ciao-amalfi-toulouse-feature

Is This Your Cat?

ciao-amalfi-toulouse

From the moment I met our cat Toulouse, it has been an adventure. This furry little guy arrived one Monday morning three and a half years ago, when someone buzzed at our gate and asked, “Is this your cat?” When I looked at the orange and white fuzzball with impossibly big ears, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It wasn’t very many hours before the adventure began, when this little kitten was attacked in front of our eyes by another cat and left for dead. We rushed him to the vet and I helped nurse him back to life. You can read all about that adventurous Monday here.

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It took some time for Toulouse to get his name. But to give you an idea of his playful nature, his first nickname was “Bitey McBite.” While it took awhile for just the right name to arrive, it took no time at all for him to work his way into our hearts. This little nutcase has been non stop craziness and fun since he could get around again. He is my constant companion and writing buddy. He makes me laugh so many times every time. He brought a smile to my face during some very tough times over the last few years. How could you not laugh at a kitten hiding inside fruit bag?

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Toulouse recovered well in all areas, except one of his front legs. He had suffered too much nerve damage to that leg and couldn’t move it much. So after having him for about 6 months, we made the big decision to have that leg amputated. And boy was he brave! I shared about that story here. Although in retrospect, I think the whole adventure was more traumatizing for us than for him. He never looked back … and has been rocking three legs ever since!

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We’ve had more adventures along the way with Toulouse (look up “twitchy cat syndrome” sometime if you’re truly bored), but I couldn’t image our life without this cat. And even though he sometimes gets annoyed with Toulouse, I suspect his big brother Puffy feels the same way.

Puffy and Toulouse

So now, after three and a half years and many adventures, I can answer with certainty, “Yes, that is my cat!”

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Animals definitely have a way of coming into our lives in unexpected ways. How have pets changed your life? I’d love to hear your stories!

 

 

 

Italy Blogging Roundtable

italy-blogging-roundtable
This blog post is part of a series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Every month our group of Italy based writers takes on a new theme, and you can read the contributions for this month’s topic – Pets – at the links below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please share the stores if you’ve enjoyed them!

BrigolanteOf Dogs and Death

Italy ExplainedCaesar’s Cats

Amalfi Coast Ferry Schedule 2017

Amalfi Coast Ferry Schedule 2017

Amalfi Coast Ferry Schedule 2017

Amalfi Coast Ferry Schedule 2017

If you’re planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast this year, one of the most enjoyable ways to get around the coast is on the ferry. The company Travelmar runs regular, daily ferry service connecting Positano, Amalfi and Salerno, and they’ve announced their schedule for this year! Service begins on April 1st and runs through October 31st, 2017. Remember, of course, that the ferry service on the Amalfi Coast is always weather permitting. That being said, the ferry service is only rarely canceled throughout the season.

Below is the Amalfi Coast ferry schedule 2017, and you can find out all the details at www.travelmar.it – which is also available in English!

Travelmar Amalfi Coast Ferry Schedule 2017

Book Amalfi Coat Ferry Tickets Online

One handy travel tip I can recommend is buying your Travelmar ferry tickets online. You can book your tickets in advance online here. Or you can also download the Travelmar app for information while you’re traveling. Very handy! If you’re not sure on your travel plans or timing, that’s no problem. I’ve always just bought my ferry tickets from from the ticket booths in Amalfi, Positano and Salerno right before departure.

Amalfi Coast Ferry Schedule 2017

Find Out More About Amalfi Coast Ferries

Have questions about ferries on the Amalfi Coast? I answered some of the most popular questions in this fun Amalfi Coast Ferry Q&A. I also highly recommend following Travelmar on Facebook, which is the best way to find out if the ferries are running on iffy weather days as they post notifications if the service is canceled.

 

Travel Inspiration

Need even more reason to hop on the ferry to get around the Amalfi Coast? Travelmar created this gorgeous video that really captures the ferry experience on the Amalfi Coast. The gorgeous views from the sea, the incredible photo opportunities and … best of all … no traffic! It really is the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast. Enjoy!
 

Find out more at Travelmar!

Ravello and Spring on the Amalfi Coast

Visiting the Amalfi Coast in the Spring

Ravello and Spring on the Amalfi Coast

What to See & Do on the Amalfi Coast in the Spring

The weather is warming up, birds are singing every morning when I open the window and the almond trees have started to blossom. That means la primavera has arrived on the Amalfi Coast! Everything is a bit brighter this time of year, and I love watching the trees and plants come to life. Spring brings with it the arrival of the tourist season and travelers from around the world start arriving. Those lucky early spring visitors are in for a treat, too! While it’s true that the weather can be a bit more unpredictable in March and April, the rainy weather usually passes quickly. So for those of you getting ready for your upcoming trip, here’s a look at some of my favorite reasons to visit the Amalfi Coast in the Spring!

 

See the Wisteria Blooming

Wisteria in Positano - Spring on the Amalfi Coast

Ahhh … nothing says spring on the Amalfi Coast more than draping vines of sweet scented wisteria! Since the early spring flowers like daffodils and tulips aren’t very common in this area, I look forward all winter to seeing the wisteria blooming. While you can see wisteria all up and down the coast, my two favorite spots on my annual wisteria pilgrimage are Positano and Ravello. In Positano, you can find the wisteria blooming from right down by the beach and along the main street up into town. See more photos of wisteria in Positano here. In Ravello, you won’t want to miss visiting the Villa Cimbrone, which has pergolas full of wisteria. It’s absolutely heavenly when they’re blooming! The wisteria usually blooms from the end of March to beginning of April, depending on the spring weather.

 

Enjoy the Crisp Colors on a Ferry Ride

Amalfi Ferry - Amalfi Coast in the Spring

Usually around Easter time (or earlier if April is late in the spring) the ferries start running on the Amalfi Coast. This is the best way to get around, especially between Amalfi and Positano. The colors in the spring are often crisper than later in the summer when it tends to be more humid. So it’s a great time to get out your camera and enjoy the views of this gorgeous coastline from the sea.

 

Go Hiking Among the Flowers

Capri Spring Hiking - Amalfi Coast in the Spring

March and April are both great months for hiking on the Amalfi Coast, especially if you aren’t too fond of the heat. The ginestra (yellow broom flowers you can see in the photo above on Capri) starts blooming around this time, and the yellow flowers create quite a punch of color against the blue background of the sea and sky. Enjoy a hike in the mountains around Amalfi or why not tackle the incredible Pathway of the Gods above Positano? Or, if you’re looking for an stunning view without the hike, take the funicular up to Monte Solaro on Capri for the beautiful view above.

 

Get the Beach (Almost) to Yourself!

April Beach in Amalfi - Spring on the Amalfi Coast

When the sun comes out so do all the beach lovers! While the water might be a bit chilly for some people (including me!) this time of year, it’s definitely not for many people. Even if I don’t venture in very far in the spring, I love this time of year at the beach since it’s so much less crowded than the summer. The water is also incredibly clear and oh so tempting!

 

Easter in Amalfi

Neapolitan Pastiera Amalfi Coast

This year Pasqua (Easter) falls on Sunday, April 16th, which is the unofficial start of the season on the Amalfi Coast. If you’re visiting the area for Easter this year, be sure to arrive in time for Good Friday, which is when you’ll be able to experience the incredibly moving religious processions that take place on that day. One of the most impressive on the coast is in Amalfi, where a large procession takes place after dark. The city shuts off the lights in the piazza and it’s lit only by candles. You can get a glimpse of the procession in this video from a few years back.

While on the Amalfi Coast during Easter, don’t miss the chance to try the traditional Neapolitan pastiera. It’s a tart made with ricotta cheese, cooked wheat, eggs and candied orange peels. You’ll find it at every bakery during the Easter season, but my two favorite spots in Amalfi are Pasticceria Pansa or Pasticceria Leone. If you’re planning a visit to the Amalfi Coast this spring, I hope it’s a sweet one!

 

Trattoria da Lorenzo in Scala with View of Ravello

Trattoria da Lorenzo | Excellent Seafood Restaurant Overlooking Ravello

Trattoria da Lorenzo in Scala with View of Ravello

Trattoria da Lorenzo in Scala

For this month’s Italy Roundtable theme of Flavor, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite restaurants on the Amalfi Coast – Trattoria da Lorenzo. You’ll find it in Scala, just across the valley from Ravello. This restaurant has all the charms of a trattoria—friendly, family-run atmosphere and a lovely, rustic setting—but with a cuisine that you’ll be talking about long after your holiday! Add to that beautiful outdoor dining terrace with a view of Ravello and you can see why it’s one of my top choices for dining on the Amalfi Coast.

Lorenzo gives a hearty and warm greeting when you arrive, and is always on hand to help with menu suggestions and offer the best choices for the day. And since Trattoria da Lorenzo specializes in seafood, it’s a great idea to hear what the freshest options are direct from Lorenzo or his son Luca. Of course, for non seafood lovers, there are always options on hand, too!

Trattoria da Lorenzo in Scala Wine List

There’s also an excellent wine list, which includes choices from local wineries on the Amalfi Coast in Ravello, Tramonti and Furore. My recommendation would be to start out with their wonderful antipasto mix. Soon your table will be full of little plates full of seafood dishes to try – all cooked in a traditional Amalfi Coast manner. After that there are wonderful pasta and main course dishes with seafood options to choose from … if you still have room! I’ve never managed to get a photo of the delicious pasta dishes we’ve had at Trattoria da Lorenzo. I’m always far too excited to eat them when they arrive.

Trattoria da Lorenzo Seafood Restaurant Near Ravello

One of the charms of Trattoria da Lorenzo is its setting in Scala. If you haven’t explored this quiet little town, it is Ravello’s peaceful next door neighbor. The whole town has a much more rustic, mountain feel compared to Ravello. This is one of the reasons I love it so much. You’ll enjoy this vibe at Trattoria da Lorenzo, which feels like you’re stepping into a home setting from the moment you walk into the garden.

Trattoria da Lorenzo Charming Entrance

There’s a small dining area inside and a larger outdoor terrace at Trattoria da Lorenzo. This is the place for a lovely outdoor dining experience. They’re even well equipped with blankets should the evening be a little chilly.

Trattoria da Lorenzo Rustic Style Building

The restaurant entrance opens to a beautiful garden with a sitting area underneath olive trees. At night the area is lit by white lights in the olive trees, adding the perfect romantic touch! With this great indoor and outdoor setting, Trattoria da Lorenzo is also a great spot if you’re planning a private family gathering, ceremony or event.

Trattoria da Lorenzo Garden with Olive Trees

Trattoria da Lorenzo is open seasonally from Tuesday to Sunday, but it’s always best to call in advance for reservations. Or you can make a reservation online here.

Trattoria da Lorenzo in Scala

Trattoria da Lorenzo
www.trattoriadalorenzo.com
Via Fra Gerardo Sasso 21
Scala, Italy
Tel: 089 858290

 

Italy Blogging Roundtable

italy-blogging-roundtable
This blog post is part of a monthly series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Every month our group of Italy based writers takes on a new theme. You can read the contributions for this month’s topic – Flavor – at the links below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please share the stores if you’ve enjoyed them!

Bleeding EspressoFlavors of Calabria: Amarelli Licorice 

Brigolante – Local Flavor: Best Restaurants in Assisi

Girl in Florence – Barely Bigger Than A Breath, Tiny Spaces That Pack A Punch in Florence

ItalofileFive Favorite Flavors From Ferrara and Modena

Italy Explained7 of Italy’s Weirdest Foods

Positano - One of the Most Romantic Spots on the Amalfi Coast

Top 10 Romantic Spots on the Amalfi Coast

Positano - One of the Most Romantic Spots on the Amalfi Coast

A Hopeless Romantic’s Insider Tips for the Most Romantic Spots on the Amalfi Coast

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good romance. A book, a movie, a sappy card, and I’m hooked. I’m a romantic at heart, and that’s probably why I fell in love with the Amalfi Coast. It was one of those love at first sight stories. As the years pass, I’m ever more sure that it will be a love affair that lasts a lifetime. Every nook and cranny of this beautiful coastline could easily be called romantic. Yet as a lover of all things romance, I’m sharing some of my favorite and most romantic spots on the Amalfi Coast. These are the unforgettable vistas, charming towns and dreamy beaches that you won’t want to miss if you’re planning a romantic getaway on the Amalfi Coast. Please do share the spots that are the most romantic for you in the comments!

 

Amalfi

Romantic Spots on the Amalfi Coast Guide

Amalfi is the town that is closest to my heart on the Amalfi Coast. I’ve noticed that people tend to fall in love with one town more than all the rest, and Amalfi grabbed my heart from the moment I arrived. Just meandering through town, soaking up the sun on the beach or strolling along the waterfront at sunset can still make me weak at the knees. Yet there are a few spots that are some of my favorites on the Amalfi Coast.

For a romantic and secluded day at the beach, my first choice is always the (1) Santa Croce Beach. This small, rocky beach is just a short boat ride west of Amalfi, and the boat ride there is part of the fun. We take the complimentary boat service provided by Ristorante Da Teresa and then settle in for a day under the orange umbrellas, only taking a break from the sun and swimming to enjoy a fabulous lunch overlooking the sea.

If you love hiking and nature, then spend a day exploring the (2) Valle delle Ferriere above Amalfi. As you hike into the valley above town, you’ll pass ruins of old paper mills and follow a path along a crystal clear mountain stream. Don’t forget to pack a picnic to enjoy by the stream! Then keep hiking to the very top of the valley where you’ll find a tropical oasis of waterfalls, cascading water and a landscape that feels miles away from the sunny beaches.

Looking for a romantic spot to enjoy dinner in Amalfi? My favorite is the (3) Ristorante Marina Grande, which has a fabulous location overlooking Amalfi’s main beach. Family run and casually elegant, you’ll enjoy a creative take on local dishes with the finest ingredients. It’s an excellent choice if you’re just passing through Amalfi and want a wonderful lunch or are staying in town and planning a romantic evening out.

 

Atrani

Romantic Spots on the Amalfi Coast - Atrani

Just a short stroll away from Amalfi you’ll find the picturesque little town of (4) Atrani. And when I say “little” I really mean little. By size, Atrani is the smallest town in Italy. And with less than 1,000 inhabitants and slightly off the beaten path setting, it rarely feels as crowded during the summer as some of the other towns along the Amalfi Coast. Get lost in the maze of streets that inspired the labyrinthine artwork of M.C. Escher, enjoy a day at the beach or dine by the sea with the town as your backdrop. As far as romantic spots on the Amalfi Coast go, Atrani is one of the sweetest!

 

Positano

Romantic Spots in Positano

Positano exudes romance. Every time I visit there I feel like I’m on holiday, even though I live here! There’s just something especially romantic about it, which is why it is one of the most popular honeymoon and destination wedding spots on the Amalfi Coast. Positano often tops the list of romantic spots on the Amalfi Coast, and it’s one of my favorites, too. Just walking along the beach at sunset is enough to make most people swoon. If you’re planning a romantic getaway to Positano, wander away from the crowds on the main beach over to (5) Fornillo Beach, set in a pretty cove complete with watchtowers and plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas for a relaxing day at the beach.

For a romantic splurge, book a stay at the incredible (6) Le Sirenuse Hotel in Positano. Remember that romantic movie Only You with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr.? The pool scene was filmed at this hotel, and you’re just as likely to see a few famous faces around the pool today. If you’re just passing through Positano on a day trip, you can also enjoy the romantic setting at their Michelin-starred restaurant La Sponda or enjoy cocktails the stylish Franco’s Bar.

 

Ravello

Villa Cimbrone - Romantic Spots in Ravello

With sweeping views of the Amalfi coastline and a peaceful setting, romance and Ravello go hand in hand. For music lovers, this is the perfect location for a summer getaway on the Amalfi Coast. Plan a romantic evening out while enjoying a concert at the (7) Ravello Festival, complete with a breathtaking view of the Amalfi Coast as the backdrop. Every summer the Ravello Festival presents concerts from classical to jazz and contemporary performers from around the world, along with dance, theater and opera. A great choice for music and art lovers!

While in Ravello, don’t miss the chance to stroll through the gardens of (8) Villa Cimbrone. At the very end of the garden you’ll find the spectacular Terrace of Infinity. If you’re looking for an incredible spot to propose to your loved on the Amalfi Coast, this would be one of my top picks! Curious for more? Read more about Where to Propose on the Amalfi Coast.

If there’s one spot that gets romantic hearts dreaming, it’s the infinity pool at the (9) Hotel Caruso in Ravello. Every time I see a photo of it, I dream of spending leisurely days at that pool. Why not spoil your loved one with a dream getaway at one of the Amalfi Coast’s most romantic hotels?

 

Praiano – Marina di Praia

Romantic Beaches on the Amalfi Coast

While Praiano is a popular spot to stay on the Amalfi Coast, many people miss the charming (10) Marina di Praia beach. It’s one of my favorites on the Amalfi Coast! Tucked away in a little cove, the beach has an old world feel with its colorful boats, fishing nets and whitewashed church. You’ll find plenty of beachside restaurants to choose from as well as a walkway carved right into the mountainside. Perfect for a romantic evening stroll hand in hand!

 

I hope you have enjoyed this guide to romantic spots on the Amalfi Coast! I look forward to hearing about your favorite romantic places on the Amalfi Coast. Please do share them in the comments below!