A Week in... The Amalfi Coast, Capri & Rome
Celebrities have long flocked to places like Rome, Capri and the Amalfi Coast for the scenery, the history, the culture and the warm welcomes that await them wherever they go. Explore the storied history and cultural treasures of the Vatican, as well as Rome's Imperial and Renaissance treasures... architectural landmarks combining with the natural beauty of the Isle of Capri's rugged coastline, and the seaside villages and cliffs found along the Amalfi Coast... Enjoy the star treatment yourself as you... gather eternal memories of Roman landmarks during a three-night stay, highlighted by an insider's, after-hours guided visit to the Vatican Museums... speed by jet boat to Capri where your chauffeured convertible car will show you the movie-set sights of this island of amore... are wowed with with the sights of Positano... travel to a clifftop villa and popular eatery in Ravello for a taste of life along the Amalfi Coast... meander through the storytelling ruins of Herculaneum...
Sprawled across seven legendary hills, romantic and beautiful Rome was one
of the great centers of the ancient world. Although its beginning is shrouded
in legend and its development is full of intrigue and struggle, Rome has always
been and remains the Eternal City.
Rome enjoyed its greatest splendor during the 1st and 2nd centuries when art
flourished, monumental works of architecture were erected, and the mighty Roman
legions swept outward, conquering all of Italy. These victorious armies then
swept across the Mediterranean and beyond to conquer most of the known world.
With Rome's establishment as capital of the western world, a new ascent to glory
Today's Rome, with its splendid churches, ancient monuments and palaces, spacious
parks, tree-lined boulevards, fountains, outdoor cafes and elegant shops, is
one of the world’s most attractive and exciting cities. Among the most famous
monuments is the Colosseum. As you walk its cool, dark passageways, imagine
the voices that once filled the arena as 50,000 spectators watched combats between
muscled gladiators and ferocious animals.
Stop to see the remains of the Forum, once the city's political and commercial
center. In later times, Rome's squares were enhanced with such imposing structures
as the Vittorio Emanuele Monument and grandiose fountains like the Fontana di
Trevi. Join the millions who stand in awe of Christendom’s most magnificent
church and admire the timeless masterpieces of Michelangelo's frescoes in the
Rome jars the senses and captures the soul. Grasp all you can during the short,
precious time you have available in the Eternal City. With so much to see and
do, a day or two will only allow you a sampling of the city's marvelous treasures.
Caution: As in many big cities and tourist destinations purse snatching
and pickpocketing is common. Valuable jewelry and excess cash are best left
in a safety deposit box in your hotel.
Shopping For most visitors shopping for beautiful Italian leather articles,
designer shoes, fashions for men and women, linens, knitwear, silk scarves and
ties is a favorite pastime. Except for tourist-oriented shops, the majority
of stores are closed on Sundays. Some of the department stores, such as Rinascente,
open in the late afternoon on Sundays.
Cuisine Rome's choice of restaurants is mindboggling as is the variety
of cuisine. Whether your meal is at a top-rated restaurant or a rustic trattoria,
you can be sure that you will enjoy your food, especially when accompanied by
wines from the hill towns surrounding Rome.
Other Sights Rome's attractions are endless, and depending on how much
time you have at your disposal a careful selection has to be made about what
to see. Be aware of horrendous traffic conditions and major construction work
all around the city in preparation of Jubilee 2000, the Holy Year. Some of the
sights not to be missed:
Piazza Venezia - This busy square is easily recognized by its imposing Vittorio
Emanuele II Monument. The white marble structure was inaugurated in 1911 as
a symbol of Italy’s unification.
The Forum - Once the civic heart of ancient Rome, today the remains include
a series of ruins, marble fragments, isolated columns and some worn arches.
Colosseum - No visit to Rome is complete without a stop at this awe-inspiring
theater, which is among the world’s most celebrated buildings. Here ancient
Rome flocked to see gladiatorial contests and numerous other spectacles.
Trevi Fountain - Take a stroll to Rome's famous fountain. A spectacular fantasy
of mythical sea creatures and cascades of splashing water, the fountain is one
of the city's foremost attractions. Legend has it that visitors must toss a
coin into the fountain to ensure their return to Rome.
St. Peter's Square - Part of Vatican City, this square created by Bernini
is considered one of the loveliest squares in the world. Twin Doric colonnades
topped with statues of various saints and martyrs flank either side of the square.
In the center stands an 84-foot obelisk, brought from Egypt in 37 A.D.
St. Peter's Basilica - At the head of the square stands Christendom's most
magnificent church, which was begun in 1452 on the site where St. Peter was
buried. Throughout the following 200 years, such Renaissance masters as Bramante,
Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini worked on its design and created an unparalleled
masterpiece. Of special note are Michelangelo's Pieta and the bronze canopy
over the high altar by Bernini. The immense dome was designed by Michelangelo.
Vatican Museum - To see this museum's immense collection would take days.
As you enter, there are special posters that plot a choice of four color-coded
itineraries. They are repeated throughout the museum and are easy to follow.
It is a good idea to pickup a leaflet at the main entrance and concentrate on
exhibits of major interest. Of course, the Sistine Chapel is a must. Most likely
you may have to wait in line to enter.
Known as the "Island of Love" since the days of the Roman Empire, Capri offers stunning views, dozens of international cafes, fine Mediterranean restaurants and sophisticated resort shopping. Enjoy a boat trip around the coast to witness the hypnotic beauty of the Blue Grotto.
Laid at the southern feet of the Mounts Lattari, which protect it from the
Northwinds, Positano enjoys - thanks to its favourable position - all the advantages
of a mild, dry climate. It is surrounded by green mounts, which form a sort
of crown: Mount Comune, Mt. S. Maria del Castello, Mt. S. Angelo a Tre Pizzi
(1444 metres high), Mt. Conocchia, Mt. Campo dei Galli and Mt. Paipo; towards
south and east the gaze sweeps over the sea up to Punta Licosa and Capri. Three
miles away from the coast a little arcipelago rises from the sea - "Li Galli"
or "Sirenuse" - composed by three islands: "Gallo Lungo", "Rotonda", "Castelluccio",
which was always supposed to be the abode of the bewitching Syrians.
The origins of Positano, like those of many other towns, are lost in the mists
of time, so that it is difficult to distinguish between history and legend.
As it often happen in the past, myths supplied for the lack of data: one of
these myths tells us that Positano was founded by Poseidon - the Latin Neptune,
the god of the sea - for the sake of the nymph Pasitea, whom he loved. It is
certain that Phoenicians and Greeks, travelling westwards, landed in Positano,
which at that time, was inhabited by Oschi and Piceni. The Romans built near
the 'great' beach a rich patrician villa, which has now been buried by gardens
and by the church devoted to Our Lady of the Assumption. With the fall of the
Roman Empire Positano became a part of the Republic of Amalfi, the first maritime
republic, and went through flourishing period, owing to the commerce with the
other countries of the Mediterranean area.
Unfortunately this period was followed by gloomy ones, particularly during
the Angevin and Aragonese domination, when our village was more than once exposed
to the offence of the Saracen pirates, first, and, then of the Turkmen. A legend
referring to that period says that the Saracen pirates, during an incursion,
sacked the main Church and brought away, among other things, the Byzantine picture
of Black Virgin, which was kept in the church and is now to be found in the
apse over the high altar; they had just left the shore, when a voice was heard,
that said: "Posa, posa". The pirates became aware of having committed a sacrilege,
repented came back ashore and restored all the ill-gotten goods. To defend themselves
from the very frequent raids of the pirates the inhabitants of Positano built
three guard-towers, which can still be seen today in the quarters called "Fornillo",
"La Trasita", "La Sponda" and some others in the inner part of the village.
In the same period the mountain villages of Montepertuso and Nocelle enlarged
to harbour the inhabitants of Positano and Laurito, who feared the pirates.
In 1700 there was a thriving period as it is shown by many villas in the late
Baroque style, built on the East coast. The Unification of Italy forced many
inhabitants of Positano, as it happened for so many other people of South Italy,
to migrate to America, where fortune smiled on some of them. After the First
World War - during which Positano also paid its great tribute of blood - this
village, which was already the refuge of some Italian artists, like Vincenzo
Caprile, harboured many Russian, German artists and men of letters, who chose
it for its peace and quiet. Among others we can remember: Semenov, Zagoruiko,
Essad Bey, Clavel, Escher, Massine, Kovaliska, Ghillausen, etc., who with their
works maid this flat of land known all over the world.
The tourism booming took place after the Second World War; but despite of an
intense expansion our village preserve its characteristic vertical structure
and its bright architecture with suggestive, panoramique corners. Thanks to
the innate sense of hospitality of its inhabitants Positano became one of the
most famous tourist places all over the world. Our village is also internationally
known for its clothing production: many little, but elegant boutiques, which
are almost everywhere on both sides of streets and lanes, can satisfy all the
requests of a cosmopolitan clientele. Its favourable position put it in the
centre of a land rich of history and natural beauties. During the summer a series
of patronal feasts - among which we can remember that on the 2nd of July in
Montepertuso and that on the 15th of August in Positano - and cultural events
- like the International Award for the Art of Dancing to the memory of the great
dancer-choreographer Leonide Massine - gladden the evenings, making the stay
in this charming place, also called the "Gem of the divine coast", more pleasant
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