September Banner: Late Summer Sun in Conca dei Marini

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Conce dei Marini

 

It’s September 1st, and what that means when you live on the Amalfi Coast is that you have survived the August heat and invasion of tourists. While there hasn’t been a break in the high temperatures, I can say there is a whole lot more room to breath here now on the Amalfi Coast. (And park and walk and lay on the beach…) Over at Bell’Avventura, Scintilla recently shared a fun post called You know that it’s August in Positano if … that is a must read for any fans of the Amalfi Coast and anyone who has experienced August here. She also has up a beautiful new banner image of bougainvillea that you have to check out.

 

Speaking of new banner images, the first of the month means a new one here on Ciao Amalfi. This month is the rich blues of the sky and sea in Conca dei Marini. Located just west of Amalfi, I’ve written about the Church of Sant’Antonio in Conca dei Marini and Conca dei Marini in the Springtime and the Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Grotto). Both of those posts are from my Tempting Tuesday series, which will resume next week after my August break.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the late summer sun on the beautiful cove in Conca dei Marini!

Tempting Tuesday: Church of Sant’Antonio in Conca dei Marini

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog S Antonio Conca1

 

One cool and sunny February morning in 2008, we went for a drive as we often do in the winter. With no particular destination in mind, we go exploring up and down the Amalfi Coast, enjoying the warm winter sun, the roads free of buses and tourist traffic, and the beautiful views. During these busy summer months, I am reminded just how beautiful the Amalfi Coast is during the winter. Certainly I miss the beach days and the flowers everywhere, but life here off season has many charms. I was reminded of one of these winter days during the Festival of Sant’Antonio in Amalfi a couple of weeks ago. During the boat procession we went first toward Conca dei Marini, where high above the water you can see a church dedicated to Sant’Antonio. Suddenly I had a very clear image of a sunny winter day when I first saw the beautiful Church of Sant’Antonio in Conca dei Marini.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog S Antonio Conca3

 

This church has the most incredible location, with a terrace view open to the sea. As I peered through the gate, I imagined all of the community gatherings that must have taken place here on this beautiful terrace.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog S Antonio Conca4

 

The church bells rang 4:45 and interrupted my reverie. I know that even after I forget the day, the month or even the year I first saw the Church of Sant’Antonio in Conca dei Marini that I will remember I saw it at 4:45 on this beautiful day.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog S Antonio Conca2

 

 

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Let the Summer Festivals Begin!

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Beach

Summer has certainly arrived on the Amalfi Coast. The beaches are now covered with brightly colored umbrellas and driving and parking along the coast has turned into the usual summer chaos. But I love summer here! The sky and sea are intensely blue, as if in competition with one another, and vibrantly colored flowers fill the air with unbelievable delicious scents. And then the cruise boats arrive!

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Star Clipper

This is the Star Clipper, and it came into the Port of Amalfi this past week for a day. From my bedroom window I can see these beautiful ships come into port, and then watch them put up sail and head out of port in the evening. It is simply stunning! The other day I was down in Amalfi and walked to the end of one of the piers to take a closer look. If I were to cruise, this is the way I would go!

While I was down on the pier looking at the boat, I heard church bells ringing that I had never heard before. I looked around the city and realized it was the church of Sant’Antonio, which is located in the center of the first photograph in this post. (You can see the little bell tower.) Today is the feast day celebrating Sant’Antonio da Padova (Saint Anthony of Padua), and here the church bells often start ringing during the week leading up to the feast day. I made a video so you can hear the bells and see a moment of summer life in Amalfi:

The procession of Sant’Antonio in Amalfi is rather elaborate, and I am looking forward to seeing it for the first time this evening. Since the church of Sant’Antonio sits between Amalfi and Atrani, the procession begins in Atrani where the statue of Sant’Antonio is put on a boat. The boat procession then continues to Conca dei Marini where there is also a lovely church dedicated to Sant’Antonio. From there it returns by water to Amalfi and the procession continues on foot. This evening I should be in one of the boats following the procession, which will be a truly spectacular experience.

The festival of Sant’Antonio is one of the first major summer religious festivals on the Amalfi coast. On Monday will be the festival of San Vito in Positano, and coming soon will be San Giovanni Battista in Pontone, and then one of the two major celebrations of Sant’Andrea in Amalfi at the end of June. Let the summer festivals begin!

Tempting Tuesday: Conca dei Marini in the Springtime

For reasons I can’t quite describe, Conca dei Marini has always been one of my favorite places on the Amalfi Coast. It is beautiful and peaceful, and yet is located just 4 kilometers west of a the much more active and bustling Amalfi. There are lovely churches in Conca, as well as the little cove you can see above, which is still guarded over by the ruins of a Norman watchtower. Just about a year ago, when I took that photo, I had just smelled almond blossoms for the first time. What a heavenly scent! Spring is certainly a wonderful time to be on the Amalfi Coast.

Conca dei Marini is also home to the Grotta dello Smeraldo, or the Emerald Grotto, named after the striking emerald color of the sea water. Many tourist buses stop above the Grotto, where you can take an elevator or steps down to the entrance of the cave. From there you walk into the cave and climb into little boats that row you around inside. It is beautiful, but one visit is enough. I think it is really the first place I have found on the Amalfi Coast that really felt purely touristy, but in a Disney World sort of way. But it is very beautiful inside! Here are a couple of videos I found in the archives:

Located under the rippling water is a ceramic presepe, or nativity scene, which you can see in this following video:

If you are planning a visit to the Grotta dello Smeraldo, a fun way to arrive is by boat from Amalfi. The Coop Sant’Andrea runs a morning and afternoon boat that costs about 10 euros. Entrance to the Grotto will cost you about 5 euros, and round trip by boat the visit will take about an hour and a half. Stop by one of the nearby beaches, such as Santa Croce or Duoglio, on your way back to Amalfi to make it a perfect day!

Have to been to Conca dei Marini or the Grotta dello Smeraldo? Travel thoughts?

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