Market in Amalfi

When I first started spending time on the Amalfi Coast years ago, I wondered often about where the locals bought certain things, such as plants or any number of household items from sheets to slippers. All those questions were answered the first time I visited the mercato, or market, in Amalfi. Every Wednesday morning trucks arrive in town and set up stalls selling just about everything you can imagine – shoes, clothing, kitchen supplies, fabrics, fish, fruits and vegetables, olives and, yes, even slippers!

Market Day in Amalfi

Anyone who has ever hiked up to the market in Amalfi, which was located way at the top of the town, will remember the walk. Just when you thought you’d never get there, you’d see a truck selling mozzarella cheese and then the first stalls set up around the next curve in the road. While I was in America last month, an old building near the market area collapsed, and the market was temporarily moved to the long parking area behind Amalfi’s port where it was located many years ago. The area at the top of town has yet to be cleared for the market again, so for the time being it will be held in the parking area in Amalfi.

Market Stalls in Amalfi

For visitors to the market, this is a nice change! Before the stalls were located in a narrow road where cars and scooters had to squeeze past shoppers. I’ve been bumped by a car before when I couldn’t move out of the way in the tight space fast enough. Now you can walk along the stalls peacefully, without having to worry about being run over. Always nice!

Market in Amalfi

The market is now located in the part of town that the Amalfitans refer to as “dietro al porto,” which means “behind the port.” This large pier is what defines the harbor of Amalfi, and it’s also one of the favorite spots for a passeggiata, or walk, in Amalfi. So now on Wednesday mornings you can enjoy a stroll along the port while doing your weekly shopping!

Market at the Port of Amalfi

Weekly markets like the one in Amalfi take place in different towns along the Amalfi Coast. On Tuesday mornings you’ll find the mercato in Ravello located in the two level parking area below Piazza Duomo. On Thursday mornings the market in Minori is set up along the waterfront. The largest weekly market on the Amalfi Coast takes place in Maiori on Friday mornings, and can be found by following the main road called the Corso Regina toward the top of town. The markets are generally set up by 8am and close down by 1pm. Even if you don’t find anything you need to take home with you, visiting the mercato is a great way to experience a bit of daily life on the Amalfi Coast.

Amalfi’s New Luna Rossa Parking Garage

One might at first question  my sanity when I say that I’m really excited about the opening of a new parking garage. But if you’ve tried to park on the Amalfi Coast before, you’ll understand the excitement. While the Amalfi Coast road is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world, the challenges of parking here make stopping anywhere along that drive difficult at best. Parking in Amalfi just got a lot less stressful with the opening of the Luna Rossa parking garage located between Amalfi and the neighboring village of Atrani.

Luna Rossa Parking Garage Amalfi

New Luna Rossa Parking Garage in Amalfi

The small white entrance to the parking garage leads into the 4 level garage that has been dug out of the mountainside of Amalfi – an engineering feat that has taken five years of excavation to complete. The garage has dedicated parking for the nearby Hotel Luna Convento, 204 parking spaces for cars and 30 for motorcycles and scooters. In addition to the four level parking garage, a pedestrian tunnel was built connecting the road to Piazza Municipio in Amalfi. Locals are already taking the shortcut, which makes the walk from the opposite side of Atrani to the center of Amalfi take only 5 minutes!

Luna Rossa Parking Amalfi

Entrance to garage on right and pedestrian walkway on left

The view when you enter the parking garage looking toward Atrani is quite nice. I have to admit that for a parking garage it has pretty nice views!

Atrani Luna Rossa Parking Garage

Looking toward Atrani and the Amalfi coastline

We parked on the second level of the garage and took the stairs back down to the main level. The parking spaces are a relatively good size by Italian standards. If you can get that SUV to Amalfi, you’ll be able to park just fine.

Amalfi stress free parking

Parking in the Luna Rossa garage

There are stairs and an elevator connecting the four levels of the parking garage. I can’t imagine the amount of work that had to go into excavating this massive space in the mountain!

Parking Garage Amalfi

Four level parking garage in Amalfi

Everything comes at a cost, especially stress-free parking. The parking is €3.00 per hour, which may seem steep to some visitors. But when you travel so far to visit a town, it’s so frustrating to get there and find there isn’t any parking available. For much of the month of August, the parking area behind the port in Amalfi is full every day. Visitors would drive through town and not be able to stop! Hopefully, these 204 additional parking spaces will help relieve the stress of parking in town during the busy summer months.

Parking Costs Amalfi

Parking costs for Luna Rossa

Now, I’ll take you on a walk through the new pedestrian tunnel connecting the Amalfi Coast road near the Hotel Luna to Piazza Municipio.

Entrance to the pedestrian tunnel

Walking along the pedestrian tunnel

On the way to Piazza Municipio in Amalfi

Blue sky at Piazza Municipio

Piazza Municipio entrance to tunnel

The pedestrian tunnel is surprisingly cool, and will be refreshing during the warm summer months. The tunnel was made quite large so emergency vehicles could pass through if necessary. The garage opened last month, and since has been quite the curiosity for locals. It’s a big achievement for Amalfi, and I hope it will make parking much easier for travelers who want to drive the Amalfi Coast road.

And for those of you that that are curious, the name Luna Rossa means Red Moon and refers to when the full moon takes on that magical red hue. It’s also the name of a beautiful Neapolitan song called Luna Rossa. Here’s a bit of music to get you in the mood for driving down the Amalfi Coast!

Wisteria Wonderland in Positano

Last spring Rosa from the Bell’Avventura blog in Positano wrote a post filled with gorgeous photos of the wisteria season in Positano. I was smitten. Wisteria is one of my favorite spring flowers, and I love how the sweet scent fills the air this time of year. I just had to experience the beautiful wisteria in Positano for myself this year! I am thankful that Rosa reminded me to get over there early in April to see it, because it blooms significantly earlier there than in the area around Amalfi. Last Friday I woke up to a beautiful morning and knew it was my chance. Off to see the wisteria!

Ferry Boat to Positano

I took the earliest ferry to Positano from Amalfi and enjoyed watching the morning light along the coastline. Positano in the distance is always a beautiful sight! As the boat turns toward town, you can start to make out the tiled dome of the church of Santa Maria Assunta on the beach and the colorful houses stacked up the cliff side.

Positano from the Sea

After I arrived it didn’t take long to find the first wisteria climbing up the side of a restaurant near the beach. Not a bad start!

Wisteria in Positano

I followed the narrow streets lined with shops up toward the church, and came around a corner to find the trellis above the walkway covered with blooming wisteria. The sweet scent was intoxicating!

Wisteria in Positano

The campanile (bell tower) of the church peeked out between the purple blooms of wisteria. All around everyone stopped to stare at the incredible display of color.

Wisteria in Positano

I walked up and up into town and found more wisteria along the way. The air was filled with the sweet scent, and I think I could smell it before I came across another beautiful vine.

Wisteria in Positano

Wisteria in Positano

Wisteria in Positano

After a leisurely stroll through the wisteria wonderland, I stopped at a small food shop and bought a panini with proscuitto and artichokes and headed toward the beach. With lunch and my new Positano beach basket in tow, I headed to the beach for a couple hours of sun.

On the Beach in Positano

I found a sandy spot on the beach and spread out my pareo. The sand is always a treat and so much more comfortable compared to the big pebbles in Amalfi. The black sand was such a warm and welcome reminder that summer is just around the corner!

Sandy Beach in Positano

Time always passes too fast in Positano, and before long it was time to pack up and catch the ferry back to Amalfi. But I know I started a new tradition … and that I’ll be back again next spring to see the wisteria in Positano!

Positano Beach Basket

When I come back from America each time, my suitcases are filled to maximum capacity with some of my things that I’ve saved and moved and stored away. Tranferring my wardrobe filled my suitcases the first few years that I was traveling back and forth. Now that my clothes, shoes and favorite bags have made the long journey from Nebraska to the Amalfi Coast, I’m down to bringing over some really fun things – music, favorite decorations and craft projects. This last time I brought with me a few large ziplock bags stuffed full of the collection of “fat quarters” I collected during my years quilting. (On my next trip my mostly completed quilt will come back with me so I can finish it!) It feels good to finally have my sewing bag and favorite craft tools and fabrics for inspiration. It’s really true that the little things in life can bring so much joy!

Positano Beach Bag Before

Beach bag from Positano

My first project was to line a pretty beach basket that I bought in Positano at the end of last summer. After three summers of beach duty, my previous bag broke last year. I was in Positano last summer at the end of August for an afternoon, and after a quick swim I walked through some of the shops near the beach while waiting for the ferry back to Amalfi. I noticed some beach baskets lined up, and I liked the smaller size and the short handles on one of them in particular. I like a small beach bag since I’m the type that fills any bag to maximum capacity. The small size and the comfortable short handles means that I won’t end up hauling around a heavy bag on my shoulders all summer. There was just one problem I discovered once I got the bag home. Certain places inside the basket snagged my beach towel. It needed a lining! Following the general idea of a basket liner pattern over at Make It and Love It, I put some of those fabric scraps to good use.

Craft Helper

My Puffy craft helper

Puffy, of course, was a great helper. Not so much with the sewing, but at least with keeping me laughing while I was hand sewing the longer seams. Here’s a detail of the finished lining:

Finished Positano Beach Bag

Detail of the finished lining

Here’s the basket with a new pair of flip flops (thanks, Mary!) and a pareo that I found on sale in Positano last October for €5 that matches my brown and white polka dot swimsuit. Now I’m ready for the nice beach days ahead!

Beach bag with flip flops

Ready for the beach!

Photo Friday: Signs of Spring

Spring Fig Blossoms Amalfi

It was wonderful to arrive back on the Amalfi Coast earlier this week and find that I didn’t miss the arrival of spring. This is one of my favorite times of the year, watching the trees bud and blossom. In Amalfi on Wednesday I was looking down at the sun sparkling on the sea and noticed the bright green leaves on this fig tree. You can even see the little figs growing. Spring is here!

Buon fine settimana!