Ciao AmalfiWriting, photography & tales from daily life on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, through the eyes of Laura Thayer, an American writer and art historian. Currently co-writing a novel with my mother, Sandra Thayer, set on the Amalfi Coast.
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Category Archives: Driving
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.
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!
Just between Maiori and the little village of Erchie the Amalfi coastline juts out into the sea and comes to a cape called Capo d’Orso. The means Cape of the Bear. I’ve been told that there haven’t ever really been bears around this part of Italy. Instead, the name seems to have come from a unique rock formation that looks like the head of a bear looking down the coastline in the direction of Amalfi. While I’ve seen it many a time coming around one of the curves in the Amalfi Coast Road, I’ve never managed to get a photo of it. Recently, on the way back from a shopping trip to Salerno, I asked my husband to stop so I could take some photos. One of the advantages of the winter … less traffic! I finally got a closer look at this so called bear at Capo d’Orso.
Usually it’s the view from Capo d’Orso that would be described as breathtaking. As I walked around the curve to take a few photos I was very nearly knocked over by the wind. It quite literally took my breath away! After I braced myself and took the photo below, I got into the car gasping a bit. I didn’t feel back to normal until we reached Minori!
While the cold wind was a bit intense to stop for long to see the view, it did bring with it a beautiful and strange blue that the sea turns when the north wind blows. I was happy to enjoy the colors from inside the car the rest of the way home! I’ve been asking around trying to find out about how long this cape has been called Capo d’Orso. I suspect it might be as recent as when the Amalfi Coast Road was built before 1850 since the bear isn’t clearly visible from the sea. I’ll report back if I find out more!
The first sunny weekend on the Amalfi Coast and everyone … and I mean everyone … hits the road for a drive. When there’s only one road, that can be problematic. But with the Amalfi Coast road, it’s always best to pack a little extra patience … and your camera! Fortunately, there are the views and the sheer magnitude of this road carved out of the mountainside to keep one company. The colors in the springtime are a nice touch, too!
A couple of weeks ago we had a Sunday lunch invitation with family in Salerno, so we hit the road along with everyone else. The scooters and motorcycles were out in droves. After the rainy spring, I can’t blame them for wanting to enjoy a ride on a sunny Sunday. What a view!
Spring was in full bloom and the scent of wisteria and lemon blossoms filled the car with all the windows open. What a heavenly scent … I wished I could just roll up the windows and keep it inside. Looking at the photos brings back the memories of that warm, spicy scent and the sunshine on my arms.
After passing Capo d’Orso, the Cape of the Bear named after a bear-shaped rock, the road climbs higher and twists and turns as it winds in and out of ravines in the mountains. Before long there’s a quick glimpse of the harbor at Cetara, which is an absolutely charming little fishing village.
The road curves through Cetara just above the level of the rooftops of many of the houses and about eye level with the colorful majolica tiled dome of the church. If you’re driving along the Amalfi Coast road and have time, do stop off in Cetara and explore the village, enjoy lunch and the pretty beach.
One of the most captivating parts of the drive is just barely catching a glimpse of an incredible panorama and then a moment later it’s lost between the trees or around another curve. It’s one massive temptation … curve after curve!
It took me quite a few attempts to get a clear shot of Vietri sul Mare, above, with its beach area called Marina di Vietri. The beach wasn’t packed like it is in the summers, but it was definitely a popular spot on this sunny Sunday. Around a few more curves and I tried to catch a clear shot of of Vietri sul Mare with the dome and bell tower of the Church of San Giovanni Battista. There it is … can you see it?
The Amalfi Coast road never fails to impress me, with it’s intense beauty, crazy curves and views that make you want to drive it again and again. If you’re lucky enough to be the passenger … bring your camera!
Much of the beautiful autumn colors that I look forward to each year on the Amalfi Coast have been blown away by a few big rain and wind storms. However, on the drive to the airport in Naples last week, I was happy to see some beautiful colors still lingering up in the mountains above Tramonti. I love the show nature puts on in autumn with all the bright colors!
I took a few shots when I could as the car zipped in and out of the curves. It’s hard to get a decent shot, but I hope these capture at least a little of the beautiful scenery.
Autumn is always such a fleeting moment, but this year it seemed more difficult that usual to hold on to before it blew away. Happy to share the little bit I caught on the Amalfi Coast this year!
Happy first day of autumn! Or, at least the calendar says it’s the first day of autumn. The weather is a perfect sunny and 75° with a lovely breeze today. Autumn? Well, not quite yet on the Amalfi Coast. September is often one of the most pleasant months of the year, with weather still warm enough to enjoy the beach and cool enough to actually enjoy the beach. But I do have autumn on the mind since I love the colors and watching the seasons change. Last year I shared photographs of autumn colors in Ravello and an autumn walk in Scala. Since I can’t do much yet with autumn colors, this lovely red vintage Fiat 500 will just have to do. That’s an autumn color, right? I walked around a corner in Scala yesterday morning and this little beauty was caught between the sun and shade of the sycamore trees. Not a leaf on the ground … not yet at least!
Happy autumn from the Amalfi Coast!