Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Beach and Bones

I got home from Italy over the bank holiday weekend, and have finally had enough time to tackle my SD card and sort through all of the photos! It was a six day break in all and I visited both Naples and Rome. I've wanted to visit Italy for a long, long time; my dad's side of the family are Italian, and unfortunately as he died when I was young it's not anything I've had much contact with throughout my life so have always wanted to visit Italy to get a feel for the culture. It's also obviously a country rich with history, and I've always been a nerd for ancient history in particular and have previously visited ancient sites in Greece so Italy was next on the list!

I'm going to split my trip up across different posts as I visited quite a lot of places such as Pompeii and the Colosseum which I'd like to give more than just a simple overview of as I have a lot of feelings. But I also had some days that took a bit of a slower pace and were more general, so I thought I'd start with that to give an overview of how my week shaped up!



I arrived at Rome first thing in the morning (details of why will be made apparent in another post, I'm not trying to be mysterious I just don't want to take a tangent!) and traveled to Naples by train in the evening. It took 3 hours and cost only €12 and really puts British rail to shame! I didn't get to do much in Naples other than check into my hotel as it was so late when I arrived and I was so tired from the day in Rome.

Monday was spent in Pompeii, so by the third day of my trip I was absolutely wiped out and longed for a lazy day at the beach, especially as the temperatures were at 28°. I had originally intended to travel to the Amalfi coast which is a beautiful strip of beaches in Southern Italy, but it was further than I ended up wanting to travel in the end. I decided to just head to Sorrento which is an hour away from Naples by the Circumvesuviana train, which is kind of like the London DLR and gives some stunning views of the coast and Mount Vesuvius.







I hadn't researched Sorrento before going as it wasn't in my original plan and was initially sceptical as it's so heavily populated by tourists, but it was beautiful. Beaches are kind of scarce in Sorrento as it's mostly cliffs, and my guidebook infromed that most of the beaches that do exist are owned by hotels and are private, but I managed to find a free one fairly easily and as it isn't peak travel time yet it wasn't crowded and I was mostly sunbathing amongst locals.

The sand is grey as it's mostly volcanic ash. The water was a beautiful bright turquoise, and I could see my feet no matter how deep I swam out (which I admit wasn't that far, as I have pretty severe thalassophobia so can't not have my feet touch the bottom!)





By Wednesday I was traveling back to Rome to actually stay there, and after checking into my hotel spent the remainder of the afternoon getting my bearings. I took the Metro to Barberini as I'd seen Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini in my guidebook and was intrigued. It only took 45 minutes to wander round, so I definitely recommend it as a quick stop! Photos aren't allowed inside as it's a church so all of these photos are from Google, but it's a fascinating place (see more here).

You enter into a newly built museum giving the history of the church and the Capuchins, who were a movement of Friars, which is interesting but not the morbid focus of the visit. I've always been fascinated by the macabre, and the crypts in the final rooms didn't disappoint. Built in 1631, Cardinal Antonio Barberini ordered for thousands of bodies of Capuchin friars to be exhumed, and their bones and mummified remains decorate five out of six rooms of the crypts. It was created as a space for the vistor to reflect on their own mortality, with a plaque reading "What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be."



9 comments:

  1. Hi Sydney,my mum was born in Naples, so I'm interested in reading more posts on your trip to Italy. The crypts and the plaque are fascinating, they've definitely got me thinking. And who knew the sand would be grey! Xxx

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    1. Glad you're enjoying. The crypts really are fascinating, it's amazing how many peoples bodies are there.

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  2. I've travelled through India and Spain by train, and it's fair to say trains everywhere seem to put the British ones to shame! Sorrento looks absolutely lovely. (And all that limoncello... mmm!)

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    1. I've only taken the train in France before so I wasn't sure if it was just the French system that was particularly good, but it was exactly the same as Italy. I was cursing the hand luggage liquid allowance so much as I couldn't bring any limoncello home!

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  3. How funny, a Canadian blogger I follow recently visited almost the same places as you did. I'm loving seeing your take on the trip and your photos - between the pair of you I'm getting a real insight on this part of Italy.
    The crypt looks utterly fascinating, the clock tower looks so typically Italianate and the array in the shop wonderfully inviting. I love the pom pom trim on your beach towel, too. What I wouldn't give for a dip in that sea!
    I don't think there's a country in the world (even so-called third world ones!) I've visited that hasn't put our trains to shame. x

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    1. I'm glad you're enjoying it and it's not too repetitive! That's always the thing with travelling, everyone wants to visit the main attractions on a first visit. I loved how typically Italian Sorrento looked, it really was everything you'd imagine a little Mediterranean seaside town to look.

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  4. The crypt looks beautiful! I would love to see it in person one day.

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    1. I hope you get to one day! There's a few places like it dotted around Europe and I've always wanted to visit, so it was great to finally get to see one for myself.

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  5. Wow Italy is beautiful! And the crypt must have been incredible to witness. There is nothing even close to that in the USA. That's what I love about Europe, so much history!

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