My Fabulous Vacation to Italy: “The Best Day Of My Life” In Capri

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50My family vacation to Italy with stops in Rome, Florence and a full week’s stay in Positano was already the best it could be — so how could it possibly get better? “I booked the six of us on Blue Star for a day trip to the Isle of Capri,” said my daughter A. She reserved spots ($60EU pp) in advance for my sister N and me, A and her friend J, and my son D and his girlfriend Jo, for a midweek voyage from Positano to Capri.

Capri; Isle of Capri; Amalfi Coast; Blue Star Boat Company; travel; Italy

I’m so glad I followed this advice.

Sailing To Capri
“Welcome aboard,” said our captain Pepe as we climbed onto the boat at the dock early Wednesday morning. The water was choppy and the boat wavered in the waves. Those who had eaten were feeling seasick. (I highly advise not eating during sailing and was glad my stomach was empty. If not, I recommend taking Dramamine beforehand.)

Blue Star Boat Company; Capri; Italy; Amalfi Coast; travel

Pepe was our captain on Blue Star.

“Unfortunately, the Blue Grotto is closed today due to high winds. I’ll take you to the Green Grotto, we’ll go swimming in the Mediterranean, you’ll have time to explore Capri, and we’ll stop for a swim on the way back,” Pepe said.

Capri; Amalfi Coast; Green Grotto; Italy; travel

The Green Grotto Cave is awesome.

He revved up the motor and off we sailed. Pepe told tales about mermaids and the Romans along the way. Halfway there he dropped anchor at the bay as promised and offered us a chance to jump into the clear aquamarine water. My companions obliged and took the plunge. Not wanting to walk around Capri in a wet bathing suit, I held off. (Note: Wear your bathing suit if you plan to go swimming. Towels are provided.)

Capri; Amalfi Coast; Italy; boomer travel

The two rocks leading to Capri are a landmark for lovers.

Once everyone was back on board, we traveled between the two landmark rocks leading to Capri. “You are supposed to kiss your lover when you go through for good luck and good life,” Pepe said. My son D and Jo did the honorary gesture. Continue reading

My Fabulous Vacation to Italy: Paradise Awaits in Positano

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Can’t wait to share more stories about my family vacation to Italy. If you haven’t left for Rome and Florence after reading my earlier posts, you’ll definitely be booking your trip once you read, or rather view, what paradise awaits in Positano.

A Week On The Amalfi Coast
On Monday, our group of six (my daughter A and her friend J, my son D and his girlfriend Jo, and my sister N and I) said goodbye to the Eternal City for a week in Positano on the Amalfi Coast. We walked with our luggage to Termini Station where we caught a train to Salerno. (Note: We bought our tickets in advance on Eurail.) The ride is about 2.5 hours.

Positano

Along the way to Positano we passed Mt. Vesuvius near Pompeii.

All went well with our pre-arranged transportation pickup at Salerno. The path to Positano around winding cliffs and narrow two-way roads is not for the faint of heart. So pleased that we had a skilled roadster at the wheel. (Glad we decided not to rent a car. While we ended up walking most everywhere, buses and taxis were readily available to get around Positano and from town to town. Our legs got an incredible workout from climbing thousands of steps.)

Casa Orizzonte Villa With Breathtaking Views
“I’ll be waiting to greet you at Casa Orizzonte,” said the owner Gerardo.

Positano; Casa Orizzonte; Italy; Amalfi Coast

The view from Casa Orizzonte villa.

About 70 minutes later we were there — pure heaven. We had booked our villa using Homeaway (actually we were directed to My Rental Homes for the booking) in early January. Lodging came to less than $650US per person for our entire stay. Gerardo welcomed us and carried our luggage down the steps to the entryway.

Positano; Italy; Amalfi Coast; Casa Orizzonte; boomer travel

There were 40 steps down to Casa Orizzonte villa.

“The villa was handed down to me after hundreds of years in my family,” said Gerardo. High up on the hilltop, Casa Orizzonte is magnificent with three bedrooms, each with a door to the villa’s patio overlooking the Mediterranean. There were two full baths, a large living room, full-service kitchen, and absolutely ah-may-zing views. (Let’s just say I wanted to cry when I had to go home the following Sunday. I think we all would have stayed longer if we could. May have to spend a summer in Positano sometime. JudiBoomergirl can dream!) Continue reading

My Fabulous Vacation to Italy: A Fun Day In Florence

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50On Sunday, we headed off on a day trip from Rome during my family vacation to Italy this past June. Despite rainy weather, our train from Termini Station to Santa Maria Novella Station took about 90 minutes. We bought roundtrip tickets in the machine with return reservations for early evening. The best thing about arriving in Florence by train is that you can walk into town.

The Duomo and The David
Our team of six divided up to see the sights. Unfortunately none of us bought passes in advance — so we missed the opportunity to climb the 400 steps of the Duomo church. We admired the exterior which is as beautiful as ever. The piazza is also a great place to peruse paintings from local artists. My son D and I each bought watercolor art.

Florence; Italy; Duomo; boomer travel

The Duomo is a landmark in the center of Florence.

My son D and his girlfriend Jo, and my daughter A and her friend J ventured around the city since Jo and J had never been. They were eager to go shopping for Italian leather goods in the open-air marketplace.

My sister N and I walked to the Galleria Dell’Accademia where Michelangelo’s David stands tall. Although we had both visited Florence previously, we had never seen the David. Sadly there were no more online passes available so we stood in line for more than an hour to buy our entry.

Was it worth the wait? Yes, yes, yes. David is an astounding masterpiece and well worth oohing and ahhing over.

Michaelangelo; The David; Florence; Italy; boomer travel

Michaelangelo’s masterpiece.

More Sights and Shopping In Florence
With little time left to shop after the David, N and I stopped for a quick pizza break near the piazza that’s home to a carousel, then met up with our fellow travelers to shop for Italian leather goods. A and J bought leather jackets, Jo bought an orange leather tote, and with little coaxing, convinced me to buy one in eggplant. (Note: The link provided offers a very similar tote to the ones we bought.) Continue reading

My Fabulous Vacation To Italy: More To See In Rome

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50If you didn’t buy your ticket to Italy after my last blog post (First Stop Rome), I think this one will make you hit the purchase button.

Rome was the first stop on a fabulous family vacation to Italy this past June. I traveled with my sister N, my daughter A and her friend J, and my son D and his girlfriend Jo. The first day in Rome we walked more than seven miles. On the second day we added another nine.

Rome; Italy; boomer travel

Day Two In Rome
On Day Two in Rome, we divided up to conquer the parts of Rome that we hadn’t seen on Day One. The four millennials left early to go to Vatican City to see the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and Square, (it’s good to go early to these areas and buy tickets for tours) and then to Trevi Fountain (one of my favorite tourist’s spots in Rome). They also stopped at Bonci, where they had what looked to be a best-ever pizza. (Wish I hadn’t missed this pizza. Adding it to my “to eat” list for my next trip to Italy. You should too!)

Italy; Rome; Vatican City; Sistine Chapel; St. Peter's Square and Basiclica

Vatican City includes the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica and Square

Italy; Rome; Bonci; pizza

I missed this best-ever pizza from Bonci.

Since my sister N and I had already seen these landmarks on a previous trip to Rome, we took off in a different direction to do some window shopping and see other historic monuments.

Continue reading

My Fabulous Vacation To Italy: First Stop Rome

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Are you ready for a world wind tour of Rome? By the time you finish reading this post you’ll want to book your ticket. Rome was the first stop on a fabulous family vacation to Italy this past June. It was an adventure of a lifetime and I can’t wait to share the wonderful memories with you.

Traveling to Rome
The six of us — me, my sister N, my daughter A and her friend J, and my son D and his girlfriend Jo — left in early June for 10 glorious days in Italy. The trip was in honor of a big birthday celebration for my daughter A. We headed out via Alitalia from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Rome; Italy; travel; Capri; Amalfi Coast; Positano

We were six gladiators ready to explore the sites, sounds, and tastes of Italy.

 

Alitalia; Rome; travel; Italy

We flew to Rome on Alitalia.

An Apartment for Six
After about eight hours, we touched down at the Rome airport and were picked up by a car service with a van large enough to fit six and all our luggage. I was so glad we had pre-planned pick-up with our VRBO hosts. It went so smoothly. Zip zip and we were at 59 Via Mecenate in a great three bedroom/two bath apartment on a beautiful tree-lined street near the Colosseum. Owners P and V let us freshen up before we ventured out on the town.

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Our apartment in Rome was near the Colosseum.

A Seven Mile Walk Around Rome
Despite being exhausted, we were on an adrenaline high, like gladiators ready to conquer the eternal city in all its glory. With only two days in Rome, we wanted to hit all the hot spots, especially since J and Jo had never been. N had visited once, I had been twice, and A and D were our go-to guides since they both lived in Rome during their college semesters abroad.  (Note: It is interesting to read my blog posts from my first trip to Rome  in 2007 pre-50 and my second trip to Rome in 2011 post-50. My blogging skills and my life skills have changed a great deal since those days.) Continue reading