Summer Reads for Amalfi Coast Lovers

Last Voyage of the Valentina by Santa Montefiore

The summer has arrived and with it comes some much needed beach time with a great book. I hope your summer brings you travels to a warm and sunny destination … perhaps even the Amalfi Coast! If you can’t make it to the Amalfi Coast this summer, I’ve put together a list of books set on or about the Amalfi Coast to inspire your summer travel dreams. These aren’t your guide books to tell you where to eat or park your sun umbrella. These are the books that make you dream of sailing off to explore the Amalfi Coast when you close your eyes. I’ve included some of my favorite novels, travel books and memoirs set here, along with some excellent works of non-fiction and some cookbooks if you’re feeling hungry for something Amalfi Coast inspired after all that reading!


Novels Set on the Amalfi Coast

My perfect beach read is a novel, one that captures the beauty of a place and weaves a story that you don’t want to leave behind when you finish. One of my favorite authors, Santa Montefiore, has set two of her books on a fictional town of Incantelleria – an enchanting place you won’t ever want to leave!

The House in Amalfi by Elizabeth Adler

Sailing to Capri by Elizabeth Adler

The Night Villa by Carol Goodman (Capri)

Stones of the Madonna by Jan Mazzoni (Positano)

Last Voyage of the Valentina by Santa Montefiore

The Italian Matchmaker by Santa Montefiore (sequel to Last Voyage of the Valentina)

The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners by Luanne Rice (Capri)

Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani (Tuscany, New York City, Buenos Aires and the island Capri)


Travel Writing About the Amalfi Coast

If you’ve got the Amalfi Coast travel bug, you’ll enjoy following Chantal Kelly on her travels along the Amalfi Coast in Gelato Sisterhood on the Amalfi Shore. Here are a few other choices to enjoy, too!

Amalfi Blue: Lost & Found in the South of Italy by Lisa Fantino

Gelato Sisterhood on the Amalfi Shore by Chantal Kelly

Capri and No Longer Capri by Raffaele La Capria

My Amalfi Coast by Amanda Tabberer


Non-Fiction About the Amalfi Coast

Not a fiction fan or just curious to find out more about the history of the Amalfi Coast?

The Mystery of the Duchess of Malfi by Barbara Banks Amendola

Art and Patronage in the Medieval Mediterranean: Merchant Culture in the Region of Amalfi by Jill Caskey

Positano: La città verticale by Romolo Ercolino (I have the Italian, but it’s available in English as Positano: The Vertical City)


Amalfi Coast Cookbooks

How about a slice of Mamma Agata’s famous lemon cake while you’re reading? Here are some cookbooks that highlight the local cuisine in easy to follow recipes so you can enjoy the flavors of the Amalfi Coast at home.

The Lemon of the Amalfi Coast: Recipes History Art by Ezio Falcone and Maurizio Apicella

The Amalfi Coast: A Collection of Italian Recipes by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi

Mamma Agata: Simple and Genuine by Chiara Lima

Amalfi Coast Recipes by Amanda Tabberer


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You may have noticed that I’ve included books set on Capri in this list, but not Naples, Ischia and other spots in Campania. I wanted to keep this list focused just on the Amalfi Coast, but I love Capri so much that I had to squeeze it in. If you’re interested in more books set in this beautiful part of Italy, check out this fuller list of Books Set in Campania that I put together for My Bella Vita. My summer read just arrived in the mail, and I look forward to diving in. When I spotted That Summer in Ischia by Penny Feeny online, I knew it was a must read. I’ll be sure to report back with a review when I’ve finished. Enjoy your summer reading!

Primo Bagno

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel First Swim Summer Beach

Heading to the beach in Amalfi for the first swim of the season!

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel First Swim Summer Beach

Heading to the beach in Amalfi for the first swim of the season!

This spring has been an odd one on the Amalfi Coast with many days of rain and surprising chilly weather. When the weather finally got the messsagio that it was time for summer, the beaches went from empty to busy practically overnight. Everyone was eager for the primo bagno … or first swim. I’m not up to cold water temps so my first swim didn’t happen until a couple of weeks ago at the beginning of June.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel First Swim June Clear Water

Temptingly clear but cool water in Amalfi

The water was quite chilly like it usually is in April or May, but that also meant it was still as beautiful and clear as it is in early spring. Just look at that turquoise!

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Blog Sea Amalfi

Looking down at the sea and rocks in Amalfi

I must admit that I enjoyed the sunshine more than the swim since the water was still too cool for me to really enjoy. Just look at the boy wading into the sea in the photo below and his body language pretty much expresses just how chilly the water felt.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel First Swim June Cold Water

Hot hot sun and cold water …

Either side of the Marina Grande beach in Amalfi has a free area where you can just throw down your towel. Or in between there are several places to choose from for a sun bed and umbrella if you’re staying longer and want to be more comfortable. Seeing as it was my first swim … and sun … we didn’t stay long.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Blog Marina Grande Beach

Amalfi’s Marina Grande Beach

The recent scorching temps have warmed the water up quite a bit and it finally looks and feels like summer around here. The beach season has begun!

Spring Blossoms at the Villa Cimbrone

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Wisteria Walkway

Walking under the wisteria in the Villa Cimbrone

Spring came a bit late this year, but it wasn’t stingy with its beautiful colors and much needed cheeriness. One sunny day when the internet went kaput I took a ride up to Ravello and headed toward the Villa Cimbrone. I’ve shared photos of a picture perfect autumn stroll through the Villa Cimbrone and a winter walk in Ravello, but I haven’t yet covered my favorite season of the year on the Amalfi Coast. Bright bursts of yellow, electric pink blooms and, yes, there will be wisteria! I try to visit the Villa Cimbrone each spring, but I’ve never managed to time it with the blossoming of the wisteria covered walkways in the garden. This year I was in luck as the much of the wisteria was at its peak. So just sit back, enjoy a cup of tea and savor the beautiful blossoms, garden setting and all the loveliness of spring at the Villa Cimbrone in Ravello!

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Wisteria Pergola

The delicious scent of spring on the Amalfi Coast

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Pink Blossoms Tower

The Villa Cimbrone gardens are the perfect spot to enjoy spring

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Tree Blossom

Perfect spring blossom

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Statue View

Spring colors and marvelous views at the Villa Cimbrone

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Terrace of Infinity

Stepping out to the Terrace of Infinity at the Villa Cimbrone

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa CImbrone Wisteria Buds

Hanging wisteria buds ready to bloom

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Wisteria Steps

A wisteria pergola leading down to a replica of Verrocchio’s David

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Cyclamen

From the infinite to tiny wild cyclamen

 

Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte in Ravello

An alluring garden entrance in Ravello

The Amalfi Coast is made of twists and turns with hidden away staircases, unexpected vistas out to the sea and beautiful spots to discover. If you’re the sort of traveler who likes to wander and explore, this is the place for you! Ravello has two famous villas with gardens you can visit—the Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone—but there are many other lovely spots to discover if you head out to explore the town. Strolling along Via San Giovanni del Toro just past the entrances to the luxe Hotel Caruso and the Palazzo Avino you will spot an arched stone entrance dripping with vines. Peek through the arch to catch just a glimpse of the view and it’s impossible not to walk in to explore the little Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Garden View

The Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte in Ravello

The small grassy garden is shaded with beautiful trees and planted with seasonal flowers. This is a very popular spot for weddings in Ravello since the city hall is just a short stroll away. There are some very well placed benches where you can sit and relax while enjoying the view. “Belvedere” means “beautiful view” – and that’s most definitely what you’ll find here!

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Panorama

View from the Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte in Ravello

The view overlooks the Amalfi Coast with the picturesque village of Torello below and Minori and Maiori in the distance. The views here are very similar to what you would enjoy from the five star hotels nearby, but for free! In many scenic spots along the Amalfi Coast you’ll find signs that indicate where famous movies were filmed. There’s a sign at the Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte about the 1953 movie Beat the Devil with Humphrey Bogart and the beautiful Gina Lollobrigida.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Movie Sign

Movies filmed on the Amalfi Coast

The Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte takes its name from a real princess – Marie José of Belgium (1906-2001) who married Prince Umberto, the crown prince of the House of Savoy. Her title after marriage was the Princess of Piedmont, or Principessa di Piemonte in Italian. She became the last Queen of Italy in 1946, and her short 35-day role as Queen consort from May 9th to June 12th earned her the name “The May Queen.” In the 1930s, when what is today called the Ravello Festival was just getting started, the Prince and Princess of Piedmont attended one of the concerts in Ravello, and this belvedere was renamed Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte in honor of the princess.

A view fit for a princess!

Next time you’re in Ravello, take a stroll up to the top of town to enjoy the beautiful views and peaceful garden at the Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte. (Tiaras not required …)