Tramonti, Amalfi, Pompeii

Being here in southern Italy I think you get a more intense Italian experience then we had in the north, the driving is amazing, in that lawless out of control kind of way and Craig recollects heart palpitations as the closest comparison he has to describe it. We were serenaded to sleep every night by the honking of horns, the only way to safely traverse the mountain roads as the corners are blind and can only support a single lane. I'm not sure if it is our preference for being in amongst the mountains that leads to these crazy places we end up in, but the scenery is stunning and we have easy access to Mt Vesuvius, Pompeii, Paestum and the Amalfi Coast. We are in the hills between Naples and the coast and again I am struck by the beauty of the environment we are in. Mostly however this area reminds me of our time in Thailand and Vietnam, there is a calamity and disorder to things, a sense of no rules (although, as with Asia, I think it is that we don't know the rules), there's much unfinished construction, or falling down buildings, and limited logical (again from our perspective) infrastructure. But I have no doubt if you are a local you know exactly how and where to get everything you need. It is a place that makes you explore beyond the simple beauty of things and to contemplate how it must be to live here.


I love southern Italy like I love Asia because you can see how the locals live - you see them hang their washing on the streets, you see their gardens on the footpath, you see the religious effigies and shrines, you see the locals gather to meet in public places, there is little in the way of spaces to hide if you want to live a reclusive life.... I love the insight this gives about a country. Very similar to Thailand and Vietnam - this is travel at its best. Loving Italy.... Craig's not so sure, but he gets to do the driving, think that would take the edge off it for me too.


The Italians we have meet bring passion to everything they do - cleaning the windscreen, making pizza, growing tomatoes. If they are going to bother doing something they will do it right (heaven forbid you have another way) and with love and purpose. People have been so enthusiastic to share with us their culture and customs. The pizza man loved showing the children how to caress the dough and swirl on the sauce and then he seemed to almost dance as he shared the oven with his apprentice, both with 3m long paddles to put the pizza in, turn it and take it out of the deep oven. Franco, the guy who's house we stayed in, brought us different produce from his garden each day and explained, using gestures, how to cook it perfectly. Then upon leaving insisted that we squirrel away seeds to his favourite varieties so we can grow them at home. Makes me a bit sad that I'm such a supporter of customs laws and we'll never have his 'piccolo' tomatoes at home. As we left Franco had the children plant a plum seed in his garden so the tree will grow with them, and so that they may return to see it when they are older.


Sad to leave and a must to return to, if only to see all the amazing treasures that have been excavated from Pompeii and put in the museum in Naples. Museums and kids are a difficult mix.


  1. Fireworks herald our arrival into Tramonti.
  2. Welcome gift of local produce from the garden and bouqet of herbs for luck.
  3. Claire with herb bouqet.
  4. At the crater of Mt Vesuvius.
  5. Sarah ponders the downfall of the Roman Empire at Paestum archelogical area.
  6. In front of the Temple of Poseiden, Paestum.
  7. Claire and Will at the Temple of Poseiden, Paestum.
  8. Making pizza following our masterclass the night before at the local pizzeria.
  9. Cate learns about the eruption of 79 AD, Pompeii.
  10. In the forum at Pompeii.
  11. Detail in the forum baths, Pompeii.
  12. Detail in the forum baths, Pompeii.
  13. Detail in the forum baths, Pompeii.
  14. A private shrine in the garden of a house, Pompeii.
  15. Abbey Road, Pompeii style.
  16. Mosaic detail, House of the Faun, Pompeii.
  17. Mosaic detail, House of the Faun, Pompeii.
  18. Will and the Faun, Pompeii.
  19. Claire with a flour mill, bakery, Pompeii.
  20. Mosaic detail in a house, Pompeii.
  21. Detail of shrine to ancestors in takeaway shop, Pompeii.
  22. Serving in the takeaway shop, Pompeii.
  23. Cast of a victim of the eruption, Pompeii.
  24. Wall detail, Pompeii.
  25. Will's new do.
  26. With Franco, Tramonti.
  27. Local transport.