|Caroline & Richard, Villa San Marco|
by Caroline Lawrence
We have fled snowy London for Naples in January. We arrive at lunchtime. Naples is cool and overcast, but blessedly free of snow. Our Cambridge alumni tour group is taken by bus to the Hotel Scapolatiello in the charming hill town of Cava de' Tirreni near the Amalfi coast. We check in, drop bags, and an hour later we set out to visit some Roman villas abandoned after the eruption of Vesuvius.
|Castellammare del Stabia|
|ticket booth for the Villa San Marco|
|approaching the Villa San Marco|
|Professor Valerie Higgins|
But we get a sense of the Dickensian darkness that Roman villas would have experienced in the depths of winter. Here the frescoes are obscure or almost invisible. You are almost upon a little figure before you notice him or her. Some are so dim that you pass them by. They’re watching you but you don’t even notice.
Past a baths complex with a nice plunge bath deep enough to require three steps. Hopefully the slaves will have filled it with hot water so you can soak in a steaming tank with rainwater covering your upturned face with cold little kisses.
|Roman garden and swimming pool|
|Perseus with Medusa|
And he does. Jove pours wetness from the wooly heavens, roaring and flashing in quick succession, closer and closer, lower and lower, nearer and nearer: Jupiter Pluvissimus!
We scurry through the chilly rain, muttering curses, not at Jupiter but at our husbands who have left their umbrellas in the hotel room requiring us to nobly give over our own brollies and submit to rain in nothing but our hoodies.
|The road back to Cava de' Tirenni|
|Sabbatino makes a Hot Mark Twain|
Do you have lemons? I ask Sabbatino. But of course! In a region that produces four crops of lemons a year, the hotel has plenty.
And it turns out that a Hot Mark Twain is just the thing to sip after a chilly afternoon spent with Jupiter Pluvius on the Bay of Naples.
Caroline travelled to The Bay of Naples with Andante Travels via CamTravel at her own bleeding expense! But it was worth it.