Ruins, A Ferry, and An Island


(April 10, 2014)

Breakfast was a standard buffet — a variety of cold cuts and cheeses, yogurt, pastries, toast, and cereal, It was not memorable, but just what we wanted at that point, and it fueled our day.

And fuel was important, because we saw Erolano (Herculanum), which pretty much blew Pompeii off the radar and was an equal to Paestum. Ercolano, you see, still has a ton of pieces in situ. The site is fairy easy to find and well laid out and curated. Tons of intact walls and arches, frescoes and mosaics. Its a rich place for budding art historians like us.

Some pics:

notice how the old city blends into the new

notice how the old city blends into the new

gorgeous columns

gorgeous columns

mosaic flooring

mosaic flooring

a colorful fresco

a colorful fresco

another fresco

another fresco

another mosaic floor

another mosaic floor

That last picture is a bit skewed because it was taken upside down. :-)

From there we drove into Naples, and despite terrible drivers returned the car and then walked to the ferry. An hour on the hydrofoil brought us to the island of Capri — playground for the rich during the summer (May through September), but in the off-season it mostly just had day-trippers flooding the streets. Our destination was a small hotel — Villa Eva — up in the mountains near Anacapri.

The taxi ride convinced us that these drivers would put mainland Italians to shame. The roads here are narrow and steep with high walls on either side. It’s a place to walk.

Villa Eva is a lush garden of a bed & breakfast with a (closed) swimming pool and private rooms for guests. In the hot months it must be a great place to hang out, even if you don’t go to the beach. Town is a short 10 min walk away and there are buses that run fairly regularly all over the island. Pablo and his wife Alma run it with the whole family (including Mama Eva).

the grounds at Villa Eva

the grounds at Villa Eva

We wanted to eat at a particular place, but they weren’t open for another two weeks. So we went with Pablo’s recommendation: Trattoria Mamma Giovanna. This was a GREAT meal, and has a bonus: they’ll provide free taxi service. You walk through lemon trees and up a few flights of stairs to find a home converted into a restaurant with a lovely view.

We were seated to the side of a long table with lovely flower arrangements (“a wedding reception?” I wondered) able to view the sun setting. We started with their gnocchi in a simple tom sauce — very light, with just the right amount of cheese to make the sauce a bit creamy. For our mains, J. had the bisteca, and I had pasta with mussels and clams — so good! After dinner the waiter talked us into trying the grappa, which was ok but not really to our taste. Then he insisted we try their homemade limoncello and mandarina, which was fabulous. It was a very boozy night. :-)

That fancy table I wondered about? It turns out it was a 50th wedding anniversary party, a lovely family gathering.


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