Had a great long week in the Gulf of Naples area. While I enjoyed the area overall, the city of Naples (which I luckily managed to largely avoid) is a different story (see my thoughts at the end)
Our hotel in Sorrento (www.ghpresident.com)
View over Sorrento from our balcony
View from Punta Campanella (the peak of the Sorrento peninsula) toward Amalfi Coast. On day 2 we further did the rest of the Sorrento pensinsula (e.g. Massa Lubrense, Termini, Marina del Cantone, S. Agata sui Due Golfi)
Pompeji with Vesuvius in the background which on 24 August 79 A.D. covered Pompeji with meters of ashes (day 3)
It is actually amazing how well everything is perserved. It is a full city with trade shops etc.
A thermal bath almost still functional
A Roman city villa
Painting in a villa
Actually being on the Amalfi coast driving towards Positano. On day 4 we drove along Amalfi Coast to Amalfi and then via Ravello across a pass which led us back close to Pompeji.
More impressions of this adventurous road
Positano, my favorite place at the Amalfi Coast
View back to Positano back on the road towards Amalfi
The cathedral of Amalfi with many Arab influences (ancient Amalfi was a sea-faring nation with many trade connections to the Orient)
Capri as seen from Punta Campanella
On day 5 we did the unavoidable Capri trip with the even less unavoidable visit to the Blue Grotto
Blue Grotto
View from Monte Solaro (589m) towards I Faraglioni
View down towards Marina Grande
What a great place to have a hot chocolate and cake (Marina Piccola)
On day 6 we visited Vesuvius
View down to Naples
Interesting stone layers in the crater
On the way back from Vesuvius we actually did another pass into Amalfi Coast (via Agerola from where this picture is taken). How can anybody come up with the idea to build houses and a road on this steep slope?
On day 7 we drove all along the Amalfi Coast to Salerno and then on to Paestum (i.e. also including the section between Amalfi and Salerno, I actually ran from Maiori to Vietri sul Mare, a subrub of Salerno along the road). On the picture we see Poseidon Temple one of the three extremely well conserved temples in Paestum built 700 B.C.! In the background we see the Basilica.
Ceres Temple
Posideon tempel again
On day 8 I went for the Sentiero del Dei (God's track) hike between Agerola and Positano. The best thing I did on the Amalfi Coast. View back towards Agerola.
View towards the Sorrento peninsula
View down to Positano
On day 9: Sybil cave near Cuma on the Campi Flegrei
Solfatara crater, it smelled very stronly sulphur. Later we took the ferry to Ischia
Sunset over Castello Aragonese as seen from our hotel room
Ischia Ponte just after sunset
Ischia Porto at dinner time
Sunrise over Castello Aragonese on day 10, as seen from our balcony
Another great place to have a drink (top of Castello Aragonese)
Ischia Ponte as seen from Castello Aragonese
Spiaggia di Citara on Sunday afternoon 16 October
Punta Sant'Angelo as seen from Serrara
View over Sant'Angelo
On day 11 we took the ferry back to the mainland to catch our plane and were passed by a hug cruise ship
  Thoughts on Naples:

When the ancient Greek came to the Gulf of Naples the first landed on an island inhabited by an ethnical tribe called Italians, the Greek were so “impressed” with the state of development of the Italians that they called the island Pithekoussai (The Island of the Apes). Luckily the island has developed through tourism to what we today know as the Island of Ischia.

Also during the times of the Romans the region was not living up to the highest standards. After some terrible brawl at the Amphitheatre of Pompeji in 59 A.D. all games were banned for 10 years. When a severe earthquake heavily damaged Pompeji on 5 February 62 A.D. not surprisingly the government in Rome didn’t find it worthwhile to make funds available for reconstruction and development (for some reason the EU today seems to have come to a different conclusion).

As a modern day tourist you can still revive the ancient Greek experience when you arrive in the region through the City of Naples. After you leave the micro-sized Airport to overlook Naples and its suburbs you see the smoke of fires everywhere. I have never found out what is actually being burnt but I assume that it is the trash which the Napolitanians have not used to litter every view point and every square meter along the streets and highways. Put this together with the beggars and the boys at the highway toll stations trying to sell tissues and you feel like in India or in some other lesser developed part of the Third World.

“See Naples and die” is and old saying. Also this saying is still true, however, in a different meaning. If you manage to avoid the crossfire of the gang fights, you are still a likely prey to the inability of the Napolitanians to wisely use their means of transport. This spans car-drivers having no foresight whatsoever, scooter drivers apparently longing for a quick death and public busses with tyres as profile-less as the Slicks now banned in Formula One.

While Naples is by all means a challenging experience, the rest of the region is very worthwhile visiting. Nevertheless, I now have a better understanding what gave Umberto Bossi, the head of Lega North, the strength to recover from a stroke in order to continue his fight for a northern Italy independent from the South.