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: Salerno
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!
The architecture of the Amalfi Coast is endlessly fascinating to me, and the Duomo of Salerno is one of my favorite spots in Campania. I took this photo in the beautiful atrium looking up to the 12th-century bell tower. To learn more and see more photos (including one of the crypt you won’t want to miss!), visit CharmingItaly where you can read my article on Salerno’s Cathedral of San Matteo.
While walking from the Porto Turistico to the town center of Salerno last week, I noticed something that I had missed while making this same walk many times before. Along the railing overlooking the water there were bunches of locks, like the small ones you might use to lock a bike chain or a locker.
Looking closer I saw that each one had the names of a couple written on it, often with hearts or other sentimental sayings. This must be the Salerno version of the age-old tradition of young lovers carving their names on trees.
I have to admit it is far better than the graffiti versions you find all over Italy painted on walls or scribbled on the back of bus seats.
This doesn’t permanently damage anything, and the lock actually has a sweet sentiment to it. I don’t think I’d like to be the person that must occasionally come along and cut all these off. I would be wondering what happened with Luigi & Ilaria and how things were going with Marianna & Vincenzo.
Talking with people recently, I’ve learned that this is very popular in the Naples area, and also in Rome and Florence. I would love to see photos! Has anyone seen this outside Italy?
As much as I love being out on a boat and watching the sun set along the Amalfi Coast, one of the most beautiful times to see the Amalfi Coast from the sea is early in the morning. The sun is bright and strong this time of year, but the cool evening breezes have blown away the humidity in the air. Everything seems just a bit clearer and brighter this time of year. Last week I took the boat from Salerno to Amalfi on one of those picture perfect days. Want to come along? Sure thing! I’ll be your guide and point out a few things along the way. Just make sure you bring a light jacket or sweater since the morning sea breeze can be a bit nippy. I’ll meet you at Salerno’s Porto Turistico, located in the center of teh city along the palm tree lined waterfront. In the mornings you see a mix of fishermen, locals on their way to work, and tourists heading off to Amalfi and Positano.
We’ll buy our tickets at those white tents with the pointy tops over on the left. There’s even a little bar down there if you missed your morning caffè or cappuccino and cornetto. Pretty soon we’ll board and leave the port of Salerno behind. It’s hard to look back, however, since the view ahead is so gorgeous! The first town we’ll see is Vietri sul Mare, the Amalfi Coast’s famous town of ceramics. This is where I stayed the first time I visited the Amalfi Coast with my Mom. See that big white building on the right clinging to the cliffs with the elevator down to the beach? That’s the Hotel Lloyd’s Baia where we stayed.
Next up is the fishing village of Cetara, with one of the most picturesque beaches on the Amalfi Coast. If you are looking for an authentic view of life on the Amalfi Coast, I highly recommend stopping and spending some time in this charming seaside village.
Just around the corner from Cetara is an even smaller village called Erchie. What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of Erchie on the Amalfi Coast before? That doesn’t surprise me since I know many people who have lived here their entire lives and haven’t been to Erchie. If you’re looking for a quiet spot with a beautiful beach, definitely consider giving Erchie a visit.
Coming around the cape after Erchie everyone heads to the front of the boat to take in this view. I see Ravello. Do you?
There it is! This rocky ledge is the tip of the Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, offering hands down some of the most spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast. That white villa just under the edge is known as the Villa Rondinaia, or the Swallow’s Nest, and it belonged to Gore Vidal until a number of years ago. No, I couldn’t imagine living there!
Looking to the left you can see how beautiful Atrani is in the morning sun. Do you see the way the bright colors of the buildings are reflected in the water? And just to tease you all, you can see my house from here, but I’m not going to tell you where!
Just around the corner from Atrani, we find beautiful Amalfi waiting for us. The beach umbrellas are starting to appear for another sunny day, or from Amalfi you can hop on a boat to Capri, Sorrento or Naples.
But I wouldn’t blame you if you stayed right here in Amalfi for the day! Buon divertimento! Have fun!
When I stepped off the boat in Salerno the rain was gently falling and I realized I was not at all where I thought I was. Perhaps it was due to the maltempo, or bad weather, but the boat I was on from Amalfi stopped at the Molo Manfredi instead of the Porto Turistico in Salerno. The problem being that the the former was on the opposite side of Salerno from my destination, while the Porto Turistico was just around the corner. “Oh well,” I thought, “At least I know where I’m going and it’s not raining very hard.” Ever the optimist, right? Well, in this case it turns out to have been a fortunate turn of events! After walking for a few minutes I found myself amidst a crowd of umbrellas. Hundreds and hundreds of umbrellas! Everyone was heading toward the San Matteo procession, and I realized I hadn’t arrived too late at all. It was perfect! I followed the crowds of umbrellas along the palm tree lined waterfront of Salerno toward the town center. When I heard the applause and music I new the procession was near and that it was time to make a dash in from the waterfront. I found a spot where I had a good view through the umbrellas, and I stopped to watch the beautiful procession go by. Want to watch along? Pull up a chair, and follow along with me. The best part is that you don’t even have to get out the umbrella!
The procession for San Matteo includes six statues, each one carried by a group of men and followed by a marching band. The first three represent three early Christian saints – San Gaio, San Fortunato and Sant’ Ante – whose relics are now held in the Duomo of Salerno. Here are the first two to go by – San Gaio and San Fortunato:
And then Sant’ Ante:
Here is the statue of Pope Gregorio VII, who is buried in the Duomo of Salerno:
The statue of San Giuseppe (Joseph) is very popular, and is greeted with applause from the crowds of faithful lining the streets and balconies:
And finally the beautiful San Matteo (the palm trees are an interesting touch, no?):
Followed by about a zillion umbrellas! I had to close mine and dodge through the crowds to get back down to the waterfront. I read in the newspaper the next morning that the procession was almost cut short because of the bad weather, but the Archbishop decided not to change it so as not to disappoint all of the faithful who had arrived to follow the procession and see it go by. I am very happy my unexpected walk across Salerno gave me the perfect chance to see this moving procession. I hope you enjoyed virtually watching it go by with me!