THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE AMALFI COAST- let’s get started (5 part series)

Once a wealthy maritime power few regions of Italy are as gorgeous as the corner of Campania that is home to the hilly Sorrentine Peninsula and the Amalfi Coast.  This is also the home of Naples, and the Islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida. Smack dab in the middle of the Mediterranean the sea is the most alluring blue green color and if that doesn’t win your heart the warmth of the sun and the people certainly will. From the Sorrento Coast to Salerno the views don’t disappoint. They take you to Mount Vesuvius across the bay of Naples and then across the sea to the Island of Capri.  It is a world made up of stairs!  Thousand and thousands of them so bring your most comfortable walking shoes.  This is no time ladies for fancy high heels that will only get caught in the cobblestones!

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Cultural highlights are everywhere from the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum to the ancient history in Sorrento and Naples with sights and adventures that take you back to Roman times. The Amalfi coast is a UNESCO World Heritage site which hopefully will help preserve its charm and history.  The landscape is dotted with alluring, charming towns and the most beautiful churches.

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Praiano

The food is “bellissima”! Make sure if you go to have the pizza! The pasta extruded using bronze dies creates a rough texture better supporting the sauce tastes nothing like ours here in the US and the mozzarella, gelato and limoncello are divinely delicious! The vine-ripened tomatoes beckon at every meal and the lemons and olives… well you get the idea! The hills are terraced with lemons, oranges, olives and grapes with Sorrento itself being known for its lemon production.  They all thrive in this volcanic soil. Did someone say “Limoncello”! Be prepared for lots of seafood, desserts and more desserts!

 

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Pizza with carciofi (artichokes)

All that walking though will let you eat and drink your way around.  Did I mention the wine!!!!! Divine!!! Hang out and relax and enjoy the wine and the sunsets. Savor the slow pace and forget all those “To Do” lists, if even just for a little while.

What would a coastline be without the hidden coves and beaches that will try to lure you away from your intentions. These are not the beaches of the Caribbean however! First and foremost, you must plan to see the coast from the water, especially on Capri!

Conca dei Marini Amalfi

Of course, for those so inclined there are plenty of hiking adventures to be had.  (coming in an upcoming post)

For those more adventurous, the cliff hugging Amalfi coast road, one of the world’s most beautiful scenic roads, with its 1,001 hairpin turns and breath taking views will test even the most accomplished driver. If you love roller-coasters then this is for you. Luckily there are taxis, private cars and buses that make travel easy and convenient because of course, you don’t want to miss the scenery because you had to concentrate on the road!

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Amalfi Coast Road
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Oh yeah that’s the coast road thru Positano!

Sorrento is known as one of the world’s most charming and a old towns with it’s many cafes, shops and historic sites. (see upcoming blogs) Ravello is most famous for its extraordinary gardens and the Ravello Music Festival. Amalfi is the main coastal town and port. Positano is the jewel of the coastline with shops and houses cascading down the ravine to the sea. Don’t miss Capri or one of the other islands to the west of Sorrento in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Tourism is the major industry on this coast.

I am debating on the best way to tackle this blog so you don’t miss a second of my trips to the Amalfi coast so I think I will cover a few towns in separate blogs as there is too much to be said. Are you ready to continue on to Part 2 in this series? “Positano Bites Deep”

If you want to travel to Italy I can highly recommend a fabulous planner Ashley Turney of L’Esperta.

See you next time! Ciao!

 

 

Come Fly with me to Ravello and Amalfi (Part 4 of 5)

Amalfi, a truly medieval city has the grandest cathedral anywhere in the Arab-Norman style. The Duomo di Sant’ Andrea with it’s striped facade in Saracen colors and the Chiostro del Paradiso is spectacular.

 

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In front of the harbor is the Piazza Flavio Gioia in honor of Gioia who is credited with inventing the maritime compass in 1302.

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Amalfi Harbor

Don’t miss the little town to the east of Amalfi called Atrani.  It is often said the town looks like an opera set.

 

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Atrani

And then you come to Ravello, high atop Monte Cereto and my personal favorite!  Unlike any place on earth!

 

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Ravello from Scala

 

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Ravello Piazza

 

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Ravello

You can’t come to Ravello without taking home some ceramics.  Or in my case twice shipping home huge containers!

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Perched 1,500 feet above the bluest bay in the world, the Bay of Salerno it provides the most breathtaking views on the Amalfi coast.

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Ravello is the home to two of the areas most famous medieval gardens, the Villa Rufulo and the Villa Cimbrone.  The crown jewel in Ravello is undoubtedly the Belvedere of Infinity in the Villa Cimbrone.

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Villa Cimbrone
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Belvedere of Infinity – Villa Cimbrone

This garden is the highest point in Ravello and the views are not to be missed.

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Here are some of the sights from the Villa Rufulo. They host an amazing Music Festival every summer.

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Truly one could go on and on about the Amalfi coast but it is safe to say it is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  For the entire Album please go to my Flickr album so you can enjoy all of the photos.  If you missed any of the previous parts in this series here is a link to Part One. Ciao and stay tuned for the final installment! I hope you will consider following my blog. Enjoy!  If you are ready to start planning your trip you can’t go wrong with Ashley Turney and L’Esperta.

 

Hiking on the Amalfi Coast (part 3 of 5)

So let’s continue our tour of the Amalfi Coast!

For those so inclined there are plenty of hiking adventures to be had.   We chose the Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods), which winds its way from Agerola for 5 miles to Nocelle and then down to Positano. This is the Amalfi Coast’s most famous walk. The views are astonishing of both the Mediterranean and the mountains. The Amalfi coast is a World Heritage Site. You will see mules and people, abandoned buildings and remote hillside farms. On any given weekend the people of the Amalfi coast get out and enjoy nature. Many can be seen walking or picnicking on the trail and just relaxing on a Sunday afternoon. So let’s begin!  Here is a sneak peek at what you might see while on your hike on the Path of the Gods.

 

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Our welcoming party!
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Which way will you travel? We went from Agerola to Positano

 

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How will you travel?

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Need a home? These hermitages cling to the hillside seemingly suspended in mid-air.

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The views are so special
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Looking in every direction the view unfolds with untold beauty with plunging views of the Mediterranean and the towns below

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Praiano

 

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Have no fear the trail is well marked

 

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People out enjoying the day
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Be prepared of course as you are hiking, bring snacks and water since there are obviously no services along the way

 

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The path is a little tricky at times but easily negotiable. The walk is moderate but the path can be narrow in spots. Do NOT step to the left!The path is a little tricky at times but easily negotiable. The walk is moderate but the path can be narrow in spots. Do NOT step to the left!

 

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Just around every corner the views are expansive of the coastline here from Positano to Capri and beyond.

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Finally our destination – Nocelle and then down to Positano.  You can walk down the 1500 steps but we took a ride.

 

There are many other paths we also did Ravello to Minori.

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Stopping for a breather.  A long way down.  We took a cab back uphill to Ravello!
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Stairs, stairs and more stairs! Look up the view towards Salerno was gorgeous!
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Figs, olives and grapes greeted us all along the paths

You might also check out Ravello to  Atrani via the Valle del  Dragone or on Capri, one of the most beautiful coastal walks in the world, the “Path of the Forts”.  Get out and enjoy the views like the locals.  You won’t be disappointed! Did you miss Part 1 and 2 of this series? Here you go: The Amalfi Coast part one.  Ready to read Part 4: Come Fly with me to Ravello and Amalfi – here you go!

 

Ciao!  See you for the next in the series: Ravello and Amalfi

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