Unforgettable: Amalfi seen from a gulet

Unforgettable: Amalfi seen from a gulet

Michael Metcalfe, a core member of the Peter Sommer Travels team, has recently written a guest post for the colleagues at two travel blog sites, Travelspinner and TravelDailyNews. It encapsulates his experience of preparing and guiding our Cruise along the Amalfi Coast around the Bay of Naples, Italy, and underlines why he loves the area.

Here it is.

Name

Michael Metcalfe

Job Title & Company

Senior Tour Consultant & Head of Italian Operations, Peter Sommer Travels. I create, lead and supervise all of our gulet trips, land tours and private holidays in Italy.

Michael Metcalfe

Michael Metcalfe

Brief CV

I joined Peter Sommer Travels in 2009 to develop our tours in Italy and Greece, and to take over the running of our private gulet charter business. Before that I taught Ancient History and Archaeology for 4 years in two Universities in Sicily, and worked on various archaeological projects in the eastern Mediterranean.

Just Back From…

The Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast

Best view

From the Ancient Roman Villa of the Roman Emperor Tiberius (the Villa Jovis) on the eastern tip of Capri. On a clear day you get a stunning panoramic view of the entire Bay of Naples and the brooding menace that is Mount Vesuvius.

Puttanesca

Not the Filetto di Manzo Gratinato but another famous speciality of the Campania region: Pasta Puttanesca (image: Wikimedia Commons)

Dish to die for

‘Filetto di manzo gratinato in crosta di pane alle erbe con carciofi e patate novella’ at the Trattoria da Gemma in Amalfi. A simply divine main course of succulent beef fillet wrapped in a thin potato and herb crust and roasted to perfection. Accompany it with a glass of full-bodied red wine grown on the slopes of Vesuvius, look out over the lively main piazza of the town laid out below the roof-terrace dining area, and you’ll feel as though you are in heaven.

Top Tipple

Limoncello. The various towns and villages dotted around the Bay of Naples and along the AmalfiCoast all produce their own variants of this liqueur, which come in many different hues and strengths. All are worth a sip, especially after a hearty meal!

Best Activity

Cultural heritage second to none: the amphitheatre at Pompeii nearly fully preserved by the volcanic destruction that destroyed that vibrant Roman city in AD 79

Cultural heritage second to none: the amphitheatre at Pompeii nearly fully preserved by the volcanic destruction that destroyed that vibrant Roman city in AD 79

Exploring the vast cultural heritage of the area. From the beautiful islands of Capri and

Ischia to the towns and cities of Baia, Pozzuoli, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Amalfi and Positano, the area is filled with some of the most spectacular and evocative archaeological sites in the world, nearly all of which are handily situated next to some fantastic restaurants and bars. There are very few other places where you can so easily indulge an interest in first class culture, food and fine wine.

Any regrets?

I didn’t have time this trip to climb to the summit of Mount Vesuvius. Visibility is often perfect in the first couple of months of the year, and the views from the summit are simply breathtaking.

Advice to Travellers

The road and motorway network in the area is woefully maintained, and the drivers are …. innovative … in their application of the finer points of the highway code. Travel by public transport where possible or, better yet, tour the area aboard one of Peter Sommer Travels’ elegant, comfortable and traditional wooden gulets.

One of the Roman bathhouses at Baiae (image from Wikimedia Commons)

The “Temple of Mercury” at Baiae. Like the so-called “Temple of Venus”, it is actually a Roman bathhouse (image from Wikimedia Commons)

Memorable Moment

Meeting the owner of a small restaurant in Baia, who turned out not only to be almost single-handedly responsible for saving and protecting the vast underwater archaeological park in the bay there, and turning it into a self-financing visitor attraction, but who also had the keys to the nearby ancient Temple of Venus. Being able to walk alone into that soaring, open-air structure in the dead of night, lit only by the light of the moon in a cloudless sky, was a magical experience.

Read more about Peter Sommer Travels Amalfi Coast tour here.

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