Exploring Italy: Sightseeing

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Photo by Alana Gomez

Communications junior Alana Gomez (left) stands alongside her sister in front of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

While staying in the small town of Aquilonia, Italy, where most locations are more than three hours away, it’s hard to get around and visit the beautiful, historical sites that tourists travel halfway around the world to see. However, this did not stop my sister, mother and I from touring what we could of this magnificent country. In just two short weeks, we traveled to Rome, Capri, the Reggia di Caserta, the Costiera Amalfitana and Pompeii. All of which were between two and four hours from Aquilonia.

The first time we got out of Aquilonia, and to a tourist attraction, was our trip to Pompeii. This was also the first time I experienced just how hot the Italian summers are. This was not helped at all by the fact that we had to wait two hours in the heat for the attraction to open because we happened to visit on the day the workers were on a strike. However, when the site finally did open, my two sisters, mother and I tromped around the ruins of Pompeii, whilst listening to my uncle as he acted as our tour guide around the ancient city.

We also traveled to the Reggia di Caserta and the Costiera Amalfitana. The Reggia di Caserta, translated in English, is the Royal Palace at Caserta. It is an 18th-century palace visited by many tourists for its elegant interior and wondrous gardens displaying 18th-century statues and ancient Greek scenes. While driving by the Costiera Amalfitana, or the Amalfi Coast, our car passed up and down the winding roads of the mountains, fully allowing us to appreciate the beauty of the coast.

Taking a four hour bus ride to Rome was a last minute decision for my family. We debated whether traveling that far, and waking up as early as five in the morning, would be worth it. After stepping off of the metro and climbing the stairs that led up to the Coliseum , we couldn’t help but just stare in awe at the ruins. Starting off with something as beautiful and ancient as the Coliseum seemed hard to top, but our day in the city of Rome continuously became more exciting the further we toured. Soon after leaving the Coliseum, we went to the Spanish Plaza, where we walked on the Spanish steps, and later visited the Basilica Palatina. We ended our day in the Vatican City and were able to see St. Peter’s Basilica.

On our second to last day of our trip in Italy, we visited Capri. Capri, a largely toured island on the Gulf of Naples, Italy, is known for its beautiful ocean view and faraglioni, a coastal rock formation. Here we traveled to the Grotta Azzurra, or “the blue grotto,” which is a cavern in the mountain with water colored a magnificent blue. We also walked through the Augustus Gardens that overlooked the deep blue waters of Capri.

Even with all the sightseeing we did outside of Aquilonia, the small town proved to be a known tourist hub, as well. On our first day there, we visited the ruins of the old town of Aquilonia, Carbonara. The town, which had been functioning since the 1600s, was destroyed due to an earthquake in 1930. Touring the Parco Archeologico Carbonara was just as amazing as when we traveled outside of Aquilonia, as it provided a little piece of history, along with beautiful scenery.