Amalfi Winter Blues (and Reds)

Amalfi Coast Winter Blues and Reds

Even though the first signs have begun to arrive that tell us that spring is around the corner, a cold north wind blowing down the mountains the last few days has made it feel very much like winter isn’t ready to let go quite yet. I’m ready for warmth and sunshine and spending more time outdoors. The line goes that April is the cruelest month, but I’ve always been sure it was March. At least I’ve always had enough of winter by the time March comes along! But then when I look at this photo I fall in love with the winter light all over again and know I’ll miss it until next year.

Amalfi Coast Travel Architecture

My Blue Heaven

Amalfi Coast Travel Winter Blue Amalfi

Last week the most remarkably normal thing happened. I went for a walk in Amalfi with my husband. Normal because we’ve done that together countless times over the past eight years. Remarkable because it was the first time we’ve done that since last autumn when he got sick. While his recovery process is coming along — albeit slowly — it was a huge boost in spirits to be able to do such a normal thing again. And, of course, Amalfi was stunning.

Amalfi Coast Travel Architecture

When the sun shines in February something magical happens. I’ve not yet figured out if it’s just the contrast to rain and clouds or if the blues are somehow more blue. Something is different though. As we walked along the harbor I couldn’t get over just how blue it was.

Amalfi Coast Travel Winter Harbor

Everything was blue – the sky, the sea, the railings around the Amalfi cross, the boats. It was as if all I could see was blue.

Amalfi Coast Travel Winter Walk

My favorite walk in Amalfi is along the raised level of the pier that defines the harbor of Amalfi. We had it all to ourselves on this gloriously sunny day last week. It was right about here that the old song “My Blue Heaven” popped into my head.

Amalfi Coast Travel Walking

Okay, so there was a little bit of red, too.

Amalfi Coast Travel Winter Sunshine

I started to count the blue boats as we headed back the other way. One blue boat. Two blue boats. Three blue boats. Four…

Amalfi Coast Travel Fishing Boats

Since our walk in Amalfi was a bit unexpected, I went out without my camera. So to give you an idea just how beautiful of a day it was, these photos were just snapped quickly on an iPhone4. I wished I had brought my camera along with me!

Amalfi Coast Travel Boating

Days like this are a beautiful reminder that spring is coming. Yet the light and colors will be different. Still beautiful, but different. There will be many more walks in the sunshine to come!

The Golden Hour

Amalfi Coast Travel Sunset Winter in Amalfi

Amalfi glows in the evening light. This is true all year long, but it’s especially so during the golden hour just before sunset in the winter. Looking east, the cascade of buildings above the Hotel Luna watchtower take on a gorgeous hue. If I could paint, I would sit up here in the evenings and paint the view just to feel a little bit more a part of it than taking a photograph. The beach is empty except a few people drawn to take a closer look at the irresistible scene. Not far from the edge of the sea, rows of fishing boats take a rest pulled up on the beach while waiting for a new coat of paint in the spring. They look like they’ve had a busy season and need a break, but before long the stones will be dotted with drops of paint and the boats will be gone, back to work for another year.

Amalfi Coast Travel Beach Boats Fishing

I do so love the rows of brightly colored sun umbrellas during the summer months that look like candies scattered across the beach. Yet there’s something I love even more about the beach in the winter. It’s so quiet and beckons to be devoured in a slow and lingering way, like following the long shadow of a lone beach walker crunching along the pebbles near the water’s edge. While the summer beach scene in Amalfi clamors for your attention with a riot of colors, people of all shapes and sizes and waves crashing to the sounds of kids playing, the winter scene simply waits. You can stop and look if you’d like, but it’s not going flail about in the water or hit you in the head accidentally with a beach ball. Its indifference makes it even more alluring. If you stop and look, there are moments to witness that you’ll never forget.

Amalfi Coast Travel Winter Beach

Meanwhile, in Piazza Duomo, the mosaics designed by Neapolitan artist Domenico Morelli on the facade of the Cathedral of Sant’Andrea begin to glow in the evening light. I sometimes wonder if Morelli sat in the piazza while working on his designs. He would have been in his late 60s when the new facade of the Duomo was completed in 1891. I also wonder when I look at at the Apostles and scene in the tympanum if he got to see the way the sunset made his designs glimmer. The scene at the top depicts the Triumph of Christ, and it surely is a triumph.

Amalfi Coast Travel Cathedral of St Andrew

While life is busy all year round, there’s something a little easier about slowing down in the winter to notice details, to wonder and to really get to know a place – on its own terms and without the distractions. But those distractions of the busy beaches, relaxing in the warm sun, watching new faces light up when they see the Duomo of Amalfi for the first time, sitting on the steps of the church enjoying a gelato, hopping on a ferry to Positano or Capri, these are just as much part of Amalfi that I miss during the winter months.

Getting to know Amalfi over the years has been like watching the change of seasons. There’s beauty in every season – even the frigid days of winter and the long, hot days of summer. During the winter we miss the warmth and the joy of diving into the clear blue sea and during the summer we miss these quiet, intensely beautiful winter days. Taking photographs is a mindfulness practice for me since it makes me stop and notice little moments like the ones I’ve shared here today.

How do you capture or enjoy beautiful moments in your life?

Snow on the Amalfi Coast!

Amalfi Coast Travel Snow December 2014

– A glorious snowy sunrise on the Amalfi Coast

We woke up to the most beautiful surprise this morning. Snow on the Amalfi Coast! What an incredible way to remember the last day of 2014. While we occasionally get snow up in the mountains during the winter, I could tell this was a special snow. I could see snow on the beach in Atrani and snow by the red faro in Amalfi. This was really a snow!

Amalfi Coast Travel Snow Ravello

A snowy Villa Cimbrone in Ravello

The ruins of the Church of Sant’ Eustachio in Scala had a dusting of snow and way down in Amalfi by the sea the bell tower of San Biagio was also white. In the photo below, far on the left, you’ll even see snow on the pier that juts out into the port. My husband says it has been about 30 years since there was snow on the beach in Amalfi!

Amalfi Coast Travel Snow Pontone

The ruins of Sant’Eustachio and snow in Pontone

We watched the few brave drivers out slowly … very slowly … navigating the road down from Ravello. That’s a tough stretch of road even in good weather. I couldn’t imagine trying to drive that road this morning!

Amalfi Coast Travel Snow Road

Snow falling this morning

And if you look closely in the photo below you’ll see a snow covered beach in Atrani. It was still snowing when I took this photo and it wasn’t until after that I noticed the white beach.

Amalfi Coast travel Snow Atrani

Snow on the beach in Atrani!

But I think the prettiest view of all was the snowy scene in Scala. The snow-covered terraces on the mountains above the village created stripes as the backdrop to the winter scene. It was like a postcard winter setting!

Amalfi Coast Travel Snow Scala

A wintry scene in Scala

Of course I had to go out. I waited just a bit and thankfully there was a short break in the strong wind. It was still -3 C, but without the wind and bundled up it wasn’t too bad for a short walk.

Amalfi Coast Travel Snowy Steps

Out I go!

Crunching up and down the steps in the snow was a little more challenging than usual, but the beautiful view and quiet scenes were well worth the effort.

Amalfi Coast Travel Snow Minuta

A winter walk in the snow

I love the way a dusting of snow changes everything. I suppose that is especially the case in places where it doesn’t snow all that often like the Amalfi Coast.

Amalfi Coast Travel Snow Minuta Fountain

Mr. Fountain in the snow

I couldn’t take many photos of the view across the valley to Ravello since a gust of wind arrived that nearly knocked me off my feet and set me crunching through the snow back home.

Amalfi Coast Travel Snow Ravello Scala

The valley between Scala and Ravello in the snow

Winters on the Amalfi Coast require boots that are good for the rain and cold weather … and sometimes even the snow!

Amalfi Coast Travel Snow Boots

Crunch crunch crunch …

Before going back inside I had one more mission … find Puffy! He’s one of our outside cats who spends the day inside. It took a few times calling him before he came out of hiding. He’s a smart cat though, and was completely dry.

Amalfi Coast Travel Ginger Cat Snow

Is there anything cuter than a fluffy orange cat in the snow?

He was ready to come inside and warm up though! He’s all curled up and toasty now.

Amalfi Coast Travel Puffy Snow

Puffy in the snow!

Seeing Puffy in the snow reminded me of the last time we had a bigger snow like this, which was in 2009. Puffy was only about a year old and had so much fun trying to catch snowflakes.

I hope the last day of 2014 brings you many beautiful surprises!

Christmas Sweets at Pansa in Amalfi

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Pasticceria Pansa Christmas Panettone

Artisan panettone at Pansa this Christmas

The holiday season has arrived in Amalfi! The Christmas decorations are simple this year, but they add a bit of a festive touch to the town. The shop windows of the pasticcerie, or pastry shops, are always the most colorful and tempting. I stopped in Pasticceria Pansa right in Piazza Duomo the other day to get some of their torroncini, one of our favorite Christmas desserts. They’re a nougat with almonds that’s scented with cinnamon and covered with Pansa’s deep, dark chocolate. Fabulous! They produce a host of seasonal cookies, biscuits as well as various types of panettone, too.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Pasticceria Pansa Christmas Chocolate

A chocolate moka pot – perfect for those chocolate lovers in your life!

Pansa has an artisan chocolate production right in Amalfi and they create all kinds of treats for the holidays. I got a kick out of the different and fun shapes on display in the windows.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Pasticceria Pansa Amalfi Christmas Chocolate

Chocolate Babbo Natale anyone?

Inside they had a unique display made of branches decorated with candied orange and lemon slices, cinnamon sticks and even their esse di miele and roccocò cookies – both traditional sweets eaten after Christmas lunch.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Pasticceria Pansa Christmas Decorations

Christmas decorations in Pansa using the scents of the season – candied oranges, cinnamon sticks & cookies

If you simply can’t resist, Pasticceria Pansa does ship all around the world!