Published: November 8th 2006November 1st 2006
Italy exudes a combination of history, spectacular architecture, good food, crazy drivers and chaos. Our first impression was made by a crazy woman speaking Italian to us on the train and a night in sketchy Geneova where the hotel clerk resembled 'Roadtrip's' strange motel receptionist. However, Italy created a lasting impression as we traveled down to Rome and Naples. In Rome we toured the Colleseum, Vatican City, and Cistine Chapel and filled our stomachs with Italian cuisine. One of the goals in Italy was to get the Chinese visa, but I didn't have enough pages in my passport and the embassy was closed. So, plans changed traveling down to Naples to stay with a friend, Valerio.
Naples is much different from the rest of Italy. We soon realised that scooters are very popular with almost everyone from families to professionals. Valerio took us around Naples showing us churches, the lifelike marble statue of Christ (Cappella Sanservero), a castle on Naples bay, and the underground Greek-Roman city. We finished off the day at a local pizzeria but as the dinner tradition stands, we didn't eat until 11 pm.
The following day we climbed Mt Vesuvius, a volcano that erupted in
79 ad covering the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii. At the top, smoke was still rising through the sides. Scientists say it is still very active and has the potential to erupt in the near future from the pressure and build up. Over to Pompeii to see the lava covered city. Thinking it was only going to take an hour to tour, the ancient city revealed a lot more to us with its theaters, volcanic covered humans, cobbled streets, satues, villas, paintings and temples. The volcano covered 20,000 inhabitants of Pompeii, but it still stands preserved and mysterious. Driving to Sorrento for more Italian cuisine, we noticed the piles of trash that lined the streets. This was not just small piles, but tons of large bags everywhere with children and families hanging out nearby. We learned that the people were protesting but Joe and I though it was crazy. Arriving early for dinner, we were the first crowd with others following hours later. To finish the meal, we fought through the traffic, mad drivers and scooters to taste the famous gelato.
Our last impression of Italy was playing cards with an Italian woman on the train-I think she changed
the rules each game to win...crazy, mad, cultural, architectural beauty, exquisite food...the lasting impression...
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