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This stone has always fascinated me! It's the grave of a coupar from Greenock, buried in Kilmodan churchyard, Glendaruel. But why round wood? The coupar's trade was to bind wood with copper hoops? Ian

Streetsweepers and shopkeepers are busy in the main streets of Sorrento at this early hour, butMarina Grande, filled with bustling restaurants in the evening, is tranquil and the light is wonderful.

These curious dwellings are not found outside Apulia, and Alberobello, with over 1,000 is the Trulli Capitol as you can see from across the square.

This style of house is unique to Apulia, and the small town of Alberobelle boats over 1,000. No one is quite sure why they have their curious conical shape - Is it to keep them cool? Is it an area for curing meat? - nor why many are embellished with what appear to be pagan or astrological symbols. Whatever, close up they're cute and the common epithet 'Hobbit House' is not too far amiss.

Intreagued to learn why so many (Italian) tourists flock to the Tremiti Isles, I sayed at Manaccora for two nights so I could sail to these islands myself. A boat had just departed as I arrived at the harbour. "A kia ora Tremiti?" I struggles in faulting Italian. "Domani!" came the reply. So I repaired for a coffee before deciding to go instead to Monte Sant'Angelo and find out what I could about Padre Pio.

At the end of this path from Marina del Cantone to Recommone is one of the best kept secrets on the Amalphi Coast, Restorante Il Conca del Sogna, the bay of dreams. The restaurant is not accessible by road, but if you don't fancy the 15 minute walk the restaurant will send a water taxi to collect you from Marina del Cantone.

Imagine living in a house with this view! Axel Munthe, the former owner, tells his story in The Story of the Villa of San Michelle. From here it's a short walk to the chairlift that takes you to the summit of Monte Solara.

I was told no one has counted these steps, created in the 1st century and reinstated during the last, that climb from Capri to Anacapri, so I tried (on the way down). I lost count at around 600, but estimates vary from 960 to 980. At the top is Axel Munthe's Villa of San Michelle, a fabulous view and, if you want to venture still higher, a chairlift to the summit of Monte Solara.

The physician Axel Munthe wrote about his stryggle to acquire and then furnish this villa at the top of the Phenoecian Steps in The Story of San Michelle. The view from the terrace must be one of the finest in Italy.

Thought to signify the transition to the afterlife, this tomb lid, together with a series of frescoes in the Paestum Museum, are the only surviving examples of Greek painting.



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