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The road between Sorrento and Salerno is one of the most dramatic in the world. Known as the ‘Amalfi Coast’, it encapsulates a quintessential part of classic Italian iconography. Sharp bends, overarching cliff faces, soft hued, sun-soaked towns built on the hillsides – it really is the kind of backdrop better suited to a 1950’s movie. Just be warned, driving it is not for the faint of heart.

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The continuous rumbles of our overnight ferry finally gave way to a great gliding groan, and with it we knew the Port of Naples was close. Dawn was still an hour away and outside the nearing lights of the city were glistening orange. Yet beyond the urban melee my eyes focused in on the dim outline of something far more imposing, strange and majestic – Mount Vesuvius.

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After a long night trying but largely failing to get much sleep on a giant RORO ferry, the last thing one might expect to be doing the next day is travelling a further 200 miles by road. That, however, is exactly what we did – not that it was all bad. Beyond the now expected yet still horrendous Italian traffic, there was indeed somewhere very much worth the supreme effort – Monte Cassino.

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Whether it’s the ball at the end of Italy’s foot, the home of the Mafia, or as the resultingly idyllic setting for parts of the Godfather films, the very mention of Sicily conjures up plenty of iconic imagery, reinforced time and again by popular media and culture. But what of the true Sicily, found beyond all the stereotypes? I had the far from arduous task of going there and finding out.

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A 29 year old Male, living in Northern Ireland.

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