Sunny Palm Sunday in Amalfi

A beautiful Palm Sunday in Amalfi

Palm Sunday arrived last weekend with some much needed sunshine for the Amalfi Coast. We opened the windows in the morning and sat up a small table nearby to enjoy the warmth of the sun during breakfast. After that there was only one thing to do … go and enjoy the sunshine and the holiday atmosphere in Amalfi! Easter is one of the most important holidays of the year in Italy, and you can really feel that it’s festival time, especially when the weather is nice. A storm had just passed the night before and the sea was still rough with that bright turquoise color that comes with bad weather. But in Piazza Duomo it was all sunshine!

Up the steps of the Duomo

With all the bad weather the season has been slow getting started, but there were those first signs of the busy season already in the piazza. We climbed the stairs to see the Palm Sunday mass in the Duomo of Amalfi, which was standing room only.

Palm Sunday mass in the Duomo of Amalfi

Outside it felt like spring had finally arrived! The beach had a few families and brave souls wading into the rough water. There was a school group of kids from the UK and they all seemed busy drawing away on notepads. What a beautiful spot for an artistic moment!

The beckons visitors to the beach

The sunshine really was glorious and has been sorely missed this spring. You could feel the energy that the sun added to the lively Sunday morning atmosphere. Even the turtles in the fountain in Largo Scario were piled up enjoying the warmth of the sun!

Everyone ... even the turtles ... enjoying the sun!

We took a leisurely walk along the port to the pier were we spotted some rather desperate sunbathers who had found a warm spot to enjoy the sun. Behind the port it was protected from the breeze, and they had the entire area to themselves. Where there’s a will there’s a way!

Soaking up the sun in Amalfi

After another rainy week, the sun is out again today. We’re all willing that spring will finally come and we can dry out from a very rainy and cold winter on the Amalfi Coast. That reminds me … I’d better dig out my swimsuit!

Buon San Valentino!

Sunshine in Amalfi for Valentine's Day

Sunshine in Amalfi for Valentine's Day

After hearing the weather predictions for this week, we never expected such a glorious day with sunshine and bright blue skies for Valentine’s Day. What a pleasant surprise … the perfect setting for love! After lunch in Amalfi we were strolling along the port and I recalled an email a reader sent me last week about the best places to propose on the Amalfi Coast. It made me smile to think that somewhere along the coastline with this beautiful sunshine he was proposing to his girlfriend. I hope she said yes!

San Valentino Boat Amalfi

This boat should be called the S. Valentino!

Wishing you a very special day however you may be celebrating or not celebrating. Sunshine and warmth in the winter are always reasons to celebrate!

Snowflakes on the Amalfi Coast

Snowflakes and terracotta tile roof Amalfi Coast

Snowflakes and terracotta roof tiles

With just a few days left before Lasagna Eating Day … er, I mean … Carnevale, the temperatures have dropped and snow has arrived  at high elevations on the Amalfi Coast. It snows so rarely here that it’s often a welcome surprise. This morning while we were having breakfast I noticed the snowflakes starting to fall outside. Is there anything better than being home, warm and enjoying a cup of tea and the newspaper while watching the snowflakes fall?

Snowflakes on the Village Amalfi Coast

Morning snowflakes

They didn’t fall for long and the sunshine quickly melted the teeny bit of accumulation, but it was a happy sight while it lasted. Since it’s hard to capture the fleeting magic of snowflakes out the window, I’ll leave you with the image that welcomed us back to Naples yesterday evening. The snow atop Mt. Vesuvius was the first sign that the temperatures had dropped while we were away last week.

Snowy Cap on Vesuvius Naples Italy

Mt Vesuvius in Naples with snow on the top

The weather is cold and we have to bundle up inside and out, but I’ve been enjoying these rare glimpses of winter’s beauty the last few days. Wishing everyone who is dealing with blizzards in America and big snow in Italy to stay safe and warm!

The Limoncello is Ready!

Amalfi Coast Limoncello

The limoncello and mandarinello are ready! We picked mandarins and lemons in Amalfi last month, and the rinds have been infusing in pure alcohol since then. It’s longer than usual for the recipe from the Mamma Agata Cookbook that I use, but I simply kept forgetting to finish them off! The final result was tasty either way, but we still have to do the taste test comparison to last year’s batch. We picked lemons that were just turning yellow and were still a bit green, and the color of the limoncello (on the left) is ever so slightly green. The rinds of the lemons are at their most aromatic when they are still just a bit green. We picked the mandarins later this year than usual, so the color of the mandarinello doesn’t seem quite as intense as last year. But the flavor is still divine!

Do you make limoncello or other liqueurs at home? Limoncello is super simple, and only takes about a week to make. Although some recipes call for infusing the rinds for much longer, even up to 40 days as Cherrye from My Bella Vita has found out in Calabria! If you make limoncello at home, how long do you let the rinds infuse? Would love to hear!

The New Year

Amalfi Harbor New Year's Day 2013

The harbor of Amalfi on New Year's Day 2013

The beginning of a new year is always a special time – for reflection, for a pause in the hubbub of daily life and for hope for the year ahead. Even though it’s just one of the many days each year, it still feels something like a blank canvas or that crisp, empty page of a new notebook. Boy there’s nothing I love more than the possibilities of a new notebook. While any old notebook will do if the main purpose is simply filling the pages, there’s something extra special about a beautiful notebook. Just like there’s something extra special in the air when the new year starts with a clear blue sky. A moment to be treasured.

Amalfi Marina Grande Beach January 2013

At the beach in Amalfi on New Year's Day!

This year New Year’s Day arrived with a brilliant blue sky and warmer than average temperatures on the Amalfi Coast. Before joining family for the traditional New Year’s Day lunch, we enjoyed the sunshine and the start of the new year in Amalfi. There were people already soaking up the sun on the beach and even a few brave swimmers testing the water. And with the exquisite colors of the sea in the winter you can hardly blame them. It is oh so tempting!

Amalfi Turquoise Sea New Year's Day 2013

The clear, turquoise winter sea in Amalfi on New Year's Day

After a late night watching the spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks in Amalfi, a walk on such a beautiful day was the perfect way to start the new day and the new year. Following the road from Amalfi we headed toward the neighboring village of Atrani. Along the way is the medieval watchtower that is now a part of the Hotel Luna.

Amalfi Hotel Luna Watchtower January 2013

The Hotel Luna watchtower in Amalfi

Atrani was looking sleepy and very lovely on New Year’s Day. There was an air of quiet everywhere as the villages awoke to a glorious start to the new year.

Atrani January 2013

Atrani on New Year's Day 2013

Around the corner past Atrani lies the beach of Castiglione down a winding staircase of a couple hundred steps. It’s a very popular beach in the summer, and even a few people were enjoying the sunshine on New Year’s Day this year.

Ravello Castiglione Beach January 2013

A secluded winter beach on the Amalfi Coast

If you’re used to cold water temperatures you can still enjoy a swim in the sea during the winter months on the Amalfi Coast. While there are some locals that swim nearly every day and tourists that brave the cold, it’s not my cup of tea. I’m an admirer of the sea from afar in the winter, which is when I think the colors are the most beautiful. This vivid turquoise is just incredible!

Swimming on the Amalfi Coast January 2013

Anyone for a swim?

I hope your new year is off to a brilliant and happy start! Wishing you a peaceful year ahead filled with many tales to recount in your blank notebook.