This is Winter in Amalfi

Winter on the Amalfi Coast

Like any good story, a place has multiple sides, fascinating characters that draw you in, unexpected twists, and moments that make you fall in love. You can’t know a story from only reading a few pages, just like you can’t know a place until you’ve been there turning the pages day by day – being surprised by the twists and turns and falling in love with the people.

Right in the middle of the chaos of morning traffic in Amalfi’s Piazza Flavio Gioia, I stepped out of the car and walked over to watch the waves crashing against the beach and the sunshine on the water. Much better than the view waiting in the car. I looked over to the other side of the beach where I saw these two men from Amalfi strolling along the edge of the water. The umbrella, the sunshine, the silhouette – a perfect winter moment. I felt that familiar feeling in my chest as I fell in love with Amalfi just a little more watching this quiet scene. This is winter in Amalfi.

Happy Holidays from the Amalfi Coast!

Christmas on the Amalfi Coast

This is my third Christmas on the Amalfi Coast, and each year I fall in love just a little bit more with the holiday celebrations, decorations and season in Italy. The simple beauty of Christmas and time with family seem somehow less adulterated by the commercialism of America. I was pleased to see that Amalfi stepped back its Christmas decorations and lighting this year compared to recent years, in attempt to hold closer to tradition and to save money. Most of the lighting was already in place for the Festival of Sant’ Andrea on November 30th. I’ve read the town has reduced the cost of lighting 50% from last year and the money will be invested in a permanent light display. The live pine tree in the Piazza Duomo has been decorated this year with colorful decorations made from recycled materials, including CDs, by a group of disabled kids from the Centro Diurno di Socializzazione in Amalfi. I think they are fun, and I love that they were handmade in Amalfi!

Christmas decorations in Amalfi

There are many events and concerts for Christmas in Amalfi this year. It’s a fun and festive time of year in Amalfi! I wish all of my readers a warm and happy holiday time … Buon Natale from the Amalfi Coast!

The First Snow on the Amalfi Coast

Snow on the Amalfi Coast

Yesterday morning we woke up to find a dusting of snow on the tops of the Lattari Mountains high above the Amalfi Coast. It was a beautiful sight in the morning sunshine. It doesn’t snow often down at lower altitudes, but I do love the wintery setting of seeing it on the mountaintops. The snow doesn’t stick around long, and most was already gone by this morning. It’s just one of those lovely little moments of nature to enjoy!

Snow above Ravello

While out and about, I snapped a few photos of the snow on the mountains near Ravello (above) and Scala (below). There was quite a bit more in the mountains just above Scala, and it wouldn’t have taken very many degrees colder to have snow right in town.

Winter snow above Scala

With autumn colors still lingering, I must say it was nice to have a touch of winter in these days leading up to Christmas. The mountains above Scala were such a beautiful sight, and it finally started to feel like winter around here!

Snow about Scala on the Amalfi Coast

From Ravello I could spot the Convento di San Nicola in the mountains high above Minori. It looks like the trees had a light dusting of snow, but the mountain peaks behind were white.

San Nicola Maiori in the Snow

From the Piazza Duomo in Amalfi you could also see a nice view of the snow dusted mountains high in the valley above town. Winter has finally arrived on the Amalfi Coast!

Snow from Amalfi

But the snow melts away just as quickly as it arrives, so it doesn’t look as though there will be a white Christmas on the Amalfi Coast. Will you have snow for the holidays this year?

Picking Mandarin Oranges in Amalfi

Harvesting Mandarin Oranges on the Amalfi Coast

When they’re ready, word begins to spread through the family. The mandarini—mandarin oranges—are ready! This is a moment I wait for eagerly each December, when the mandarins are ready to be picked in Vettica. If you’ve traveled around the Amalfi Coast, or small towns most anywhere in Italy, you’ve likely discovered that many towns have frazioni, or hamlets, that are separate from the town center but are still considered, at least administratively, part of a larger town. Amalfi has several hamlets, including the area called Vettica west town.

View of Amalfi from Vettica

The views looking back toward Amalfi are stunning from Vettica. We took a chance yesterday morning when the sun had peeked out from behind the clouds after a few rainy days to go and pick some mandarins. It was a beautiful morning to be surrounded by the delicious scent of oranges!

Picking mandarin oranges in Amalfi

There were so many! I picked and picked and picked, filling a large bag with the fresh mandarin oranges. After a little while I smelled completely like oranges! Of course, I had to eat the ones I broke by mistake while picking. Such a lovely chore!

Mandarins on the Amalfi Coast

I picked more than usual this year, because I plan to make Michelle Fabio’s mandarin jam recipe, which you can find here with the super cute title When Life Gives you Mandarins, Make Mandarin Jam. I also want to make limoncello and mandarincello this year, which are two very traditional liqueurs made on the Amalfi Coast. Yum!

Winter Lemons on the Amalfi Coast

The lemons, which you can see above growing in Vettica, are not quite ripe yet. However, this is the best time of year to pick lemons for limoncello, while they are still a bit green and the rinds have the most intense lemon flavor. I’ve got a big pile of lemons waiting for limoncello in the kitchen, which simply makes me smile. A sweet moment of winter life on the Amalfi Coast!

On the Road Home

Autumn drive to the Amalfi Coast

On the road from Naples to the Amalfi Coast

Earlier this week I arrived back home in Italy at Naples’ Capodichino airport, the closest airport to the Amalfi Coast. Anyone who has driven on the autostrada through Naples knows that the stress of  international travel is nothing compared to simply surviving the short drive from the airport to the exit for the Costiera Amalfitana. Jet lag does help to keep one calm though. I always breath a sigh of relief when we reach the exit at Angri, because I know that shortly the road will start winding its way slowly up the the mountains toward the Chiunzi pass leading to the Amalfi Coast. My fiancé said I was in for a surprise, because the autumn colors were still beautiful up in the mountains. Boy was he right!

Autumn drive on the Amalfi Coast

Autumn colors on the drive home

Around every curve in the road there was another beautiful view of the autumn colors up close or covering the mountainsides.

Autumn mountains Amalfi Coast

Autumn colors on the mountains near Naples

As we reached the top of the pass and started over toward Tramonti, the colors reached their peak. I didn’t get any good shots, but you can enjoy the colors from an autumn drive to Tramonti from a couple of years back.

Autumn on the Amalfi Coast Tramonti

Autumn in the mountains of the Amalfi Coast

I never expected to find such gorgeous colors still around Ravello and Scala at the end of November. It was really a joy not to have missed this splendid show!

Autumn in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast

Autumn colors around Ravello

Ravello in the autumn

Ravello surrounded by autumn's colors

Autumn colors on the Amalfi Coast

Autumn colors in Scala on the Amalfi Coast

While hauling (and occasionally dropping) my suitcases down the approximately 60 steps to the house, the gorgeous colors were much appreciated. After much experience with it, I can safely say that 50 pound plus suitcases and ancient stone staircases don’t go well toegther. I stopped often under this terrace of bright red grape vines. What a sight!

Autumn grape vines on the Amalfi Coast

A gorgeous sight while resting

While the autumn colors are more striking up in the mountains on the Amalfi Coast, I did find this stunning bit of color in Amalfi’s Piazza Duomo.

Autumn in Amalfi

Autumn reds near the Duomo of Amalfi

Ciao Amalfi!