DATE: Thursday 13 July, 1995

PLACE: Rome to Pompeii


To Pompeii and Casserta

REMARKS: So that was Roma!?

Breakfast and check-out. Load the car, set off: and immediately we're lost! We circulate, experiment, try, try, and try again. Eventually the airport is a lure and we follow the signs.

A bank to cash traveler's cheques is interesting: entrance via a one-person tube which encloses the victim before admitting you to the interior. And then they couldn't change the money (I think the teller was blaming the computer being down, but I couldn't tell for certain). We end up at the airport where the exchange is made, then back onto the Reccordo Annulare and (gulp) the toll-gate at the entrance to the autostrada.

An impatient follower gets us our ticket and we're off.

250+ kilometres at 120-140 kph. Long straight stretches (2-5 kms), 3 lanes, and at times frightening speeds of other cars. However the behaviour is impeccable. Advance warnings and progress points are frequent, no hoardings to distract, a brilliant smooth surface, and service bays comprehensive.

13,000 lire, Rome to Naples.

Napoli looks a mess. Jumbled, cluttered, and industrially dirty. Thank heavens we're just passing through on the motorway. The famed Bay of Naples is invisible behind a cloud.

However we have passed and noted Monte Cassino (the strategic value and prominence is immediately obvious), and Vesuvius (obscured by the hazy cloud). Pompeii is an easy find.

Touts immediately direct us to a supervised car-park (wanted) and a buggy-ride (not wanted). Refreshed we enter.

Immediately the extent of the city and the excavations are evident. Clearly a populous city.

The heat is oppressive and walking tiring. Desiree, however, is in her element It may not be Greek, but it is 'classical'. Hither and yon she leads us: the Forum, the Theatre, the Necropoli (I decline the diversion), the street with licentious frescoes (invisible).

Well laid-out, with clear streets etc. There are even drinking fountains (as at the Coliseum), but the streets are 'blocked' with traffic barriers (odd in that time, as they could well be passable, being boulders with gaps between). I note, again, the flat bricks.

Four hours are spent, than have a late afternoon tea to the strains of a full-blooded Italian family argument: daughter (teenage) vs Mother, and sundry males who may or may not be related.

Destination next: Casserta. North of Naples, recommended to us by the Manager of the Hotel Alimandi.

A minor diversion (a turn in error) takes us into a VERY traditional Italian rural village of narrow cobbled streets and a slow progress behind a peasant's horse and cart. Just amazing; but no hotel to be seen.

Restored to the routeway, we find Casserta proper. We are dazzled by a vista which culminates in a Palace glowing pink in the evening sun at the end of the road we're on.

First tries at hotels too dubious (separate rooms) or expensive. Desiree strikes gold: 2 rooms, 4 beds, breakfast, 160,000 lire. Very modern, aria condizionata, and elegant design. We're sold.

Dinner at Ristorante Soletti found by walking and choosing. Lovely meal - kids win over the staff: Pastries to go on the way home and into bed - at last!






Monte Cassino





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Monte Cassino





Maps & Aerial Photos

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