Hopkins surgeon is world traveler, but the Amalfi Coast is where Dr. Ben Carson really unwinds
The terrace of the main house of Villa Lilly in Praiano on Italy's Amalfi Coast. (Photo courtesy of Costa Land Company / July 19, 2011)
Do you have an all-time favorite travel read or author?
I always take my Bible with me because it is full of wisdom and comfort.
What are some of your other favorite destinations?
I have an opportunity to travel throughout the world. The number of absolutely gorgeous and peaceful places is almost too numerous to count, but I especially enjoy visiting Zion National Park in Utah. The scenery is breathtaking, and I love being out in nature.
If you go
Italy's Amalfi Coast
Dr. Ben Carson's beloved Praiano, Italy, is nestled in a cove between the Amalfi Coast's seaside towns of Positano and Amalfi. Acclaimed for its spectacular sunsets, Praiano's ancient name — Pelagium — means "open sea." Earliest records indicate that around A.D. 700 it was known for producing high-quality silk and linen. The discovery of coral centuries later brought economic prosperity, helping it become a vacation spot of royalty and doges. Its pristine beaches can only be reached on foot, by private footpaths or by hiking down steps from the town center.
For an authentic local vibe, hop aboard the Circumvesuviana train from Naples. The 55-minute excursion snakes past the ancient ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum and the majestic Mount Vesuvius before arriving in the stunning town of Sorrento. From there, you can take a public SITA bus along a loopy coastal route that will leave you gaping and gasping over hairpin turns alongside 500-foot drops from craggy cliffs dangling above the cerulean Mediterranean. A $10 ticket will cover both fares. Go to vesuviana.it/web/en.
Have a time crunch? Take the Metro Del Mare high-speed boat ($15) from Naples to Positano, where you can catch the SITA bus ($2) http://www.metrodelmare.net/ to Praiano.
Villa Lilly, Via Masa, Praiano, costalandco.com/villalillyitaly.htm. Rates range from $30,000 to $50,000 per week, depending upon the season and the number of guests. The main house features five bedrooms and bathrooms and includes breakfast, a staff of three and unlimited use of the onsite masseuse. The property also offers two one-bedroom apartments. On the grounds are a hot tub, a wine cellar, and organic gardens where the chef grows ingredients used in his cuisine. Utilizing the private chef and the 40-foot yacht are additional. Celebrities who have stayed at Villa Lilly include Julia Roberts, Ben Stiller and Barbra Streisand.