Splashes of Amalfi.

Amalfi

This pathway above the Mediterranean on the Amalfi coast indulged me with the most unforgettable exotic scenery imaginable. I’ve heard it said that the Amalfi coastline is one of the most beautiful in the world. Well, I haven’t seen them all, but I can’t imagine anything more intoxicating than this.

With just two days to spend in Amalfi, I was well on my way to a much-needed rest. I found a cushy chair in the mid-morning sunshine with an ocean view and settled back, inhaling the coffee and croissant smells from the nearby bistro bar. Birds chirped everywhere in their sing-song melody, the ocean breeze carrying it like tinkling chimes. Warm sunshine soothed away my Naples tension.  I was ready for a tranquil retreat.

Ferry Harbor
Ferry Harbor

A busy harbor of ferry boats brought people daily to different locations along the coastline. When I first stepped off the boat into the warm Mediterranean sunshine, it felt wonderful.  Judging by the looks of delight on other faces, I don’t think I enjoyed it alone.

What a View....
What a View….imagine climbing up to your villa!

No, I did not climb up through these villas. It was enough to gaze upon them from a cafe while sipping a cappuccino. I spent a few hours just pondering which villa I would choose to live in. It was a tough choice!

Lightposts twinkle at night, joining with the starlike lights from the tumbling hillside Villas
Sunwashed by day, lightposts twinkle at night, joining with the starry lights from the tumbling hillside Villas
Where would you like to go?
Where would you like to go?

If I could, I would visit every one of these places. Later in the day, as I walked up away from the water, I found winding alleyways full of tiny shops selling anything from homemade jewelry, artwork, paintings, leather work, and ceramics with yellow lemon themes. Small dining restaurants with terraces offering spacious views spotted the shopping districts. Elegant green shade trees canopied some of the walkways, offering a cool respite from the afternoon heat.

Walkway leading up to the shops and restaurants
Walkway leading up to the shops and restaurants–I was looking back toward the ocean when I took this shot
Bright orange unbrellas shade lounging sunbathers
Bright orange umbrellas shade lounging sunbathers

Although not a sunbather by nature, I did soak up some morning sun. Afterward, I found a shady spot and watched the little white boats bob around the harbor.

Looking northward towards Naples. My ferry will take me back around that rocky bend tomorrow.
Looking northward towards Naples–My ferry would take me back around that rocky bend tomorrow.

I discovered that the tower on the right was one of several built by the townsfolk centuries ago as lookouts for pirates who once roamed the coastline.

Dockside with lovely villas above
Dockside with lovely Villas above
My walk along a pathway back toward town and my hotel
My walk along a pathway back toward town and my hotel
Looking up at my hotel. My room is the top left.
Looking up at my hotel–My room is the top left with a balcony
Twilight from my balcony
Twilight from my balcony
Amalfi growing sleepy-looking down below my balcony
Amalfi growing sleepy-looking down below my balcony….The perfect ending to a lovely day
Good Night, Amalfi.....Buon Notte
Good Night, Amalfi…..Buona Notte

Amalfi and Harney Cottage 155

Ostia Antica–Rome’s Ancient Harbor Disrobed

Ostia Antica Old Archway Remains
Ostia Antica Old Archway Remains

Short Video Option At Bottom of Article

Overcast skies outlined the brick rubble of Ostia like moonlight on tombstones. Once a throbbing thoroughfare of trade and business, like Pompeii and Herculaneum, its heartbeat had long since died. Only shadows of the wind sighed and whispered the memory of what was.

Taking a short train ride from Rome, I spent the day walking through the sites, exploring a small museum and lunching at the cafeteria. Situated at the mouth of the Tiber River, Ostia (meaning mouth) was once the main seaport and trading hub of Imperial Rome. Sprawled over 80 acres and hosting a population of 50,000 during its mid second century heyday, it lies a short 20 mile train ride down the Tiber River from Rome. Its grid of narrow streets and ruined structures provide historians a continual archaeological dig.

Ostia was a prosperous and hard-working harbor town 2,000 years ago, but it was abandoned after the fall of Rome and gradually became buried under silt, dust and collapsing buildings. Fortunately, this was beneficial as the silt preserved the ruins from robbery and decay. In fact, because of the infill of silt, Ostia Antica now lies over 2 miles inland from the water.

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Wall Painting Found in the Insula of the Auriges (charioteer) dating from 140’s -170’s AD

What a lot of people don’t know is that Insula, or apartment complexes up to four stories high, were very common residences in Ostia as well as Rome. For example, the Insula of the charioteer was an upscale version, built around a large central courtyard. Secondary courtyards, corridors, internal and external staircases, and several apartments of varying sizes indicate a more elaborate living quarters than usual at the time. The charioteer painting, one of two found in a room off the east portico, gave the complex its name. Some thought exists that the complex was instead the seat of a large sporting association because of the paintings.

Street with Remains of Shops
Market Street with Remains of Shops

Market Arcades were endless. Along many narrow streets were tabernae, single-roomed shops with a mezzanine above where the shopkeepers lived. Staircases between the shops lead to the upper floors.

Mosaic Floor

Several floor mosaics, one of Neptune among his mythical sea creatures, are still intact throughout the complex. They were usually placed inside the many public baths or residences.

Amphitheatre
Amphitheater

Enjoy a summer play or dance performance in the old Amphitheater. Partly restored during the Mussolini era, the amphitheater provides excellent views of the stage and town after climbing to the top row of seats. Acoustics can’t be beat!

Recommended Video of Ostia Antica–

*Ostia Antica, Harbor of Ancient Rome:Portus

For More Information-

*Ostia Antica Official Site

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