Travel Diary_Part I
EXPLORING THE GEMS OF THE AMALFI COAST
Remember when we said that we are obsessed with California and that for us there’s no other place like it? Well, we kind of need to edit that statement. The new version goes something like this: we are obsessed with California! There’s no other place like it...except when you go to the Amalfi Coast.
Indeed friends, in this two segment blog post we are taking you to Italy. So grab a cup of cappuccino and get ready to travel with us.
There’s probably no easy way to describe Italy. It’s just so full of magic, we wouldn’t even know where to begin. Its history, the people, the landscape, the food...and the food again (Seriously, food deserves double mention), makes you want to pack your things and move there. Then, there's the Amalfi Coast which feels like a fairy-tale with its sheer cliffs, terraced vineyards and pastel-colored houses… and you literally don’t even care about the packing anymore.
Amalfi is one of a series of small towns located in the south of Naples (about three hours from Rome). You can reach it either by train or car, and in some cases by boat. The area is a popular destination, so don’t be surprised if you find tons of tourists around.
In fact, while the most famous locations like Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano and Ravello are packed, there are other options that are equally as beautiful and far more quiet. That’s the case of Atrani, which has become one of our must go-to destinations in Italy. Atrani is located right next to Amalfi. You just have to cross the peatonal tunnel that connects the two. We arrived there on a Saturday afternoon after a pit stop for lunch in Sorrento, and we immediately fell in love with it.
This sleepy city is smaller and less touristy than it’s sisters. You see more locals crowded around in the main square arguing about politics and who caught the biggest fish that day. Houses containing lemon and olive groves stretch up like vines along the tuff mountainside. Teal waves ebb and flow at its feet, and the anchored fishing boats rock and roll fresh from that mornings catch. This city is a perfect example of the Italian motto “zero km food”.
As far as sleeping accommodations there are plenty of options for you. You can either go to a hotel, rent an apartment or do Airbnb. Now, if you are looking for something exceptional, we have the perfect spot for you. Punta Civita is a small B&B located on a cliff, and has what we think is the best view in the entire area (and we’ve got the pictures to prove it!).
Imagine waking up, opening the door to your balcony and finding yourself surrounded by the sea, mountains and silence. That to us was simply perfection.
Don’t get worried though, you still can experience the vibrant noises of the town. All you have to do is either take a bus or go down the steps to the main square. Both options are right outside the B&B, so you just have to decide whether or not you want to do some fitness activities. If you do choose the last option (which we did every time), be prepared to do 600+ steps...it doesn't feel like much going down, but might feel a bit more after a three course meal and two gelatos (we speak from experience! And yes, two gelatos are fair game when you are in Italy).
You can also go visit some of the other towns. We decided to check out Ravello, which is located right above Atrani and has a gorgeous view of the peninsula. Besides walking through the little streets, you can also visit Villa Rufulo (perfect for cocktail hour) or Villa Cimbrone. Both are historic buildings dating back to the 11th century with fantastic architecture and gardens.
If you love going to the beach, you will find plenty of options in every town. Bare in mind that they are all small and full of small pebbles, but the water is crystal clear and has the perfect temperature. We spent a lovely day at Castiglione beach, which is the smallest of the two beaches in Atrani. You have the option to bring your own things, or rent an umbrella and chairs in a private section.
We’ve covered where to sleep and what to do, but now it’s time to talk about serious stuff. Obviously, that’s food for us! Honestly, we don’t think there’s one place in Italy where you will eat bad food. We don’t know how, but Italians have the ability to turn every dish, even the simplest ones, into edible works of art. Hopefully you don’t have many diet restrictions, so you can try a bit of everything.
You probably know that pasta is a big deal in Italy, but if you are in the area you have to try their Seafood which is always fresh. We recommend Cantina del Nostromo which lives up to it’s seaside views with its food. You can watch the fishing boats and million dollar yachts come in to anchor in its quiet and secluded area. Get the scialatielli with seafood. This is the most traditional type of pasta along the Amalfi Coast, and while they look pretty much like tagliatelle, they are quite different because the dough is made with milk instead of eggs.
With all the eating, you will need a drink or two to digest the food. If so, you must try a Limoncello. Probably you have heard this name before, and you might have even tried it somewhere, but the true one can be found only here. That’s right! Limoncello requires a special kind of lemon that is cultivated only in this area (you will see them all around and sometimes they are huge).
Now that you have made it all the way to the end, what do you say? Are you ready to book your flights? If so, let us know if you need any other advice...we have become experts in this area and we would gladly even take you there ;)
Next month, we will be posting the second part of the trip diary and we will take you to some hidden treasures around Rome. If you don’t want to miss it, make sure to subscribe to our mailing list.