A Day at Santa Croce Beach

Most Beautiful Beaches of the Amalfi Coast

– My favorite beach on the Amalfi Coast – Santa Croce

Anyone who has spent time on the Amalfi Coast or lived here has a favorite beach. The beautiful beaches and tiny little coves that dot the coastline certainly can make that a hard decision. While I have quite a few that would be contenders, there’s only one that could be called my favorite – the Santa Croce beach. Located just a short boat ride west of Amalfi, it’s isolated enough to feel far away from the world, but still relatively quick and easy to reach.

Most Beautiful Beach on the Amalfi Coast

– Arriving at the Santa Croce beach not far from Amalfi

There are two restaurants with beach access at Santa Croce–Ristorante da Teresa and Ristorante Santa Croce–and they both offer boat service back and forth from Amalfi if you are dining at the restaurant or renting a sunbed for the day. For a small fee, there’s also a separate boat service to Santa Croce if you’d just like to throw down a towel on the free part of the beach (beware … very large stones!) or want to get to the beach on a larger boat. There’s a ramp on the front of the boat that drops down to the beach.

How to reach Santa Croce Beach Amalfi Coast

– The boat service to Santa Croce for a small fee

We’ve always gone to Ristorante da Teresa, which you can spot from the sea with its bright orange umbrellas. They have a covered dining patio for relaxing meals overlooking the sea, or you can eat on the beach as well.

Beautiful Amalfi Coast Beach

– The view of the beach from Ristorante da Teresa

I’m in love with the orange umbrellas and their shocking color against the clear blue sky. I could lay and look at them all day long. (Yep, I’ve tested that.) Deep down in my soul I must have a thing for complementary colors.

Amalfi Coast Best Beach

– I could look at this view all day

Oh, and I definitely have a thing for beach picnics at Santa Croce, especially when they involve fried calamari with a dose of freshly squeezed Amalfi Coast lemon, insalata di mare and a most divine parmigiana made with zucchini instead of eggplant. And the summer essential – refreshing white wine with slices of sweet peaches.

Where to Eat on the Amalfi Coast

– Lunch on the beach from Ristorante da Teresa

What better way to finish off a beach picnic than with fresh fruit? Ristorante Da Teresa also does excellent panini and the restaurant is out of this world for fresh fish. Even if you’re not a beach person, you can enjoy the boat ride to the restaurant and dine overlooking the sea.

Amalfi Coast Travel Picnic Beach

– The perfect beach dessert

The beach at Santa Croce is not for the faint of heart as it’s quite rocky. Adventurously rocky. I love exploring and climbing over the rocks along the beach, perhaps even more than swimming in the water. It opens to the most beautiful views of impossibly blue pools sparkling in the sunshine. Look closely and there are tiny crabs crawling over the same rocks and lots of other little things to discover.

Amalfi Coast Travel Santa Croce Beach Rocks

– This is what I love

 

Amalfi Coast Travel Beautiful Beach Blue Water

– Mesmerizing scenes

 

Amalfi Coast Travel Most Beautiful Beach

– Dreamy sea views at Santa Croce

After a bit of climbing and swimming, it’s back to the sunbed to enjoy a view like the one below. This is good for the soul. Very good! It has been a rare experience over this busy summer and with my recent trip back to America. But when it’s rare it’s even sweeter somehow.

Amalfi Coast Travel Beautiful Beach Summer

A much needed day at the beach

First Summer Swim in Amalfi

Amalfi Coast Best Beaches Harbor

Summer has arrived on the Amalfi Coast! The first half of June has been unusually warm, which has the beaches busy and sunbathers happy. Dig out the flip flops, swimsuits and towels. It’s time for the beach! I didn’t make it to the beach until last weekend, a tad behind many of the locals and a lot of the tourists. But there’s a right time for everything, and that time was last Sunday. The sky was clear, the sun was hot and there was a slight breeze from the sea – the perfect beach day!

Mesmerizing Blue Sea in Amalfi

Since we hadn’t been in the sun much yet we just wanted to take a quick swim and get that first sun without burning. (Well, me burning. My husband tans in about 32 seconds and doesn’t burn.) We had planned to go to the larger Marina Grande beach, but were stopped in our tracks by the clear, tranquil water at the port. There weren’t very many people either. We found a spot for our towels right by the edge of the water and the view was lovely. The mast of one sailboat soared above all the other boats moored in the harbor.

Sailboat on the Amalfi Coast

Since the temperatures just warmed up a couple of weeks ago the sea is still pretty chilly. I was able to wade in quite a bit, but chose not to make the full plunge. The little girl that ran into the water with a big splash only to pop up a moment later and scream, “Aaaaaah it’s freezing save meeeeeee” wasn’t particularly encouraging either.

Beautiful Rocky Beach on the Amalfi Coast

So I attended to my normal beach activity of watching the waves rush through the rocks, enjoying the sun sparkling on the sea and taking photos. While I’m not an overly cautious person, I do appreciate the fact that to date no one has had to save me from any of those activities.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Beach Amalfi Flag

That was followed by a particularly noble attempt to lay in the sunshine and do nothing. I’m way out of practice there, so that lasted about 5 minutes before I remembered I had grabbed a magazine on the way out of the house. Yes, Elizabeth Gilbert to the rescue! This is a magazine that I bought in America last November. I guess I’m a little behind on my pleasure reading, but I enjoyed the interview. The cover matched my towel and swimsuit. That’s how I accessorize for the beach, yes siree!

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Summer Beach Reading

The small beach where we stopped in Amalfi is right in the port and is a free beach, which means you can just throw your towel down. It’s a popular beach with families, especially with very young kids or babies, since the access to the beach is down a gentle slop, the water is calm and the swimming area is small. Now that school is out for most kids this beach will be pretty crazy soon. But last weekend it was perfect for our first swim of the summer!

Family Friendly Beach on the Amalfi Coast

 

Alba Gonzales | Ravello

Amalfi Coast Art Exhibit Ravello Alba Gonzales

Overlooking the sea from the Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer

Following a twisty, narrow road down from the center of Ravello, you’ll find the striking Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer. I enjoy its gleaming white curves and especially the piazzale with a sweeping view of the Amalfi Coast. It’s the perfect spot to display large sculptural artwork, and I’m pleased to see another exhibition installed after the Igor Mitoraj show in 2012 and the memorable Mimmo Paladino show last summer.

Amalfi Coast Art Alba Gonzales

“Lei vede, non vede o altrove guarda,” by Alba Gonzales

This spring the work of the contemporary Italian artist Alba Gonzales is on display at the Auditorium Oscar Nieymeyer and Villa Rufolo for the exhibit “Amor Maris – I Miti Scolpiti.” The exhibit brings together 32 works in bronze and marble surrounding the theme of modern mythology told through universal themes like love, death, justice and liberty.

Amalfi Coast Travel Auditorum Niemeyer Ravello Gonzales3

A sculpture you must walk around many times to begin to see

Strolling around the piazzale at the Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer, I was reminded how much I enjoy photographing sculptures. I found the large bronze pieces by Gonzales particularly intriguing since they all had multiple sides, scenes and stories to tell.

Amalfi Coast Travel Auditorum Niemeyer Ravello Gonzales4

 

Amalfi Coast Travel Auditorum Niemeyer Ravello Gonzales5

 

Amalfi Coast Travel Auditorum Niemeyer Ravello Gonzales

 

Amalfi Coast Travel Auditorum Niemeyer Ravello Gonzales8

 

Amalfi Coast Travel Auditorum Niemeyer Ravello Gonzales9

Amor Maris – I Miti Scolpiti is on display only until May 18th, so do take a scroll down to the Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer this month if you’re visiting the Amalfi Coast. To find out more about Alba Gonzales, visit www.albagonzales.it.

 

Bends, Curves and Checks in Ravello

Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Walk

Peeking through to the Annunziata church in Ravello

There is a staircase I follow often to visit family that leads from the main piazza of Ravello, through and under the Villa Rufulo and past two churches. The first church is the much photographed Chiesa della SS. Annunziata. But my favorite view of it is the one you see above, which is so nicely framed by an arched walkway going down this staircase. Around a few more corners and you’ll spot the undulating roof and bell tower of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Architecture

Looking down on Santa Maria delle Grazie

Last week the curves of the roof and the bends in the staircase as it twisted and turned down the mountainside caught my attention more than usual. Maybe it was because the sun was mostly hiding and the light was a bit odd. (That view can be particularly distracting when the sun is shining!)

Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Churches

Curvy lines and beautiful views

I love the curves of the roof and especially the part above the little window with criss cross bars. It’s hard to know just where to look with the steps leading one way and the lines of the building so smoothly rolling up and down. The eye doesn’t come to rest easily in one place.

Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Staircases and Churches

Feels like walking through an M.C. Escher drawing!

Vertiginous moments like these make it easy to understand why an artist like M.C. Escher fell in love with the Amalfi Coast. (Take a look at some of Escher’s drawings from the Amalfi Coast here.)

Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Santa Maria delle Grazie

Once colorful and beautifully detailed churches

There are also little architectural details that shed some light on how brilliant and colorful these churches must have appeared when they were built. (Although it’s hard to just how much has been retouched with restorations.) The border around the window above is on the side of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Walking up and down the steps and stopping to enjoy little details like this is what life — and travel — is all about for me.

A View to Vesuvius

Amalfi Coast Travel Vesuvius Naples

A view of Mt. Vesuvius from Chiunzi Pass

From the Amalfi Coast there are a few ways to reach Naples, but from Amalfi the quickest and easiest is via the Valico di Chiunzi, a pass across the Lattari mountains connecting the Amalfi Coast to Naples and the surrounding area. From Ravello, the road climbs higher and deeper into the mountains until you glimpse down and across the valley where Tramonti sits divided into a handful of different frazioni, or hamlets, decorating the mountainside. Once you reach the top of the pass and find a round about, giving one final glimpse down toward Tramonti and the Amalfi Coast, a few curves more and you catch the first glimpse of Mt. Vesuvius.

Amalfi Coast Travel Chiunzi Pass

Walk this way …

This massive volcano strikes me as small when seen from the top of Chiunzi Pass. Such a different impression than what you get driving along the autostrada from Salerno to Naples and you come around a curve and see Vesuvius looming in the distance. Here it seems so very peaceful and bucolic. Oh, how looks can be deceiving!