Before plunging into the urban jungle of Naples, here are some pictures of two more stops on my South Italy swing: the Isle of Capri, and the ancient Greek and Roman ruins of Paestum.
I was primed to hate Capri, with its reputation as a jet-set resort. But, like so many before me, I totally fell for its charms. (It didn’t hurt that the weather was glorious.) Everything operates on an unhurried island logic that’s lost on outsiders, but somehow just works. It’s all very endearing.
To reach the island, rather than being herded onto the overcrowded ferry, I signed up for an all-day excursion on a 10-person private boat. Once you factor in all of the transportation costs, it was only about $25 more than going it alone — and well worth it, considering how much easier it made my visit. It even included a trip through the “Cave of Love,” in the iconic Frangiolini Rocks.
Leaving Capri —and the Amalfi Coast — behind, my last stop before Naples was Paestum. In antiquity, Paestum was first a Greek town, then a Roman one. And today it has three of the best-preserved Greek temples outside of Greece. Ancient sites sometimes leave me cold, but these temples are impressive.
Unlike the more famous ruins at Pompeii (which I also visited on this trip) — surrounded by urban sprawl, congested with cruise passengers, and still wincing in the shadow of a smoldering Vesuvius — Paestum sits alone in a tranquil field. It’s dignified. Pensive. And very, very old.