On the last day of my astronomy conference, the organizers rented a bus and took us on a tour of Pompeii, a quick 40 minute ride from downtown Naples. The ruins were fantastic, in a humbling sort of way, where you are constantly impressed by how long certain architectural designs have been around. Sliding doors? Complicated heated floors for the bath house? Intricately carved ceilings and arches? Brightly colored murals on the walls? I wasn’t quite prepared for just how vast the city is either. You can look down the main streets and see the remnants of shops and houses for as far as the eye can see. The whole city is of course overshadowed by Mt. Vesuvius, a chilling reminder of why Pompeii was deserted in the first place. To add to the drama, dark clouds threatening rain gathered on the horizon during our tour and finally unleashed a downpour just as we were heading back to the bus. Here are some pictures to give you a better idea of the beauty and scope of Pompeii, and as a treat for making it to the end, there is a list of restaurants and shops that Peter and I enjoyed visiting while in Naples.
- Limone: they make their own limoncello in the back of the shop and not only will they give you a tour (including a sniff of a large vat of lemons soaking in alcohol), but you can try a variety of the limoncello flavors. We bought 4 bottles of booze there in total, some limoncello, creamy limoncello, and arugula/walnut liquor (rucola) for drinking on the balcony, as well as a large bottle of limoncello to take home.
- Scaturchio: a pasticceria that sells delicious ministeriale–chocolate medallions filled with a top-secret ganache–and sfogliatelle.
- Il Presidente Pizzaria: the best pizza we had in Naples.
- Pintauro: another pasticceria, this one right at the end of the street of our first hotel. Delicious sfogliatelle and baba.
- Gay Odin: A famous, small chain of gelaterias. The dark chocolate was especially good.
- Cafe Bar Al Professore: on the Piazza Trieste e Trente, great for people-watching. They also have good sfogliatelle and great espresso (and nocciolato).