Postcard from The Amalfi Coast
Welcome to a new column on Green With Renvy – Postcard From a Friend – a Take Me There visit to one of the places I’ve always wanted to travel to, brought to you courtesy of a well travelled friend of mine. I always ask copious details when I’ve heard someone has just returned from a trip. You could say I’m the perfect dinner party guest for hosts with wanderlust, as I could listen to stories and watch slide shows of How I spent my summer vacation for hours on end. Lucky for me, my high school friend Sue was willing to share the family trip she recently took to the Amalfi Coast to celebrate her twin’s graduation. She agreed to be my first guina pig, as I knew her seasoned eye would capture the beauty of this dramatic destination. Come along as she and her daughter Abby take us to this unique section of a European paradise on the Mediterranean.
The Amalfi Coast boasts both dramatic natural vistas and proud ancient traditions combined with an abundance of natural resources to fill the menus of seaside restaurants. Sue and her daughter Abbey take us to the Amalfi coast, Capri, Positano, Nerano, and Pompeii. All represent a spot high on my romantic dream vacation list. Here are a few of the highlights:
Capri--the historic Punta Tragara Hotel, built in 1920 after the style of famous French architect Le Corbusier, became the U.S. headquarters during the Second World War and was visited by Eisenhower and Churchill. We are so glad that in the late 1960’s this villa was turned into a charming hotel! The stunning cliffside location overlooks the Capri Sea. The key to hotel success in Capri is to be a ten minute walk away from the main town (great restaurants and designer shopping), to avoid the day trippers and to take advantage of the best views at the end of the island. Punta Tragara certainly fits the bill. Capri offers an abundance of native lemons and basil, delicious fish and refreshing rose wine!! A reserved sun bed and lunch at the beach club, La Fontelina (below), was wonderful. Think rock platforms close to the water when you think beach, not the sandy Jersey shore Alison and I grew up with. We were able to swim, but the water was quite cold. Anacapri, is a separate town at the end of the island, high above Capri. The perilous taxi ride up the mountain is worth it to reach the chair lift and views from the highest point on Capri.
Through the Faraglioni, the iconic rock formation, we said good bye Capri and set off to Positano via a day long boat trip aboard the Martina. Our “sailor/guide”, Rafaeli, was courtesy of BluRide. Seated in luxury, it was an excellent opportunity to view the coastline from the water and take in the famous cliffs we had always dreamed of visiting.
Several grottos (Blue Grotto—famous and touristy, Green Grotto—a secluded spot where we were able to swim, White Grotto—think the Virgin Mary, Heart Grotto—heart shape) along the way.
The family disembarked directly on the beach in Positano and checked into the seaside hotel, Covo dei Saraceni. The preferred, Le Sereneuse and Il San Pietro, were both sold out, so make sure if you are traveling here, you book your room early. Favorite Positano restaurants were Donna Rosa and Max. Positano offered affordable shopping compared to the high end designer shops in Capri. Day trips can be taken to Pompeii (get a tour guide for 2 hours) and Ravello. Ravello –lots of ceramics and a fun family-owned restaurant– Cumpa Cosimo. Many of the locals call it Nettys.
Next port-o-call, Nerano, another dramatic town built into the cliffs with secluded coves and turquoise waters. We were on the hunt for the town’s specialty: zucchini pasta at La Conca Del Sogno, and were not disappointed. Perfecto!!
On the way back to Naples for our departure, we couldn’t miss a stop in Pompeii. No matter what you have heard and read, the ruins will be a surprise as you try and picture what has taken place at this location. The vast archaeological site in the Campania region was once a thriving and sophisticated city in Roman times. Mt Vesuvius changed all that after the catastrophic eruption in 79 AD.
The Amalfi coast area was the perfect spot for a special family celebration. Cannot wait to go back!!