We got up EXCEPTIONALLY early to start our tour to the Amalfi coast & Pompeii.

The tour was taken on three minivans with 6-8 passengers each. At first, I wondered why they didn’t take one bus instead of three vans. But I figured it out soon enough.

We rode for about 3 hours down to the Amalfi coast. What gorgeous views! Quite a few celebrities have homes in this area & our guide told us that the standard home sells for millions of dollars.

The roads down to the coast are incredibly narrow and twisty. If a bus is coming around a corner from the opposite direction, other vehicles need to stop and pull over to let it pass. Buses can’t even reach some of the lower roads. (Hence the use of vans.)

We were able to take a few pictures at one stop, wander through Amalfi for a bit, and had lunch at Positano. The views were all incredible. Houses built into the sides of cliffs overlooking beautiful water. No wonder the rich and famous make this their vacation homes!

After lunch, we headed for Pompeii. You can get more info from Wikipedia than I can provide, but we really liked it. We saw examples of homes, shops, bakeries, and (Lisa’s favorite) brothels. It seems that Pompeii was the Las Vegas of its time. It was the last port before Rome, and merchants and sailors would stop to relax and enjoy themselves. Vesuvius is about 7 miles away. The explosion (which they can pinpoint to the day and time), rained soot & rocks for three days. The people weren’t killed by lava (as I had always thought), but by the poisonous gases and the 15 feet of ash and pumice that buried the city. The city remained buried for over 1500 years. Our tour guide, Gaetano Manfredi,¬†was great, one of Rick Steves’ favorites!

After Pompeii, we headed back to the hotel on another 3 hour ride. We weren’t interested in going out, so we just had pizza at the restaurant next to the hotel. We must have just gotten lucky, because it was the best pizza we’ve had since being in Italy! Nothing fancy (just tomato sauce, cheese, and prosciutto), but all the ingredients were out-of-this-world delicious.

By the time we got back to our room, we’d been gone for 16-17 hours. A long day, but really interesting and definitely worth it!