Holiday at Hotel Alpha, Sant'Agnello, near Sorrento.
Friday 24th June - Friday 8th July 2011
Home Sorrento Day 1 - 4 Day 5 - 7 Day 11 - 15 Herculaneum Pompeii Villas
Day 8 - Friday 1st July
Today was a rest day. We walked into Sorrento, trying a new short cut we had found; it was a good short cut. We had coffee at Davide's and then went looking for a pharmacy for some insect bite cream. We also bought a birthday card. We tried to find a route to Paestum, south of Salerno, but the tourist information office could not help. With the uncertainty of strike action we dropped the idea. We returned to the hotel by train, the local bus having left 10 mins earlier. This afternoon we have relaxed by the pool and swam. Dinner was normal after the previous night's theatricals. There were new people in as it was a change over day.
Day 9 - Saturday 2nd July
We went to visit some villas today. We travelled by train to Torre Annunziata Oplontis station to go to the Villa di Poppaea. Poppaea was Nero's second wife and the villa is thought to have been her holiday villa. It is a huge building with many rooms. Decoration was superb and much painted plasterwork can still be seen. Many mosaic floors are still in situ. Some of the site is still hidden under later buildings. Much restoration work has been done - roofs added mostly.
The second villa was Villa San Marco near Via Nocera station. We caught a bus from near the station but had to wait ages for it. This again was a large villa and is currently being restored. Some of the villa is open to the public and much decoration can be seen. There are some superb wall paintings and the baths are unusual - a very large metal vessel was installed in the under floor heating for heating water. We had lunch sitting in a peristyle overlooking the garden and water feature.
The third villa was just up the hill from Villa San Marco. Villa di Arianna is actually two villas next to each other on a flat terrace. After the eruption the villas were covered in about 20 metres of pumice and some of it still be seen in places. Also, the area of land up from the villas is still covering buildings. The view across the bay towards Vesuvius was magnificent. In Roman times the sea lapped at the foot of the cliff on which the villas stand, but now it is about a kilometre away. We had a guided tour and were shown over the excavation areas, walking round wheelbarrows, etc. See separate Villas page for details. [Top of Page]
Day 10 - Sunday 3rd July
We went back to Ercolano to visit a Baroque villa and to climb up Mt Vesuvius. We managed to find Villa Compolieto down near the Roman archaeological site. At first we could not find an entrance to the house, only to the garden. There was an unusual circular portico at the garden end of the villa overlooking the garden. Eventually we found someone to ask who seemed surprised he had a couple of paying customers. €6 later we were in the main house looking at the amazing 18th century frescoes and wall paintings. The house was built in 1755-1775 and has had to be restored in recent years. After that we walked back to the rail station to book a ride on the Vesuvius Express - a mini bus service to the car park on Mt Vesuvius. Having been dropped off with 2 other parties, we trudged up the hill to the crater. We had a sandwich for lunch sitting on a bench near the summit. We returned to the hotel via an ice cream and lounged by the pool until dinner.
Villa Compolieto near to Ercolano Scavi was built between 1755 and 1775. The ground floor is essentially a Porte-Cochere . At the rear of the villa, overlooking the garden is an unusual circular peristyle or loggia. The rooms on the piano nobile or first floor are all richly decorated with frescoes and paintings, both to wall and to ceilings.
There is not too much furniture in the villa, but what is there is period and richly decorated.
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