found this little (but oh so long) shopping ally, and wandered down it until I found a shop that sold handmade terra-cotta statues. I bought a little “good luck” monk. We sat in the piazza for lunch, then rooted out David’s Gelato, for our first, but I’m sure not last, taste of the cold creamy heaven. We then walked down endless stairs to the port and hopped a boat to the isle of Capri. The “funicular” tram was packed, so I talked Ted into following the narrow and steep stairs where the sign said “Centro Capri”. Yeah, Ok, it was me who pooped out about 1/2 way up, but it was a great view all the same. We came back to Sorrento, tired but happy. Had dinner tonight in Saint Angello at the very local “two guys” restaurant.
9/30 Vorrei andaro a Saint Agnello. My first long sentence in Italian, spoken to the ticket master in the basement of the Naples train station. And he actually understood me! We took the high speed train to Naples this morning, then switched to the circumvesuviana train to travel to the little town of Saint Agnello, just outside Sorrento. Our VRBO is a cute little courtyard apartment called the Veranda. Explored the town a little, stopped and had a drink then on to a delicious dinner at Ciao Toto. We were practically the only ones there (gotta love fall). Wandered into a bakery and then back to the Veranda. Oh, and I forgot, Lemoncello!!
9/29 Public transportation in the fair isle is not great, but we did manage it enough to get to Trinity Library to see the Book of Kells and the beautiful Long Hall. The smell of old books was fabulously musty. And imagine- my feet hit Ireland before either of the kids, which cannot be said for Italy. A very long day, but worth it. We hit Rome around 10, navigating the train station and everything, before falling blissfully into a bed for the first time in over 24 hours! Tomorrow, down to Sorrento.