Country Review & Recommendations: Italy (South)

My Southern Italy Review

As mentioned last time, I’ve decided to chop my review and recommendations for Italy into two parts – Northern and Southern Italy – as I found there was too much content (and photos) to cram everything into one post. So, from Rome, I have decided to draw an imaginary line diagonally across Italy, so that cities like: Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, etc. were discussed in my last post, on Northern Italy and all other cities below it, like: Rome, Assisi, Naples, etc. fall under this post, on Southern Italy.

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Views of Rome from the Gianicolo hill (2013)

So because this post is all about Southern Italy, it will also include elements from two other trips that I have done in Italy. In the summer of 2013, when my mom and I did an organized trip of Italy, the Southern Italian cities we visited included: Rome, Naples, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Sorrento, Perugia and Assisi. As mentioned, it was a wonderful trip, that not only allowed me to see more of Italy, which I love, but also to eat all of the pasta and pizza my heart could desire in three weeks.

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Assisi (2013)

If we go further back in the past, the first time I went to Italy was in 2011, more specifically to the Southern city of Rome. Italy is one of my favorite countries and I would go back any day. Italy is a beautiful country with so many things to do, see and eat, which is why I had to split the review into two parts. I also decided to structure things differently than my other posts and to organize things by city/town, instead of listing all of the sights that should be seen (because there are too many!).

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Piazza Navona (Rome, 2013)

My Southern Italy Recommendations

8. Castellammare di Stabia

I chose to include Castellammare di Stabia, because it served as our base in Southern Italy and offered stunning views and sunsets. It was a good base to be able to visit all the sites we saw, but if I were to do it again, I would have stayed in the amazing Amalfi Coast.

7. Pompeii

Pompeii definitely fits under the category of “must do’s” if you’re in the area. My only issue with visiting sites like Pompeii is that yes, it can be very educational, but at the end of the day, there isn’t much to see as it’s ruins. Once you’ve seen other sites of ruins (which I had before) it all kind of amounts to the same.

6. Sorrento 

We stopped in Sorrento on our way back from Capri, for a cliffside dinner and a traditional folk Italian show (that I don’t particularly care to remember). The way Sorrento is set up is pretty interesting, as you can see from the photos.

5. Vatican City

I chose to put the Vatican City on it’s own, even though it is in the city of Rome, because it is, after all, a city-state. There are many “must do’s” in the Vatican City, like: St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. Personally, I’ve been to Rome twice and to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel just once – and once was good enough for me. The Sistine Chapel is one of those “must do’s” if you visit Rome, but unless you’re big on art and religion, one visit will suffice. There is also the Castel Sant’ Angelo and the Tiber River very close by.

4. Assisi 

While on a three week tour of Italy, I had the opportunity to visit the region of Umbria for the first time. Assisi is a very quaint hill town, with the majestic Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi overlooking its surroundings. It was very beautiful and different than other Italian cities I had seen thus far.

 3. Amalfi Coast

My only complaint about the Amalfi Coast is that we didn’t spend enough time there. The coast is filled with beautiful villages built on the sides of the mountain and stunning beaches.

2. Capri

While in the South of Italy, we took a day trip to the luxurious island of Capri. In Capri, take the sketchy cable car up the mountain for views over the island and visit Villa San Michele (for more views). Take the time to walk around the boutique filled streets and take in all of the sights.

1. Rome

The first time I visited Rome, I thought it was a nice city but I didn’t fully appreciate it’s beauty. The second time around, I definitely fell in love. Rome is a beautiful, historical and culturally rich city, with many sights to see and things to do. An obvious one would be the Colosseum, which is actually called the Flavian Amphitheatre. If you want to learn more about this site, get a guide and buy a ticket to explore the inside. Right next door there is also the Roman Forum, a site of ancient Roman ruins. One of my favorite things to do when I visit a city is to walk around. If this suits you, you can easily start off at the Spanish Steps, making your way to the beautiful Trevi Fountain, then the Pantheon and finishing off at Piazza Navona. At the fountain, make sure to throw in a coin and make a wish! Piazza Navona, a beautiful main square, is perfect for people watching (if that’s your thing). Another one of my favorites when I visit a city, is to go to a lookout point and get the best views of the city. In Rome, there are a few, but I’ve been to Gianicolo (or Janiculum), the hill that offers the best views of the city.

UP NEXT: can’t wait to share my foodie adventures in Italy!! So much pasta and pizza to come!

*All photos are my own (or taken by someone with my device, or of me)

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