First Summer Swim in Amalfi

Amalfi Coast Best Beaches Harbor

Summer has arrived on the Amalfi Coast! The first half of June has been unusually warm, which has the beaches busy and sunbathers happy. Dig out the flip flops, swimsuits and towels. It’s time for the beach! I didn’t make it to the beach until last weekend, a tad behind many of the locals and a lot of the tourists. But there’s a right time for everything, and that time was last Sunday. The sky was clear, the sun was hot and there was a slight breeze from the sea – the perfect beach day!

Mesmerizing Blue Sea in Amalfi

Since we hadn’t been in the sun much yet we just wanted to take a quick swim and get that first sun without burning. (Well, me burning. My husband tans in about 32 seconds and doesn’t burn.) We had planned to go to the larger Marina Grande beach, but were stopped in our tracks by the clear, tranquil water at the port. There weren’t very many people either. We found a spot for our towels right by the edge of the water and the view was lovely. The mast of one sailboat soared above all the other boats moored in the harbor.

Sailboat on the Amalfi Coast

Since the temperatures just warmed up a couple of weeks ago the sea is still pretty chilly. I was able to wade in quite a bit, but chose not to make the full plunge. The little girl that ran into the water with a big splash only to pop up a moment later and scream, “Aaaaaah it’s freezing save meeeeeee” wasn’t particularly encouraging either.

Beautiful Rocky Beach on the Amalfi Coast

So I attended to my normal beach activity of watching the waves rush through the rocks, enjoying the sun sparkling on the sea and taking photos. While I’m not an overly cautious person, I do appreciate the fact that to date no one has had to save me from any of those activities.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Beach Amalfi Flag

That was followed by a particularly noble attempt to lay in the sunshine and do nothing. I’m way out of practice there, so that lasted about 5 minutes before I remembered I had grabbed a magazine on the way out of the house. Yes, Elizabeth Gilbert to the rescue! This is a magazine that I bought in America last November. I guess I’m a little behind on my pleasure reading, but I enjoyed the interview. The cover matched my towel and swimsuit. That’s how I accessorize for the beach, yes siree!

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Summer Beach Reading

The small beach where we stopped in Amalfi is right in the port and is a free beach, which means you can just throw your towel down. It’s a popular beach with families, especially with very young kids or babies, since the access to the beach is down a gentle slop, the water is calm and the swimming area is small. Now that school is out for most kids this beach will be pretty crazy soon. But last weekend it was perfect for our first swim of the summer!

Family Friendly Beach on the Amalfi Coast

 

Foto Friday: Festa della Liberazione

Amalfi Coast Festa della Liberazione

Buon anniversario della Liberazione!

Today is the Festa della Liberazione, a national holiday in Italy commemorating the liberation from fascism at the end of World War II. Quite an important historical event to celebrate and an even more important one to never forget. I caught this photo of the Italian flag (with the symbols of the four maritime republics from the Middle Ages – Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa and Venice) off the back of the ferry from Amalfi to Positano. There couldn’t be a more perfect day to share than today!

A View to Vesuvius

Amalfi Coast Travel Vesuvius Naples

A view of Mt. Vesuvius from Chiunzi Pass

From the Amalfi Coast there are a few ways to reach Naples, but from Amalfi the quickest and easiest is via the Valico di Chiunzi, a pass across the Lattari mountains connecting the Amalfi Coast to Naples and the surrounding area. From Ravello, the road climbs higher and deeper into the mountains until you glimpse down and across the valley where Tramonti sits divided into a handful of different frazioni, or hamlets, decorating the mountainside. Once you reach the top of the pass and find a round about, giving one final glimpse down toward Tramonti and the Amalfi Coast, a few curves more and you catch the first glimpse of Mt. Vesuvius.

Amalfi Coast Travel Chiunzi Pass

Walk this way …

This massive volcano strikes me as small when seen from the top of Chiunzi Pass. Such a different impression than what you get driving along the autostrada from Salerno to Naples and you come around a curve and see Vesuvius looming in the distance. Here it seems so very peaceful and bucolic. Oh, how looks can be deceiving!

Return to the Sea

Amalfi Coast Travel History

Amalfi and the sea as depicted in a hand-painted ceramic scene on the Ristorante Lido Azzurro in Amalfi

The people of Amalfi have always had a strong connection to the sea. Not just because of the town’s geographic setting, but because of something that seems to run deep in the blood. This is the something that led those Amalfitani in the Middle Ages to head out across the sea to other parts of the world, to sail those same seas home again and then turn around and do it all over again. And we’re not talking a day trip to Capri here. Try Africa, Byzantium and Jerusalem.

Amalfi Coast Travel Fishing Boats

Preparing the fishing nets for the spring

Over the centuries, the sea has meant livelihood in many different ways for Amalfi. While trading and fishing aren’t the center of life as they one were, the sea is still a livelihood for many people in Amalfi – from the remaining fishermen to the companies that rent boats to tourists in the summer and the workers on the ferries that do make those day trips to Capri. More than work, however, it’s the sea itself that rejuvenates the soul. I can’t even say at this point how many times I’ve heard Amalfitans that now live elsewhere return home and comment on how they miss the sea, the expanse of it and its salty scent. It’s just not the same anywhere else.

Amalfi Coast Travel Sea

Setting off in the springtime sunshine

By the end of February you can feel a bit of anxiousness in the air. When the sun glimmers across the sea and the weather gives those first signs of spring, it’s hard to keep the people of Amalfi away from the sea. It’s time.

Amalfi Coast Travel Amalfi Harbor

Sitting by the sea

While there are those few and brave who swim pretty much year round and fish throughout the winter, the majority of Amalfitans wait for the weather to indicate that it’s springtime again. In the meantime, life still takes place near the sea – from conversations with friends, to afternoon walks and kids kicking the soccer balls around and learning to ride their bikes.

Amalfi Coast Travel Winter Walk

An early springtime walk in Amalfi

I love this time of year in Amalfi watching all the little changes — in the town and the people — as the seasons change and spring arrives. Over the years I’ve absorbed some of that connection with the sea, but it will never be quite like the people who were born here. It’s tradition, it’s history and it’s love.

Amalfi Coast Travel Christmas Nativity Fountain

A charming fishing boat (and tickets to Capri & Positano!) in a fountain Christmas nativity in Amalfi