Amalfi Coast: 2014

The Amalfi Coast is a 50-kilometer stretch of coastline along the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, in the Campania region. It’s a popular holiday destination, with sheer cliffs and a rugged shoreline dotted with small beaches and pastel-colored fishing villages. The coastal road between the port city of Salerno and clifftop Sorrento winds past grand villas, terraced vineyards and cliffside lemon groves.

🙂 Heaven on earth. A FAVOURITE destination. Limoncello. Views. Italian Accents.

🙁 Italian Drivers! Italian Smokers!

It is all about the drive!

Stretching along the southern side of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, the Amalfi coast dazzles with its mysterious grottos, craggy cliffs and shimmering bays. Start in Naples for some wine tasting, stop off at to wonder at the preserved streets and houses of the busy port of Pompeii once buried under ash and pumice and then compare and contrast with with the excavations at Herculaneum which was a wealthy coastal holiday retreat … Grab a seat on the sea side of a regional bus to soak up views on the fabled route from artsy Positano to Amalfi. Ravello offers some respite from the crowds, plus the stunning Villa Cimbrone, which overlooks the Bay of Salerno. The winding streets of Sorrento’s historic district are filled with craftspeople. Capri is only a hydrofoil or ferry ride away. BLISS.

Paul and I had booked a romantic weekend away for our 19th wedding anniversary. We took the 2hr40 Easy Jet flight from Gatwick to Naples and were collected by our Guide which I had booked through a company which unfortunately has since closed its doors due to Covid. We were blown away by the spectacular scenery!

Ravello

The Italian village of Ravello is one of the quietest along the Amalfi Coast, set a bit away from the seaside and the busy beaches. Though equally lovely, Ravello is never as crowded as Positano or Amalfi, especially in the evening when most of the day-trippers have left and the streets are refreshingly empty. Known as the “City of Music”, Ravello has always been afavourite retreat for artists and intellectuals looking for inspiration from the sweeping vistas far from the bustle of the coastline. It sits above the Amalfi Coast’s seaside fishing villages, perched on a great spur of rock, some 350 meters above the Mediterranean Sea. The Duomo, erected in 1086, dominates Piazza Vescovado with its splendid, triple-arched marble portal and magnificent bronze door created in 1179 by Parisano da Trani.

Villa Rufolo, one of the most important architectural masterpieces in southern Italy which has contributed to Ravello’s worldwide fame. The villa was constructed in the latter half of the 13th century by the powerful Rufolo family. Both Moorish and Norman influences can be seen in the towers and cloisters, the latter characterized by a double order of loggias and pointed arches. The grounds of the villa are as famous as the building itself. The magnificent cliff-edge terrace offers unforgettable sea views.

Positano

Next stop was a drink at Le Sirenuse in Positano. John Steinbeck, who visited in 1953, wrote ‘Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.’ Positano is a cliffside village on southern Italy’s Amalfi Coast. It’s a well-known holiday destination with a pebble beachfront and steep, narrow streets lined with boutiques and cafes. Its Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta features a majolica-tiled dome and a 13th-century Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary. The Sentiero degli Dei hiking trail links Positano to other coastal towns. …to die for…divine.

We headed to the beach down the narrow alleyway where divine but expensive clothing is on display to lure you in… difficult to resist!

We stopped for an amazing lunch at a family run place called Fattoria La Taliata where they make their own pasta (as do all in this area!) and source all their own vegetables that they grow on the cliffs – simply wonderful.

Amalfi

Amalfi was our final stop for the day and our least favourite as very busy and touristy.

Sorrento

Our hotel was lovely and we enjoyed a delicious seafood meal with views over the sea …divine.

We were up first thing in the morning as we were climbing Mount Vesuvius which is a somma-stratovolcano located on the Gulf of Naples in Campania, Italy, about 9 km east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is one of several volcanoes forming the Campanian volcanic arc. The trail is about 4 km up and back, with a change in altitude of about 140 meters and an average slope of 14%; the trail reaches 1,170 meters above sea level. We were the first to arrive and the first to summit so we had a few minutes of complete peace…It is dormant so no sign of volcanic activity.

Vesuvious

We stopped for an amazing wine tasting and lunch at a vineyard on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Incredible – very earthy and mineral like wine with tomatoes bursting with freshness and delicious pizza – amazing

We continued on our drive. Next stop was Herculaneum which was an ancient town, located in the modern-day comune of Ercolano, Campania, Italy. Herculaneum was buried under volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. AMAZING. A MUST DO. It is ancient city of 4,000–5,000 inhabitants and lies 8Km southeast of Naples. In the 1980s excavations at the ancient shoreline of the Bay of Naples (an area that is now inland) uncovered more than 120 human skeletons, suggesting that numerous additional inhabitants had perished while attempting to escape the pyroclastic flow which was the most likely cause of death. So much remains hidden as the majority of the site lies beneath dwellings… Just incredible.

Hercalaneum

Pompei

Pompei was next – equally spectacular! Pompei is a city in southern Italy’s Campania region overlooked by the active volcano at Vesuvius. It’s known for its ancient city, Pompeii, which was buried by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Ruins here include the frescoed Villa of the Mysteries and the city’s amphitheater. 

The brothel was clearly signposted and the ‘advertisements’ can still be seen as to what services were offered! An incredible insight into that time of life.

Dinner was at the restaurant founded by Sophia Loren called Donna Sofia and was excellent. Our hotel gave us the recommendation and paid for the taxi.

CAPRI

Capri, an island in Italy’s Bay of Naples, is famed for its rugged landscape, upscale hotels and shopping, from designer fashions to limoncello and handmade leather sandals. One of its best-known natural sites is the Blue Grotto, a dark cavern where the sea glows electric blue, the result of sunlight passing through an underwater cave. In summer, Capri’s dramatic, cove-studded coastline draws many yachts.

We booked a private boat which we joined at Sorrento – we has a wonderful day exploring coves, doing the blue grotto and an amazing lunch on the island…

We disembarked and were delighted to find a limo taxi without a top waiting for us … that is how they roll here! 🙂

We had the most amazing lunch with exquisite food at Giorgio Al Cucciolo! The limoncello and desert was to die for. It is tricky to find and they will send a car to collect you.

Our final meal in Naples was at the airport – and it was one of the best – AMAZING pizza!! Not surprising as this i sthe home of pizza!

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