First visit to a brothel

This week we have travelled up from the toe of Italy and have visited 6 UNESCO world heritage sites. Being in a motorhome enables you to get to these amazing places quite easily. That said parking can be a problem so you have to use public transport to get to the sites or walk.

To be honest you have to be careful not to get UNESCO’ed out. This is very easy to do and when something overwhelms you with its magnificence, you can just breeze by if you are not careful, more on that later.

It had been a while since we had been able to do any washing so a proper campsite was required. Careful reading of reviews pointed us to a campsite in Cirò Marina, like many reviews it was subjective. They liked it we did not, that said the washing machines and dryers were up to the job we needed.  We have to be honest the weather can affect your view of a place and we are trying to cover a lot of places on our ‘Long Way Home’.

View across the gorge to the old town of Matera

So with all our clothes and NiKi all clean we headed of on an intense UNESCO week. Elddis have asked us to visit as many as we can as we journey back to the UK, so first stop was Matera, we had never heard of this stunning place until now and could recommend everyone to visit. For the motorhome visitor there are many places to stay, we stayed in the park opposite the city. This is an amazing place with old town was built into the rocks so most of the houses are partly if not totally cave dwellings. The scenery is breath taking and we had our best meal in Italy in Soul Food.

View across the gorge to the old town of Matera you really get how deep the gorge is here.
An unhappy Karen crossing the wire bridge to the town.
In a old monastery converted into an art gallery.
Matera’s UNESCO plaque, the city will be the European city of culture in 2019.
A view down from the top of the town into the heart of the town.
Soul Food gave us the best meal so far in Italy, Karen has decided that the Tiramisu is hers. Oh it was lovely.
The walk across the gorge was tough but really good fun.
The forum of Pompeii the beating heart of the city with its nemesis Vesuvius in the background .

As we now have a schedule we moved on to Pompeii an area with more UNESCO sites than you can shake a stick at. We stayed at Camping Spartacus just outside the ruins, review here. So over three days we visited the ruins of Pompeii, we had been advised to get the audio guide, and would say this brought the place alive. We spent over 5 hours here and loved it, really got a feel for what Roman life was like, we also had our first visit to a brothel, it closed in 72AD but very evocative, with risqué frescos on the walls.

Abbey Road does not get a look in at Pompeii
In the visitors centre is a full introduction to the ruins that bring the place alive. Here is the three D map explaining where everything is.
Just a tiny view of the items collected throughout the city of Pompeii
The theatre of Pompeii the acoustics are amazing
The mosaics in the entrance hall of one of the villas in Pompaii
Even in Pompeii some people tried to use some of Karen’s historic recipes. Or s that the other way around?
A take away Pompeii style, there was even money in the till when they excavated this.
Some more of the amazing mosaics of Pompeii.

 

The next day was a little more intense as we headed off to our second set of Roman ruins at Heracleum, for some reason we did not find this so alluring but perhaps we were ruined out. So on to Sorrento and the Amlalfi coast we took a train to Sorrento and a bus along the coast. We were so glad that we left NiKi behind, the drops were hundreds of feet and the drivers nuts as usual. The bus driver even passing cars on blind bends.

Some of the mosaics at Herculaneum. The colours still as vibrant as they were 200 years ago.
A picture of the port area of the town in each of the arches were the remains of hundreds of people taking refuge from the eruption.
A view along the Amalfi Coast stunning.

At least that made us look at the scenery as looking at the road was not an option, We got off at the picturesque town of Positano and enjoyed some sun and walked on the beach. Even out of season to busy. Back on the bus to Sorrento for a relaxing dinner to prepare us for the next day in Naples.

A happy selfie at Positano on the Amalfi coast.
The shady view of Positano the most picturesque town on the Amafi coast.
And a sunny view!

 

Outside one of the many lovey museums of Naples, don’t you love the sign writing.

We had luck on our side for the trip to Naples with sun shining it made the dirt and graffiti along the route look somewhat benign, it is something we both have disliked intensely here in southern Italy. The way the landscape is littered with rubbish, the walls, trains and buildings are covered in graffiti and the people seem not to notice are care. We hope that as we move north this may improve.

The Nolana Market in Naples with hundreds of stalls selling Knock off cigarettes for €2 a pack or fish that was swimming hours ago. great fun.
The plaque announcing Naples UNESCO heritage.
The kinder surprise church outside, dull as dish water, inside an explosion of beauty.
The best pizza in the home of pizza, unfortunately the locals arrived before us so we went for number three and it was great too.

That said we took a while to get through the grunge of Naples and felt its 2,500 years of history strongly. It has a real edginess to it and felt that you would not want to be too showy here, we slowly found the sites the Doumo, and the Church of Gesù Nuovo, a ‘Kinder Surprise’ Nothing on the outside but total awesome inside. Finally we took our ‘Lonely Planet’ guides advice and paid to visit one more place.

The Museo Cappella Sansevero, This has to be the highlight of our week, the statue of the veiled Christ, in our opinion must be the most beautiful piece of art we have ever seen. Even though the church has a multitude of other amazing works, the veiled Christ will stay with you long after you have returned home. You cannot take pictures, so here is a picture of a postcard just to give you a flavour!

We have been in Italy now for six weeks and have visited 10 UNESCO world heritage sites, it seems like every paving stone you trip over has some historic significance. So perhaps you can get over ruined as you run from one to the other. The driving here in the south of Italy is also a strain, off the Autostrada, the roads are awful, we are going to take a day or two before we arrive at the Eternal city of Rome and go culture all over again!

The cathedral of Naples inside more glory and beauty.
The 2,500 year old street layout makes getting around on bicycles, mopeds or on foot the best option.
Football and Naples bigger that religion, here a load of locals sitting watching. Roma 1 Napoli 2 all good and time to head home.,

In conclusion, what is Italy like off season for the Motorhome traveller? It is maddening, driving is dangerous, it is very, very expensive, diesel at €1.40 a litre is hard to take, on top of that a lot of Italians see not Italians as cash machines and try to push the limits. Check your bill every time.
It is also joyous, fun, generous, tasty, historic and fun. But be ready to have your mood switch three to four times a day.

The route this week.

12 Comments

  1. Oh sooo jealous, you are bringing back wonderful memories for us. Can I recommend a place just North of Rome. There is a wonderful place called Pitigliano where the bee hive houses are and very close to there is a natural hot springs like no other called Saturnia. Totally free and with motorhome parking and a park and ride service just up the road it’s worth a trip even just for a photo but I strongly recommend you take bathers and get in. It is wonderful x

      • Hi again, I am busy writing my book today in the pouring rain I hasten to add and I couldn’t not mention it, Vinci was an absolute highlight for us and reading back through it today I am convinced you would love it. It is a tiny village outside Florence. Home of Leonardo We Vinci and there are 4 museums all on one ticket and cheap and so worth a visit. There is a lovely free aire too and opposite the top museum, his house where he was born, was a derelict house for sale that Geoff and I fell in love with. You would laugh if you are it but if I ever win the lottery that’s where I want to live. You are a month earlier than us but the wild flowers were new droppingly beautiful up there. Just a thought really cos we would have passed it if someone on route didn’t tip us off. Geoff is snowboarding in France this week leaving me with the school runs and a face down to the floor. If I were you I would travel for the rest of your lives, there is no comparison being back in the daily grind I tell you x

        • We have done the first two thermal baths this afternoon, off to Elba today for a few days then we will do Siena, Chianti Florence and Vinci so busy, did you guy do Croatia?

        • Yep you sound like you are having a busy time but make the most of it while it’s on your doorstep. We did Croatia, crossed from Bari to Dubrovnik on overnight ferry. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before, extremely beautiful and amazingly good roads but no wild camping, campsites only. We made the mistake of trying to see everything and not allowing ourselves to spend long enough in any one spot to really appreciate it. In hindsight would book a couple of lovely sites and enjoy the relaxation and walking etc. The Plitvich falls were outstanding although busy and I had my phone stolen there so don’t put anything down. Also the wine peninsula by Dubrovnik was great. Will look up name of campsite of you want a recommendation. It has the best toilet casette cleaning service you will ever see! Oh and take some empty plastic bottles as they sell wine by the litre to take with you for abot 2 euros! Weather was against us sadly though x

          • We are going to Split as we are further up Italy now and visited Dubrovnik before. Any tips welcome, we will see if your house has been sold in Vinci.

        • Just gone back through my blog. Do you have access to it cos you could look up bits here and there if you need to? The Peljesac peninsula was the wine area.Nevio campsite was the really smart one. From there we drove nearly 5 hrs to Split so I doubt you would want to go back that far. We used Satin campsite 5km from Split as a base for Zadar too. Swear he’s a whole street of icecream shops; don’t miss the mojito flavour! Also had a sea organ which is interesting. Win European city of the year last year but we felt there were far more deserving places. A Croatian lady in Italy told us not to miss Razanak a tiny village where her mother was from, near Zadar. She said it had the most beautiful view in the world but does law we couldn’t see our hand in front of our face through the for. Nin is supposed to be stunning but we didn’t get there and Krk came highly recommended as the prettiest island to visit but again the weather plagued us. When we drove back out of Croatia to Italy we passed briefly through Slovenia and wished we had time to spend there. It looked gorgeous and the people seemed lovely x

        • Not sure if this posted the first time so trying again and hope you don’t get it twice! Just gone back through my blog. Do you have access to it cos you could look up bits here and there if you need to? The Peljesac peninsula was the wine area.Nevio campsite was the really smart one. From there we drove nearly 5 hrs to Split so I doubt you would want to go back that far. We used Satin campsite 5km from Split as a base for Zadar too. Swear he’s a whole street of icecream shops; don’t miss the mojito flavour! Also had a sea organ which is interesting. Win European city of the year last year but we felt there were far more deserving places. A Croatian lady in Italy told us not to miss Razanak a tiny village where her mother was from, near Zadar. She said it had the most beautiful view in the world but does law we couldn’t see our hand in front of our face through the for. Nin is supposed to be stunning but we didn’t get there and Krk came highly recommended as the prettiest island to visit but again the weather plagued us. When we drove back out of Croatia to Italy we passed briefly through Slovenia and wished we had time to spend there. It looked gorgeous and the people seemed lovely x

          • Lesley we have slowed down a lot here in Croatia recommend you come back. Nin fab Pag awesome Krka amazing and we have hardly moved up yet. Ferry booked for return to reality. 🙁

      • I’ll get off your case now, Pitigliano I have just discovered is not the bee hive houses, that was Alberobella on the heel of Italy but Pitigliano is just as good and right next to Saturnia . Thought I had better tell you incase you were looking for a funny shapes house! X

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