I put a post up last week about the relative ease and success of our first two weeks in Europe (France and Italy), and a few people asked for an update at the end of our trip - so here goes:
Everything continued to go well, including our Covid tests for our return home. Details below.
Our final week of travel consisted of 4 nights in Sorrento and two nights in Rome (with a pit stop in Napoli on the way).
Sorrento was gorgeous, albeit quite crowded. We spent one day simply relaxing at one of the beach clubs. We chose the Bagni Salvatore simply because the allure of swimming beside Roman ruins was too great to pass up. Even though it was certainly busy, we were able to find 6 beach chairs on a Sunday without a reservation. I got the impression that this may be unusual for an August weekend - others may be able to comment on whether this is the case. We did a day long tour of Pompeii and Vesuvius with Gaetano Manfredi (I wrote a separate post/revue of this day - absolutely excellent). Pompeii certainly had some crowds, but it never felt overly crowded. Some parts of it were even fairly empty. CDC cards and passports were needed to enter Pompeii as well as indoor places.
On our transit day to Rome, we left Sorrento early in the morning, took the Circumvesuviana to Napoli, checked our bags for a few hours so we could head in to the archeological museum and then get pizza, before continuing on to Rome. Really, the only “bad” experience we had on our trip was on the Circumvesuviana on this transit day. The train was absolutely packed, and we had all our luggage, etc…. (We are carry-on only packers, but it was still a lot to keep track of with our extended group of 9). Anyway, we were standing room only, and I was groped by a man standing near me. At first I thought it was just the tight conditions, but every time I moved the man (and his hand) moved too. Once I realized what was actually happening, a firm “Signore, no!” did the trick. The hand dropped, he turned his back, and got off on the next stop. I only mention it here because with all my focus and attention on Covid safety, Covid requirements, documents, safety relative to pick-pockets, etc…. I found myself surprised by the age-old random abuses that women can find themselves subject to. So I guess this is my PSA: be aware of more than pick-pockets on crowded trains. This incident was pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, and I was very glad it was me and not my teenage daughter, but it was still quite annoying.
Anyway, on to Rome. Blisteringly hot while we were there (100 both days), which limited how much we could do. But we still did just fine. A hot, but very enjoyable visit to the Colosseum - get your tickets in advance and don’t forget those CDC cards. Masks worn in the Colosseum except for true open-air areas. Lots of staff there reminding folks who were pulling theirs down. Then a break in our hotel AC before more exploration. I rented electric scooters with our two kids to putter around with - we all really loved it. We stayed at the Albergo del Senato right next to the Pantheon, and it was phenomenal. Great location to simply explore on foot, eat great food, and indulge in (daily) gelato.
We flew home on Friday, so on Thursday we went to a pharmacy just down the street for our Covid tests for the return to the US (we asked at our hotel desk for a recommendation). We went early in the morning (before 9), which I do recommend as we basically walked right in - but saw a line later in the day. The pharmacy was very efficient - we had our results (in English) in under 10 minutes and we were on our way. The tests were perfectly adequate at the airport the three times we were asked to show them (twice in Italy, once at our connection in Paris).
Italy is doing a great job of both welcoming tourists and taking appropriate Covid precautions. I would not hesitate to return!