RAPALLO, Italy -- As we got on our coach in Naples, Lynne, our concierge, commented only half-jokingly that she was surprised we all had made it.
Indeed, given a real choice, none of us probably would have. We had just arrived back on the mainland after two days on the island of Capri, which besides being postcard beautiful was a welcome respite from the near 100-degree temperatures that blanketed much of Italy last week.
It was the second stop on Luxury Gold's 12-day "Ultimate Italy" tour and couldn't have been better timed.
We spent the first two days seeing the highlights of Rome -- thankfully with the VIP access that enabled us to skip the lines at the Vatican and the Colosseum as temperatures soared along with the summer crowds.
The pool at Capri Palace. Photo Credit: TW photo by Jeri Clausing
On arrival in Capri, we were ferried up to one of the island's highest points to our accommodations at the luxurious Capri Palace in Ana Capri, where most of our group of 21 spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool.
Breaking the heat with a Capri spritzter. Photo Credit: TW photo by Jeri Clausing
The next morning, we were off on a boat to see the island's famed blue waters and rocky cliffs. After wandering the streets of the main town of Capri, we had lunch overlooking the ocean at Mamma, a Michelin-starred restaurant that more than lived up to its reputation, offering options that included eggplant parmesan, fish caprese and cuttlefish that was sliced and cooked like tagliatelle, served cold with olive oil and seaweed.
With the summer crowds filling the streets, a small group of us escaped back to the pool, wandering back to enjoy Capri spritzers made with locally produced Limoncello and soda on the main square after the temperatures dipped and the day trippers had gone.
Indeed, it was hard to leave the Italian paradise. Fortunately, not long after arriving at our next stop, Florence -- but after excursions that included options for VIP access to see Michelango's David and a food-centric walking tour -- some welcomed rain moved in, breaking the heat wave.
View from The Grand Hotel Bristol in Rapallo, Italy. Photo Credit: TW photo by Jeri Clausing
Our weather luck continued, with the rain clearing the way for more normal summer temperatures and sunshine just in time for our next seaside stop at the Grand Hotel Bristol in Rapallo, where we once again hit the pool, sipping cocktails and having a long debate about which was better, Capri or Rapallo.
I don't think a final conclusion was reached. And I'm pretty sure it will never be definitively decided.