Last of the October Beach Days

If you’re lucky, summer comes back for a little visit in October. These lingering summer days are extra special at the beach on the Amalfi Coast, because they’ve already been abandoned by the crowds. We’ve had so many warm days this month that it seems strange to have already set the clocks back for daylight savings and that November is just around the corner. How did that even happen?

It’s that time of year to start the annual hunt for the tricky ingredients for the Thanksgiving dinner I’ll be preparing before too long. Every once in awhile the cold north wind has been blowing down from the mountains and I’ve already made the “cambio di stagione” change in our wardrobes from summer to autumn and winter. Yet at the same time the sun has been shining and beckoning us back into summer.

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Catching the boat to Santa Croce beach from Amalfi

Last week we took a trip back to summer and spent the day at Santa Croce beach near Amalfi – always one of my favorite spots. While we were walking along the harbor debating lunch plans, my husband spotted the boat from Ristorante Da Teresa arriving. We glanced at one another only very briefly. “It’s a sign,” I called out, already running down the steps to the pier to jump aboard.

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Ready to go to Santa Croce

The Darsena pier, which you can see above, is where you can catch the boat to Santa Croca. Look for this long, pale pink boat with the sign saying Ristorante Da Teresa.

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On the way!

Climb aboard and in a few minutes you’ll be at Santa Croce beach. The boat service is complimentary for patrons of the restaurant or if you’re renting a sunbed and umbrella.

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Arriving at Ristorante Da Teresa

The only way to reach this rocky beach is by boat. Usually, there’s another restaurant called Santa Croce to the left, but it had already been dismantled for the season when we went last week. The sea can be so rough during winter storms that the entire restaurant structure is pretty much removed for protection. When we got ashore, I spotted two lonely looking orange sunbeds on one side of the beach. They were lonely no more! I’ve been to Santa Croce many times, even at the end of the season, but I’ve never had half of the beach to myself. It was divine.

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Now this is my idea of the beach …

I really needed some time – just me and the sound of the sea. It was completely relaxing soaking up the autumn sun and listing to the waves tumbling little rocks to and fro. It was a bit too chilly for me to swim, but my husband took a dip before lunch.

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Having the sea to yourself

After a bit we went upstairs to the dining terrace for a relaxed lunch overlooking the sea. As always, the meal was excellent.

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Lunch with a soothing view

A crisp, local rosé was the perfect complement to a delicious meal. Naturally, seafood is the best choice here, and we had antipasti of friend anchovies and squid cooked with roasted peppers. Then pasta made with a local fish called gallinella.

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Summer sunshine and an Amalfi Coast rosé

After lunch it was back to the sun for a little while before returning to Amalfi. There were a few boats coming and going, dropping of travelers for lunch at Da Teresa. Otherwise it was total tranquility.

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Hang on summer

I spent some time reading and scrambling around like I always do on the rocks to take photos. Never gets old this beach. Water is such a soothing element for me, and just being near the sea can wash away a world of stress.

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Back home to Amalfi

It always comes too soon, but before long it was time for the last boat back to Amalfi … and to our busy October days. But for just one day I could pretend it was still summer.

 

 

 

Italy Blogging Roundtable

Italy Roundtable
This blog post is part of a series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Every month our group of Italy based writers takes on a new theme, and you can read the contributions for this month’s topic – Elements – at the links below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please share the stores if you’ve enjoyed them!

ArtTravA Gift from the Earth: Potatoes in the Alto Adige

At Home in Tuscany

Bleeding Espresso

Brigolante

Italy ExplainedSecrets of Underground Naples

Girl in FlorenceThe Man Protecting Tuscany’s Sea: Paolo Fanciulli

Italofile

Positano - One of the Most Romantic Spots on the Amalfi Coast

Top 10 Romantic Spots on the Amalfi Coast

Positano - One of the Most Romantic Spots on the Amalfi Coast

A Hopeless Romantic’s Insider Tips for the Most Romantic Spots on the Amalfi Coast

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good romance. A book, a movie, a sappy card, and I’m hooked. I’m a romantic at heart, and that’s probably why I fell in love with the Amalfi Coast. It was one of those love at first sight stories. As the years pass, I’m ever more sure that it will be a love affair that lasts a lifetime. Every nook and cranny of this beautiful coastline could easily be called romantic. Yet as a lover of all things romance, I’m sharing some of my favorite and most romantic spots on the Amalfi Coast. These are the unforgettable vistas, charming towns and dreamy beaches that you won’t want to miss if you’re planning a romantic getaway on the Amalfi Coast. Please do share the spots that are the most romantic for you in the comments!

 

Amalfi

Romantic Spots on the Amalfi Coast Guide

Amalfi is the town that is closest to my heart on the Amalfi Coast. I’ve noticed that people tend to fall in love with one town more than all the rest, and Amalfi grabbed my heart from the moment I arrived. Just meandering through town, soaking up the sun on the beach or strolling along the waterfront at sunset can still make me weak at the knees. Yet there are a few spots that are some of my favorites on the Amalfi Coast.

For a romantic and secluded day at the beach, my first choice is always the (1) Santa Croce Beach. This small, rocky beach is just a short boat ride west of Amalfi, and the boat ride there is part of the fun. We take the complimentary boat service provided by Ristorante Da Teresa and then settle in for a day under the orange umbrellas, only taking a break from the sun and swimming to enjoy a fabulous lunch overlooking the sea.

If you love hiking and nature, then spend a day exploring the (2) Valle delle Ferriere above Amalfi. As you hike into the valley above town, you’ll pass ruins of old paper mills and follow a path along a crystal clear mountain stream. Don’t forget to pack a picnic to enjoy by the stream! Then keep hiking to the very top of the valley where you’ll find a tropical oasis of waterfalls, cascading water and a landscape that feels miles away from the sunny beaches.

Looking for a romantic spot to enjoy dinner in Amalfi? My favorite is the (3) Ristorante Marina Grande, which has a fabulous location overlooking Amalfi’s main beach. Family run and casually elegant, you’ll enjoy a creative take on local dishes with the finest ingredients. It’s an excellent choice if you’re just passing through Amalfi and want a wonderful lunch or are staying in town and planning a romantic evening out.

 

Atrani

Romantic Spots on the Amalfi Coast - Atrani

Just a short stroll away from Amalfi you’ll find the picturesque little town of (4) Atrani. And when I say “little” I really mean little. By size, Atrani is the smallest town in Italy. And with less than 1,000 inhabitants and slightly off the beaten path setting, it rarely feels as crowded during the summer as some of the other towns along the Amalfi Coast. Get lost in the maze of streets that inspired the labyrinthine artwork of M.C. Escher, enjoy a day at the beach or dine by the sea with the town as your backdrop. As far as romantic spots on the Amalfi Coast go, Atrani is one of the sweetest!

 

Positano

Romantic Spots in Positano

Positano exudes romance. Every time I visit there I feel like I’m on holiday, even though I live here! There’s just something especially romantic about it, which is why it is one of the most popular honeymoon and destination wedding spots on the Amalfi Coast. Positano often tops the list of romantic spots on the Amalfi Coast, and it’s one of my favorites, too. Just walking along the beach at sunset is enough to make most people swoon. If you’re planning a romantic getaway to Positano, wander away from the crowds on the main beach over to (5) Fornillo Beach, set in a pretty cove complete with watchtowers and plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas for a relaxing day at the beach.

For a romantic splurge, book a stay at the incredible (6) Le Sirenuse Hotel in Positano. Remember that romantic movie Only You with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr.? The pool scene was filmed at this hotel, and you’re just as likely to see a few famous faces around the pool today. If you’re just passing through Positano on a day trip, you can also enjoy the romantic setting at their Michelin-starred restaurant La Sponda or enjoy cocktails the stylish Franco’s Bar.

 

Ravello

Villa Cimbrone - Romantic Spots in Ravello

With sweeping views of the Amalfi coastline and a peaceful setting, romance and Ravello go hand in hand. For music lovers, this is the perfect location for a summer getaway on the Amalfi Coast. Plan a romantic evening out while enjoying a concert at the (7) Ravello Festival, complete with a breathtaking view of the Amalfi Coast as the backdrop. Every summer the Ravello Festival presents concerts from classical to jazz and contemporary performers from around the world, along with dance, theater and opera. A great choice for music and art lovers!

While in Ravello, don’t miss the chance to stroll through the gardens of (8) Villa Cimbrone. At the very end of the garden you’ll find the spectacular Terrace of Infinity. If you’re looking for an incredible spot to propose to your loved on the Amalfi Coast, this would be one of my top picks! Curious for more? Read more about Where to Propose on the Amalfi Coast.

If there’s one spot that gets romantic hearts dreaming, it’s the infinity pool at the (9) Hotel Caruso in Ravello. Every time I see a photo of it, I dream of spending leisurely days at that pool. Why not spoil your loved one with a dream getaway at one of the Amalfi Coast’s most romantic hotels?

 

Praiano – Marina di Praia

Romantic Beaches on the Amalfi Coast

While Praiano is a popular spot to stay on the Amalfi Coast, many people miss the charming (10) Marina di Praia beach. It’s one of my favorites on the Amalfi Coast! Tucked away in a little cove, the beach has an old world feel with its colorful boats, fishing nets and whitewashed church. You’ll find plenty of beachside restaurants to choose from as well as a walkway carved right into the mountainside. Perfect for a romantic evening stroll hand in hand!

 

I hope you have enjoyed this guide to romantic spots on the Amalfi Coast! I look forward to hearing about your favorite romantic places on the Amalfi Coast. Please do share them in the comments below!

 

 

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The Cure for Everything

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“The cure for anything is salt water — sweat, tears, or the sea.” – Isak Dinesen

Have you ever needed to go to the beach? I mean really needed to go to the beach? By the time September arrived last week, that was the point I had reached. Being on the other side of August—this August this year—felt like a minor victory. Life has that way of making everything happen all at once, and sometimes in the mess of that “everything” the balance of challenging things becomes overwhelming. That’s when the beach calls me the most.

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While I’m not one who needs to spend a ton of time swimming, I do need to be near the sea. It refreshes my soul, washing away the tension in my shoulders and replacing it with the rhythmic sound of my breath mixed with the waves crashing against the rocky shore. Yesterday, after over a month of work frustration, my sweet cat Toulouse not being well and a variety of stress from situations outside my control, we made it to the beach. And not just any beach, but the isolated and beautiful Santa Croce beach just west of Amalfi. I felt already easier in my spirit just climbing into the little boat in Amalfi for the short ride to the beach. I was thinking of Dinesen, about salt water being the cure of everything. She was onto something.

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Once there we meandered along the rocky shore to find a pair of sun beds right at the water’s edge. I could sit on the end of the sun bed and dig my feet into the dark sand, feeling the water rush back and forth and watching the sun sparkle across the sea. I have a new idea of heaven and it’s this.

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Of course I grabbed my camera and went off to explore while taking photos, another way that Santa Croce relaxes me. I get lost in the heat of the rocks, the incredible turquoise color of the sea and all the textures and hidden treasures. Had someone put that piece of green sea glass in those holes carved by nature? Or had it just happened to end up there? Was I looking at the hands of children playing a game that was now stopped in time or was this another work of nature creating beauty out of chance?

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I returned to my sun bed and listened to the sea. For the rest of the day, even after returning home, I could close my eyes and see the sun sparkling and hear that sound in my ears. I imagine my mind will be there for some time to come, if given even the slightest chance to wander away from everyday tasks. What a place to wander to though! Santa Croce is tucked away in a rocky cove that used to be accessible by a steep staircase from the Amalfi Coast road high above. Years ago, however, part of that staircase fell into the sea during a winter storm, leaving the beach only accessible now by boat. There are two restaurants that offer sun beds and beach service, Ristorante Da Teresa and Ristorante Santa Croce. Both offer boat service from Amalfi if you’re coming to their beach to rent a sun bed or go to the restaurant. During the summer there’s also a paid boat service from Amalfi for a few Euros each way.

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We always go to Da Teresa, which is the restaurant with the bright orange umbrellas. They have a dining terrace with incredible views and equally incredible food. This is the place to go for seafood – so fresh since it’s just been caught from the sea a few steps beyond the restaurant.

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The day at Santa Croce always goes too fast, but it felt especially so yesterday. Summer this year seemed to slip by so quickly. I know there are plenty of beach days ahead before the season ends, but as I left Santa Croce I looked back and hoped I would indeed be back soon.

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I’m not ready for summer to be over yet. Not the intense heat, not the massive crowds—those have been enough—but that feeling of knowing that the days of relaxed summer fun are ahead. I want to hold on to that just a little bit longer!

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How to Enjoy Summer on the Amalfi Coast

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August has arrived and with it the peak summer season on the Amalfi Coast. The beaches are crowded and colorful, the water is refreshing and the days perfect for heading to the beach. Whether you’re packing your bag for a summer holiday on the Amalfi Coast or simply dreaming of your next getaway, here’s a look at some of my favorite ways to enjoy this splendid time of year on the Amalfi Coast!

 

Grab A Beach Chair

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The beaches of the Amalfi Coast are justifiable famous for their dramatic shores and incredibly blue sea that changes in color from deep cobalt to brilliant turquoise and every shade in between. Yet there’s another thing you should know about the beaches before you arrive ready to relax – they are rocky. It’s better to come prepared, which definitely means packing a pair of flip flops (preferably a pair you don’t particularly love) or beach shoes. A lot of people wear them just to the edge of the water to protect their feet from the hot hot hot hot stones that are for some people (even locals!) uncomfortable to walk on.

So with all those rocky beaches, just throwing a towel down isn’t always very comfortable. The way around that is to rent a sunbed and umbrella for the day. It’s very much worth it! The local beaches all are well equipped to ensure a comfortable day at the beach. The other advantage of renting a sunbed from a stabilimento balneare is that it generally means you can take a shower and take advantage of the changing cabins as well. They area also usually attached to restaurants or have a beach bar where you can get sandwiches and drinks. Very handy!

Not sure where to go? Check out my guides to the Beaches of Amalfi and Beaches of Positano for some ideas!

 

Bring a Good Book

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Got a sunbed? Got an umbrella? Perfect! Now all that you need is a good book and you’re set. Why not make it a book set on the Amalfi Coast or nearby to really immerse yourself in the area? I made a list awhile back of great Summer Reads for Amalfi Coast Lovers. You can dip into that list for inspiration, but it does need a bit of updating. For instance, I just finished reading Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from my Italian Mother-in-Law by Katherine Wilson. And I didn’t want to put it down even to take a swim in the sea just steps away! Put it on your summer reading list if you love the Amalfi Coast, Naples, Campania, Italy … or all of the above. You won’t regret it!

 

Get Out on the Water

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(Image courtesy Exclusive Cruises)

A day (or two or three or four …) spent relaxing by the sea is a must while visiting the Amalfi Coast during the summer. Yet if you’re here this time of year there’s another way to enjoy the beauty of the Amalfi Coast – from the sea. One of the best ways to get around is to take the ferry on the Amalfi Coast, since you get to see the epic coastline and avoid all the traffic and crowded buses. However, if you have the time and love the sea, there’s no better way to see the Amalfi Coast than by getting out on a private boat.

With a small boat you can cruise along very close to the rocky cliffs, discover little coves and beaches only accessible by boat, go into stunning caves and grottoes and swim in the most incredible spots like around the Li Galli islands. All at your own pace! If this sounds like heaven, you’ll want to drop my friend Valeria at Exclusive Cruises a line. They know all the best spots and can help you plan an incredible day out on the sea on the Amalfi Coast or anywhere in the area!

 

Dining By the Sea

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If your normal idea of going out to eat means getting in your car and driving to a restaurant, then there’s something fun you can do on the Amalfi Coast. There are a lot of amazing restaurants near Amalfi, Positano, Conca dei Marini and other towns that are only reachable by boat (or sometimes a ton of steps). This is a fun way to get out on the water and dine right on the beach overlooking the sea. Most restaurants have complementary boat service from the largest town nearby. You might like to try Da Adolfo in Positano or Santa Croce in Amalfi – two of my favorites!

 

Don’t Miss White Wine with Peaches

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Perhaps you’re thinking that you can put peaches in your white wine at home, and that’s certainly true. But what you can’t quite capture is that delicious combination of Amalfi Coast Falanghina wine with ripe peaches mixed with the salty breeze from the beach and sound of waves tumbling onto a rocky shore. Heck I can’t even recreate it in my own home here! While you can find this heavenly concoction at many beachside restaurants, my favorite is at Ristorante Da Teresa at the Santa Croce beach just west of Amalfi.

 

Evenings Are Magic

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After the summer day tripping crowds reluctantly leave, something magical happens. I love the Amalfi Coast any time of the day, but during the summer when the days are long and hot there’s nothing quite like heading out in the evening. Sunset is particularly gorgeous from Praiano and Positano, but in Amalfi the evening hours are very special, too. The town turns pink, families bring their kids out to play along the the waterfront and the sea becomes an Impressionist painting of shimmering colors. Most of all, compared to the hustle and bustle of the day, there’s a peace that settles over the villages. These are the long, languid days of summer that we never want to end!

 

What do you do to enjoy the best of summer on the Amalfi Coast?

Amalfi Coast Travel La Praia Beach Praiano

Marina di Praia – My New Favorite Beach on the Amalfi Coast!

Amalfi Coast Travel La Praia Beach Praiano

The beautiful little beach in Marina di Praia in Praiano

I think I have a new favorite beach. But shhh … don’t tell Santa Croce. I’ve always like the little cove at Marina di Praia, located between Conca dei Marini and Praiano. The road clings to the mountainside high above the beach and a small access road that’s pretty easy to miss leads down to a tiny seaside village. The beach really isn’t much wider than the photo above, as you can see the shadow of the rocky cliff on the left. But what it lacks in size it sure makes up for with scenery and things to see and do.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Marina di Praian Praiano Beach

– On the beach at La Praia

Locals call the beach La Praia or simply Praia, and the pebbly beach is the biggest draw during the day in the summer. But instead of being covered with rows of perfectly lined up umbrellas, the beach is mostly covered with boats of all shapes, sizes and colors. I love that! There are umbrellas and sunbeds for rental though, and if you’re planning to spend a day that’s the way to go as the beach isn’t very comfortable for sun bathing. But back to the boats!

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My favorite boat on the beach in Praia

I had my camera with me when I went to the beach at Praia, and just had to spend some time wandering through the boats and capturing their colors and patterns.

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– Worn boat in Marina di Praia

The weathered wood and chipped paint reminded me of the first time I visited Marina di Praia back in the early spring of 2008 when the boats were being repainted and the stones on the beach were speckled with drops of green, blue, red and yellow paint.

Amalfi Coast Travel La Praia Beach Fishing Boats and Nets

Boats and fishing nets on the beach in Praia

The boats lined up on the beach and the fishing nets covering the wall nearby are such beautiful reminders of the simple life that was once all there was on the Amalfi Coast. It’s still there in all the villages along the coast, but it’s just a little easier to spot in some places. The nets were just fascinating with their colors and different shapes and sizes.

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Fishing net artistry in Praia

The local fishermen likely though it was a bit nutty how much time I spent photographing this impressive wall of nets. Although I’m sure it’s a fairly common occurrence!

Amalfi Coast Travel Praia Fishing Nets

Amazed by the fishing nets at Praia

Nearby the beach a wide wall was covered with fishing nets. I wondered if they were there because they needed patching and where the fishermen had wandered to. Maybe to the nearby cafe for an espresso before tackling the laborious project.

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Fishing nets drying in the sun

Just when I thought I had seen all the boats, I found this bright red and blue beauty. What do you think, does red and blue work for a Christmas card this year?

Amalfi Coast Travel Praia Fishing Boat Red and Blue

The color to paint your boat if you want to find it easily in boat parking …

There’s another lovely feature at Marina di Praia that makes it one of my favorite beaches. Starting nearby the beach there’s a walkway carved into the rocky cliffs that leads past some houses and to the famous Africana nightclub in Praiano. The beginning of the pathway leads right under the cliff. Best not to think about it too much and enjoy the view!

Amalfi Coast Travel Praiano Marina di Praia Beach

The beginning of the seaside walkway in Praia

Following the walkway leads away from the beach and west along the rugged coastline. The sunny beach comes in and out of view with the winding of the pathway.

Amalfi Coast Travel Praiano Marina di Praia Beach Walk

Say goodbye to the beach!

The pathway leads right through the Il Pirata restaurant, which has one of the most incredible dining areas overlooking the sea that I’ve ever seen. It’s especially magical at night! As you walk by, take a peek inside since it’s quite unusual having been carved out of the mountainside.

Amalfi Coast Travel Marina di Praia Ristorante Il Pirata

This restaurant is located inside a cave!

Just past Il Pirata you have a great view looking back toward the Marina di Praia beach where you can see how it’s just a small cove in the mountains.

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Looking back at Marina di Praia and the Il Pirata restaurant

Every single available spot – even the most precarious looking – seems to be taken for swimming or fishing or sunbathing.

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– A mighty fine spot for fishing

When you’re not looking down at the sea and waves crashing into the rocks, take a look east to see the distinctive Capo di Conca jutting out into the water near Conca de Marini.

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A view of Capo di Conca in Conca dei Marini

If I could stay in just one place, it would be this spot along the walkway in the photo below. That’s one of my happy places my mind travels back to again and again.

Amalfi Coast Travel Praiano Walkway by the Sea

My happy place

Just around another corner sits the Africana nightclub carved into the mountain. During the day all is quiet and the light sparkling on the is far more appealing.

Amalfi Coast Travel Marina di Praia Flowers

Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any prettier

Back on the beach, wander not far inland from the beach and you’ll find a pretty little piazza with more boats and a whitewashed church that seems like it would be more at home in Greece than Italy.

Amalfi Coast Travel Marina di Praiano Praia Church and Fishing Boats

Can I just stay in this spot and never leave?

I couldn’t get enough of this perfect little church with its white facade, teeny bell and strings of fairy lights above the entrance. I peered and peeked but could only get the tiniest of glimpses inside.

Amalfi Coast Travel Marina di Praia Church

Don’t you just want to hear that bell ring?

 

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Sunshine and flowers (and more boats!) in Praia

I love a beach with things to see and do as well as beautiful water and good swimming. That’s exactly why I’m smitten with Marina di Praia. It’s a storybook setting and I want to write the stories that flutter about in the back of my mind as I wander along the sea and imagine weddings and village celebrations in that tiny church.

Ciao Amalfi Marina di Praia Beach 1

– Amazing dining spots at Praia

Of course, you don’t have to go far to find some excellent restaurants in Marina di Praia. My favorite is Da Armandino, which is just a few steps from the beach. So whether you’re looking for a special day at the beach, a great lunch spot or a romantic dinner on the Amalfi Coast, you’ll definitely remember your time at Marina di Praia. Make sure you take that walk along the sea … and tell me what stories you imagine taking place in this beautiful little cove on the Amalfi Coast!