Amalfi Reflections

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I love it when the Amalfi Coast takes me by surprise. Sometimes the surprise is just how often that still happens, even after being here for nearly 10 years now. While the typical colors that evoke the Amalfi Coast are the pastel hues of Positano’s houses or the brilliant yellow of the Amalfi lemons or the many shades of blue of the sea from turquoise to cobalt blue. While walking along the port in Amalfi recently, I glanced down into the water and caught these incredible red and white reflections dancing across the water. Somewhat hidden in the center is a white mask that reminded me of something you might find during Carnevale in Venice. The striking and powerful colors felt like they were of another place. Yet the reflection came from something that couldn’t be more traditionally Amalfi Coast – a local fishing boat!

 

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The Best View of Ravello … is From Scala!

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A picture perfect view of Ravello from Scala

Of all the towns on the Amalfi Coast, perhaps the one most noted for incredible views is Ravello. Situated on a promontory about 1,200 feet above the sea, there are indeed amazing views in every direction. Yet, one of my little secrets is that the best view of Ravello is from the town of Scala. Located just across a deep valley, Ravello’s sleepy next door neighbor isn’t a spot that many of the day tripping visitors get a chance to experience. It’s peaceful, it’s traditional, it’s charming and it’s got awfully good views, too.

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Looking across the valley to Ravello

Earlier this year, Scala inaugurated one of the town’s newest civic projects – a brand new terrace overlooking Ravello. The new little piazza that has been created is appropriately called Piazza San Lorenzo after the Duomo of San Lorenzo that borders one side of the terrace.

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The Duomo of Scala is right next to the new terrace

A small flight of steps, a great wheelchair ramp and even an elevator lead down to a large terrace that looks across the valley to the center of Ravello. There are benches to stop awhile and enjoy the view – a must! I love strolling by and watching kids kicking around the soccer ball on the new terrace – safe from cars nearby yet still close enough for their parents to keep an eye on them while shopping or running errands in the center of Scala just a few steps away.

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Scala’s new Piazza San Lorenzo

The new terrace opens up a great deal more space for people to hang out, relax, talk and enjoy the view. After all the time that I’ve spent sitting in the main square of Ravello admiring Scala and thinking that I’d like to do the opposite, now there’s finally a great spot to take in how beautiful Ravello is from Scala!

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Sit down and rest awhile …

If you walk all the way to the edge of the terrace and look down the valley, you can catch a glimpse of the very tip top of Atrani below. You can also see the very end of the promontory of Ravello where the Villa Cimbrone is located. It’s all luscious green on the Ravello side to the left and a mountainside of chestnut trees on the Scala side on the right. There’s even one cute little pony that meanders around munching on grass, seemingly oblivious to the incredible view.

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Looking down the valley between Ravello and Scala

So next time you’re in Ravello in search of beautiful views, don’t forget to head over to Scala to discover this beautiful little town and enjoy the views from the new Piazza San Lorenzo!

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Bitten by the Amalfi Coast Bug

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Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.

John Steinbeck wrote those oft-quoted lines after visiting the Amalfi Coast in 1953. While his words have resonated with every traveler smitten by this temptingly beautiful coastline ever since, I am sure he was not the first visitor to fall in love with the Amalfi Coast. Yet Steinbeck captured an intense emotion in his seemingly simple description. There is certainly something tempting about this landscape that is hard to pinpoint – a certain something that captures the imagination and dreams.

Everyone who loves this part of Italy has a different story to tell about how they were bitten by the Amalfi Coast bug. Perhaps it was a romantic honeymoon, tracing family heritage or maybe a dream vacation. So how did I end up here? I’ll share a little bit about what lured me here and what compelled me to stay. I do hope you’ll share your own story about how you fell in love with the Amalfi Coast in the comments below!

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One late February day in 2007, I arrived at the Naples airport – without my luggage and, much more importantly, without my mother. Thanks to a blizzard in the midwest, I had lost both en route to Italy. (Fortunately, both arrived the next day!) My mom had planned a week holiday on the Amalfi Coast after seeing the coastline briefly during a day trip from Naples the year before. It was her dream since she was a young girl growing up on a farm in rural Nebraska to live in Positano. (Yes, loving the Amalfi Coast is in my DNA!) But, as fate would have it, I was to spend my first day on the Amalfi Coast missing my mom. Yet it was also that very same day that I met the man who would become my husband – a very charismatic tour guide from Amalfi. Life is strange, no?

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Not really having any idea what to expect, I stepped down off the bus in Amalfi and looked up the mountainside. That was the exact moment I was bitten by the Amalfi Coast bug. Later that evening back in the hotel I wrote in the handmade paper journal from Amalfi (a gift from my mom from her first visit to Amalfi) that this place was going to be important in my life but I wasn’t sure why. Yes, life is strange.

That incredible holiday on the Amalfi Coast with my mom was nearly 10 years ago now. It has been quite the adventure at times living here, but I’ve never doubted that this is where I’m supposed to be. It’s not just Positano that bites deep, it’s the entire Amalfi Coast.

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There are roads you follow that sometimes lead you to surprising places in your life. And then there are places that stop you in your tracks and make you stay put. That’s what happened to me on the Amalfi Coast. Yes, I’ve definitely been bitten the Amalfi Coast bug … and I hope there’s no cure!

 

Italy Blogging Roundtable

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

Italy ExplainedWhat Bugs You About Italy?

ArtTravBugs That Look Like Jewels at La Specola

BrigolanteOf Flowers and Bees, Butterflies and Dreams: Il Lavandeto di Assisi

The Amalfi Coast in Perillo Traveler Magazine

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The last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind, but in many good ways. In the middle of multiple writing projects, the end result can sometimes seem so far away. But when the final product arrives, all the extra work is worthwhile. It was a joy to get the Winter 2016 issue of Perillo Traveler magazine recently and see my feature article on the Amalfi Coast. This was an especially fun project because it included all of my own photos. (Except the cover below – that’s not my shot.) When I write about the Amalfi Coast, the words are intimately connected to the landscape here and the photographs that I love taking while out exploring. To have the two of them together is a dream!

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The article takes a broad tour of the Amalfi Coast, with stops in Amalfi, Positano and Ravello. I also share some of my favorite walks, beaches and day trips along with the best restaurants, hotels and shopping spots on the Amalfi Coast. Planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast? You won’t want to miss this article and the Insider’s Guide section! Even better, you can download it for free at the Perillo Traveler website. Or click here.

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In this issue you’ll also have the chance to win a 5 day trip to Rome for two! (Make sure you enter before March 24, 2016.)

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Home Again

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Last week I landed back in Italy after nearly a month spent traveling in America for work and to visit my family in Nebraska. (Helloooo early Thanksgiving gatherings!) It was a whirlwind trip with stops in New Orleans and New York City before heading to Nebraska. I found there’s still a wee bit of jazz on Bourbon Street if you know where to go and spent an incredible day wandering through Central Park surrounded by autumnal splendor. But there’s nothing quite like arriving back home on the Amalfi Coast.

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My husband had been regaling me with tales about how beautiful the weather had been all of November. Sunshine, unseasonably warm temperatures and crisp colors. So when we saw that the weather was going to change at the end of last week, we took the chance – jet lag and a head cold and all – to enjoy lunch out by the water in Amalfi.

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And of course my favorite winter pastime – a stroll long the long pier that juts out into the port of Amalfi. From there you have an incredible view back to Amalfi and the surrounding mountain valley. What I love best about this walk in the winter? Non c’è nessuno. There is no one. Sure you’ll pass a few locals out for a healthy walk, but that’s about it. But it’s basically just you, the water on both sides and Amalfi as the backdrop. Perfection.

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After lunch the clouds started to arrive, which was the first sign of the change of weather to come. But there were still a few people scattered across the beach. The temperatures have dropped and it has been windy and rainy since Friday. Forget about making hay, you have to go to the beach when the sun shines.

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With the Festival of Sant’ Andrea next week, soon Amalfi will take on a festive holiday atmosphere. It felt like I arrived back home just in time to catch the last glimpse of summer before it slips away into winter.