Italy 1999

Thursday, November 11th

Peter & Sue joined Scott & Christine at the Philadelphia Airport, and departed for Naples through Paris for the start of our trip.
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Friday 12th

Despite assurances that there was enough time for the connection, we had to run for the Naples flight. Our checked baggage was not so lucky so we proceeded with our carry-on bags.

At the Naples Airport we rented a small Citroen and insured it well! Naples is crowded and chaotic to foreigners, so we left as soon as possible.

We drove to Positano on the scenic, narrow, and winding Route 163, and walked down the cobbled streets to our hotel, the Covo dei Saraceni. This is the view from our room's balcony.

[Some of the pictures, like this one, can be clicked to see them in more detail.]

Saturday 13th

We decided to explore the Amalfi coast and discovered the meaning of three quick horn blasts from a tunnel. It comes from a large "SITA" bus that doesn't intend to stop.

Here we are with our Citroen on the road approaching Amalfi. We are stopped at one of the rare spots with wide lanes, ample shoulders, and no parked cars.

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Click for full-size image   After taking a detour that took us straight up the mountainside, we arrived in the town of Ravello. This is the view from one of its famous gardens of the Villa Cimbrone.

Back at the hotel we were re-united with our checked baggage, which had doubtless had its own adventure.


Sunday 14th

After an early start, we drove to Pompeii. The weather was perfect and the crowds were light, being late in the tourist season. Here we are walking along one of the sidewalks, with an ancient crosswalk in the foreground. Note the tracks worn into the stone by ancient carts and chariots.

The scale and the good condition of the ruins amazed us all.

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Click for full-size image   Next we drove as high as possible on the volcano Vesuvius, and hiked for about 20 minutes to reach the top and look in the crater. The crater appeared to be steaming, but experts say it is just swirling mist.


Monday 15th

The weather was mostly bad, but there were sunny periods so we decided to set out. Here is the only street in Positano that allows cars, and Route 163 above.

We drove to the Emerald Grotto, but the sea was too rough to go inside so instead we had espresso doppios (doubles) and cappuccinos. We then drove to Sorrento and explored while waiting for the ferry to Capri.

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  The weather continued rainy in Capri, but we rode the funicular to the top and explored anyhow. We then had a long lunch in a Pizzeria to wait for the sun. Unfortunately it did not cooperate for long.


Tuesday 16th

On our last day in Positano we explored the beaches, collecting tumbled tile fragments, and did some shopping. Here is Peter fueling up on an espresso doppio before shopping. Positano is known for hand painted ceramics, which we actually managed to get home without breaking.

Wednesday 17th

We drove to the station in Naples, returned the Citroen after a U-turn over a concrete median, and boarded a train for Florence, where Sue and Christine's company was holding its annual sales incentive meeting. The kick-off dinner was in the evening.
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Thursday 18th

We took a walking tour of Florence, covering all the major sights, like the Duomo, the Medici Chapel, and the Ponte Vecchio bridge. In the evening we had a Renaissance costume party at a private palace. Peter & Scott looked great in tights!

Friday 19th

We took a bus to Siena for another walking tour. Here is the facade of the recently restored Duomo. It was freezing. What happened to warm, sunny Italy?


Saturday 20th

We spent the day shopping in Florence, buying linens and leather goods, looking at jewelry, and of course having espresso doppios and cappuccinos.

This is the statue of Dante on the Piazza Santa Croce. The scaffolding and cranes were common on historical structures all over Italy in preparation for Millennium celebrations.


  On Saturday evening we had a formal awards dinner at the Pitti Palace, followed by dancing at the Grand Hotel. Here are Sherrie, Brent, Christine, and Sue.

President Clinton was staying in our hotel (Excelsior). The Secret Service kept us at a distance, but here he is waving before he gets in the elevator.
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Sunday 21th

Scott & Christine returned through London.

Peter & Sue (and 14 others in our party) had a flight to Munich canceled, and stayed in Florence for an extra day, visiting the Uffizi gallery. This is a view from one of the windows of the Arno river, still muddy from an earlier storm.


Monday 22th

Peter and Sue had the same flight out of Florence canceled again. This time they rented a little Lancia and drove to Rome, for a better chance of getting home the next day. Here is Peter in front of the Coliseum in Rome.

Tuesday 23th

Peter & Sue finally made their flight and returned to the USA.

Thanks to our traveling companions and to Christine and Sue's company for making this a great trip.
See the web page indexing all Italy 1999 Proofs.
Images were taken with a Kodak DC280 digital camera, and have been reduced in size for the web.