Amalfi Coast Travel Architecture

My Blue Heaven

Amalfi Coast Travel Winter Blue Amalfi

Last week the most remarkably normal thing happened. I went for a walk in Amalfi with my husband. Normal because we’ve done that together countless times over the past eight years. Remarkable because it was the first time we’ve done that since last autumn when he got sick. While his recovery process is coming along — albeit slowly — it was a huge boost in spirits to be able to do such a normal thing again. And, of course, Amalfi was stunning.

Amalfi Coast Travel Architecture

When the sun shines in February something magical happens. I’ve not yet figured out if it’s just the contrast to rain and clouds or if the blues are somehow more blue. Something is different though. As we walked along the harbor I couldn’t get over just how blue it was.

Amalfi Coast Travel Winter Harbor

Everything was blue – the sky, the sea, the railings around the Amalfi cross, the boats. It was as if all I could see was blue.

Amalfi Coast Travel Winter Walk

My favorite walk in Amalfi is along the raised level of the pier that defines the harbor of Amalfi. We had it all to ourselves on this gloriously sunny day last week. It was right about here that the old song “My Blue Heaven” popped into my head.

Amalfi Coast Travel Walking

Okay, so there was a little bit of red, too.

Amalfi Coast Travel Winter Sunshine

I started to count the blue boats as we headed back the other way. One blue boat. Two blue boats. Three blue boats. Four…

Amalfi Coast Travel Fishing Boats

Since our walk in Amalfi was a bit unexpected, I went out without my camera. So to give you an idea just how beautiful of a day it was, these photos were just snapped quickly on an iPhone4. I wished I had brought my camera along with me!

Amalfi Coast Travel Boating

Days like this are a beautiful reminder that spring is coming. Yet the light and colors will be different. Still beautiful, but different. There will be many more walks in the sunshine to come!

Home Again on the Amalfi Coast

Flying to the Amalfi Coast

I wish I could say that I woke up to this stunning sunrise yesterday morning, because that would have meant I had slept on the flight from Atlanta to Rome. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful sight watching the first signs of morning and enjoying this striking pink surprise somewhere over France. I’ve been in America the past couple of weeks visiting family and helping my mom move. This also meant sorting through all of my remaining belongings in America and condensing what I wanted to keep down to what would fit in two rather large suitcases. Including a lifetime of photos. Even though it was a busy and short trip, it’s always great to see my family!

Flying to Naples Italy

Flying into the Naples Capodichino airport is stunning on a clear day. Most of the time the landing flight path from the north comes in over Ischia and Procida, which you can see below the wing in the photo above. You can also see the familiar outline of Capri with the little peak of Monte Solaro in the distance. Then the plane curves in over the top of Naples with a clear view down right over Vomero and Castel Sant’Elmo and the Certosa di San Martino. If you know Naples you can spot Santa Chiara, Piazza Plebiscito and even the soaring glass dome of the Galleria Umberto I. Oh, and of course Vesuvius!

Ravello Villa Cimbrone Winter

But that’s the view I was waiting to see again – home! On the way back from the Naples airport to the Amalfi Coast, we ran into a jingly belled traffic jam. I love showing photos like this one below to people who think the Amalfi Coast is just glamorous hotels, lounging by the beach on a sun bed and endless shops and gelato. (Although the gelato is certainly tasty!) There’s a very rural and rugged side of the Amalfi Coast, and you don’t have to go very far up in the mountains to find scenes like this very typical.

Traffic on the Amalfi Coast

What wasn’t typical is that there were some very curious goats in this crowd, including one who stopped right in front of the car and looked at us seemingly puzzled why we were in the middle of the road. Another stopped and peered in the passenger side window before nuzzling the side mirror and closing it! (The side mirrors fold in on most cars in Italy, which comes in handy on the narrow Amalfi Coast roads.)

A Curious Goat

But there wasn’t much time for traffic, because we had a very important date. I arrived just in time yesterday on Carnevale to celebrate my favorite part of the day – eating lasagna! I thought that lasagna was traditional all over Italy for Carnevale, but I learned last year that it’s pretty much just the Naples area. For all the rest of you Italy expats, I’m so very, very sorry that you miss Neapolitan lasagna. It is a thing of wonder, especially when made by my husband’s sisters!

Neapolitan Lasagna

So it’s not the most photogenic food in the world, but it is one of the tastiest! I also discovered that it really is perfect after 24 hours of traveling and icky airplane food. It’s good to be home again for so many reason!


PS: I’m sorry about the iPhone quality photos, but I wasn’t traveling with my Nikon D3200. You can find more of my iPhone photos on Instagram at @ciaoamalfi.

Tanti Auguri di Buon Anno!

Amalfi Coast Travel Buon Anno

On the Amalfi Coast we said goodbye to 2014 with a blanket of snow. It was the chance to reflect on the beautiful moments and the challenging moments from this year and look ahead to the year to come. From this small, snowy corner of the world to wherever this finds you, I wish you a happy 2015 full of peace, harmony, laughter and love!

Buone Feste from the Amalfi Coast!

Amalfi Coast Travel Christmas Flavio Gioia

We’ve been enjoying a quieter than usual Christmas this year, but full of gratitude that my husband is slowly recovering and feeling a little better each day. The weather has been unusually mild and gorgeous for December, yet as I write this a cold north wind is howling down the mountains. Winter has arrived! Looking back at these photos I quickly shot on my iPhone earlier this week on a sunny morning in Amalfi makes me feel a little warmer. Just a little.

Amalfi Coast Travel Fountain Presepe Nativity

I love the presepi, or nativities, that are built in the fountains in Amalfi. Their intricate scenes are a mix of Neapolitan traditions and local touches, especially the one pictures above. As you walk around the fountain you’ll find familiar names for restaurants, cafés, a gelato cart, boats and even recognizable people!

Amalfi Coast Travel Presepe Fountain

A lot of work goes into the creation of this presepe each year, starting with fishing out the turtles who usually laze about in the sun there the rest of the year. Most families also have nativity scenes in their homes, ranging from simple to hugely elaborate affairs complete with water features (but usually without the need to move turtles).

Amalfi Coast Travel Nativity Scene

I hope that you are enjoying a happy holiday time and are finding moments to enjoy the traditions and beauty of the season. From the Amalfi Coast to you … buone feste!

Rough Seas, Sunshine

Amalfi Coast Travel Rough Seas Sunshine

I squeezed out of the narrow opening of the car door into the wind, grabbing on to the railing to step up to a big ledge just centimeters from the edge of the car. We had found a parking spot in front of the hospital in Castiglione, and when such a good parking spot is found one climbs over seats, squeezes out and smiles. Wow, a parking spot! I glanced quickly down at the choppy sea before running around the car and helping my husband out. It was his first outing in a month and a half. I had hoped for better weather for him, but at least it wasn’t raining. The strong scirocco wind was warm and had whipped the sea up overnight. After a positive visit with the physiatrist, we piled back into the car to head home. I took a deep breath of salty air and noticed a patch of sunshine had burst through the clouds. Life has been a bit rough lately, but my husband is recovering and there’s definitely sunshine.