Italy was one of the first countries I visited in Europe. I traveled there with friends after a spring term at Oxford, and so began my love affair with the Mediterranean.
This December, I returned to Italy for the first time in over a decade. I wanted to explore the southern half of the country, drawn by its Greek roots and by Elena Ferrante’s depiction of Naples in her Neapolitan novels. Italian food remained in my memory as the best in the world. On this trip, we booked two weeks in the south: a week in Naples and the Amalfi Coast and a week-long road trip through Sicily.
Highlights of the trip: a Culinary Backstreets food tour through the bustling streets and markets of Naples, ending with three Neapolitan pizzas at the world famous Sorbillo’s. Arriving at a breathtaking panoramic view of Positano at the end of Sentiero degli Dei, which winds through the Amalfi Coast. Walking through the Temple of Neptune at Paestum, dwarfed by its monumental Doric columns.
Savoring the delicious crunch of sugar crystals in Modica chocolate for the first time. Climbing up to Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Scale to see day break over the Baroque town of Ragusa Ibla. Watching red light from the setting sun strike the Temple of Concordia and picking up sweets from a convent of Cistercian nuns in Agrigento the next morning. High on charm, the South–especially parts of Sicily–still felt untouched, rooted in long traditions.
Octopus appetizer from Casamare in Salerno
Mandarin and almond granita with fresh cream from BamBar in Taormina
Taormina from the balcony of the Belmond with Mount Etna smoking in the distance
Daylight breaks over Ragusa Ibla, a Baroque town and UNESCO World Heritage Site
Sunset at the Tempio della Concordia, the largest and best-preserved Doric temple in Sicily, in the Valle dei Templi in Agrigento, Sicily