This morning, we continued out of the storm and into the Gulf of Siracusa. Photo instructor Anna Mazurek presented “Tips for Night Photography” in preparation for her guided night photography walk in the evening. Chef de Cuisine, Rajko Kosanovic, offered a special Pasta Puttanesca Cooking Class during lunch that filled the Lido Deck with fragrances and our bellies with delight. Sea Cloud docked inside the bay at the ‘river dock’ that separates the island of Ortygia from the rest of the city, and we disembarked for a guided walk through the Old Town. The highlight of the afternoon was the Cathedral of St. Lucia, or Il Duomo. The entire history of Sicily can be told in the fascinating historical stratification of this cathedral, which has been repurposed many times. It is currently dedicated to St. Lucia but incorporates columns dating back to the Ancient Greek Temple of Athena.
Today we awoke to a full moon glimmering over the water as we headed toward the port of Amalfi — situated on the south side of the Sorrentine peninsula that separates the Gulf of Naples from the Gulf of Salerno. This stretch of southern Italy is characterized by spectacular limestone cliffs, valleys, and ravines which plunge into the sea. The natural beauty of the Amalfi Coast has made it a popular destination for European travelers since the 18th century. Like much of the Mediterranean coastline, Amalfi has a long history of settlement. There are remains of Roman-era villas in the area, and it was within the Duchy of Naples during the Byzantine period. Eventually, Amalfi became an independent republic ruled by merchant families who controlled the maritime trade routes across the Mediterranean in the 9th and 10th centuries. Amalfi was the early leader in a trade war that would later be dominated by the likes of Pisa and Venice. We went ashore for a walking tour through the old town, which is bordered on either side by sheer cliffs. Many narrow alleyways wind throughout the town beneath multistory buildings. Many staircases emanate from the central valley up toward residences built high above — Amalfi is truly mountain goat territory. We visited Saint Andrew’s Cathedral, a stunning example of Norman-Arab-Byzantine architecture which features a crypt with many colored marbles and beautiful frescoes. After returning to the Sea Cloud we were treated to a hearty meal of Italian cuisine — local seafood and the pasta wheel! We raised anchor and cruised along the coastline to the amazing Isle of Capri. In the evening we enjoyed the farewell cocktail hour, guest slideshow, and capped everything off with the Captain’s Farewell Dinner.