Ischia and Naples
We had already decided to leave Sorrento after three nights as we were not very happy with our accomodation and we decided to take a ferry to another nearby island, Ischia. From the Port of Ischia, we took a bus to the other side of the island, to the small port of Sant' Angelo.
The Port of Sant' Angelo
Our hotel was at the top of a steep hill but fortunately the hotel provided golf carts for us and our luggage so we saved a long walk, at least for the first time.
Our room at The Hotel Loreley had wonderful views of the Mediterranean and we could see Capri and Sorrento in the distance.
The views from our hotel bedroom windows, including a view of the hotel pool
Despite the wonderful views, the bathroom was by far the smallest we have seen on this trip so far !
We spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool and checking e-mails and then ate a rather disappointing dinner in the hotel, but we couldn't face the walk down and then back up the hill if we had gone in search of another restaurant.
Next day, we headed down to the port and took a walk along the beach. It was a long and tiring walk so after some liquid refreshment, we took the water taxi back to the port.
A walk on the beach followed by a ride on the water taxi back to the port
In the afternoon, we lazed around the hotel and worked on our blog, which had fallen behind during our stay in Sorrento. That evening we walked back to the port for dinner, admiring the super yachts moored in the bay. The "Ocean Pearl" moored as we walked down and we admired it's futuristic lines. For between $140,000 and $160,000 per week (for up to twelve people, so not that bad) you can charter this boat. (We know because we looked it up on the internet.)
The "Ocean Pearl" - you can charter it for about $20,000 per day.
Walking down to the port for dinner (it was a windy evening) and the port by night when we walked back later that evening
We had a very stormy night with thunder, lightning and the all special effects, but by the morning the storm had blown itself out and we were ready for our next and last stop in Italy, Naples.
Naples and Herculaneum
We took a bus and a ferry to Naples and arrived in Naples around lunchtime.
Our hotel, the Belle Arti, was hidden behind a large wooden gate and was a converted private house, with large rooms and a spectacular vaulted ceiling.
Our room at the Belle Arti Hotel with it's spectacular vaulted ceiling
We went exploring and Naples is everything you would expect in a big city. Busy, noisy, dirty (VERY dirty), too much traffic, too much of everything. Not perhaps our favourite city but one wanted to see and there were a couple of places we wanted to visit in and around Naples.
Naples with Vesuvius looming ominously in the distance
The next day, our first stop was the National Archeological Museum, which was a short walk from our hotel. We wanted to see all the objects which had been removed from Pompeii and Herculaneum in the 18th century and more recently. We were disappointed to find that some sections were closed, including the "adults only" section which contains erotic drawings and mosaics. Still, there were lots of treasures and we spent about three hours browsing the various departments.
The interior of the Naples Archeological Museum and one of the (much reproduced) frescoes from Pompeii
More frescoes removed from Pompeii
Herculaneum was also a source for various artifacts, including some spectacular statues, a very famous vase and some unmistakeable medical instruments.
Statues taken from Herculaneum
Decorated vase and medical instruments - all over 2000 years old
After several hours of browsing, we had an easy afternoon and went out for dinner at a local restaurant which we actually used again the next day.
Dinner in Naples
The next day, our last in Naples, was devoted to the OTHER great ruined Roman town, Herulaneum. Herculanuem was destroyed by the same eruption which destroyed Pompeii, but was covered not by ash, like Pompeii, but by lava and to a much greater depth, so it has proven much harder to restore the city and only a small part has been uncovered so far.
Herculaneum from above. The picture is taken from the top of the lava flow which destroyed the city
What makes Herculaneum different from Pompeii is that many of the upper floors in Herculaneum survived the eruption and some cases, wood and other organic materials were preserved, so a much more complete picture of Roman life can be seen.
A house interior with the stairs still in place and the original wooden shelves for amphora
The womens' baths in Herculaneum (the shelves are for clothing, etc)
and an unmistakeable detail from the mosaic floor
The boat houses, where many people perished, presumably waiting for rescue, and one of the few mosaics not removed in antiquity.
Herculanuem was much smaller than Pompeii, so we could see so most of it in about three hours and it was also a lot less crowded than Pompeii. Much less of the town has been restored than Pompeii and much of the old town is buried beneath the modern town of Erculaneum, so may never be recovered. Still, it made an interesting contrast with the vastness of Pompeii and like Pompeii, had the distinct air of a ghost town.
After a long morning in Herculaneum, we spent the afternoon relaxing and the next day left Naples for our next stop, Holland.