PLACES TO VISIT

A week in Campania, Italy

napoli, babyccino, travel,

Our school had scheduled an extra week of vacation in the month of June this year, which was such a welcomed treat! I loved that extra week — still mid-season and therefore not too busy and less expensive to travel, and summery enough to fly to the south of Europe for a sunny destination.

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I had once been to Naples and Pompeii, in my early twenties, and taking my family here had always been on my wish-list. Also — Courtney would be arriving in Positano (and staying a whole month!!) as part of their world trip. So I decided to plan a last-minute trip to the region of Campania, and schedule in a few days in Positano as well.

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Discovering the busy streets of Naples, climbing the Vesuvius and seeing the crater, admiring the ancient ruins of Pompei and driving over the beautiful Lattari Mountains (the peninsula ridge) was amazing. And then seeing the first glimpse of the Amalfi coast from the picturesque town of Ravello, with all the cultivated fields full of lemon trees and the pretty town of Amalfi far below… It was just stunning. Driving the winding roads along the coast with spectacular towns and views, all the way to Sorrento with its gorgeous port, from where we took the ferry to Capri — another highlight of the trip. And, of course, the last few days in Positano, where we spent long and lazy days on the beach with our dear friends.

Here’s a recap with some photos of our trip. Apologies for the looooong post — I tried to include as much information as I could — I know how helpful that can be when you’re planning a trip. (If you know this region and have additional advice, it would be great if you could leave it in the comments for other travellers — plus, we surely will be back in the region as well!)

First stop was Napels. We arrived at the airport early on a Friday evening and it took an easy 20-minutes taxi ride to the old town of Naples, where we had booked an apartment. After dropping off our luggage, we went out looking for pizza, which didn’t take long — this is Naples, pizza town! Around the corner we stumbled upon Pizzeria dal Presidente, and the pizzas were more than delicious. Like the best ones we ever had! It was the perfect start of our vacation.

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On Saturday, we discovered Naples. We walked through the densely populated, narrow streets of the historic centre, filled with tiny shops and so frantically full of activity. The children loved Via San Gregorio Armeno where the vendors specialise in the craft of making (nativity) miniatures. We slowly made our way over to Capella Sansevero to look at the (stunning) veiled statue of Christ, such a beautiful and moving sculptural work. (The Anatomical Machines, skeletons of a man and of a woman in with the artery and vein systems almost perfectly intact, also made quite an impression on the children (and us) — so weird and crazily fascinating!)

napoli, odin, chocolate, travel, babyccino pizza fritta, napoli, pizza, travel with kids, babyccino

Of course we had gelato on the way (I have seen more Odin shops around Napoli — the chocolate wrappers looks so beautiful, and I can detest the chocolate ice cream is divine). And then we stopped for a pizza fritta, a delicious deep fried pizza and a Naples specialty.

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We walked through the Galleria Umberto, a glass covered shopping gallery, peeked into the Teatro di San Carlo opposite, the oldest and one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world, had an espresso and a Sfogliatella (Naples’ signature sweet pastry) in the famous Caffè Gambrinus, then walked from the mediaval castle Maschio Angioino towards the Castel dell’Ovo, located on a tiny peninsula on the coast.

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Now our feet were seriously tired, so we took a taxi to get to the top of the Vomero hill for a view over Naples (you can clearly see that the straight road of Spaccanapoli literally splits Naples in two, and of course, the Vesuvius volcano in the back). We took the funicular, an inclined railway, down (highlight for the kids! If I had known, we would have taken it up as well!) and walked back to the Historic Town for another pizza from Dal Presidente, after which we crashed in our beds — tired but inspired and full of a fondness of Naples. What a crazy, beautiful town — so full of surprises!

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The next morning, Tamar picked up our rental car and we drove to the Vesuvius, which took us around 45 minutes. We drove up to the parking lot, where we parked our car (for a fee), and took a taxi bus to the ticket office (for another fee — but children go for free!).   From here it’s a 30-minute, scenic walk to the top with panoramic views over Naples far below. It was the first time for all of us to see a crater, which was really special. It’s bizarre to see a mountain with a cavity at the top — and to realise that there’s a channel to the inside of the earth is weird! After about 15 minutes, we walked down and took the taxi back to our parking spot. Then, we slowly drove to Pompeii (stopping for lunch along the way).

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I think we arrived at the Pompeii site around 4PM, which was good because it was less warm and less busy (especially after 6 it was really empty and quite amazing to roam those old streets all by ourselves). Three hours (which includes an ice-cream stop) was long enough for an impression for the children — and gave Tamar and me also some time to soak it all in.

(Note: Hercoleum is another site near the Vesuvius and it came highly recommended by multiple people, but we only had time for one visit and Sara and Pim chose Pompeii — probably because it is such a big name and they had heard about it in school. But Hercoleum apparently is stunning, and I definitely want to come back for that.)

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We stayed in a lovely agritourismo in Pompeii with a swimming pool, a playground, a petting zoo and a beautiful kitchen garden. A good break for all of us after a busy day of discovering natural and cultural phenomenons! Tamar and I had a relaxed dinner in the restaurant while the children were running around and enjoying themselves.

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We stayed until midday the next day, and then we checked out and drove over the peninsula ridge (through the small mountainous area called the Monti Lattari); a very green and lush and beautiful drive, which took no longer than an hour. When we arrived to the famous village of Ravello, we were stunned by the views over the coast — oh my gosh, soooo pretty! We had a simple lunch in the bar above this restaurant — with an extraordinary view. We didn’t stay for a visit of the gardens of the Villa Cimbrone — another place we have to come back for (and preferable for a concerto), because I’ver heard it is stunning and it sounds like a place children would love.

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Our next address was located further along the Amalfi coast, high above the coast in the village of Agerola. The food here was home cooked and delicious and the hosts super welcoming (but the hotel itself doesn’t have a view).

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The Path of the Gods, a 3 hour trek connecting Agerola with the village of Nocelle is one of Italy’s most stunning walks — when the children are bigger I want to come back for this. For now, we only walked around Agerola, and indeed, the views from this town are stunning.

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The next morning we got up early because Tamar had a plane to catch! He drove us along the rest of the Amalfi coast to the romantic port of Sorrento, where he dropped us off and continued his way to the airport. I took the ferry to Capri from there with the kids, a wild ride in a sea full of waves! We dropped of our bagage in the port — to be transported to our hotel high up in the village. (This is a custom service for all tourists, you pay a fee but it is worth it.)

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We enjoyed a delicious seafood lunch in one of the restaurants overlooking the port, went to the beach, and then took the funicular up to the village and walked to our hotel.

Capri Villa Carolina

Villa Carolina was a dream! It was a bit of a walk to get there (about 20 minutes from the village) — but it’s a relaxed and pretty walk and the destination is SO worth it. It truly is paradise here — what a house! We relaxed at the pool, the children played in the gardens (there are many toys around), sat in the hot tub, ate ripe apricots straight from the tree…

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We strolled back to the village for dinner and Capri really captured my heart. It is such a beautiful island, the nature and the culture of it, but it is also so very sophisticated and truly chic, in a very wonderful way. This place is pure romance.

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We had planned to visit the Grotta Azura (Blue Cave) early the next morning, which the children were so exited to see, but a cab driver told us that due to the wind and a rough sea, it was closed. So instead we took an open-top taxi to Anacapri, which was a wonderful experience by itself! Anacapri is the second little town of Capri, and from here the open chairlift departs to the top of the Monte Solaro mountain, from which the views are absolutely breath taking. (Note for chair lift: I had Casper on my lap and Sara had Ava on her lap. It worked, but I would lie if I would tell you I felt relaxed!)

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When the children are bigger (meaning — can all swim), I would love to come back to Capri by boat and discover all of those caves and go to the Marina Picola beach, which was recommended to me, and swim in that blue, blue, blue water.

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We had a lovely lunch at the square of Anicapri, where the children worked in their travel journals and were playing while Casper took a nap on my lap. We took the bus back to the port and spent the rest of the day on the beach, until it was time to catch the afternoon ferry to Positano.

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In Positano I had booked an apartment full of character! With a giant terrace, loads of beds and a full kitchen, it was perfect and it was extra lovely since my friend (and Babyccino team member) Vicky was also there with her family. We cooked dinner together and ate on our terrace, overlooking the town of Positano on the opposite hill.

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The next days were spent on the beach, with Vicky, and Courtney’s family when they arrived, and our new friends Amber and David and their adorable children. I won’t get into too much detail about Positano because Courtney promised me an in-depth post about the area — she has been coming here for over ten years now and knows about all the secrets. We loved sharing this special destination with them for a few days (and our children were so happy to be reunited of a little while!).

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When it was time to catch our flight back to Amsterdam, we felt like we had been away for much longer than just a week. We had seen and experienced so much and were FULL of impressions of beautiful things. We were rested and tanned, and had spent lovely and lazy days with friends. What a joy!

If you ever get the chance to visit this area, I would definitely recommend it. First exploring Naples and then seeing the Vesuvius and Pompeii and consequently crossing the peninsula and arriving to the Amalfi Coast was a lovely way to first encounter this area and to understand the culture and geographical location of it. I loved how the Vesuvius was almost always in sight — first from Napels, then from Pompeii, and it came back in view in Capri and then again on our way back to the airport.

When we come back we will visit Herculaneum, enjoy a concert in the gardens in Ravello, I want to walk the Path of Gods, and sail around Capri and discover its caves and beaches. And yes — do all the rest again — too :).

xxx Esther


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Comments (15)

Louise
July 26, 2016

What a lovely re-cap of your holiday! Thank you for sharing all this information.


pepi
July 26, 2016

Naples should be listed for a future visit. Great photos Esther, xxx


Katrina
July 26, 2016

Lovely lovely photos. This place was where I went on first ever holiday with my husband…would love to return with kids!


Fatiha Younsi
July 26, 2016

What a wonderful trip!!!! I just send your post to my husband telling him that we ABSOLUTELY need to go there next summer with the kids.Thank you for sharing your tips and thoughts and can’t wait for Courtney’s post on Posinato!!!!!


Sara
July 26, 2016

Lovely post and recommendations – thank you! Can you please share more details on your Positano vacation rental? It seems the link is to Booking.com?


Esther in Amsterdam
July 27, 2016

Hi Sara, the apartment is called Marocco Suites. Hope that helps!! Xx


SHOW ALL COMMENTS
July 26, 2016

[…] If you are in desperate need of a holiday… then look no further than Babyccino’s and a week in Campagnia!!! […]


Charlotte
July 26, 2016

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful vacation! My boyfriend and I will be heading to Naples this summer for a week, and we’re definitely planning on visiting Pompei, Capri and hopefully the Amalfi Coast. So many people I know have been to this area of Italy this year, and I simply cannot wait to explore it. Your post made me look even more forward to my upcoming summer vacation!


Esther in Amsterdam
July 28, 2016

Yay! Such a romantic trip to look forward to! x


Alex from Bitsy
July 26, 2016

These are amazing photos + the info so much appreciated! Especially as we try to decide where in Italy to visit next summer…TY Esther!


Silvia
July 26, 2016

It’s Campania not campagnia


Esther in Amsterdam
July 27, 2016

Whoops! Thanks for catching that! Xx


jane
July 28, 2016

Wonderful pictures! Sounds like a dream come true! I love the simplicity of your sandals. Do you mind telling me where they are from?


Esther in Amsterdam
July 28, 2016

Hi Jane, thank you! I got my sandals from La Botte Gardiane years ago, and they’re still going strong! 🙂 http://www.labottegardiane.com/en/


Lara in Paris
July 29, 2016

What a wonderful holiday you had!! I miss Italy so much and we are already dreaming of visiting the Amalfi Coast with Oscar soon! xx


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