Friday, March 1, 2024

WANDERLUST: One of my dream destinations – Italy

Portofino. Photo: Jamie Neben
Apart from travel and photography, superyacht chef Jamie Neben is in love with Italy.

Where do you start when it comes to describing Italy? The magnificent architecture, inspiring landscapes, rich culture, food, wine and of course the coffee!

My first Italian experience was in Naples, the birthplace of pizza in the narrow alley of Naples. A few days later we headed to Rome. The train systems are amazing and travelling at the top speed of 300km/400km, we made it in no time.

I just had to see the Colosseum, the 1900-year-old largest standing amphitheater in the world. I recommend paying extra liras for the fast-track line. The Colosseum that once was a venue for gladiator fights, animal hunts and even mock naval battles is now one of the new seven wonders of the world.

Rome is amazing and seeing the buildings up-close was more than I could have imagined but considering I had just one day in Rome, the hop-on- hop-off bus was perfect.

Working on a yacht means we are always on the move, and the next day we headed for Capri just off the coast. It’s a massive hot spot for super yachts over the European summer and you’ll find 100s anchored near the shore (picture attached).

The next few weeks we went from port to port along the Amalfi coast. One of my favourite places was Pompeii. I couldn’t get over the size of the city and how intact it was and having Mount Vesuvius in the background, known for one of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in European history was a bit eerie.

Towards the end of summer we headed to Genoa for repairs and resupply. We stopped off in Portofino, a beautiful little fishing village with amazing pastel coloured buildings (see photo). While there, do check out Castello Brown, an ancient military fortress that offers the best views in town.

From Genoa I took the train to the coast to Cinque Terre, meaning five lands which is made up of five crazily constructed fishing villages with spectacular views. My favourite was Manarola you can hike between the towns. It’s about 12km or you can take the train. The hike has some amazing views and there is always someone along the way selling limoncello.

There is so much more to discover in Italy—imagine an Italian town that has a 24/7 fountain that dispenses wine instead of water—and it doesn’t cost anything! I’m looking forward to returning this year. Hopefully I can tick off the Dolomites this time. Ciao, for now.

Related: WANDERLUST: Breathtaking vistas

Jamie Neben
Jamie Neben
Notes from superyacht chef and photography buff, Jamie Neben’s travel diary.
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