Capri, Pompeii, & an Idyllic Surprise: Notes from Italy & Greece
In this summer highlight, one of our Exploration Italy & Greece groups reports on their adventures to the island of Capri, Pompeii, and more. Enjoy!
Well, well, well…look who it is. Where to begin? We’ve been so busy having fun! Let’s recap Thursday & Friday and the whirlwind of adventure and exploration that has ensued. The days have been filled with sandwiches, swimming, endless word games, and spectacular meals we will surely remember forever.
On Thursday, we were picked up from Salerno in private boats to begin our journey to the island of Capri—made famous by our very own Capri Sun. …..I kid. Along the way, crystal clear blue waters were perfectly temperate and beckoning us in. The swim did not disappoint.
On the island, we spent some time roaming the cobblestone streets, admiring the visage of the houses staggered uphill, and quickly googling how hard is it to move to Italy? in between mouthfuls of gelato. At the very least, souvenirs were acquired.
On Friday, we took our first plunge into Italy’s public transportation system and took the train from Salerno to Pompeii’s archaeological park. At one point in time, Pompeii was an exciting and bustling Roman city, with grand stone buildings, temples, and a forum. The streets were paved and the people of Pompeii even had the luxury of running water. It was a surprisingly modern city for its time. In 79 AD, disaster struck and the city was buried under nearly twenty-two feet of ash from the eruption of the nearby volcano, Mount Vesuvius. Students and leaders had the privilege of getting to see the rediscovered remnants of this milestone in history which is now a major attraction, attracting more than 2.5 million visitors per year from all over the world.
After returning from Pompeii, we boarded a private bus for a surprise excursion in the hills surrounding Salerno. The ride offered panoramic views of the sea as we meandered up the very steep mountainous terrain until we reached a hilltop villa, where we were welcomed by Stefania, a friendly local wine and olive-oil maker. She was very excited to show us around her gardens, where we learned about olive oil production and admired her vineyards and olive groves that sprawled down the steep cliffside towards the sea. We ended on a hilltop terrace surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Stefania then began a hands-on cooking demonstration, and we made gatò di patate, handmade pasta, and bolognese. We enjoyed our dinner in the garden and were able to sample Stefania’s homemade bread, organic extra virgin olive oil, and tiramisù!
This magical experience concluded with a light sun shower followed by a full rainbow arching dramatically across the evening sky.
— Amanda, Vanessa, & Aaron