He, who said that Paris is a city of love, must have not been to Capri. When I got to the top of Anacapri hill I fell in love with the island, its amazing views, and left my heart in the dark blue waters of Grotto Azure.
Even a road to Capri was full of surprises itself. Stunning views of small Italian cities like Positano were seducing my mind; great wine and food in any little restaurant we ate at were infecting my logic with the ideas of moving to the Italian Islands.
Speaking of food, keep in mind that Capri’s restaurants are usually closed in the afternoon in preparations for dinner. If you are like me who chokes when a waiter rushes you to finish lunch, I suggest snaking on delicious pizza during afternoon and taste the wonders of the Italian cuisine over dinner.
Just as each region in Italy has its own wine, dinner rules differ as well. In Rome, for instance, dinner doesn’t begin until 9-9.30; Romans typically start their evenings with an aperativo, an American version of a happy hour that lasts till 9, and only then proceed to feast.
As much as I enjoyed wining and dining, I was not that impressed with grand and pompous Rome and Vatican. The cities have been carrying secrets, culture, and history throughout centuries, yet my soul was longing for Capri, its warmth and magic. It’s also easy to get fooled by the hotel ads in Rome. Be careful with the ratings as a random Italian 4 star hotel might translate to a 1 star rating in America. Renting an apartment is more convenient than staying in a hotel.
It’s impossible to get lost in Rome. I decided to wander around the old city and stumbled across the Jewish Ghetto area where I found an interesting combination of two worlds – delectable Italian pizza served in a kosher fashion. I then walked more only to discover a church dedicated to all gods. Its dome, with an opening on the top (big, heavy rain drops simply fall from the sky to the floor), is considered the biggest one in Rome beating the St. Peter’s Basilica’s.
Visiting Piazza San Pietro is a must as well as getting to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. Michelangelo’s famous dome is accessed from an elevator to the roof, a walk inside the dome, and then 323 steps to the best view of Rome. The Vatican museum, including the Sistine Chapel is quite interesting and one can find, as my friend refers to it, an ancient version of Google Earth in the Map Gallery.
I always imagined the Spanish Steps as one of the world’s wonders (perhaps, because I absolutely adore Barcelona), however, I found the steps to look better in photographs and paintings than in reality. Trevi Fountain became my favorite spot in Rome, and I spent a lot of time enjoying a view of its central figure – Neptune riding in his chariot pulled by two sea horses that symbolize the fluctuating moods of the sea. According to a local legend, you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the water in the roman fashion – toss the coin over your shoulder with your back to the fountain.
On my way to Rome from Capri, I stopped by Naples, which reminded of a loud market woman trying to sell her goods to the visitors. Strident, chaotic, and grimy, with the drying laundry hung outside every window of most buildings, the city still attracts tourists from all over the world. Here I tasted coffee in an Italian fashion – at the bar, standing, and sipping espresso.
Espresso and chocolate became my diet in Perugia, a city famous by producing its own chocolate and organizing chocolate festivals. I switched to pizza only when I arrived in Assisi, the birth place of St. Francis and the only place in Italy where roses grow without thorns.
Although, all roads lead to Rome, mine was leading me home, to Lviv, Ukraine. It was time to leave Roman Empire and visit my Alma Mater.
All about Capri – http://www.capri.com/
St. Peter’s Basilica – http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Exterior/SP-Square-Area.htm
Italy Apartment Rentals – http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/europe/italy