Amalfi Assisi Italy Pompeii Positano Rome Salerno

A Roman Holiday…in Assisi, Pompeii & the Amalfi Coast


Last Updated on March 23, 2018.

Not one much for tradition, I decided on my recent holiday to Rome to do what most tourists on a Roman holiday don’t think of doing.

Leave.

Ciao Rome © The Blonde Gypsy

While I slept 4 out of the 5 nights I was there in the city, by day I was gone like the wind checking out some of the other cool places that are within close proximity to Italy’s capital. Sounds like a sorry excuse for a Roman holiday, I know, but truth be told – it was my second time visiting. The first being 9 years ago when I still traveled with a Rick Steves’ guidebook and a mile-long checklist of mandatory sights to see, so I wasn’t worried about missing anything since I can safely say I have already “done” Rome.

Old School Rome Collage

Another important thing to note about my un-Roman Roman holiday was that I was visiting my best friend who lives there and also happens to have a car.  This made escaping the city significantly easier and mindless for me thanks to her cute little Alfa Romeo and insider knowledge. All I had to do was sit back, relax, and enjoy the rosė (or limoncello) while she navigated the streets and highways of Italia – something that I recommend you also do before I visually navigate you through the places we visited.

 

Assisi

Assisi Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

A day trip to Assisi was our first outing from Rome. Nestled high on a hill in Umbria, this beautiful little town is famous for being the old stomping grounds of Saint Francis (or Francesco), patron saint of animals and the environment, so lots of people visit for religious reasons and such. We just came to party.

Assisi Italy Alleyway © The Blonde Gypsy

Don’t worry. I always try to squeeze in some cultural activities whether I am partying or not during my holidays, so we made sure to hit up all the main sights while we were in town starting with a visit to the Basilica of St. Francis – both the Upper Church and Lower Church, as well as the crypt where he is buried.

Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Since crypts creep me out and I generally try to respect no photography policies inside places of worship, there are no photos of that, but lucky for you, they have installed a webcam in case you are just dying to know what is happening down there at any given moment.

Basilica St. Francis of Assisi Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Basilica courtyard St. Francis of Assisi Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

After we finished at the Basilica, we continued our self-designed, rosé-fuelled walking tour with a trek up to Rocca Maggiore Castle and a stroll past San Rufino Cathedral plus six other churches that I don’t know the names of. We counted nuns and winked at monks. Feasted on black truffle pasta and some ridiculously tasty cannoli.

Assisi is not the most exciting town you will visit in Italy, but perhaps one of the more special ones. It feels like one big open-air museum and you can enjoy some pretty incredible views from lots of spots thanks to its elevated position – just don’t forget a bottle or two of vino, especially for sunset…

The Blonde Gypsy in Assisi Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Sunset in Assisi Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Distance from Rome: 180 km/ ~ 2 hours and 15 minutes

 

Pompeii

Pompeii is actually a pretty popular day trip from Rome, so nothing unusual about ending up there. In fact, it was one of the things on the checklist back in 2005, but wisely my travel companion and I decided to cross it off and spend more time in Rome instead. I say wisely because 1) it shows that already at a young age I was of the travel mindset “quality over quantity” and 2) Pompeii is super boring.

Pompeii Italy 2 © The Blonde Gypsy

Maybe it’s because I don’t have a strong fascination with ancient history, maybe it’s because it’s predictably packed with large tour groups, or maybe, just maybe my aversion to one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions is because I’m fairly convinced the entire thing is one big farce.

At least they were cool enough to put a bar in the center – made the entire experience way more tolerable. Great fun, even.

The Blonde Gypsy Pompeii Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Now, I’m no archaeological expert, but I’ve been to enough historical sites to know if this place is as important as they say it is and everything in there genuine, don’t you think they’d take a bit better care of it? Surely there are safer ways to store 2,000 year old artifacts and bodies than this.

Pompeii is Fake 2 Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Pompeii is Fake 1 Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Pompeii is Fake 3 Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

And surely with all the people passing through on any given day they might have considered roping off some important looking parts so people weren’t free to dispose of their cigarette butts in them (seriously, I don’t know what those holes below were for, but now they are ashtrays). Or even worse, accidentally splash them with their glass of white…

Pompeii is Fake 4Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Are you picking up what I’m putting down? And don’t even get me started on their perversion for decorating the place in dicks and ancient porn…Sorry if the following offends you, but join the club.

Dicks in Pompeii Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Kama Sutra Pompeii Porn Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Dicks in Pompeii 2 Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Dicks in Pompei 3i Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Like, what? I don’t even know, nor do I want to – just add this to the list of why I can’t take this place seriously and wouldn’t recommend bringing small children or blonde gypsies. But hey, sex sells…

The Blonde Gypsy Pompeii Brothel Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

This obviously deserves to be investigated much deeper and quite frankly, I don’t have the time nor the desire to be the one to blow the lid off this scam which has no doubt raked in millions. Is it a coincidence that it’s in the backyard of Naples – one of the meccas of mafia? I think not.

All I am saying is that we don’t always have to believe everything that we read in history books or travel guides…and that sometimes it’s really fun to think up wild conspiracy theories to spread on the internet that are for the most part baseless.

Distance from Rome: 243 km/ ~ 2 1/2 – 3 hours

 

Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast cruisin' - Italy Day Trip from Rome © The Blonde Gypsy

My favorite lil’ excursion and only overnighter was the trip we took down to the Amalfi Coast – a place that I had always wanted to visit but was holding out on since I thought it was mainly a vacation spot reserved for families or people in committed relationships.

Since I’m more likely to adopt a stray unicorn than have either of those in the near future, I decided that was silly thinking and to go for it. As I’ve learned in the past, typically “romantic” places can be just as fun with friends, if not better, so why wait?

Amalfi Italy - Day Trip from Rome © The Blonde Gypsy

While I wouldn’t recommend only one day along the Amalfi Coast as there is so much to see, it is entirely possible to do it if that’s all the time you have. Just make sure you do it right which in my opinion includes not only seeing it by land, but also by water.

From Salerno to Positano, the day was almost too sexy for words and truthfully deserves its own post so just going to leave you with a few more images and a promise that you will see one sometime before 2015.

Blonde Gypsy in Positano Italy - Day Trip from Rome © The Blonde Gypsy

Positano Italy - Day Trip from Rome © The Blonde Gypsy

Huge ass lemons in Positano Italy -Day Trip from Rome © The Blonde Gypsy

Bomb ass seafood pasta in Positano Italy - Day Trip from Rome © The Blonde Gypsy

Positano at dusk - Italy Day Trip from Rome © The Blonde Gypsy

Distance from Rome: 268 km/ ~ 3 hours

 

Rome

The Blonde Gypsy Brown Baggin' it in Roma Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Of course I didn’t go all the way to Rome and not see anything of her – that would have been ridiculous. It’s such a delightful city to stroll around what with all of its historical sites, beautiful green spaces, and liberal open container laws.

Piazza Navonna Rome Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Parthenon Rome Italy Pano © The Blonde Gypsy

Trevi Fountain Rome Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Ancient Rome Italy © The Blonde Gypsy

Nine years later walking the same streets in the same summer month and I found nothing really had changed except for my fashion sense and travel style (thank f*ck for both). Rome itself, though? Well, there’s a reason it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It’s timeless, it’s easy, it’s been visited and written about a billion times over…

It’s not called the Eternal City for nothing and if you’ve never been, I highly recommend spending a decent amount of time exploring it before you think about leaving because there is a lot to see. Just keep in mind that there are some cool places to see nearby if you like the idea of getting away for a day.

The Blonde Gypsy in Rome Italy Colosseum © The Blonde Gypsy

As for my un-Roman holiday in Rome and need to travel on my travels – it may not be traditional, it may not be what most tourists visiting would think to do, it may even sound CRAZY…but it sure was fun. And how I will continue to roll. Eternally.

Special thanks to my girl Melissa (and Dom!) for the great times and being such wonderful hosts to this gypsy. So blessed to have such amazing friends <3

P.S. Anyone else ever done any day exploring away from Rome? I’m already plotting my return.

 

27 Comments

  • Reply
    Emzy
    September 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    The pic of you with the village on the hill behind you is absolutely stunning! Reminds me of Cinque Terre. :) Ah Italy, the country I never found that exciting but all these pictures make me really miss it! When we went interrailing last year I was determined to go to Pompeii because of its fascinating history – luckily I decided to believe people who said that it’s not actually that interesting, saved a lot of travel time and hotness-bearing… One day it would be really cool to go though, just to say I’ve done it.

    • Reply
      Larissa
      September 3, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      That ain’t no village, that’s supersexy Positano where price tags are about the same, if not more than Cinque Terre :) I didn’t find Pompeii interesting at all, I would have rather spent the time drinking limoncello with gangsters in Naples, but I am definitely glad I “did it”.

  • Reply
    Franca
    September 1, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    This makes me a little homesick sometimes I forget how beautiful and charming my home country is or can be. Rome is beautiful indeed but I’m glad you decided to also explore other places. Next time you are in Italy go to Puglia the region where I’m from, I got a feeling you might like it :)

    • Reply
      Larissa
      September 3, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Definitely will! Seems they are working with bloggers quite a bit these days so the name is all over the place. Hopefully next time we can jam on down to Italy’s heel.

  • Reply
    Shaun
    September 2, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Talking about tipping the scales in your favor!

    I skipped Pompeii on my route through Italy and still glad I did so. I had a feeling it was over commercialized and grazie for confirming that. The Amalfi Coast however, stunning. I’d be happy taking in that backdrop and eating fresh fruit and seafood.

    • Reply
      Larissa
      September 3, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      No problemo. The Amalfi Coast…yeaaah. Definitely take your wife/girlfriend/bro – it’s magnificent.

  • Reply
    Ashley
    September 2, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    I had no idea Pompeii was so.. strange? Ha. I loved your take on it!

    • Reply
      Larissa
      September 3, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      The bartender was pouring pretty heavy, but still – it is a little strange if you look at it like none of the travel books or tour guides tell you to. Glad you enjoyed it and Rick Steves can quote me on that.

  • Reply
    Giselle and Cody
    September 3, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    What beautiful old cities. And ancient porn, hahaha, it’s only natural right? Those giant lemons remind us of Limoncello! We look forward to Italy one day.

    • Reply
      Larissa
      September 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Of course, it’s what’s made the world go round. Would highly recommend all places when you finally get there :)

  • Reply
    surfer
    September 7, 2014 at 1:26 am

    you skipped Capri? too bad…

    I lived in Sorrento for a while. I don’t agree about Pompei, but I wasn’t impressed bij the Amalfi coats… different people, different opinions…

    • Reply
      Larissa
      September 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      It was too bad but only so much we could fit in a day. Next time!

  • Reply
    Laura
    September 7, 2014 at 6:08 am

    Such beautiful photos! Rome and the surrounding area is my favorite place on earth.

    • Reply
      Larissa
      September 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      Thank you! It’s certainly gorgeous :)

  • Reply
    Tihana
    September 8, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Lovely photos! I’m off to Italy for the first time ever in two days! :) First stop – Amalfi coast, then Rome, then going up north. Can’t wait!

    Wandering Polka Dot

    • Reply
      Larissa
      September 18, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      Thanks! Hope you are having a wonderful time :)

  • Reply
    Alex
    September 10, 2014 at 8:57 am

    You have some beautiful photos here! I haven’t quite felt the call to Italy yet but this makes the nudge a little stronger :-)

    • Reply
      Larissa
      September 18, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Thank you! The only nudge I had was in the form of a friend there who I really wanted to visit, but after this trip, I’ve decided there are quite a few other spots I’d really like to see so I’m sure I’ll be back for more. So maybe see you there :)

  • Reply
    laura
    November 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    All these places look gorgeous. I really want to visit Pompeii, definitely on my list for next year!

    • Reply
      Larissa
      December 16, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      Have an extra drink at the bar for me then, will ya? :)

  • Reply
    Harsha
    January 5, 2015 at 2:23 am

    Oh yeah great places! I did them in October 2013. Assisi and the Amalfi coast are particularly charming, those pastel colored homes along the slopes all the way down to the coast are beautiful to look at. If you didn’t do Capri that’s a nice one too but a little touristy and flashy because it’s somewhat more famous. Pompeii’s nice – did you get to see the House of Mysteries (: not sure if it’s Herculaneum for that one though? :)?.
    Best, Harsha

    • Reply
      Larissa
      January 13, 2015 at 3:58 am

      Unfortunately I missed that one though the whole thing was a mystery to me. I’ve heard Capri is nice, would still love to go there someday whether it’s covered with tourist and flash or not :)

  • Reply
    Cacabonna
    March 9, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Really good images. when we will see you nude? you looking pretty hot. Especially in that stone room.

    • Reply
      Larissa
      March 10, 2015 at 1:20 am

      Thank you and never. There are plenty of other corners (and blogs) on the internet where you can find that..

  • Reply
    Tony Bruno
    January 13, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Whos the blonde? Shes bellissima!

    • Reply
      Larissa
      March 20, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Seems pretty self explanatory, but grazie!

  • Reply
    Salvatore
    April 9, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful pictures and post I am italian and love france, but let me say sometimes come to italy and write something about my country that is really beautiful.
    I live in positano ( amalfi coast) i am owner of positanolimoservice.com my goal is to let more people know the beauty of italy, positano and the whole Amalfi coast. I just want to say thank you for sharing with people the beauty of my land.

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