Excursions to Naples, Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Vesuvius etc...
Castellammare di Stabia, located in the heart of the Gulf of Naples, masterfully set at the foot of Mount Faito enjoys a strategic position to visit the major attractions of Campania, like Pompeii, Herculaneum, Naples, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Ischia.
In the shadow the Vesuvius tourism’s roots run deep: on the imprints of great greek columns refined aristocrats and roman emperors built their sumptuous villas and oasis all along the shoreline of the Gulf. It is not a coincidence that at the begining of this third millennium the peculiar magic of this civilisation continues to generate new sources of amazement: the recovery of age old monuments and traditions – folklore, gastronomy, genuine cultivation – that were thought irreparably lost, events and shows worthy of the great international circuit, new fodder for artistic and scientific research. The artistic treasure of Naples to visit are, in fact, to many to count: the historical centre, a patrimony under the tutelage of UNESCO, the palaces, churches, catacombs and underground passageways, the Archaeological Museum, the places of medieval and renaissance power amassed around the Castel Nuovo and Royal Palace, the unforgettable waterfront from Castel dell’Ovo to Posillipo. The hilly area of Vomero offers masterfully restored buildings like the Capodimonte Royal Palace and the Certosa (monastery) of San Martino, museum collections amongst the most important in the world.
On a rocky tableland formed by an ancient eruption stands the city of Pompeii that, due to the eruption of the Vesuvius in 79 A.C., was buried under 60 feet of ash and pumice. The city can be actually visited still today thanks to such catastrophic event and the subsequent state of preservation. Between the end of the VII century and first half of the VI century B.C., the first walls
were built, delimitating an area of around 63 hectares. Towards the end of the V century B.C., during the Samnite era, the urban development of Pompeii was started; during the year 80, it became a Roman colony with the name of Cornelia Veneria Pompeianorum. The city has returned many examples of public buildings, ( the Forum with the Capitolium, the Basilica, the administrative facilities, the buildings dedicated to the imperial cult, the macellum, the thermae, the theatres and amphiteathre) and private ( the Casa del Fauno, Casa del Poeta Tragico, la Casa del Menandro, la Casa dei Casti Amanti, la Villa dei Misteri) that contribute to the definition of the ancient city’s physiognomy, both its artistic aspects and those connected with the everyday life).
Sorrento extends harmoniously on a high tufaceous sheer terrace dominating the sea from 50 metres asl, surrounded by lush vegetation. Sorrento, a town that spreads over a terrace of tufo, seems to tumble into the sea. Throughout this view paradisical panorama, indented and inaccessible coasts weave their colors with those of small and hidden beaches, creating a unique and enthralling scenery. Here, the work of man is truly monolithic. The roughest areas are now made up of a series of terraces sloping down towards the sea, used for the cultivation of citrus, olive trees and vines. These gardens give off heady scents of oranges, lemons and orange-blossoms.
The old town centre still has ancient traces of Roman origin and is surrounded on one side by 16th-century walls. It is also home to the cathedral (rebuilt in the 15th century) and its Neo-Gothic façade, and the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, with a significant 14th-century cloister and Arab-style portico. Visitors should also visit the Correale museum, take a stroll in the park where they will enjoy a magnificent view of the gulf, and take a tour of Punta del Capo, which is the location of the ruins of what is believed to be the villa of Pollio Felice (1st century AD).
Vesuvius is the only active volcano in continental Europe, and is also one of its most dangerous, as the land at its feet is densly populated and the houses arrive up to 700 mt above sea level. The summit to the left is that of Mount Somma (1133 mt), and to the right the cone of Vesuvius (1281 mt). They are seperated by a valley called ‘Valle del Gigante’ (Valley of the Giant), in turn subdivided into ‘Atrio del Cavallo’ (Hall of the Horse, West) and ‘Valle del Inferno’ (Valley of Hell, East). The original inhabitants had forgotten that they were dealing with a volcano: it was known solely for its excellent wines and for the thick vegetation that covered its summit. It became suddenly famous when, in 79 BC, it erupted. Entire cities, among
which Pompeii and Herculaneum, were destroyed. The last eruption, filmed by Allied troops, was in 1944. Since then the volcano has been dormant.
After a long sleep, Vesuvius woke up on the 24th of August of 79 AD, taking the local population by surprise. The eruption was apocalyptic: life at the foot of the volcano was cancelled. Of the cities that were buried even the memory was lost. After 1,700 years, these lost cities of the Vesuvius started to reappear, offering to all of humanity the two most important archaeological sites in the world: Herculaneum and Pompeii. Unlike Pompeii, covered by a layer of ashes and lapillus, Herculaneum was submerged by a 25 meters thick layer of mud and lava. It was the mud that preserved it all, sealing everything: cloth and food underwent a slow transformation, remaining, however, un-altered in their wrapping, almost petrified. In 1709 Prince d’Elboeuf, digging a well in one of his villas, came upon the Theatre by chance. In 1738 Charles of Bourbon ordered the start of the excavations. The most clamorous surprise was the majestic Villa of Papyri, from which the bronze and marble sculptural patrimony (today in the Archaeological Museum of Naples), and the papyrus library (more than 1,800 philosophical texts, now housed in the Naples National Library) were extracted. In 1927, the excavation of the homes and public offices begun: in the north they reached the Forum, centre of economic, social and political life, to the east the sports centres, and to the south the suburban thermal spas.
The incomparable beauty of the Amalfi Coast has enchanted visitors from all corners of the earth. The lush green terraces, suspended over a sparkling sea, the wealth of art and the architectural characteristics, make it one of the most celebrated places on earth. Wild, daring and romantic, the Coast is an obligatory stop in any journey to Italy. From a geographic point of view the “coast of the Sirens” is the southern slope of the Sorrentine Peninsula, which in the north closes the Gulf of Salerno. The scenery is characterised by mighty cliffs that drop into the sea, rich with bays and coves like the splendid Emerald Grotto at Conca dei Marini and the Fiordo (Fjord) di Furore. Amidst vertiginous slopes, sheer drops and precipitous cliffs, there are places where nature is still uncontaminated, like the Vallone di Porto Oasis. The little villages that dot the “divine coast” are all to be explored, enjoying a clear blue sea, the stupefying views, the artistic treasures and the lively high society life. Shopping is also a venerated activity: in the characteristic boutiques of “Positano Fashion”, the ceramic shops of Vietri or sampling a delicious meal of traditional cuisine.
Capri, one of the most famous islands on earth, has enchanted writers, poets, musicians and painters. Many are the producers that have chosen this as set for their films, and many are the famous stars that have filled the tables of its celebrated little square. One of the first admirers of the island was the Emperor Tiberius, who lived here during the last years of his life. The true vocation of the island was discovered in the mid 1800’s, when visitors from all over the world chose it as their home, forming a cosmopolitan colony that has spread the myth of Capri and the Blue Grotto.
Ischia is the largest of all the Campanian islands; vast and morphologically diverse, it welcomes about 6 million visitors annually.
Among the six municipalities that it comprises, it is Ischia Commune that is the most extensive, and thus divided into two parts: Ischia Ponte is its evocative historic center marked by ancient paths and bottegas, while Ischia Porto is a tiny fishing village. The Aragonese Castle in Ischia Ponte, constructed by the tyrant Hiero of Syracuse in 474 B.C., is the most-visited monument on the entire Island. Once atop the summit on which the Castle stands, be sure not to miss the Cathedral di Santa Maria Assunta where, in 1509, Ferrante d’Avalos and Vittoria Colonna exchanged their vows. Inside is a crypt holding frescoes by the Giotto school painters. Because Ischia also has a wealth of regenerating natural springs, the thermal bath parks and spas here are practically more than can be counted. More importantly, they are appreciated throughout the world..
Monte Faito is a mountain in the Monti Lattari, a small chain in the Campanian Pre-Apennines, in the Sorrentine Peninsula, southern Italy. It has an elevation of 1,131 m..
It is mostly composed of limestone rocks, and has steep walls directly ending into the sea of the Gulf of Salerno. The name derives from the local dialect faggeto, referring to the great numbers of beeches in the mountain area.
Monte Faito can be reached through a cable car from Castellammare di Stabia. Other communes nearby include Vico Equense and Cava de' Tirreni.