The spiritual experience of discovering Italy

When I sat down to write this post, I was outside typing away on my laptop. Something about the blue sky and gentle breeze reminded me of our trip to Italy.

We’ve been back for a few months now, yet my brain is still in vacation mode – or is it European-lifestyle mode?

One thing I noticed was how different life was overseas. Yes, people worked or went to school or handled the mundane daily chores. However, their attitude was so much more relaxed, for a lack of a better description.

I had the pleasure of meeting up with a fellow traveler the other day. She and her husband were in Rome, Florence and Tuscany this past November. My husband and I were in the Naples area in March. As we dined over frittatas and lattes, we reminisced about our travels.

“It was a spiritual experience,” she said. And I couldn’t agree more.

Traveling through Italy is truly a spiritual experience. Click To Tweet

Whether it was dining or soaking in the beauty of the country, “spiritual experience” is such an apt description.

My husband and I took a four-day trip from Naples to spend time along the Amalfi Coast. On our way to that region, we stopped in Pompeii to see the ruins.

Exterior view of the wall surrounding the Pompeii Ruins.

What a humbling experience. It felt like we were walking on hallowed ground.

One of many homes destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted.

Pompeii was an area that the ancient civilizations would visit for vacation and relaxation, located in the vicinity of Mt. Vesuvius. It is believed to have been built in the 7th or 8th century BC. It is a beautiful part of the country, a little under a two-hour car ride south of Naples, boasting scenic views of the mountains and the sea. Horrifically, it was also the area that was the scene of instant death and destruction for thousands in the way when Mt. Vesuvius – a volcano – erupted around 79 AD.

Main piazza with view of Mt. Vesuvius.

The architecture and engineering – especially given the time era it was built – was a sight to behold. At the ruins, we could clearly see homes, piazzas, brothels, roads, amphitheaters and more. This town was completely covered in ash, soot and earth, only to be razed to find it was decently intact.

One of many ancient streets in Pompeii.

Most of the sculptures and art have been removed and stored in museums in Naples. They were replaced by beautiful, replicated art, so visitors can see what life was like during Pompeii’s heyday.

One of several amphitheaters in Pompeii.

The walled city was very large – much bigger than we expected. It’s funny how one would think that ancient cities would be smaller – but Pompeii definitely wasn’t small. Again, this is where a traveler would be in awe as to how something so magnificent could be built without all the power tools, machinery and technology that we have today. And, obviously, it was truly built to last.

Sculpture in one of the piazzas at the Pompeii Ruins.

We spent just a few hours in Pompeii, though we could have certainly stayed longer as there was so much to see. We enjoyed panini for lunch at a nearby eatery, and then made our way to the Amalfi Coast.

Quick shot of a hairpin turn along the Amalfi Coast. Only thing separating us from the steep drop in the ocean was this wall!

Traveling in Italy is not for the faint of heart. Remember the “spiritual experience” mention? Yes, I was praying as we drove the very sharp turns and twisty curves as we went up and down the mountains and into Positano. Locals zip along the coastal highway in cars, on scooters, bicycling and even jogging. And did I mention the tour buses?! Momma Mia! Those bus drivers take the turns and curves as if they are behind the wheel of a tiny sports car. There were a few times that we had to wait for cars and buses to back up, re-position and maneuver a pass so that traffic could start up again. But, as harrowing as it was at times – and a huge shout-out to my husband who drove like a local – the view was absolutely amazing. You are truly where the mountains and the sea come together, and there are no other words to describe the beauty, other than it being a “spiritual experience.”

The Cathedral of Saint Mary in Positano.

We passed through Sorrento, which is famous for limoncello – a wonderful, lemon liqueur that is often served following dinner – and made it into Positano. Using our GPS was extremely helpful, because the road signs and hotel markers were – surprise! – in Italian. My husband and I had a new appreciation for the hotel staff, as they managed to park our car in the hotel’s garage – which wasn’t much bigger than our two-car garage at home. Did I mention there were probably eight other cars parked in there, too? I haven’t a clue how they did it, but it was an amazing feat. We decided that the car would stay put until we checked out, relying on our feet to make our way through town.

The breathtaking town of Positano.

Positano was built into the side of a mountain, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Our hotel was built in the 1800s, and there were many structures built long before that. In fact, we happened upon old Roman ruins along the shoreline – once used as look-out towers and for the shipping trades.

I took hundreds of photos of our stay in Positano – which I believe has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. It was definitely a highlight of our trip to Italy. Stay tuned for my next post, where I will share more features of our stay, and more of my travel photos.

©Lynne Cobb – 2017

Where have you traveled to in this great, big world? Share your experiences in the comment section.

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12 Replies to “The spiritual experience of discovering Italy”

  1. Thank you for the great post with so many beautiful pictures. This is probably the closest I will ever come to seeing these areas and really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with all of us. I’m sure you had a terrific time there. Any plans on returning?

    1. You are so welcome, Bob. It is no problem to write about Italy, as I fell in love with the place. We are planning to return someday…hopefully soon! We’d like to see Rome, Tuscany and would definitely return to Naples.

  2. I’ve traveled quite a bit but I have never been to Italy. I do understand how you feel about the experience, it definitely changes you. Love all these fabulous pictures.

    1. Thanks, Karen. Traveling does change you… I do hope you get to Italy one day if it’s on your list. You won’t be disappointed!

  3. Lynne, your photos are amazingly beautiful, breathtaking, and they’re making me want to visit the beautiful country of Italy. Growing up Italian (and Sicilian), one would think a vacation would have occurred already. Though a little past midlife, I’m not dead yet — it may still happen!

  4. It’s just a total soul excursion and you captured it all so beautifully in word and image. I’m so glad you had such a marvelous experience and I fully relate to your feelings of “other-worldliness.” Thank you so much for sharing. Ahhhh, la bella Italia! <3

  5. You had a different spiritual experience, when somebody comes to Italy for spirituality the primary reason is the Vatican but you absorbed the spirituality in the day to day life of an Italian, which is remarkable.

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