Moon Amalfi Coast: With Capri, Naples & Pompeii

I’m pleased to announce that my guidebook to the Amalfi Coast with Moon Travel Guides will be published on August 13, 2019! This guidebook has truly been a labor of love. Moon Amalfi Coast: With Capri, Naples & Pompeii is not only an in depth guide to the Amalfi Coast, but also includes Salerno, Sorrento, Capri, Ischia, Procida, and Naples. The book is packed full of information on what to see and do as well as excellent restaurants and accommodations. Think of it as me cherry picking the very best of the best to recommend for you, because that is exactly what I’ve done with this guidebook.
 
Unlike most guidebooks to the Amalfi Coast, this one includes information on all of the towns along the coastline. Of course you’ll find plenty of travel information on Amalfi, Positano, and Ravello, but you’ll also find a wealth of tips on towns like Minori, Cetara, Scala, and Praiano. All are included!
 
If your travels will bring you to the Amalfi Coast or surrounding area later this season or in the future, I do hope you’ll check out my new book. You can find out more information and pre-order the book on Amazon by following the link below:
 

Moon Amalfi Coast: With Capri, Naples & Pompeii (Travel Guide)

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Timeless Atrani

The cry of a gull overhead pulls me back into the moment. But it wasn’t the moment I left behind. Beyond me the quiet piazza stretches to the infinity of the sea. On a day like today the horizon is gone, playing a game of hide and seek – and winning. The church is quiet today, taking a well-earned break from its Sunday duties. Two ornate street lamps stand out in silhouette. One lantern cocks its head slightly, as if beckoning my gaze on. A light is what is needed to lead the way to what is past and what is present, but they stand as only guardians to the gate of that journey.
 
Time stands still in this piazza, despite the hourly ringing of the church bells. The bells have always rung out the hours here and they always will. Something so regular to define time actually defies it. How many people have heard those bells ring out over the village? While hanging laundry out in the sunshine, while feeding their families, while making love, while crying? Those people are all still here and will also all be here soon.

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Here there are the echoes of other sounds, too. Of children chasing a small orange ball across the piazza. A cat’s pleading meow, asking for something to eat. Of wind howling down the mountain valley on a stormy winter night. The click of my camera’s shutter as I capture this moment full of invisible sounds.
 
But most of all, it’s all the voices I want to listen to as they float through the piazza. There are stories caught in this piazza, countless stories. Not the kind you read about in the newspaper. These are moments of daily life, the moments that make a life, the moments that are forgotten, but nevertheless left behind. Stories crated day after day, lost to time except in the memories of those who stopped to listen.
 
Listen.

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There’s the hum of a fisherman early in the morning making his way down to the beach. He’ll pull his small wooden boat, blue paint chipped off around the edges, down to the edge of the sea. He’ll give it one last push as he hops aboard, perhaps with the hope about what he’ll catch filling his mind.
 
That hope floats through the maze of tiny, shadowed streets back up to the piazza. It finds an open window and settles into a kitchen – still quiet except for the sound of a moka pot bubbling its dark, intoxicating scent into the morning air. A new day has begun, and with it comes the thoughts for another day ahead. Another menu to prepare. While tying an apron around her waist, a woman wonders, “What catch will the fisherman haul in today?”
 
The clattering of steps brings new life into the piazza. Children with bags slung over their shoulders and sleep in their eyes run across it on the way to school. Always late, always running. Across the piazza they go and down the steps to the future, a future that is unseen and unknown from here.
 
Unknown and yet the same. An old man sits at his window and watches the children run, just as he once ran to school. He knows the future, he’s seen it. But now he watches the future of others, sitting there. The steps are cruel friends. They take you where you want to go, but they take their toll with every step as well.

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And steps are what this village is made of from top to bottom. The sound of heavy steps carries through the labyrinthine staircases. Finding your way is like walking through an M.C. Escher drawing come to life. Even he was here, lost in the alleyways, inspired by the alluring confusion of this place. There he is in the quiet piazza, setting down his sketchpad, mind swirling in the haze of yet to be visualized designs. He stops for a moment of respite. Maybe he sees all the stories, too?
 
My feet are tired. I look down at the honey leather loafers battered by the steps of the Amalfi Coast. Glancing over my shoulder, my eyes land on a cement bench. There’s a spot to sit and watch the stories unfold. Settling in uncomfortably, I look up expecting to find the same scene, the same voices, the same time and place.
 
But it’s all gone.
 
A seagull’s taunting call fills the piazza, seemingly laughing at my confusion. The church bells ring, slowly eleven times. I’m going to be late. I grab my bag and throw it over my shoulder, hurrying off across the piazza and down the steps to my own unseen future. But before going, I stop to turn and look up at the balcony, half expecting to find the old man watching me. And he’s there. As my feet carry me swiftly down the steps, I know they’re all there.

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– A short story by Laura Thayer inspired by Atrani.

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Check Out My Favorite Capri Walks in Dream of Italy!

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It’s been a quiet summer around here on Ciao Amalfi, but it certainly hasn’t been a quiet time. Summer is always a busy period, but this year seems especially hectic … and hot! We’ve had a heat wave on the Amalfi Coast, making usually hot August even stickier than normal. But I’ve had a lot of fun experiences this summer, including writing a feature piece in Dream of Italy’s June/ July newsletter on my favorite walks on Capri. It was a pleasure to explore the island, covering familiar pathways and discovering some new ones to me – all while taking notes and photographs for the article. I’ve shared a variety of walks, including some short and easy walks if you only have a limited time on Capri as well as some longer hikes if you’re staying for more than a day. However, all of them show you the way to discovering the natural beauty of Capri!

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You can check out a sneak peek of one of the walks on the Dream of Italy blog with Capri Walk #2: Natural Beauty Up Close. To read about all the walks, check out the Dream of Italy June/ July 2017 issue here.

Book Review | The Amalfi Coast Up Close & Personal by Chantal Kelly

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The Amalfi Coast seduces everyone who sets eyes on it. It is a rare destination guaranteed to give you a rush – the giddy kind you get when you can’t believe you are standing there. From the sea to the hills, from Positano to Vietri, it is a spectacular subject to photograph.   – Chantal Kelly

 

The seductive beauty of the Amalfi Coast has mesmerized travelers (including me!) for centuries, drawing them back again and again to experience that unique rush that comes from being surrounded by such a spectacular, impossibly gorgeous natural setting. I’ve had the pleasure to meet many of those return visitors over the years, including writer Chantal Kelly, who some of you might remember from Gelato Sisterhood on the Amalfi Shore. Chantal has been traveling and escorting tours to the Amalfi Coast for years and has a deep love for this area.

Her latest book, The Amalfi Coast Up Close & Personal, is a photographic and narrative journey of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, with stops along the way in the most iconic locations. What makes this journey so captivating is how the story is woven into her photography to create a captivating portrait of the Amalfi Coast.

Throughout the book, Chantal narrates a journey along the Amalfi Coast, interspersed with travel experiences, stories from locals and fascinating historical details. You’ll feel like you’ve had a personal tour along the Amalfi Coast after reading the book! I enjoyed the conversational narrative style, and felt like I was sipping cappuccino in Amalfi, meandering through lemon groves in Minori and shopping for colorful ceramics in Vietri sul Mare with the author. She has a friendly way of drawing you into a story and sharing a depth of history all while adding a personal touch – the hallmarks of a good guide!

For those of you missing the flavors of the Amalfi Coast, the book ends with a recipe section so you can enjoy local dishes mentioned throughout the book at home. Start with the traditional melanzane alla parmigiana (eggplant parmesan), then try Ndunderi (ricotta dumplings – a classic dish from Minori) and complete the meal with a slice of torta al limone (lemon cake). Delizioso!

The beauty of the Amalfi Coast shines through, not just in the photographs but also Chantal’s way of capturing how that beauty reaches deep into your soul and lingers. If you love the Amalfi Coast or know someone who does, The Amalfi Coast Up Close & Personal will bring back fond memories – and inspire you to book your next trip!

 

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DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author. (Inside you’ll find a few photos by yours truly!) The opinions expressed here are wholeheartedly my own.

NOTE: The links in the post are Amazon affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will earn a small commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. Thank you in advance for your support!

Book Review | Only in Naples by Katherine Wilson

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Given my passion for reading and great love of the Amalfi Coast, as soon as I saw the title of Katherine Wilson’s book Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from my Italian Mother-in-Law I knew it would be a book I would enjoy. And I certainly did! With Katherine’s engaging writing style and lighthearted yet perceptive look at her experiences in Italy, it was the perfect beach read this summer.

The book follows Katherine from her arrival in Naples as an intern at the U.S. Consulate in Naples to meeting her husband and being welcomed into his family. As the title suggests, there are many lessons along the way, and I enjoyed seeing how her relationship with her mother-in-law grew and developed over the years. Naples has always fascinated me, and I loved the glimpse behind the scenes of family life and the author’s impressions of the city over the years. She captured the spirit of Naples when she wrote, “I should have realized by then that in Italy, and particularly in Naples, anything is possible. Magic happens.” Some of that magic filters through her stories and fills the pages with that intoxicating blend of light, chaos and vibrancy that is Naples.

The “Lessons in Food” part of the title carries through the entire book, and will most certainly have you hungry along the way. Knowing that readers would be tempted the stories of her mother-in-law’s cooking, Katherine painstakingly documented some of her best recipes that she lovingly writes about in the book. So as soon as you’re done reading you’ll be ready to tie on your apron and get to work whipping up the dishes in your own kitchen!

While sometimes the Amalfi Coast feels very different from Naples, some of Katherine’s stories really resonated with my life here and had me laughing out loud. For those of you Amalfi Coast fans, there are even some stories about the author’s summer holidays in Positano.

If you love Italy, and especially the Naples area, put this book on your reading list. Food, family, Naples – what’s not to love?