Mia Goes M.I.A. The Amalfi Coast

20840616_10213699571099497_4873159854700485860_nThis summer I had the chance to visit the Amalfi Coast, a magical coastline in south Italy. It is hard to put into words just how beautiful the Amalfi Coast truly is but I will try my best. Close your eyes and imagine a place filled with colour, colourful homes and buildings that climb up into the green mountains. Then imagine below the cliffs is the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean, so clean, and clear, and welcoming. Now picture quaint little coffee shops and restaurants that line a narrow road, the only road that gets you in and out of the small towns. Let’s focus on that road for a second, so many twists and turns that unveil a new part of the coast that was just as beautiful as the last. Yes, the Amalfi Coast is truly beautiful and it is a must see. While I only spent two days in the area (which is not nearly enough), I had a chance to see, discover, and do so much and here are just a few of my recommendations when in the Amalfi Coast.

Drive 

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We arrived in Naples and from there we rented a car to drive to Positano, the town along the coast that we decided to stay in. To be honest with you the drive was a little scary. The roads are so narrow and with so many twists and turns, you never know what is behind the next corner, but it offers some insanely beautiful views. I am glad I didn’t gave to get behind the wheel, but if you are a confident drive and ok with navigating tight squeezes, then I definitely recommend driving the coast. As I mentioned the views on the side of the cliff of the villages and the ocean along the way are spectacular. Just make sure to rent a small car!

A Day Trip to Capri 

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We decided to take a boat trip out to Capri with Blue Star Positano and we really had an amazing experience. Now as I said this is a day trip and takes several hours, but it is so worth it. We started the day heading out to Capri with a stop at the White and Green grotto. Our captain, Pepe, was so informative telling us about each stop and showing us what makes each grotto unique. We then stopped for a little swim break and Pepe served us some prosecco and wine. Once at Capri, we had some free time to explore the island It was a little expensive for my taste but worth a stop.

On the way back I was a little disappointed because the line to the famous Blue Grotto was more than an hour wait, but our captain Pepe was to the rescue. He took us to his “secret” blue Grotto where you don’t wait or pay a dime. It was a beautiful hidden gem. Once back on the boat, our trip was capped off with some homemade limoncello.

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Relax on the Beach 

The beach in Positano can get quite crowded but it is worth checking out the local shops and markets that surround the area. However, there are a few more private beaches that are less crowded near by.

We decided to walk down to the beach at dusk on our first night in town. As it turns out it was actually a national holiday and we were treated to an amazing firework show.

 

Mamma Mia, Indulge in some Pizza 

Naples, which is just a short hour drive from Positano happens to be the birth place of pizza. Because of the close proximity, and the fact that you are in Italy after all, there are some delicious homemade pizza spots in the area. We decided to make it our mission to eat as much local pizza as possible. My favourite spot was this restaurant called Il Capitano. It is a family owned restaurant that offers some incredible views of Positano and some incredibly fresh and delicious pizzas.

Take a Hike 

Make sure to bring some walking shoes when you visit the area because there are plenty of stairs to climb. But the most spectacular walk of all happens to be the Path of the Gods. This hike takes you  to the highest summit of the Sorrento Peninsula known as the “Sant’Angelo a Tre Pizzi.” Along the way you will find spectacular views of the cliffs and the water below.

Fun fact: The path is still used by farmers and shepherds as it reaches old vineyards on the mountain.

Even if you don’t make it to this hike, just talking a walk around town will guarantee you some amazing views and some instagram worthy pictures.

 

Treat Yourself 

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It is not every day that you get to visit a Michelin Star restaurant, so we decided to treat ourselves. We visited Zass, about a 20-minute drive from Positano. The overall experience was incredible. From the service, to the food, to the views, it exceeded all expectations. It was an amazing way to finish our trip.

The Amalfi Coast is a magical and beautiful place that you need to see to believe. It is filled with towns to explore, beaches to uncover, and pizza to eat. I hope that some of my recommendations helps ensure you have the perfect trip to this perfect place.

Mia goes M.I.A. Ancient Rome

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 3.37.17 PMWhen I walked down the streets of Rome, I couldn’t help but imagine the history of the ancient world that once called these roads home. More than 2,000 years ago Ancient Rome was one of the most powerful cities in the world. A city controlled by emperors, watched over by gods, protected by gladiators. Taking a walk through the streets of modern day Rome is almost like taking a walk back in time.

In a city with so much history there is a lesson to learn at every turn and so I decided to join a City Wonders tour to discover as much of these ancient wonders as possible.

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The tour took me through the walls of the Vatican, where the art of Michelangelo truly takes your breath away. Shivers were sent down my spine as I looked up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The colours and detail that were painted thousands of years ago remain intact and vibrant to this day.

I then walked from the Vatican to St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world and another true masterpiece. The floors covered in beautiful marble, the walls decorated with priceless sculptures, and there in the centre the most astounding chapel. The ceiling here is so high it can actual fit the entire Statue of Liberty. It is a sacred place, where only the Pope himself is allowed to pray because below these floors lies the burial site of Peter himself.

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I then traveled even further back in time as I stepped into the Colosseum walls. The massive stadium which housed 65,000 Romans took only eight years to build. While most of the building has been lost in time, it was once a grand stadium decorated with life size statues and covered in marble seats. Where gladiators would fight beasts and crowds would watch in amazement. As a sports journalist trying to picture this time was interesting for me, since this is where my industry technically started although I do not believe they had any sideline reporters back then.

The tour finished in the Roman Forum. I walked through what was left of the grand palace, past the homes of gods, and even laid eyes upon what was left of the memorial marking the spot where Julius Caesar was cremated. It was during this part of the tour that my guide mentioned something truly amazing, that this is just the part of the ancient world left on the surface.

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“Rome is like a lasagna”. Those were his exact words. Instead of tearing down the old, they would just build the new on top, meaning that the majority of ancient Rome is still hidden below the surface. In fact, only 6% of Rome has been excavated and a whole world still waiting to be discovered.

With new homes and buildings on the surface, excavating the area has become a lot harder, but with archaeological advancements there is hope that more of the past will be uncovered.

As I walked back to my hotel I couldn’t help but wonder what was laying underneath me. Was it beautiful sculptures? Was it pieces of the ancient palaces? Was it stunning marble floors from old homes? The truth is, these questions may never be answered. The truth is the ancient past of Rome may remain in the past forever.

 

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