Photo Friday: Pieces of Pompeii


Ciao Amalfi Pieces of Pompeii


At the end of August, I visited the archaeological ruins of Pompeii on a strangely quiet day. It was hot, enough to melt in the dusty ruins, which may have been keeping the crowds away. I spent a few hours wandering around on my own, poking my head into whatever was open, staring far too long at columns and exploring areas I hadn’t see before. One spot where I spent a lot of time was the Forum Granary, which was once the produce market of Pompeii. Today it is storage area, with tall shelves lined with amphorae, broken architectural elements, like columns and reliefs, and a few of the plaster casts made of the victims of the violent eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.

It was very moving to see all these pieces of Pompeii, that at one time were part of daily life for so many people, all lined up and organized. Something about seeing these pieces damaged and fragmented made the devastation of Pompeii feel all the more real. Pompeii is always a moving experience for me, but this was one of the moments I’ll always remember.

Have you been to Pompeii? How did seeing the ruins impact you?

Tempting Tuesday: Fornillo Beach in Positano


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Positano


Arriving by boat in Positano is one of the most exhilarating experiences on the Amalfi Coast, with multi-colored houses climbing up the steep mountainside surrounding the beautiful Church of Santa Maria Assunta. Stepping off the boat you’re just feet from the beach, and it’s hard not to want to jump right in the cool and refreshing waters. The main beach at Positano, however, can get quite crowded, especially during these late summer days.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Positano Beach


But if you just look toward the other side of Positano as your boat arrives, you’ll see a little sliver of another beach just beyond a watchtower. That’s Fornillo beach where I’m taking you on this Tempting Tuesday. I first read about Fornillo beach on Scintilla’s lovely blog Bell’Avventura last year, and I’ve been wanting to make a trip there since. Last month I finally made that trip, and it was a truly beautiful day by the sea.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Positano Toward Fornillo 

Climbing up an inclined pathway just beyond where the ferries dock in Positano takes you past the watchtower above and around the corner to the beautiful cove of Fornillo Beach. The view from the beach includes another watchtower and the Li Galli islands in the distance, which you can see in the photo below.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Positano Fornillo watchtower


A few more steps and you can see the beach, lined with lidos where you can rent sun beds, umbrellas and find plenty of options for dining. While it’s just a short stroll from the center of Positano, Fornillo feels worlds away.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Positano Fornillo Beach 

It wouldn’t be Positano, of course, without flowers in gorgeous colors everywhere you walk. This is the view of the bougainvillea covered walkway down to the beach. Positively lovely!


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Positano Bougainvillea


From my sun bed I had a picture perfect view of the watchtower overlooking Fornillo beach. I had to pull my camera out again to take a few shots of it in the  early evening light.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Positano Fornillo Evening Watchtower 

Too soon it was already time to pack up and catch the ferry back to Amalfi. But I know I’ll be back again soon!

Road Trip: An Afternoon in Nerano

On a beautiful summer day recently, we piled into the car and set off to toward the very tip of the Amalfi Coast. Past Positano the road widens slightly and begins to climb higher and higher. At Sant’ Agata sui due Golfi, where you can see both the Bay of Salerno and the Bay of Naples, we followed the narrow road that winds down through olive grows toward the village of Nerano. Our goal was even more specific, the beachside part of town called Marina del Cantone.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Marina del Cantone


Nerano was one of the few villages on the Amalfi Coast that I had only seen before passing by on the ferry to Capri. But it always looked so charming and quiet, and it turned out to be exactly that. Here is the small, colorful harbor of Marina del Cantone in Nerano.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Beach


The view the other direction shows the rock formation that is the distinctive marker of Nerano. Just beyond those mountains, it isn’t far at all to Capri.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Harbor


The beach was lined with these large terracotta vases full of beautiful red flowers. (Anyone know what kind they are?)


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Beach Flowers


We stopped for lunch first at one of the seaside restaurants to try pasta with zucchini, one of the traditional dishes of Nerano. They make it in a slightly different way there, heavier, more Parmigiano cheese and a touch of something extra. It was lovely – a beautiful lunch with a beautiful setting!


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Lunch in Nerano


After that it was time for some sun and a quick splash to cool off in the sea. This is the spot we picked out, although there are plenty of options for renting beach chairs and umbrellas.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Free Beach


With the beautiful surroundings (& big lunch!), I was more for exploring with my camera than swimming. This shot is truly Nerano to me:


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Flowers


Nerano still has the feel of a sleepy fishing village, with some beautiful buildings down by the sea. Here are some shots I took along the waterfront.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Architecture2


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano fishing boats


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Architecture


As the sun fell behind the mountains and the sky took on a soft pink hue, we packed up our bags and headed back toward the car.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Evening Light 

An afternoon in Nerano wasn’t enough. This was one of the most peaceful spots I’ve experienced on the Amalfi Coast, and I’d go back in a heartbeat. Next time we’ll leave early in the morning and plan an entire day here relaxing on the quiet harbor, watching the small boats come in and out, and trying out another one of the lovely restaurants. If you’re looking for a truly quiet spot on the Amalfi Coast, consider staying at one of the hotels or bed and breakfasts in the area. There’s even a small campground! Although it is possible to reach Nerano by bus, I’d plan on arriving either by car or boat as it’s quite far out of the way. That’s part of what adds to the lure of Nerano – peace and a chance to truly escape from it all on the Amalfi Coast.

Church bells & bird songs overlooking Amalfi

Last week I was out on one of my favorite walks down to Amalfi, and as I came around a corner I heard the noon church bells from the Duomo beginning to fill the valley. I bolted down a few flights of steps to get to this lovely viewpoint where you can see the campanile of the Duomo and hear the bells ringing. Birds flitted about from tree to tree singing  a happy song and seeming to compete with the sound of the bells.




(Um, yes, that was my cell phone in the last seconds. Not nearly so natural or beautiful, but an equally common sound here in Italy!)