More than a year ago, we (I) decided to do a guided tour of Italy. Italy has been #1 on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. And how could I live in Europe for 2 years and NOT go to Italy?! But since I plan all of our trips – this was one trip I didn’t want to have to worry about the itinerary, reservations, or what to do and where to go. So I began looking at guided trips we could take. Honestly, I didn’t look very long or hard because I knew I wanted it to be with Disney!
Many people may not be familiar with Adventures By Disney (ABD for short). I’ve known about them for a while, but didn’t know much ABOUT them. What I did know: Disney is a quality brand, and that everyone I had talked to or heard of that had taken an ABD trip just RAVED about them. I knew I wanted and needed it to be kid friendly for the girls, but interesting for MyMan and I as well. After looking at some various touring companies, I knew Disney was the right choice.
One thing that is different about ABDs from ‘regular’ Disney – they are Disney-like in name only, really. No characters, character meals, Disney parks, etc. They do have some Disney magic touches here and there, which does make it special and stand out from the others. And with an ABD comes the Disney NAME – which is important! The quality of the places you stay and the tours you go on are so well worth the cost. But more on that later.
The ABD tour I booked is called Viva Italia, and is an 8 day/7 night guided tour through Italy going from Rome to Tuscany, then Florence, and ending in Venice. It pretty much covered all of my bases! But we also wanted to see the Amalfi Coast, so we took some extra days on the front of the trip on our own, and went!
We arrived in Naples airport on Friday afternoon, and took a bus to Sorrento where we were staying. The bus ride was about an hour long, but had air-conditioning and it was a nice way to relax and see the sites. Oldest and I sat right up front, which made for some very interesting traffic watching!! Honestly, after a week and half in Italy – I’m still not sure what their driving laws are! It seemed like every man for himself. I was VERY glad I had not rented a car!
The roads can be amazingly narrow!! You definitely realize that these places were built WAY before cars were invented! They just somehow managed to be able to squeeze roads in, and then squeeze giant buses onto those roads!
But just look at the views!
We got dropped off at the central station, and walked about 10 minutes to our hotel. I decided to splurge a little on our hotel this time, and it didn’t disappoint! We stayed at the Antiche Mura Hotel in Sorrento.
Some quick history about Sorrento – The Sorrento Peninsula is crossed by five valleys that were used in ancient times to indicate the boundary between one country and another (Meta, Piano, Sant’Agnello). Over the centuries, the valleys have been modified by human hands so only partially retains its original features. The Valley gets its name from the presence of a mill which was used until the early twentieth century to grind grain for Sorrentini. The waters that came down from the hills and those spring fed a sawmill adjacent to the mill. The sawmill had a strategic role for the processing of various types of wood (cherry, olive and walnut) that was used for the production of inlay artifacts. Another feature of the Valley was given by the presence of a public laundry where the women of the people went to wash clothes. After 1866 the Valley was abandoned for filling the final part of the same (behind Piazza Tasso, the wide bend there is still a small gate today linking Marina Piccola with Vallone).
The hotel sits up on a cliff, and looks down on these ruins.
Ruins directly below the hotel…
I hadn’t asked for any particular room – just one that would easily fit 4 people, so I was blown away when we got this room!! We got TWO balconies!! I felt like some Disney pixie dust was already beginning.
Our room looked out upon those ruins below!
And the grounds of the hotel were just as beautiful! This was the restaurant where we had breakfast each morning. There were orange trees everywhere, loaded with fruit!
This was the way to the pool…
We could have waited until this summer to go to Italy, but I know how HOT it gets there, and I am miserable in the heat, so that’s why we went in May. It was warming up for sure, but the weather was still decent enough that you didn’t sweat to death during the day, and the evenings were cool. That said – the pool was COLD! But it didn’t stop the girls from swimming!
But MyMan and I preferred to do this…
That first evening, we walked around Sorrento a bit as we had tours scheduled for the next 3 days. So we wanted to see a little bit of Sorrento before we hit the ground running the next morning.
Then it was time for bed after a long day of traveling. Had to be up early the next day for our tour of the Isle of Capri!