Relyance Bank Destination Club members recently traveled to Rome, the “Eternal City” and the Amalfi Coast for 10 days, according to a news release.
After getting to Rome, the group set off for the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, two of the “must see” places in the city.
The Spanish Steps were built in order to link the Trinita dei Monti Church that was under the patronage of the King of France, with the Piazza di Spagna below. The tradition, of the Spanish Steps as a meeting place, has lived on, according to the release.
Trevi Fountain is considered a Baroque masterpiece and is one of the most famous fountains in the world. Legend states that a coin thrown into the fountain will ensure a return to Rome.
Also, the group departed for the Vatican. Vatican City is an independent city state located in the heart of Rome and is the Centre of authority over the Roman Catholic Church.
They visited St. Peter’s, Italy’s largest, richest and most spectacular basilica. Its lavish interior contains many spectacular works of art, including three of Italy’s most celebrated masterpieces: Michelangelo’s Pieta, his soaring dome and Bernini’s 29m-high baldachin over the papal altar which sits on the site of St. Peter’s grave, according to the release.
They visited the Sistine Chapel, where the most important artworks are the frescoes by Michelangelo on the ceiling and on the west wall. The ceiling depicts The Creation of Adam and incidents and personages from the Old Testament and the west wall is a fresco of The Last Judgement.
They also toured the Vatican Museums where they saw works from the immense collection of art and sculpture amassed by popes throughout the centuries. They later had a guided tour of some of the famous sites of Rome including the Baths of Caracalla, the legendary Aventine and Palatine Hills, the ancient Circus Maximus and the Arch of Constantine.
Another day, they departed for Montecassino Abbey. Perched at the top of a mountain overlooking Cassino, this monastery was established by Saint Benedict 1,500 years ago. The monastery with its rich history includes an ornate chapel, peaceful courtyards and a fascination museum.
They next visited a cameo factory where they learned the art to work and produce Cameos and Coral jewelry.
Later they arrived at the Lloyds Baia Hotel on the Amalfi Coast for the next five nights in Vietri, known for its ceramics, where they had a panoramic cliff-top setting above a private beach.
The travelers began the next day exploring the poplar and charming seaside resort town of Sorrento. Then the group took in the amazing views on an Amalfi Coast drive before arriving in one of Italy’s most spectacular destinations, Amalfi. They explored the seaside town before continuing to Minori, where they learned more about the local specialty, limoncello and sampled different varieties.
The next day they visited the Tenuta Vannulo, an organic farmstead owned by the Vannulo family since 1988 and one of the few 100% organic mozzarella farms in the world.
The Vannulo believe that happy buffaloes make better and tastier milk. With that in mind, their 600, half-ton, black water buffaloes live a charmed life, lounging on rubber mattresses, munching on organic hay, taking soft showers and soothed by classical and jazz music.
Next, the group visited Paestum, a major ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in southern Italy.
The ruins of Paestum are famous for their three ancient Greek temples in the Doric order, dating from about 600 to 450 BC. They are some of the best-preserved Greek temples outside of Greece. The city walls and amphitheater are largely intact, and the bottom of the walls of many other structures remain, as well as paved roads. The club enjoyed dinner at a popular local restaurant before calling it a day.
The next morning, they embarked from the port of Salerno on the sparkling Bay of Naples, past hill towns, colorful homes, lush gardens and architectural marvels on the dramatic Amalfi Coast to the charming Isle of Capri. They enjoyed a locally guided minibus tour followed by a guided walking tour with some of the best views of the island.
That evening, the group toured Salerno by night. Salerno is a lively cultural center and an interesting destination, especially at Christmas time, when the whole city glitters.
The Villa Comunale (city public gardens) was inspired by the Zoo. Large, luminous animals of all kinds seem to come to life in lights by the waterfront. After shopping and exploring the Christmas markets and all the festivities, the group ended the evening with dinner at the Taverna Santa Maria de Domno.
The group was excited to experience the excavated ruins of Pompeii at the foothill of Mount Vesuvius the next morning. Mount Vesuvius, an active volcano near the Bay of Naples in Italy, has erupted more than 50 times.
At the foot of Mount Vesuvius, they stopped at a local winery to savor the famous Lacryma Christo “Tears of Christ” wines. Archaeologists have discovered this wine is the nearest equivalent to wine drunk by the Ancient Romans. The Destination club enjoyed a typical, festive Neapolitan lunch paired with the famous wines.
The next morning, they headed to colorful and vibrant Naples, the third largest city in Italy. There they toured the fascinating National Archaeological Museum where they saw the works of art from Greek, Roman and Renaissance times, furnishing and other artifacts from nearby Pompeii.
The tour came to an end with their last night in Rome to join their fellow travelers for dinner and salute to the completion of a marvelous visit to Italy.
The Destination Club members and guests enjoying this trip to Italy were Kim Coker, Beth and Ricky Cook, Amanda and Tony Menotti, Kay Garrison, JoAnn Ruggeri, Linda DeMint, Becky Streeter, Patti Brady, Ann Neeley, Nita McBee, Myra Wilson, Betty and Carter Taylor, Rachel Taylor, Guy Richardson, Kathy Cunningham, Jo Stanfield, Pat Bethea, and Beth Doughty.
Cindy Cullins, Destination Club director, reminded the group that there are just a few spaces left on the spectacular 12-day Cruise tour in August to the Ultimate Scandinavian Capitals.