laura-thayer-moon-amalfi-coast

Special Announcement: I’m Writing an Amalfi Coast Guidebook!

It’s been a little quiet around Ciao Amalfi since earlier this year. For those of you who are regular readers, you may have already spotted the reason why on Instagram or my other social media accounts. I have been wanting to write an update for months, but have been (and still am!) so busy that time feels like it is speeding by. What has kept me so busy is a very exciting new project. I’m writing a guidebook!
 
The book will be for Moon Travel Guides, a company that I love, and it will cover the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Capri, Ischia, and Naples area. It is an honor to have the chance to share so much about this place I love. It is also a massive project! Due to the seasonal nature of travel to the Amalfi Coast, the project has a pretty tight turn around. That’s good news for you since the book is scheduled to be out in the spring of 2019!

ciao-amalfi-cetara

Beautiful Cetara on the Amalfi Coast

So while I work on the book this summer and autumn, I can’t promise I’ll be blogging as regularly as possible or able to respond to your lovely questions. I will try to share some moments from the research and writing process along the way here on Ciao Amalfi. You can also catch more of glimpse behind the scenes via my Instagram Stories, see daily photos on Twitter, or join in the community on Facebook.
 
Thank you to each and every one of you for following along on my journey here on the Amalfi Coast. This next chapter is going to be a thrilling one!

Carnival Mask and Confetti

February on the Amalfi Coast: Local Tips for What to See & Do

February is a quiet month on the Amalfi Coast, with the exception of the very loud celebrations for carnevale. Yes, it’s carnival time again. Around the Amalfi Coast it’s a festive celebration that includes parades with large floats, kids with entirely too much confetti, and, my favorite part, lasagna. (I’ll share more about that below.) The carnival events add a burst of color to what is traditionally a peaceful time of year. This is the month that many restaurants and stores close for annual holiday time or for maintenance work. Soon things will slowly start coming back to life as preparations begin for another busy season ahead. In the meantime, I love these quiet days, especially when the sun shines.
 
Here’s a look at a few things going on this month, along with some tips for enjoying the Amalfi Coast in February!

 

Carnevale

When most people thing carnival and Italy they imagine all those gorgeous masks and costumes in Venice. That’s not at all what the celebrations look like in much of Italy. If you’re at all familiar with what carnevale looks like in the Italian city of Viareggio, with its massive floats and parade, that’s much more along the lines of how it’s celebrated in this part of Italy – naturally just on a much smaller scale. While there are parades and celebrations, often geared toward kids, in many of the towns along the Amalfi Coast, Maiori is the center of carnevale events. (In large part because they actually have space to make floats and have a parade!) With their Gran Carnevale di Maiori, they have a series of events from February 10th to the 18th. The parade with the floats will take place on Tuesday, February 13th at 3pm. You can see the full events for the Carnevale di Maiori here (Italian only).

Carnival Desserts

Of course you can’t have a holiday without good food! As it was traditionally considered the last big hurrah before the period of Lent leading up to Easter, the customary meal for carnevale is quite lavish. Along the Amalfi Coast that means cheese, salami, cured meats, rich pasta dishes, more meat, (usually more cheese) and lots of sweets. Many families prepare an incredibly rich and delicious lasagna enriched with sausage, little meatballs, spicy salami, hard boiled eggs and mozzarella. It is divine. I look forward to it all year. (Think Garfield and his love of lasagna.) Since my husband has two sisters and they are both marvelous cooks, it means we usually get to enjoy a double dose of lasagna each year.
 
When it’s time for dessert, usually a large tray of chiacchiere will arrive on the table. These are thin strips of fried dough topped with powdered sugar. This is a traditional carnival dessert all over Italy and it has many different names depending on where you’re at. While there are countless recipes, the dough sometimes includes a bit of lemon rind or even a splash of limoncello. They make the most delightful tasting mess you’ve ever eaten!

 

The Amalfi Coast in February

As it’s the quietest month of the year, if you’ve been dreaming of driving the Amalfi Coast Road it’s a good time of year to set off by car and explore the coastline. With less traffic it’s a little easier to stop in scenic spots and enjoy the views. The best part are the colors. If you get a sunny and clear day, the colors of February are vivid and crisp. Just keep in mind that most places are closed this time of year. So don’t expect to rock up to Positano and find all the boutiques open and restaurants to choose from along the beach. But if you’re coming to the Amalfi Coast to enjoy the views and meander around the quiet streets, it’s a wonderful time of year!
 
While you’re exploring the Amalfi Coast, don’t forget that sites like the Villa Romana ruins in Minori are open year round and are free to visit. Take note that the Museo della Carta (Paper Museum) in Amalfi is closed in February for maintenance.
 
Ah … the month of love begins in the place I love the most – the Amalfi Coast! Of course February means San Valentino, or Valentine’s Day. If the weather is nice, our favorite way to celebrate is to head out on a drive along the coastline or simply stroll along the port in Amalfi. No better way to celebrate than just enjoying the place I love most of all.

ciao-amalfi-theme-creativity-1

My One-Word Theme for 2018: CREATIVITY

For many years now, I’ve started the new year by choosing one word that encapsulates my goals and intentions for the year ahead. While there are a lot of people out there doing this, I think the idea was inspired some time ago by my friend Michelle over at Bleeding Espresso. I find with my attention focused on one idea that I carry with me throughout the year that it often has more impact than resolutions. Those can so often get left behind.
 
Last year my one-word them was CHANGE. Hoo-boy was it ever a year of change. Although, as the end of the year approached, I did have some doubts about having made positive progress with change over the course of the year. Let’s just say December arrived and taught me a thing or two about change. While all positive, it has felt an awful lot like a roller coaster. I don’t really like roller coasters. But I’ve gripped on extra tight to CHANGE and am going along for the ride to see what exciting new places it takes me. And just maybe I’ve thrown my hands up in the air and screamed in exhilaration a few times!

I can see that CHANGE is still in full swing in my life and will certainly be carrying over to 2018. At times I thought maybe I was looking at a two year theme. But I had a sneaky suspicion another word would arrive. For me these one-word themes always come rather unexpectedly. When they do you just know it’s right. Just when I thought I had settled on another word, this year’s one-word theme arrived a couple of weeks ago and made itself right at home. CREATIVITY.

ciao-amalfi-theme-creativity-5

Ahh … now that just feels right. Much of the change in 2017 was shifting situations in to make space for bringing more creativity into my life. While, yes, it’s true that there’s already a great deal of creativity in my life, what has been missing is the space to pursue new creative projects. From the home remodel project we’re about to start in Amalfi to spending more time with photography and some possible projects I can’t quite share with you yet, this is going to be an exciting year full of CREATIVITY!

Do you have a one-word theme for the year? Please do share it below in the comments. I’d love to hear how you’re envisioning your 2018!