Italy: from Rome to Positano, a drive down to the Amalfi Coast

A series of posts:  Italy: from Rome to Positano, a drive down to the Amalfi Coast:

Italy: from Rome to Positano, a drive down to the Amalfi Coast:  The Abbey of Montecasino and Herculaneum:

I’d say the Amalfi Coast is right on up there with the top 10 to see before you die!  You’ve got to go.  You’ve got to take your spouse, on a romantic getaway and you’ve got to rent a car and see it for yourself, at your own pace and leisure. That’s what we did!  On our 19th wedding anniversary!  We landed in Rome, rented the car and headed on out straight away, as we didn’t want to waste any of our valuable Italian time.  Of course, we were a bit jet-lagged, so once we got the car and finally figured our way out of the airport, we were off to the open road.  The one main sight to see as you are driving from Rome to Positano is the Abby of Monte Cassino (about 82 miles southeast of Rome). This is totally worth a pit stop, as by this time you will be ready to get out of the car to take a gander and stretch your legs.

Here we are at the steps:  click on each photo to enlarge to get the full view.

From Rome to Positano, the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Abbey At Monte Cassino

The Abbey of Monte Cassino is a monastery built in 529 AD on the top of the hill above the town of Cassino.  It has some amazing views of the the valley below.  And the best part is that there is practically nobody there!  Then it was back in our rented Peugeot and on to Herculaneum.  We opted to go see this mini Pompeii because of time constraints on the way to Positano.  It is right dab smack in the middle of Naples and we enjoyed seeing it.  Herculaneum was buried by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, so it is basically a preserved city from that era.  Look in the picture below, where above the ruins, you can actually see modern day apartments.  It is above because these ruins were buried and then dug out and there are just regular Neapolitans walking around in their neighborhood above with this ancient ruin right in their backyard.

Italy, From Rome to Positano, the Amalfi Coast

Herculaneum, Italy

From Rome to Positano, the Amalfi Coast

Herculaneum Art Italy

From Rome to Positano, the Amalfi Coast

Ercolano, Italy

These photos actually depict art from the walls and floor, tile inlays and the tiled fireplace inside one of the houses.  It is amazing to me that this is so well preserved and that the people of this time were so advanced in their designs, art, and architecture.  *click on the photos for a treat!

We thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and it is actually unbelievable that this ruin is right smack in the middle of Naples, with apartments and condos all around the area.   Upon our exit, we were starving by then and decided, since we needed to get on the road fast to get down to Positano, that we would go for some fast food pizza, especially since pizza’s birthplace is Naples.  Well, we were pleasantly surprised when we found a quick little pizza joint just outside of the parking lot of Scavi di Ercolano called La Terra di Ercole.  After rushing in American style, we realized that this was not the place for fast food pizza even though it looked like that on the outside.  Instead,  they asked us to sit and brought out the white table cloth and offered us a refreshing limoncello, while they began to actually hand make the pizza dough in front of us.  We had to just slow down and go with the flow…and we are so glad we did,  as it was memorable pizza, to say the least!

Italy, From Rome to Positano, the Amalfi Coast

Herculaneum or “Scavi di Ercolano” in Italiano

Then it was on to a quick exit of Naples, and back on the road to Positano.  One quick tip about renting a car and driving in Italy from an American perspective:  We skip the extra insurance and just rent with a credit card that has primary auto insurance (we figure the chance of anything happening is slim).  We usually get a GPS with the car if we are going to be getting out of a city, as the city can be hard to get around in.  You won’t need one if, of course, you have an international phone.  Always pay attention to the CONTROL overhead, drive-thru signs on the freeway.  Apparently, there are lots of speed traps on the roads of Italy and every time you go thru one of these CONTROL signs, you will hear a little ding sound coming from your car.  This is some kind of signal that a contracted company knows who you are based on your rental agreement (or who the owner of the car is).  Why does it matter you ask?  Well, because the rental company will give your information to the Italian Government, that is why it matters!  and then for years, you will be receiving a ticket from the Italian Government.  One additional tip is to use a credit card to rent the card that has no foreign transaction fees, primary auto insurance and then just cancel it when you get home so that the Italian Government doesn’t charge your $190 Euro fee on the card, since it has been canceled!  Hint Hint

Up Next:  Arrival into Positano (Part 1)


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  4. Marian December 18, 2012 at 11:52 am

    My family came from San Miguel – there names were di Placito (di Pladito?)

    • admin December 18, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Marian, what a wonderful area to be from. I hope you love San Miguel as much as I do!

  5. Toni LaRose-Gerken October 3, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I would like information on planning a trip to Rome, then going to both Monte Casino where my Mother was from & then Pescara where my father was from & then also to the Amalfo Coast. I have looked at this site quickly so I presume you are a travel agent. My phone number is 843-xxx-xxxx
    I don’t do all of this Social Media stuff!

    • Cacinda Maloney October 3, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      Hi Toni! No, I am not a travel agent, but a travel writer, blogger and social media influencer… so I don’t plan trips for others, wish I could help you…good luck.

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