Italy Honeymoon Packages

Tips and advise for day trips from Sorrento by Road to Travel Inc.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The castles of Naples

Naples, one of the oldest cities in the world, has several magnificent castles. Intertwined with legends, their history offers a fascinating glance into the city’s past.

Castel dell'Ovo
Castel dell'Ovo 

Considered the oldest castles in Naples, Castel dell'Ovo replaced a Roman-era fortification in the 12th century. The formidable fort sits on the islet of Megaride, where according to a legend lived a siren named Parthenope. There is also another myth connected to the castle: the Roman poet Virgil wrote that he had placed a jar with a magic egg beneath the fortress. As long as the egg was intact, Naples would live. The citadel was used as a prison for many centuries and today visitors can see the hall of dungeons, cannon terraces and admire stunning views over the coast and the city.

Castel Nuovo
Castel Nuovo 

The Maschio Angioino as locals call it is another symbol of Naples. King of Naples Charles I of Anjou ordered to build the castle in 1279 when the kingdom's capital was transferred from Palermo to Naples. The royal residence was enlarged and fortified over time and saw many sieges and historic events. Masters such as Giotto, Petrarca and Boccacio visited the splendid castle in its glory days. Today Castel Nuovo is home to Naples' Civic Museum.

View from Castel Sant'Elmo
Castel Sant'Elmo

This 13th century fortress is overlooks Naples from the hill of Vomero. For a long time heretics and revolutionaries were locked up behind its impenetrable walls and in the 20th century it served as a military prison. After a long and thorough restoration the fortress has become home to a number governmental offices with some spaces used for contemporary art exhibitions. Although, most of the castle is closed to the public you can walk around parapets and admire the sweeping views of the city and Vesuvius

Photos via Flickr by: Maritè Toledo, Robert Emperley, Roberto Taddeo.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

What to see in Ravello

Set high up on a hill above the sea the charming resort of Ravello offers dizzyingly beautiful vistas over the Amalfi Coast and the Mediterranean. Its refined glamour, secluded villas, lush gardens and incredible views have attracted the aristocratic Grand Tourists of Europe a while ago , who were followed by many writers, artists and musicians. Greta Garbo, Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart and Tennessee Williams have holidayed here. 


Although, during high season the town is overrun by tour groups, you can always find a hidden quiet corner along windy cobbled streets. 

Two magnificent garden estates, Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone, are the star attractions in Ravello. Villa Rufolo, renowned for its luxuriant cascading gardens, provided inspiration for Richard Wagner’s opera Parsifal. The estate is a delicious melange of Arabic, Sicilian and Normal architecture surrounded by colourful blooms and set against the glistening blue of the sea. Villa Rufolo fills up with sounds of music as it hosts the Wagner Festival and The Ravello Concert Society's season of chamber music concerts every year. 

View from Villa Rufolo

Villa Cimbrone is another must-see in Ravello. In the 1920 the Bloomsbury set loved staying here, so did Greta Garbo, Salvador Dali and Winston Churchill later. Spend some time admiring the fragrant gardens, fountains and the magnificent sea views from the Infinity Terrace.

Villa Cimbrione
Do not miss Ravello’s cathedral built in the 11th century and filled up with marble sculptures, mosaics and medieval frescoes. There are several beautiful churches in town; all of them are worth a visit.

Enjoy the town’s relaxing atmosphere strolling along the tiny streets, shopping for local colourful ceramics, sipping a coffee, sampling excellent limoncello or tasting olive oil in one of many delicatessens. 

For those feeling fit and adventurous there is a beautiful hike along the Path of the Gods with some of the most unforgettable views on the Amalfi Coast.

Photos via Flickr by: Ben Jeffrey, Andrew Batram, Jean-Pierre Dalbéra.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Discover Naples

The bustling city of Naples is only an hour drive from Sorrento and even a brief visit will give you a taste of the city’s fascinating culture, ancient traditions and its delicious cuisine.

Italy’s third largest city, Naples can feel anarchic and untidy but do not let ramshackle buildings covered with graffiti and chaotic streets turn you off. You just need to know where to look for the treasures and there are plenty of them in Naples. Start from Posillipo Hill, city’s most beautiful quarter with some of the most exclusive private villas. Ancient Greeks and Romans knew this hill as a "respite from worry" and, over centuries, many celebrated artists came here to paint majestic panoramic views over the city, the bay with the islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida on the horizon.

Naples boasts three impressive castles, which are all worth a look: Castel dell'Ovo, the oldest castle in the city, 13th century Castel Sant’Elmo and Castel Nuovo that houses the Civic Museum.
At the impressive Piazza Del Plebiscito you will see the grand Palazzo Reale that was once the residence of the Bourbon Kings. Today, the restored royal apartments in the palace house an excellent collection of paintings, tapestries, and furniture from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The nearby San Carlo Opera House, one of the oldest opera houses in Europe, is famous for its exceptional acoustics, opulent décor and outstanding performances.

Basilica of San Francesco Di Paola, a rare example of the Neo-Classical style in Naples, is often compared to the Rome’s Pantheon for its grandiose 53 metres high dome.
Another must see site in the city is the catacombs of Santa Maria della Sanità. Excavated during Roman times for water storage these underground labyrinthine were used for burials from the fifth century. The dimly lit atmospheric corridors are filled with skulls, patches of ancient mosaics, and frescoes.

For authentic gifts pop over to via San Gregorio Armeno in the old part of Naples where generations of local craftsmen have been making figurines for nativity scenes.
Do not forget about the city’s main attraction – pizza! Try the authentic local types: marinara, margherita and napoletana margherita DOC with buffalo mozzarella.
Photos via Flickr by: Alexandra Svatikova, Gabriele Ravanetti, Maritè Toledo.