Ciao AmalfiWriting, photography & tales from daily life on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, through the eyes of Laura Thayer, an American writer, blogger, photographer and art historian. Currently co-writing a novel with my mother, Sandra Thayer, set on the Amalfi Coast.
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Category Archives: Amalfi Coast
Recently I’ve had the chance to go through the first six years of photos that I took on the Amalfi Coast, which are on an external hard drive and no longer conveniently on my laptop just a few clicks away. While it was a quick search through file after file for specific photos I had in mind for an exciting project I’ve been working on, I had to stop a few times when I cam across moments I had forgotten.
Then I found this photo. It was taken from a bus coming around the corner into Amalfi one sunny February day in 2007. It was the first time I saw Amalfi. There it was. It’s the very first photo I took of Amalfi.
A person’s life purpose is nothing more than to rediscover, through the detours of art, or love, or passionate work, those one or two images in the presence of which his heart first opened.
– Albert Camus
And just then my heart cracked open.
Even though the first signs have begun to arrive that tell us that spring is around the corner, a cold north wind blowing down the mountains the last few days has made it feel very much like winter isn’t ready to let go quite yet. I’m ready for warmth and sunshine and spending more time outdoors. The line goes that April is the cruelest month, but I’ve always been sure it was March. At least I’ve always had enough of winter by the time March comes along! But then when I look at this photo I fall in love with the winter light all over again and know I’ll miss it until next year.
From the bedroom window I could see just the tip top of a mimosa with its bright yellow blooms bringing the first colors of spring. It was such a tease. Today with the brilliant blue sky I couldn’t stand it any longer. I turned off the burner under the pasta sauce bubbling away for lunch, grabbed my camera and dashed out for a little walk before lunch. I followed the maze of steps around and down and down and finally there it was. What I discovered was not just a little shrub, it was the largest mimosa tree I’ve ever seen!
All these years I’ve seen that tiny little tip of yellow tempting me to go and take a look, and I’m so glad I finally did. What a glorious discovery on an equally glorious day! I’m just in love with the intense yellow color against the blue sea and sky backdrop.
And that balcony, what a balcony. I’m pretty sure that’s one of the finest spots and views I’ve ever happened across on the Amalfi Coast. Go head, set out your sun chair and dream …
Today was finally the day to go hunting for mimosa since March 8th is the Festa della Donna, also know around the world as International Women’s Day. Since the mimosas bloom right around this time of year, they have become one of the symbols in Italy for the Festa della Donna. You see men carrying around bunches of mimosa flowers to give to the women in their life around March 8th.
Yet for me a sunny day and break in the cold wind long enough to take these photos was the sweetest gift of all. The blooms get to stay where they belong and I can share their beauty with all of you. Many happy wishes to all of the women reading!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Okay, so there was a little bit of red, too.
I started to count the blue boats as we headed back the other way. One blue boat. Two blue boats. Three blue boats. Four…
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!
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!
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 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!
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.
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.)
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!
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.