I always love going to Europe – especially Italy. When I learned that I was going to be speaking at our customer event in Rome, I jumped at the chance to go and bring Deb along. After a few days working in Rome, we vacationed along the Amalfi coast in Sorrento.
“Rob Tour” of Rome
On Sunday, we were asked to recreate our 2014 waking tour of Rome for some friends. We were excited to share our experience witnessing the city sites through our friends’ eyes for the first time. That said, this is a 7+ mile journey not for the faint of heart. The bus dropped us off downtown Rome, on the Tiber river looking up at the iconic St. Peters Basilica.
We worked our way up to the Piazza Navona where we caught shots of the obelisk and fountain art then from there walked over to the Pantheon. From there, we found Trevi Fountain.
Then we made our way to one of my favorite places in the city, the Altar of the Fatherland where we took the €10 per person elevator ride to the rooftop. From there we enjoyed a panoramic scene that every human on earth should see – the city of Rome. We were able to look down at the ruins of ancient Rome and over into the timeless Vatican City. One cannot describe in words the experience you have from this venue. You will have to see the pictures for yourself.
One of the most famous scenes in Rome: Looking up at the iconic St. Peters Basilica from the Tiber river in Rome.
The Fountain of Neptune is a fountain located at the north end of the Piazza Navona, a short walk from the Tiber River.
Found in the center of Piazza Navona, Fountain of the Four Rivers was designed in 1651 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for Pope Innocent X.
Located at the southern end of the Piazza Navona, Fontana del Moro (Moor Fountain) represents a Moor, or African, standing in a conch shell, wrestling with a dolphin, surrounded by four Tritons.
It was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome.
Pantheon is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings, in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century.
Trevi is one of the most famous fountains in the world. An estimated 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day.
A monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy found in the virtual center of the city.
Looking past the monument to ancient Rom from the Piazza Venezia.
Looking over to Vatican City from high atop the Altar of the Fatherland.
Looking down into Ancient Roman ruins from atop the altar.
From the top of the Altar of the Fatherland, we walked to Romes’ ancient ruins and the Colosseum then walked back to the Pantheon and stumbled into St Maria Sopra Minerva Basilica. By the time we were done, our Fitbit told us we had walked over 15,000 steps.
Girls Vatican City Tour
On Monday, while we worked, the girls took a “skip the line” tour of Vatican City. Deb captured some really nice shots with her iPhone.
Amalfi Coast Tour
After busy work in Rome, it was vacation time and off to Sorrento. Our friends brilliantly arranged a driver to Sorrento. Our driver, Francesco, not only made the three-hour ride a pleasure, he was a wealth of information and entertainment.
Along the way, we saw Mt Vesuvius. Yes, that killer mountain that wiped out Pompeii. It was a surprise to see how many modern citizens have struck up residence on the mountain’s base. The final 10-15 miles into Sorrento was indescribable. I wish I would have stopped every 500 feet to take pictures at the incredible views back into Naples and overlooking Mt Vesuvius.
Our post for the week was the Hilton Sorrento Palace, high on the hills above Sorrento. From our base, we explored the ancient, rocky coast. On Thursday, our friends once again struck gold hiring a drive to guide us along the famous sea villages. Check out my video.
Check out more of the shots I took in Sorrento, Ravello, Amalfi, and Positano. Please enjoy the rich features of the gallery, which includes full-screen mode.
The Hilton Sorrento is located high on the hill above the city center. We find out later that's quite a long walk.
The Executive Honors Floor was on the rooftop with a breathtaking view of Vesuvius and the Gulf of Naples.
Thursday morning, we had perfect weather for our tour. The view of the bay was gorgeous.
Down the steep zig-zag walkway, Deb and I made our way to Sorrento Harbor. From their looks, this old walkway had been here for centuries.
This gives you an idea of how the cliffs pop out of the ocean directly up nearly 300 foot high.
Thursday was our day to visit Amalfi Coast. This was our first official picture stop looking back north.
You can begin to see how locals build quite literally on the face of cliffs overlooking the sea.
Making our way up the Amalfi Coast, our guide waited to visit Positano until our way back when the crowds were smaller.
Incredible food is available at every stop along the coast - evident of this fruit stand.
Making our way south, the view looking back north continued to get more and more amazing.
Make sure you watch my video where you see professionals and amateurs alike jumping off this 100' high bridge into the water below.
Kinda cheesie but the Emerald Grotto is quite unique. Discovered in 1932, this marine cave is known for the turquoise water that fills the cavern with an emerald-green light.
Looking north, you can begin to see Amalfi in the distance. Note the shear cliffs and emerald green waters. Imagine swimming here in the summer.
You cannot imagine how uneasy it is to look over this terrace. As you stand this oval shaped terrace, you feel like you are floating perilously 1,000 feet above the sea.
[Saturday] Making our second visit to Positano, the weather was more active making the colors more interesting.
[Saturday] With the cloud cover and sun breaking through, the city and sea colors were fascinating.
[Thursday] Positano from sea level. Our first visit to Positano, the seas were quite calm and the bay was busy with boats of all kinds.
We were fascinated by the ancient guard towers north and south of the Positano bay. The guard towers were built as look-out points to warn against Muslim invaders. When pirates were spotted at sea, the guards would light a fire on the top of the tower to alert the villagers. The people's only defense was to run to the hills.
Driving in Sorrento – Foreigner’s Observation
From a foreigner’s point of view, driving through the narrow, winding roads in and out of Sorrento is like a symphonic collective stream of consciousness. Racing motor bikes dance through the busy traffic like a hot knife through butter and only slow when the road narrows too much to squeeze between cars going both directions. Intersections never actually stop traffic in any direction as drivers slow down just long enough to size each other up before continuing their orchestrated movement. Pedestrians walk across the street amidst the coordinated chaos casually as traffic slows just enough to allow them to cross. When I asked our guide, Francesco, to explain he simply said it was the Italian way. Everyone manages to move along well without getting too upset.
If you’re still reading, I have a treat for you. Dining in Italy is perhaps the best reason to visit. Yes, I quite love the historic sites and breathtaking scenery but there is simply something about the food in Italy that sets itself apart from anywhere else I’ve been in the world.
Donna Sofia – Wild Ride
Check out our adventurous ride from and dinner at Donna Sofia
Dining in Rome and on the Amalfi Coast was memorable.