Italian Treasures on the Crystal Symphony

After a lunch of wine and cheese samplers in the historic old Jewish quarter we returned to the ship. At night, passengers reminisced and romanticized about the next day’s stop in Livorno, a popular cruise port for visits to Florence, San Gimignano, Pisa and other Italian hillside villages.

Later that evening, snuggling in matching Frette bathrobes and sipping a robust Merlot from Napa Valley we cued Under The Tuscan Sun, a complimentary DVD rental from the ship’s library to prep us for the upcoming sights. But really we were counting down the hours to see our friends the next day in Florence.

Crystal Symphony
Crystal Symphony

Over a simple penne pomodoro and white wine from Santa Margherita, our Florentine friends Amy and Duilio described their thrilling adventure done a week before to see the island of Capri and Pompeii. In Capri, the couple traipsed through the imperial villa of Tiberius, the ruin a silhou­ette against the blue sky that continues to dominate the island’s skyline. Duilio explained few passersby visit this stretch of Via Tiberius which starts in the Piazzetta and meanders up the terraced gardens and whitewashed villas passing million-dollar estates named, “Serenity” “Calm” and “Paradise.”

“You could spend all day roaming the ruins of Pompeii,” they suggested and recounted how the ancient port city in its hey days con­tained mammoth-sized buildings of forums, amphitheatres, a gladiator court and a sta­dium.

Uncertain of our own plans, Stephen and I high-tailed it back to our ship, contemplat­ing our visit to our final coastal city, Sorrento, which hugs the dramatic Amalfi coast. We were to spend two days there so there were boundless opportunities to explore the area. “I’ve heard so much about Sorrento,” I murmured leafing through my Rough Guide and Lonely Planet guidebooks.

Sorrento, Italy

But come early next morning, a copy of the daily newsletter “Reflections” made its way to our doorstep. The sightseeing dilemma was solved. “Hey, we’ve got a chance to visit the Isle of Capri and Pompeii,” I raved about our good luck as both destinations were outlined, making this dream now pos­sible.

We both smiled broadly and knew there were more Italian treasures yet to discover.

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