Day 2: Amalfi Coast, Amalfi, Positano and Pompeii

Have you ever visited a place so beautiful it left you speechless? The turquoise waters; rocky cliffs; small, charming towns; lemon tree vistas; brilliant sun; and mama mia two-lane road left me wishing that we had scheduled more time in this amazing part of Italy. 

We scheduled a day-long tour to visit Amalfi, the Amalfi Coast, Positano and Pompeii. Our day started crazily enough as we missed our alarm and received a wake-up call when the tour guide arrived at the hotel! Ha — thankfully there were several other guests to pick up so he was able to come back afterwards and collect us. Oy vey.

I spent the rest of the day in jaw-dropping awe of our beautiful surroundings. We didn’t have much time to explore the town of Amalfi, but regardless, the town is beautiful. We mostly explored the town center, then stopped to buy a small bottle of limoncello and grab a quick bite to eat. While eating lunch we witnessed a wedding procession at the Cathedral of St. Andrew Amalfi in the town center. I wish I had taken a picture. The bride’s gown was beautiful and flowed down the steps in a billowous wave. 

Did you know that according to locals “real” or “official” limoncello only comes from Amalfi and the Amalfi Coast because of the type of lemon that is used and how the drink is processed? At least, according to our guide. It makes sense as lemons/lemon trees were everywhere! Not only in the town but grown along the rocky cliffs in terrace format. 

In Positano, lemon trees were trellised to form a protective roof/covering in one of the most popular walkways in town. I loved looking up to see lemons hanging above my head while their leaves provided much-needed shade.

We spent more time here, walking the streets of this pyramid-shaped vertical town. We loved exploring the back streets and catching a glimpse of people’s lives. Even with the extra allotted time, it was not nearly enough. 

Our final stop was Pompeii, destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. We were given two hours to explore the ruined city. Again, not nearly enough time, but I loved every minute. 

Did you know the ancient Romans had running water in Pompeii? Now granted, they used lead pipes so people went mad and died of lead poisoning, but if the lead, childhood disease, childbirth, or army didn’t kill you, you had a reasonably good chance of living into your 60’s. That is, until the volcano erupted, killing everyone who didn’t escape.

Another fun fact: ancient Romans in Pompeii were not short. In fact, by some estimates, the ancient Romans in Pompeii were, on average, taller than today’s average population in Naples (BBC News). It was also determined that the rich and the poor ate relatively well. 

In walking the streets, I tried to imagine what life was like in ancient times. The ancient Romans were different than us modern Americans, but in the end they were people, just like us. And we have plenty of similarities. I loved the “Beware of dog” mosaic at the front entrance of one home. Similarities indeed.