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: Vietri sul Mare
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!
Usually, the photos I pick out each week for Photo Friday jump out to me. Often they’re nice memories from an event or something that I’ve done over the past weeks or months. Other times I scan through my photos and nothing seems quite right. This one, however, is perfect for this week. It’s been one of those kind of weeks when a face like this feels just about right. I took this photo at the Villa Guariglia in the frazione of Raito in Vietri sul Mare. Fans of the TV series Capri would love exploring this villa because this is where all the filming of the Villa Isabella in the series is done.
Wishing you a happy weekend ahead!
With the sun shining and summer right around the corner, I’ve been having feelings of “out with the old and in with the new” – the classic spring desire to freshen things up that brings on spring cleaning. Those of you who have been following Ciao Amalfi! over the past year probably remember that I planned a big overhaul of the blog last winter. Well, you probably also noticed that it didn’t happen. With a busy work schedule and nice weather coming, I can guarantee it won’t be happening until this coming winter. But, in the meantime, I wanted to freshen things up a bit around here. So, how does it look? Ready for the bright and sunny summer days ahead here on the Amalfi Coast?
I’ve received a few questions already about the header image, which is a ceramic mural located in and showing the village of Vietri sul Mare on the Amalfi Coast. Vietri sul Mare has a tradition of ceramic production dating back to the 15th century, so it’s only appropriate that the city should have a beautiful ceramic representation of its most important church. The bright yellow and green dome and the campanile (bell tower) belong to the church of San Giovanni Battista, which has one of the most beautiful majolica tile domes on the Amalfi Coast. I’m not sure of the name of the other church depicted, but I love the procession of women carrying candles to the church.
You can read more about Vietri sul Mare on my ItalyItalia Travel Guide. It’s a city that few tourists really see outside the main street lined with ceramic shops. But there’s a lot more to see and enjoy, like discovering little gems like this ceramic mural that I just happened across while walking through the streets of Vietri sul Mare.
Vietri sul Mare is often called “The Gateway to the Amalfi Coast,” as it is the first city you meet when you drive the Amalfi Coast Road starting in Salerno. While it has a few popular hotels for conventions and groups, it is town few people get to know when they visit the Amalfi Coast. Vietri sul Mare is famous for its tradition of ceramics and its colorful streets lined with endless temptations for lovers of ceramics.
Church of San Giovanni Battista, Vietri sul Mare
Vietri is the town I stayed in during my first visit to the Amalfi Coast, and I have since been back to spend days walking its streets, admiring the views and admiring a little too much the ceramic shops! It is a town that feels different from the rest of the Amalfi Coast, and that has always intrigued me. It is perhaps a bit more like its much larger neighbor Salerno. You feel less the impact of tourism when you walk the streets, and the genuine character of Vietri sul Mare comes through. I’ve shared some of the history and my favorite things to do in the Vietri sul Mare Travel Guide over at ItalyItalia.com. Pop on over to read about this charming town on the Amalfi Coast.
While there you can read about Vietri’s tradition of making “Il ciucciariello,” or the little green ceramic donkeys. Did you see those in ceramic and gift shops all over the Amalfi Coast? They started as a symbol of Vietri sul Mare when a German artist working in Vietri named Richard Dölker started making them in 1922. Nowadays you will seem them all over the Amalfi Coast. The little guy above came from my first trip to Vietri sul Mare. He traveled across the ocean to Minnesota where he made me smile, and now he is safely back to the Amalfi Coast where he keeps guard over my books. He still makes me smile!
Yesterday evening my boyfriend came home with a newspaper and said, “You have to see what happened in Vietri.” When I first came to the Amalfi Coast in February 2007, I stayed at the Lloyd’s Baia Hotel in Vietri sul Mare. Like many hotels along the Amalfi Coast, it is attached right to the cliff side above the sea. When you enter the lobby of the Lloyd’s Baia at street level, you are at the very top of the hotel. My Mom and I were amused when we were given our room number on floor negative 4. The hotel has a nice beach and pool area, which is thankfully accessed by an elevator. I always think fondly of this hotel since it reminds me of my first visit here two years ago. Here’s what we read in the newspaper yesterday:
There has been a major landslide in the past two days at the Hotel Lloyd’s Baia, where a mass of rocks has collapsed just next to the elevator down to the beach. The large mass fell right on the pool area, but very fortunately didn’t injure the workers in the area and the people enjoying the sun on the beach nearby. Reading about this just now, I learned the Italian expression colpo di fortuna, which means a stroke of luck. Indeed! You can read more about it here at Positano News and here at Il Mattino (sorry – only in Italian), and here are a couple of photos showing the collapse: