Rome + coast = fantastico

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Copy of NM Rome REUTERS Rome's famous Coliseum is a must-see.

Rome has long been a city synonymous with rich culture and romantic honeymoons. And rightly so. The majestic Italian coast, however, is perhaps less well known. Combine the two and you have something “fantastico”, as I recently discovered on a trip with Kirker Holidays and Star Clippers.

In Rome city centre, we arrived at the four-star deluxe d’Inghilterra – a grand hotel in a great location minutes from the Spanish Steps, offering traditional and modern rooms.

An early highlight was the Bond Bar (judging by the name, it’s themed after James Bond. Martinis all round!), offering al fresco dining choices.

Once all our luggage was sorted, a whistle-stop tour of Rome by private car transfer took in the sights and sounds and we tasted the ever-so-popular Italian delicacies and coffee, which was so good I just had to purchase it as a gift to take back home.

We had afternoon lunch at the Villa Spalletti Trivelli, four-star deluxe – an oasis in the centre of Rome, minutes from the Trevi Fountain, perfect for honeymooners and people who enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city centre, but with a tranquil edge to it.

The following day, we had a guided walking tour of Rome, stopping for morning coffee (more coffee!) before it was time to travel to Citivettecia port to board Star Clippers’ Royal Clipper tall ship/sail boat, on which we would spend the next three days.

Copy of NM Amalfi Coast The breathtaking Amalfi coast. SUPPLIED

We arrived on board to be greeted by a very cold yet warmly welcomed cocktail. I must say, it was a smooth check-in service and I was quickly shown to my ocean-view cabin. And quite a sight it was.

A look at our itinerary showed visits to the Isle of Ponza, Pompeii, Amalfi, Ravello and Sorrento.

The ship itself had no glitz or glamour, but you couldn’t help but feel that you were experiencing something unique. The bar, pool, restaurant (boasting three Michelin stars), fitness area with sauna, massage and treatment area ensured you were never short of things to do.

Personally speaking, I would say it is well suited to cruisers wanting to steer away from the wide ocean cruising, who want to go to the ports where the big ships simply cannot dock.

But, of course there’s something for us still clinging on to our youth; I was asked by crew to participate in a beachwear model catwalk one evening (Capri pants, T-shirt and sun visor – how stylish!), which was daunting at first but turned out to be very enjoyable.

By day five, it was time to say goodbye Royal Clipper and hello Amalfi, characterised by its dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery.

Copy of NM Trevi fountain The Trevi Fountain. SUPPLIED

As we arrived, we were stunned by the breathtaking scenery, the cobbled streets and that welcoming Italian hospitality. Accommodation for the last night was the four-star deluxe Cocumella, located on the cliff edge approximately 15 minutes by foot to Sorrento.

A tranquil hotel with a grand ambience, it was clear to see why it is so popular with visitors. Once a 16th-century monastery, it’s now a grand hotel with lovely gardens, and its very pleasant staff made sure our stay was an enjoyable one.

It really was a great way to end a hectic trip – chilling out pool-side with a lovely glass of sauvignon blanc, followed by a refined meal by a two-star Michelin chef. The waiter service was superb, as was the quality of food and the wine recommendations to suit all tastebuds.

In Italy, you could expect to pay around R39 for a glass of wine, R65 for a cocktail and about R24 for a bottle of water.

For a two-course meal, it’s approximately R250-R400 and R130 for a 25.4cm pizza. No stay in Italy is complete without one of their finest foods.

The same could be said for the popular Limóncello tipple, a sweet blend of lemon liqueur, which I opted for post-dinner. – Sunday Life


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