Sorrento, Italy

We arrive in Naples, the 3rd largest city in Italy after Rome and Milan.  Like many seaside ports, Naples built fortresses to defend herself, but not much is left as this was one of the most bombed Italian cities during WWII.  Naples is a very industrial town, a stopping off port to the primary destinations of Pompeii, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast.  Hmm…which destination should we head to?

After a short walk to see a few sites within walking distance of the boat harbor, we decide to go to one of our favorite cities…Sorrento!  Coming into the port puts you at sea level where most of Sorrento is up on the cliff’s edge.  You can spend the first part of your day trying to hike to the top, or for a couple of Euros,there is a lift to take you up above.

Piazza Tasso is the main and central square, named after the famed Italian poet Torquato Tasso.  This center of town is like a spoke of a wheel, with many roads coming in, cars circling round, and then spinning off to side streets.  Restaurants on all sides make it a perfect place to dine and people watch.  Down the side streets you’ll find many gelato shops and shopping streets to satisfy all those looking for the perfect Italian souvenirs.

Wandering down the side streets is full of surprises.  There are stores for both the locals and visitors.  We found a charming place to have lunch, complete with Italian serenading and the best spaghetti and roasted clams I have ever had.  How do they make such a simple dish taste so delicious?  I certainly will be trying to see if I can make this dish once I get home.

Lots of photos of Sorrento…it’s just sooo picturesque, it’s difficult to stop the shutter of my camera!

Sorrento doesn’t have much of beach but that hasn’t stopped them from enjoying the crystal blue waters on a sunny day.  Man made piers jut out into the water.  Nearby eateries and the picturesque vista make this place worth a visit.  Just choose a sun chair, an umbrella, and you’re set for an afternoon of relaxation, swimming, and sun.

This is the last stop on our Adriatic Sea journey with Celebrity Cruises.  I hope you’ll join me on another adventure to a new destination on this beautiful and wonderous place we live called planet earth.  I can’t wait to discover what’s next!

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Catania, Sicily, Italy

Catania is the second largest city in Sicily, and is known for it’s seismic history!  Yikes!!  Our tour guide said that in her lifetime, she has seen the city rebuilt five times.  All of the citizens live beneath the active eruptions of Mt. Etna volcano, never knowing if the next eruption is going to take their house.  It is one of the most active volcanos in the world and is in a constant state of activity.  It has been designated as a decade volcano by the United Nations, and is also a UNESCO world heritage site.   Of late, it has erupted in 2001, ’03, ’05, & ’08, with summit eruptions in 2006, ’08, and 2012.  Interesting to see, but I sure wouldn’t want to live here!

About forty-five minutes away is Taormina, a charming little village perched high overlooking the sea.  The narrow pathway is for pedestrians only and is flanked on both sides my old churches, lively bars, restaurants, and shops.

Handpainted pottery as been a part of the Italian landscape for hundred of years with the ceramists producing extraordinary pieces for tableware, decorations, and for kitchen and bathroom back splashes.  Oh, if only my suitcase were a little bigger.

We discovered a little traditional Sicilian staple, arancinas, the Italian word for “little oranges.”  It’s a little rice ball covered with bread crumbs and stuffed with meat, and often served with ragu.  We grabbed one of those at a sidewalk cafe, along with a gelato later, and meandered through the sidewalks soaking up the atmosphere.  There was no more charming way to pass the afternoon in this quaint and picturesque city.

 

Ravenna, Italy

Ravenna is a city situated right on the Adriatic coast (Italy’s east coast), and has ties back to at least 90 BC.   Amazingly, there are five of the eight UNESCO World heritage sites in Ravenna within walking distance of the harbor.

Although rather simple on it’s exterior, some of the most amazing Byzantine mosaics in all of the western world are held within these walls.  The church is of extreme importance in Byzantine art, as it is the only major church from the period of the Emperor Justinian I to survive virtually intact to the present day. It is amazing to see how someone can make a design come alive with pieces of stone and glass less than a centimeter square. Construction of this beautiful church took place in 526.

The splendor is in it’s Bible story telling combined with the beauty and art of the brilliant and colorful mosaics.  Seeing these amazing works of art is certainly an unforgettable experience.