As the snow is falling in Rome and much of northern Italy, we woke up to few traces of snow around the garden and white tops on the mountain peaks along the Amalfi Coast. If it had been just a few degrees colder, we would have woken up to discover a winter wonderland outside!
Last week on a day that it didn’t rain (remarkable!), I went out for a nice walk to enjoy the sun and the blue skies. The ancient stone paths connecting Pontone and Amalfi take you through steeply terraced lemon groves. This time of year you’ll find the lemon trees covered in black mesh covers. I like to think of them as the lemon blankets. It’s as if the lemons have been covered up and are resting during the cold and damp winter months. But one peek underneath and you’ll see that they’re not really sleeping after all. Bright yellow lemons poke out from under the covers here and there, providing a welcome reminder of the warm sun and summer days ahead.
I asked some locals recently about the covers. They are used to protect the leaves and fruit on the tree from the freezing rain that we sometimes get on the Amalfi Coast. But it was also interesting to learn that they are primarily used to protect the roots of the lemon trees. The roots are not very deep, making the trees perfect for growing on the rocky terrain and small terraces on the Amalfi Coast, and they are particularly susceptible to freezing. So those “blankets” do keep the lemons nice and protected during the winter. Shhh . . . keep on sleeping lemons. The weather this morning was a reminder that it’s not quite time to wake up!
One of the pleasures of visiting the Amalfi Coast in the winter is the rare chance to visit some of the most beautiful spots without having to wonder how many tourist photograph albums you might have ended up in around the world. Sunny winter afternoons are one of my favorite times to stroll through Ravello and enjoy the views from the Villa Rufolo and the Villa Cimbrone. This coming summer when the gardens are in full bloom I promise I’ll take you all on a proper tour through the Villa Cimbrone. But in the meantime, grab your cameras, wrap a scarf around your neck, and let’s head down the Avenue of Immensity . . .
At the end of the long pathway is a beautiful building with a statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of the harvest. At sunset the view is absolutely striking.
Ceres watches over the steeply terraced land surrounding Ravello where grape vines and lemon groves bask in the warm sun.
Just steps beyond Ceres is one of the most spectacular views you’ll find on the Amalfi Coast. This terrace is very appropriately named the Terrace of Infinity. And it really feels like you can see forever . . .
Returning back in the gardens, you’ll soon find this charming Temple of Bacchus.
While the gardens in January pale in comparison to their splendor during the spring and summer months, there were still a few bursts of color dotting the landscape.
Little reminders that spring is coming soon to the Amalfi Coast!
Up in the mountains above Amalfi is a little town called Pogerola. Saying “town” actually makes it sound too big. This is more like a village or a hamlet. Although it is high above Amalfi, Pogerola is technically speaking a part of Amalfi. Some of our favorite restaurants are in Pogerola, and the views from up there are terrific. As chance it would have it, I hadn’t ever been to Pogerola during the daytime. Recently, an errand took us up to Pogerola on a nice sunny day, and we took a few minutes to enjoy a quick walk. Above is the main church of Pogerola, and nearby you’ll find steps leading up to a hill. Well, what are you waiting for? Climb those steps!
When you get toward the top there are beautiful views of the sea on one side and looking toward Ravello on the other side.
A single cypress:
This month’s banner image shows the view from Pogerola looking toward Ravello. In the foreground you can see Pontone and above in the distance Ravello.
If you find yourself in Pogerola, do stop at the fruit and vegetable shop next to the post office. They have a wonderful selection and sell homemade jars of sundried tomatoes, figs and olives, and freshly dried fruits. We brought home the best dried apricots I’ve ever tasted. A nice walk, gorgeous views and tasty fruit – the makings of a lovely day!
Yesterday I took a nice walk down to Amalfi to go to the beach. (Note to Self: wait until it gets cooler to do that again!) Taking the steps down to Amalfi is one of my favorite walks to do along the Amalfi Coast. There is a moment when you come around a corner and are greeted by this wonderful panorama of the city of Amalfi from above. Surrounded by terraced lemon groves and only the sound of wind blowing through the valley and perhaps the tinkling of sheep bells in the distance, it is truly a beautiful way to see Amalfi. Yesterday there was an added treat in the form of the Wind Surf cruise ship, a beautiful five masted ship that stops occasionally in Amalfi.
Part of the Windstar cruise line, I have always thought if I could take a dream cruise it would be on one of these ships. They are so beautiful, especially when they come into port with the sails up. What an amazing way to tour the Mediterranean!