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!

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.

Christmas Eve Fireworks in Amalfi

If you’ve spent time exploring the little side streets and alleys in Amalfi, you’ll have quickly learned that there are a lot of stairs to get pretty much anywhere. A lot. Late on Christmas Eve we worked off the big dinner by climbing about 200 steps to meet some good friends for a drink while waiting for midnight. What were we waiting for? No, not the new year!

After the late mass, the beautiful bronze doors of Amalfi’s Duomo are opened and a procession leads out to the top of the staircase. At midnight many churches and families across Italy celebrate the birth of Jesus by placing the bambino in the nativity scene. In Amalfi, a symbolic star is lit with sparkling fireworks at midnight and a fireworks display is set off over the Piazza Duomo in the center of Amalfi. This is the moment Christmas truly begins!

The Christmas Eve fireworks are just a tiny sample compared to what the city does for New Year’s Eve. All the stops are pulled for the most impressive fireworks display of the year on the Amalfi Coast. Wishing you all a very happy New Year’s Eve and peaceful 2013!

The End of the Season

Amalfi Lido delle Sirene Beach - Laura Thayer

The empty beach at Lido delle Sirene in Amalfi

Like clockwork, the end of October often brings with it a big storm and an abrupt change in the seasons. One day the beaches will be dotted with sunbathers enjoying the last warm autumn days while holding onto summer for as long as possible and then the next the beaches will be barren and covered with debris washed up from the rough seas. We’ve had a few intense storms pass over the Amalfi Coast recently, and they brought with them the official end of the summer season. During a break in the rainy weather last week, I was out and about and was struck by the sudden change. Where not long ago there were rows upon rows of beach chairs lining the rocky Lido delle Sirene in Amalfi, now the beach is empty for the winter.

Amalfi Coast Fishing Boat Harbor - Laura Thayer

Brilliant blues in Amalfi

The colors were brilliant, even more so after the recent storms. The rough sea had churned up a spectacular turquoise that only shows up after bad weather. Besides the Amalfitans coming and going, the walk along the harbor was quieter than usual. After seeing the empty beaches, the other indication that the season has ended is the empty port. The boats have been loaded up and driven away on big, traffic blocking trucks to safer spots for the winter. Even the docks that are lined with boats all summer long are pulled up to protect them from rough winter seas. They’ll become scenic perches for the seagulls for the rest of the winter.

Winter in Amalfi Harbor - Laura Thayer

The Amalfi harbor without boats lining the docks

Perhaps the strangest sight at the beginning of winter is seeing the Marina Grande beach, the largest in Amalfi, completely empty. If you’ve been swimming here during the summer months you’ll know just how odd it is to see it without the rows of beach chairs and candy colored umbrellas. It will look like this, besides the odd group of visitors having a picnic on a sunny day and those rare locals that swim all year round, until next spring.

October at Marina Grande Beach in Amalfi - Laura Thayer

All is quiet on Amalfi's Marina Grande Beach

The season has ended, but with it another has begun in Amalfi. While it’s different for everyone, for us this is the time for catching up after a busy season – for running all those errands that there simply hasn’t been time to do and for trying to find some much needed moments of relaxation at the same time. The Christmas holidays are around the corner, but for now I think I can use just a little bit of time overlooking an empty beach.

Stormy Amalfi Skies

September Rain Storm on the Amalfi Coast

An early morning rain storm moving along the Amalfi Coast

September arrived with a surprise this year – cooler temperatures, stormy skies and rain rain rain. While it is mildly perplexing just where summer had to get off to in such a hurry, the record heat and dry spell we’ve had this year means no one is complaining about the sudden weather change. (Although we do secretly hope summer will come back for a little bit longer so we can enjoy the beaches without the crowds!) This morning I awoke to low rumbling, and I couldn’t tell right away if it was coming from up in the mountains or out at sea. Wrapping a robe around my shoulders against the cool breeze, I looked out to see it was coming from both directions.

Storm clouds in the mountains above Ravello

Storm clouds in the mountains above Ravello

Nature was putting on a spectacular show, with the colors of sunrise filtering through and highlighting layers of storm clouds. It was dark and warm, intense and uplifting – all at the same time!

Stormy Sea in the Morning on the Amalfi Coast

A stormy morning scene on the Amalfi Coast

If I could paint this is what I would paint – that little bit of blue coming through the dark clouds, the orange light of sunrise hanging on for as long as it can, the texture of the clouds, the calm sea. I might add a wooden-masted sailing ship out there, but that would be over the top. I think I’d better stick with photography.

Amalfi Coast Travel September Storm

A break in the storm

Off in the distance I could see a small cruise boat hurrying into the port of Salerno and street lights dotted along the walkways in Ravello against the dark morning sky. I hoped for a break in the rain for all the travelers visiting the Amalfi Coast today.

Amalfi Coast Morning Storm Clouds

A cruise boat hurries ahead of the storm toward Salerno

And then said a moment of thanks for waking up to another beautiful morning sky on the Amalfi Coast.