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.

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.

Enjoying the Twists & Turns of Life on the Amalfi Coast

Reflection of the buildings and mountains in Atrani

It’s been a rainy spring on the Amalfi Coast, but yesterday was the perfect day to take my scooter out for a ride. While I have been out for some short trips, this was the first time I enjoyed a ride with the spring scents in the air, the sun shining and the trees all leafed out. As soon as I rounded the first turn, it all came right back and I fell in love all over again with the feel of the curves in the road and the fresh air. I zigzagged my way down the road to Atrani and parked the motorino near the beach. As I was taking off my helmet I caught a pretty view reflected in my rear view mirror. What a gorgeous day!

Amalfi Coast Beach Atrani

Summer sun and spring breezes on the beach in Atrani

The sun said summer but the cool breezes blowing in off the sea made it a bit chilly if you stepped out of the sun. The colors were stunning yesterday evening, the deep blue of the sea, the brightly colored boats on the beach and the green, white and red of the flag flipping in the wind.

Don't mind me. I'll just stand here and stare at the colors for awhile.

Brilliant doesn’t even begin to describe the colors on the beach. I took off my sunglasses to soak in as much of it unfiltered as I could. I took two photos while I was standing there, which is a record minimum for me. (And my husband wasn’t even there to appreciate it!) That’s how stunning it was. I must go back on another sunny and clear evening, but with my wits about me to take more photos.

One last glimpse of Atrani before putting on the helmet

As I opened the storage container behind the scooter to pull out my helmet and ride over to Amalfi, I caught one last glimpse of Atrani. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. My first spring ride on the scooter was very well timed, as yesterday I received in the mail the June issue of Italia! Magazine with my latest article about my experiences learning to ride a scooter on the Amalfi Coast. Couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to celebrate! (And they even selected my photo of Atrani to use in the article – perfect!)

Italia Magazine Column on the Amalfi Coast June 2012

My latest article in Italia! Magazine about learning to write a scooter on the Amalfi Coast

If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Italia! Magazine, it’s a lovely publication filled with gorgeous photos, interesting articles and lots of great Italian recipes. For those of you who love the Amalfi Coast and Campania, don’t miss the June issue with articles about Naples, climbing Mt. Vesuvius and, of course, more about the twists and turns of riding a scooter on the Amalfi Coast!

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!

January in Amalfi

Blue January sky and sea in Amalfi

January blue skies and the turquoise sea in Amalfi

Welcome 2012! It’s been a momentous beginning to the new year for me, and soon I’ll have photos and stories to share of my wedding in Amalfi on January 4th. The beauty of the day, and all the changes that came with it (not to mention the paper work …), is still sinking in. But the right words are slowly coming, and I look forward to reliving and capturing that very special day through writing. In the meantime, the beauty of Amalfi in January was beckoning this morning, and I stopped to take some photos while out running errands. Wishing you a 2012 filled with sunshine, beauty, warmth … and travels that bring you to the Amalfi Coast!

Duomo of Amalfi in January sunshine

The peeking campanile of the Duomo

Quiet Amalfi Beach in January

Clear skies all the way to the Cilento coast

Amalfi Architecture and Watchtower

Torre dello Ziro watchtower above Amalfi

Lamp with pigeons in Amalfi

The pigeon hangout

Marina Grande Beach in Amalfi

Winter view of the Marina Grande beach