Springtime in Atrani

I love photographing the vibrant colors of spring on the Amalfi Coast. They change from day to day depending on the weather and what plants are blooming. Recently it seems that Atrani has been the subject of my photos more often than not. I just had to share them for all the readers with happy memories or a special connection to this beautiful village. It certainly is photogenic!

Enjoying the Amalfi Coast in the Springtime

A quiet May morning on the beach in Atrani

The sea turns strange colors after a storm, almost the same turquoise and green on the small wooden boat I caught being rowed toward the shore in Atrani. I wondered where these two had been that morning.

Fishing Boat on the Amalfi Coast in Atrani

A colorful boat rowing to shore in Atrani

There are lamps along the walkway overlooking the beach in Atrani. Each one has three lights supported by an ornate design. I like the way they look with their twists and turns and curves standing out starkly against the blue sky and the sea beyond. It’s almost strange to think that soon this beach will be covered with blue and white striped beach umbrellas and sun beds all lined up. But that’s just as much its identity as the smooth black sand dotted with white stones is during the winter months.

Atrani Beach in the Spring

Ornate lamp near the beach in Atrani

Another sunny day after storms, I spotted a plant covered with tiny yellow flowers, and the colors stood out so beautifully with the bright turquoise sea.

Atrani on the Amalfi Coast in the Springtime

A burst of yellow looking toward Atrani

The shape of the yellowing flowering plant, the cacti poking out and that intense blue were so irresistible that I had to stop and take a few shots.

Mediterranean Sea and Cactus plants

Yellow flowers and blue sea

Just beyond I spotted a fig tree clinging for its life to the cliff edge below the road. It must be thriving on the views, I thought, because there wasn’t much else! Looking close you can see how big the figs have already grown. It’s not a bad view after all.

Figs Growing on the Amalfi Coast in Atrani

The figs are already getting big!

The seasons are changing and I know the warm weather will be here very soon. Summer brings many good things with it, but I’m trying to hold on to the colors, scents and beauty of these vibrant spring days for as along as I can!

Where to Propose on the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast Destination Wedding Ravello

Spotting a destination wedding in Ravello's piazza

With San Valentino just around the corner, romance is definitely in the air. The Amalfi Coast is one of the top travel destinations for romance in Italy – popular for engagements, destination weddings, honeymoons and special anniversary celebrations. As a romantic at heart, I would love to share some of the places on the Amalfi Coast that would make a magical backdrop for a wedding proposal. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for some romantic travel inspiration, so here are some of my favorite romantic spots on the Amalfi Coast.

Terrace of Infinity at the Villa Cimbrone – Ravello

Amalfi Coast Romance in Ravello

Ravello's romantic Terrace of Infinity

Along with Amalfi and Positano, the mountain top town of Ravello is one of the most popular choices for weddings, honeymoons and romantic trips on the Amalfi Coast. All I have to say is, “Why not?” It’s a pretty town free from traffic in the historic center with lovely gardens to explore and gorgeous views of the coastline and Bay of Salerno from high above. Ravello’s Palazzo Sasso made was ranked number 2 on Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List 2011 for in the best hotels in Italy. And you know that’s some stiff competition! It’s just one of the many romantic spots to stay in Ravello.

Even if you don’t stay in Ravello, the town has many perfect spots for a proposal. The Villa Rufolo right off the town’s main piazza is a beautiful historic villa with a gorgeous cloister (for architecture lovers) and pretty gardens. My favorite romantic spot in Ravello, however, is the Terrace of Infinity in the Villa Cimbrone. Lined with marble busts, this terrace has views overlooking the bay, where the sky and the sea seem to blend together stretching out to infinity in shades of blue.

Sunset on the beach – Positano

Romantic Amalfi Coast sunset in Positano

Sunset and romance on the beach in Positano

Let me begin by saying that just about any spot in Positano has a romantic allure. Walking along the tiny streets, under the wisteria in the springtime, overlooking the cascade of colors from high above, sitting under the beach umbrellas on the quieter Fornillo beach, or at one of many restaurants near the beach. For me, the sweetest moment is sitting on the beach and watching the sun set over the Li Galli islands in the distant. Pure romance!

Climbing the steps of the Duomo – Amalfi

Propose on the steps of the Cathedral of Amalfi

Make a grand gesture in a grand setting - on the Duomo of Amalf!

Some many say it’s too cliché or expected, but I’d have to put the steps of the Duomo of Amalfi as one of the most romantic spots on the Amalfi Coast. Maybe it’s just that I’m an architecture nut. (Make that a romantic architecture nut, just to be clear.) Climb halfway up the steps, and instead of posing for a photo surprise your partner by popping the question. If the piazza and steps are crowded, I bet you’ll get an applause if the answer is yes!

Santa Croce Beach – Amalfi

If you’re the quieter type, then I have just the place for you. Take the boat from Amalfi to a little beach called Santa Croce just west of town. It’s secluded, romantic and one of the most beautiful spots for a swim on the Amalfi Coast. Look, even the rocks are all about love!

Romantic beaches on the Amalfi Coast

How's that for a romantic sign?

Sentieri degli Dei – Positano

Hiking on the Amalfi Coast

View of the Amalfi Coast from near Agerola

If you love being outdoors and hiking, the Amalfi Coast offers some irresistibly romantic views when you climb high up in the mountains. This is great choice if your partner loves a secluded spot and nature. One of the most breathtaking hikes is along the Sentieri degli Dei (Pathway of the Gods) high above Positano. Just be prepared for a lot of steps!

Rent a boat for the day – Amalfi Coast

Romantic boat trip on the Amalfi Coast

Beautiful views along the Amalfi Coast

Seeing the Amalfi Coast from the sea is a beautiful experience, and best enjoyed from a small boat. Spend a leisurely day exploring the rugged coastline and stopping for swims in small coves where the blue of the water pulls you in. Daily boat rentals are available in Amalfi, Positano and other towns along the Amalfi Coast.

Torre dello Ziro – Scala

Medieval watchtower Amalfi Coast

Hike to the Torre dello Ziro above Amalfi

For beautiful views of Amalfi and the coastline at an easier pace, hike up to the 15th-century watchtower Torre dello Ziro high above Amalfi. The walk begins in Pontone, a hamlet of the quiet mountain town of Scala, and leads up to the tower where you’ll enjoy views across the valley to Ravello and down to Atrani and Amalfi on the sea below.

Romantic night lights on the beach – Atrani

Amalfi Coast Romantic Night Spot

Atrani is charming at night

The little village of Atrani just a short walk east of Amalfi is one of my favorite spots for a romantic summer evening on the Amalfi Coast. Enjoy the lights of the town reflecting across the water while dining outdoors at the Ristorante Le Arcate. The town’s central piazza is a pretty spot for enjoying a drink before or after dinner, and the black sand beach is lovely and often less crowded than Amalfi in the summer.

Out to the lighthouse – Amalfi

Romantic spots in Amalfi

Walk out to the lighthouse for a panoramic view of Amalfi's harbor

One of the most relaxing ways to spend an evening is enjoying the traditional passeggiata in Amalfi along the harbor to the end of the port. All the way out at the end of the pier you’ll find a panoramic view looking across the harbor to Amalfi. The view is wonderfully romantic at night, and I’ve always thought it would make a lovely spot to propose. I bet the lighthouse has seen many in its day!

An enchanted bay – Nerano

Marina del Cantone Romantic Beach Amalfi Coast Nerano

Relax on Nerano's Marina del Cantone beach

Looking for a secluded spot away from some of the summer crowds in Positano? The little town of Nerano is the last one before the tip of the Sorrento Peninsula, and its seaside hamlet Marina del Cantone is a pretty spot for a romantic getaway overlooking a gorgeous bay. Excellent restaurants, beautiful hikes and a long beach make this a great location if you’re looking for an enchanting setting to propose on the Amalfi Coast.

Romance with the Sunset – Praiano

Amalfi Coast Romantic sunset view Praiano

Romance with the setting sun in Praiano on the Amalfi Coast

The colors of sunset stretching across the sea as the sun drops behind the dark outline of the Lattari Mountains on the Sorrento Peninsula. How’s that for romance? One of the best spots to enjoy sunsets along the Amalfi Coast is from the town of Praiano just east of Positano. In the distance you’ll even spot the island of Capri with its distinctive Faraglioni rocks. Now you know where to find the views … you bring the romance!

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Romance exists, of course, wherever you take it. Wishing you a romantic trip to Italy’s Amalfi Coast!

A Summer Night at the Festival of La Maddalena in Atrani

Every summer on July 22nd, the small town of Atrani celebrates Santa Maria Maddalena, or La Maddalena, with an evening of festivities that includes a religious procession, band concerts and a wonderful fireworks display over the sea after dark. Last year I followed the procession of the statue of La Maddalena in Atrani, but took few pictures after dark of the celebrations and the fireworks. This year, armed with a new point and shoot Nikon I always carry with me, I was able to take some fun photos of the festivities to share. The sun has set and the marching band is already playing Puccini in Atrani’s crowded central piazza. Come along and enjoy this lively summer night in Atrani!

Festival of La Maddelena in Atrani 2011

Church of La Maddelana in Atrani with festival lights

Piazza of Atrani

Band concert and celebrations in Atrani's piazza

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Atrani La Maddalena 2011 Band

Band concert in Atrani for the Festival of La Maddalena

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Atrani La Maddalena 2011 Festival

Enjoying the concert in Atrani's main piazza

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Atrani La Maddalena 2011 Lights

Festival lights in Atrani for La Maddalena

Church of La Maddalena in Atrani

Stepping inside the nave of the church

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Atrani La Maddalena 2011 Statue

La Maddalena in Atrani

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Atrani La Maddalena 2011 Beach

Atrani's beautiful beach at night

As the hour for the fireworks display nears, the road through Atrani becomes crowded with people jostling for the best spot. The fireworks in Atrani never fail to impress, and it seems like they come up with something to surprise me each year. This year they launched fireworks from the beach that glowed a funny green under the sea, while others exploded directly out of the water casting a beautiful light across the sea!

The finale was a striking event, with fireworks shot off from the jetty and from a boat nearby. A bright and extravagent ending to  a beautiful summer evening in Atrani!

A Summer Morning in Atrani

A beautiful Saturday morning and I needed a few photos for an article I was writing on the town of Atrani on the Amalfi Coast. There was only one thing to do … a photo outing! It was a peaceful morning, and I saw only a few people while I wandered through town taking photos. Head over to Charming Italy to see some of the photos and to read more about Atrani, a little town just around the corner from Amalfi. I was inspired by the quiet beauty of Atrani that morning and took quite a few photos. For all my readers who love Atrani, here are some of my favorites that didn’t make it into the article.  Enjoy!

Castiglione Beach, Atrani

Castiglione Beach in the morning sun

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Atrani Church La Maddalena

Facade and campanile of Santa Maria Maddalena

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Atrani Saturday Morning Walk

A morning walk in Atrani

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Summer morning on the Beach in Atrani

Through the arches

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Beach umbrellas in Atrani

Geometric beach umbrellas

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Atrani, Amalfi Coast

Street lamp lit by the Atrani sunshine

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Click here to read more about Atrani over at CharmingItaly.com!

Festival of Sant’ Antonio in Amalfi & Atrani – 2011

One of the things I love most about the religious festivals on the Amalfi Coast is that I feel like I see and experience something new every year. Not only are there different events planned, but there are also so many different spots to watch the processions and traditions to learn about. This year for the Festival of Sant’ Antonio that took place in Amalfi on June 13th, I had the chance to visit the Church of Sant’ Antonio in depth as well as watching the boat procession from Atrani and Amalfi. The festival began for me when I came across the marching band from Minori in Amalfi’s Piazza Duomo getting things started with a festive song. This is one of my favorite bands on the Amalfi Coast, and I was happy they were playing for this festival. Let’s get things started!

There was something Felliniesque about the music and the setting, especially with the Japanese couple having their wedding photographs taken on the steps of the Duomo at the same time. Love moments like these! We following the band toward the church of Sant’ Antonio in Amalfi, which is located next to the Hotel Luna Convento, one of Amalfi’s great hotels that has been family owned for generations. The hotel is connected to the church by a 13th-century cloister, which dates from when the church was founded as a monastery dedicated in San Francesco in 1220. Instead of climbing the steep staircase up to the church of  Sant’ Antonio, we stopped by the Hotel Luna Convento to say hello to the owner, Andrea, who is a childhood friend of the Tour Guide. I was admiring the cloister and Andrea suggested we go up above to take a look around, which was an opportunity we gladly took him up on! From above the cloister there was a great view of the bell tower for the church of Sant’ Antonio.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Festival of Sant'Antonio Campanile

And an even better view down into the 13th-century cloister. Across the cloister in the photo below you can see some of the simple stained glass along the nave of the church of Sant’ Antonio. This church is so tucked into the buildings of Amalfi that have been built up all around it that it can be hard to spot!

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Festival of Sant'Antonio Cloister Hotel Luna

This cloister is described often as one of the most peaceful spots in Amalfi, and most days it probably is. But not with a marching band in it! The portico area in front of the church of Sant’ Antonio is so small that there isn’t a lot room for the procession to get started and have the band out there at the same time. So they wait in the cloister until the procession is ready to begin.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Festival of Sant'Antonio Marching Band Hotel Luna

This year I was so captivated by the architecture of the Hotel Luna Convento and the church of Sant’ Antonio that I just barely caught the procession as it was leaving the church.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Festival of Sant'Antonio Church Stained Glass

This is the original entrance to the cloister of San Francesco, which is flanked by two ancient granite columns. Although I cut it off in the photo below, above the door is a lunette with traces of a fresco depicting Joseph and the baby Jesus.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Festival of Sant'Antonio Antique Door

I resisted the temptation to go running after the procession and instead stepped into the church of Sant’ Antonio. It was peaceful and empty after the procession had left, and the Tour Guide and I had a special visit of the church by Andrea from the Hotel Luna Convento. The original Gothic design of the church has been covered by Baroque decorations, which is very common in churches in Italy. Behind the altar are beautiful wooden chorus stalls dating from 1593.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Festival of Sant'Antonio Church Nave

While I had been inside the church of Sant’ Antonio before, I had never been below to see the crypt of the church, which dates back to when the church was dedicated to San Francesco. Down in the crypt there is a Roman sarcophagus dating from the 3rd century with a tombstone mounted on the wall above it from the 14th century.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Festival of Sant'Antonio Crypt Roman

On the other side of the crypt is a beautiful altar decorated in polychrome marble with paintings depicting scenes from the life of San Francisco.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Festival of Sant'Antonio Crypt Altar

After another tour through part of the Hotel Luna Convento, we said goodbye to Andrea and headed over to Atrani to watch the procession. This is the only festival that is shared between Amalfi and Atrani, because the church of Sant’ Antonio is located between the two towns. The procession follows the road from Amalfi to Atrani around the Collegiata di Santa Maria Meddalena. Here you can see the procession with the men in the red jackets carrying the statue of Sant’ Antonio as the procession returns to the center of Atrani.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Festival of Sant'Antonio Procession in Atrani

I love the sound of bells of Santa Maria Maddalena when they ring for religious festivals. I thought you might like to hear, too!

The procession continues through Atrani and eventually makes its way down to the beach, where the statue of Sant’ Antonio is carefully loaded onto a boat. They did this it in a different spot this year, just near the Le Arcate restaurant. The location seemed to make it more challenging to transfer the statue onto the boat. If you listen, just about everyone had an opinion about how it should be done!

But the important thing is that the statue made it onto the boat safely, and after some work it was stabilized and ready for the boat procession to start.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Festival of Sant'Antonio Statue on Boat

Here’s a closer look at the statue of Sant’ Antonio on the boat. The priest and the religious procession then gets on this boat. Two years ago, I had the chance to ride on this boat during the boat procession of Sant’ Antonio, which was quite the experience!

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Festival of Sant'Antonio Statue

I was so distracted watching the statue that I missed my favorite part … watching the marching band get on their boat! Here they are all loaded up and ready for the procession. There’s just something about a marching band playing on a boat that makes me so happy!

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Festival of Sant'Antonio Marching Band on Boat

Slowly the procession started to leave the small harbor of Atrani. You can hear the priest speaking, the marching band playing on their boat and all the boats blowing their horns.

Here you can spot the statue of Sant’ Antonio (again, look for the guys in the red jackets) and the marching band boat to the right. This is truly a unique procession, and one of my favorites of the year on the Amalfi Coast!

Festival of Sant'Antonio Boat Procession Amalfi 2011

The procession heads toward Amalfi and continues down the coast to Conca dei Marini to salute the church of Sant’ Antonio located there before returning to Amalfi. Once in Amalfi, the statue is unloaded and the procession continues through the town to the Duomo of Amalfi.

Festival of Sant'Antonio Boat Procession Hotel Luna Amalfi

I didn’t catch the procession as it arrived in Amalfi … but it’s nice to know I have that experience waiting for me next year!