Photo Friday: Royal Clipper in Amalfi


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Royal Clipper


Summer in Amalfi brings with it some of the most beautiful cruise boats, which stop in Amalfi’s harbor for a day or two. The most extraordinary is the Royal Clipper, the largest fully-rigged sailing ship in the world. With five masts and 42 sails, everyone in Amalfi stops to stare when the Royal Clipper comes into port. Earlier this summer it stopped in Amalfi on a windy Sunday afternoon, when I just happened to be sitting on the rocks watching a storm brewing off in the distance.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Royal Clipper Storm


Fortunately, the storm held off until all the passengers and tenders made it back to the Royal Clipper before it sailed away. Maybe next time I’ll catch a glimpse of those beautiful sails. Happy Friday and a good weekend to everyone!

Bleeding Espresso’s Gita Italiana 2010


Have you all been following the Gita Italiana 2010 (Italy Tour 2010) over at Bleeding Espresso? If you love Italy, then this is the perfect chance to do some virtual traveling around the boot this month. Michelle has invited guest writers from all over Italy to write about where they live, and each day until the end of August you have the chance to read about another beautiful spot in Italy each day. Plus, she’s doing Italy themed book giveaways on Mondays until the end of the month! Really, does it get any better?

I am honored to have been included in Michelle’s Gita Italiana this year, and I wrote Mountains & Sea: Between Two Worlds on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Check out my article, and be sure to follow along on the Gita Italiana 2010!

Tempting Tuesday: At the Beach in La Maremma, Tuscany

When it comes to planning a trip to Italy’s Tuscany region, the first images that comes to mind are naturally of rolling hillsides, medieval hilltop villages, winding roads lined with those “creepy Italian trees”, and fields of sunflowers. And that certainly is Tuscany! But the region also has a  beautiful coastline and oh so many tempting beaches. Lisa Fantino from Wanderlust Women Travel has stopped by this week to share with us about one of her favorite beaches in Tuscany.

Welcome, Lisa!





There is never a bad day when you’re at the beach. Rain, sleet, snow….oh yeah, and sun, each offers a different opportunity to enjoy the splendor of the sea……….and if the beach just happens to be in Italy, then that’s an added bonus.

La Maremma national park (Parco Naturale della Maremma), along the coast of Tuscany is magnificent in its raw beauty. This is a different beach scene than Ostia Lido near Rome or the tourist-trodden Tropea in Calabria. This is nature at its best—wild, unkempt and beautiful.




This particular day, driving through a shaded grove, lined with wild horses and the occasional Italian cowboy (buttero), it was hard to imagine that the sea lies dead ahead. The trees stand tall over Marina di Alberese, as they have done for centuries, and the Tyrrhenian Sea is nowhere on the horizon for several miles. It’s not until you are well into the parking lot, just beyond the small refreshment stand, that you spy a sliver of turquoise amid the blackness of the branches. Step closer and you will see the white sand beaches, so different from the rocky shores of the Amalfi Coast.

There are private coves along the shoreline where lovers can seemingly hide from the world, and children can get lost in the groves of pine trees. Privacy in public is possible in this wilderness. This is not a beach for boom boxes and sunbrellas. This is a shore for soul-searching, sun-soaking and truly taking the sun au naturale, as a small portion of this park is also a nude beach.

La Maremma runs along the Tuscan coast for some 150 miles and La Marina di Alberese can be found just south of Grosetto.


Lisa Fantino is an award-winning journalist and attorney and the Italy travel consultant behind Wanderlust Women Travel and the Italy destination wedding site Wanderlust Weddings. She also writes travel features for MNUI Travel Insurance and blogs as Lady Litigator.

Photo Friday: Ischia Still Life


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Ischia Still Life


Last month I visited the island of Ischia for the first time. As the largest island in the Bay of Naples, one day is only enough to get a taste of the Isola Verde, or Green Island. Wandering around the town of Ischia Porto, this mural showing the distinctive Castello Aragonese and old-fashioned fishing boats caught my attention. The sunlight was harsh and yet the mural felt cool, the paint peeling off echoing the same red hue as the sun faded scooter. It is an image I’m happy to have brought home with me from a beautiful day on Ischia!

Tempting Tuesday: Beach Adventures in Cuba by Andrea Perullo

As the tourists come crushing into the beaches of the Amalfi Coast, it’s been a pleasure to dream of traveling to other beaches around the world with this fun series of guest posts. With the crowds and the heat, nothing beats a bit of armchair traveling from the comfort of home! When the summer heat rises, out comes my collection of Cuban music by the amazingly talented artists such as Ruben Gonzalez, Compay Segundo, Omara Portuondo, Ibrahim Ferrer and so many others. If I can get my hands on some limes and mint—not always the easiest ingredients to find here in Italy—I’ll even whip up some mojitos. This week Andi from My Beautiful Adventures really tempted me with her story and gorgeous photos from her beach adventures in Cuba. She certainly does know how to have beautiful travel adventures!

Welcome, Andi!



Palm Trees Cuba


I am an adrenalin junkie like no other! This trait was developed several years ago and must now be satiated constantly. So, if you add my fascination with Cuban history and politics, my crush on Che, my love for mojitos, and all things Latin WITH being told that I am not allowed to legally enter the country; well, I could not have designed a better place to get my adrenaline fix in, nor to celebrate my 25th Birthday, than La
Habana, Cuba.

The trip itself was a dream-come-true, but one of the most memorable parts of the whole trip was spending my Birthday at Playa del Este, or the East Beach in Spanish. It is only about a 20 minute and $5 taxi ride from downtown La Habana.


Beach Cuba


As I walked over the sand dunes and in the direction of the ocean the sight of the crystal blue waters took my breath away! I will never become jaded with the Caribbean. The beach is long and wide, with white soft sand and warm gentle water.

Throughout most of Cuba you will encounter a separation between tourists and locals. That type of segregation was really unsettling and bothered me the entire trip, however unlike everywhere else, Playa del Este had no separation and being amongst the locals, especially in such a gorgeous setting, made the experience that much more unforgettable.


Beach Cuba 2


Surrounding the beach are numerous restaurants and bars, but my favorite place for a snack was the popular ice cream stand that always had a line.

I revisited Playa del Este once more on my last day in Cuba. It was the perfect place for me to reflect on my trip. The island was full of life and desperation at the same time. Surrounded by tropical heat, the beat of salsa music, dilapidated architecture, and the constant presence of political unease; in Cuba I had the constant feeling that something was just about to occur, because in a place so full of uncertainty the only thing that was
for sure was that something inevitably would happen!


Car Cuba


Andrea Perullo is a Chinese Medicine Doctor by day, travel addict by night. When she is not treating patients, she is exploring the world or dreaming of the next place to visit.  She also writes travel features for MNUI Travel Insurance and blogs at My Beautiful Adventures.