Pink Flowers on the Bell Tower

Amalfi Coast Travel Pink Flowers Campanile

In early summer the Amalfi Coast blushes a bright pink. When the days become warm and spring showers have turned everything a lush green, the valerian flowers burst out, quite literally, from every nook and cranny. They poke out of crumbly stone walls, drape over the walkways through villages and call home every untended corner of the garden – and sometimes even the the campanile. Yes, even the top of the bell tower had valerian flowers this year. There used to be a pine tree, but the flowers are decidedly more colorful.

Their dramatic position right at the edge of the bell tower caught my eye one day. Scanning the garden and surrounding area, I spotted them all over the place. It was a gorgeous day, so I grabbed my camera and took a walk to take photos of the valerian flowers. It was fun to have a fixed–and lovely–subject in mind.

Here are some of the photos from the pink flower photography outing. It brings me right back to those crisp, bright early summer days.

photocrati gallery

A View to Vesuvius

Amalfi Coast Travel Vesuvius Naples

A view of Mt. Vesuvius from Chiunzi Pass

From the Amalfi Coast there are a few ways to reach Naples, but from Amalfi the quickest and easiest is via the Valico di Chiunzi, a pass across the Lattari mountains connecting the Amalfi Coast to Naples and the surrounding area. From Ravello, the road climbs higher and deeper into the mountains until you glimpse down and across the valley where Tramonti sits divided into a handful of different frazioni, or hamlets, decorating the mountainside. Once you reach the top of the pass and find a round about, giving one final glimpse down toward Tramonti and the Amalfi Coast, a few curves more and you catch the first glimpse of Mt. Vesuvius.

Amalfi Coast Travel Chiunzi Pass

Walk this way …

This massive volcano strikes me as small when seen from the top of Chiunzi Pass. Such a different impression than what you get driving along the autostrada from Salerno to Naples and you come around a curve and see Vesuvius looming in the distance. Here it seems so very peaceful and bucolic. Oh, how looks can be deceiving!

Return to the Sea

Amalfi Coast Travel History

Amalfi and the sea as depicted in a hand-painted ceramic scene on the Ristorante Lido Azzurro in Amalfi

The people of Amalfi have always had a strong connection to the sea. Not just because of the town’s geographic setting, but because of something that seems to run deep in the blood. This is the something that led those Amalfitani in the Middle Ages to head out across the sea to other parts of the world, to sail those same seas home again and then turn around and do it all over again. And we’re not talking a day trip to Capri here. Try Africa, Byzantium and Jerusalem.

Amalfi Coast Travel Fishing Boats

Preparing the fishing nets for the spring

Over the centuries, the sea has meant livelihood in many different ways for Amalfi. While trading and fishing aren’t the center of life as they one were, the sea is still a livelihood for many people in Amalfi – from the remaining fishermen to the companies that rent boats to tourists in the summer and the workers on the ferries that do make those day trips to Capri. More than work, however, it’s the sea itself that rejuvenates the soul. I can’t even say at this point how many times I’ve heard Amalfitans that now live elsewhere return home and comment on how they miss the sea, the expanse of it and its salty scent. It’s just not the same anywhere else.

Amalfi Coast Travel Sea

Setting off in the springtime sunshine

By the end of February you can feel a bit of anxiousness in the air. When the sun glimmers across the sea and the weather gives those first signs of spring, it’s hard to keep the people of Amalfi away from the sea. It’s time.

Amalfi Coast Travel Amalfi Harbor

Sitting by the sea

While there are those few and brave who swim pretty much year round and fish throughout the winter, the majority of Amalfitans wait for the weather to indicate that it’s springtime again. In the meantime, life still takes place near the sea – from conversations with friends, to afternoon walks and kids kicking the soccer balls around and learning to ride their bikes.

Amalfi Coast Travel Winter Walk

An early springtime walk in Amalfi

I love this time of year in Amalfi watching all the little changes — in the town and the people — as the seasons change and spring arrives. Over the years I’ve absorbed some of that connection with the sea, but it will never be quite like the people who were born here. It’s tradition, it’s history and it’s love.

Amalfi Coast Travel Christmas Nativity Fountain

A charming fishing boat (and tickets to Capri & Positano!) in a fountain Christmas nativity in Amalfi

 

Foto Friday: Cat on a Hot Roof

Cat on a Hot Roof

A picture perfect Italy moment

If you’ve ever lived in another country long enough to feel like it’s your home, then you might know that funny feeling when you forget you’re actually living in another country. The Amalfi Coast has felt like home since the first time I visited here in 2007. But sometimes there are moments when I experience something or walk around a corner and see a beautiful site that it hits me all over again … I live in Italy! The photo above was one of those moments while out on my regular walk. The little three-wheeled truck in bright turquoise, the colorful flowers and the cat sitting right in the middle of it all. I love moments like these!

 

Seeing the Bear at Capo d’Orso

Amalfi Coast Travel Capo dOrso Bear Head

Ever wonder how Capo d'Orso between Maiori and Erchie got its name? Let's ask this fellow.

Just between Maiori and the little village of Erchie the Amalfi coastline juts out into the sea and comes to a cape called Capo d’Orso. The means Cape of the Bear. I’ve been told that there haven’t ever really been bears around this part of Italy. Instead, the name seems to have come from a unique rock formation that looks like the head of a bear looking down the coastline in the direction of Amalfi. While I’ve seen it many a time coming around one of the curves in the Amalfi Coast Road, I’ve never managed to get a photo of it. Recently, on the way back from a shopping trip to Salerno, I asked my husband to stop so I could take some photos. One of the advantages of the winter … less traffic! I finally got a closer look at this so called bear at Capo d’Orso.

Amalfi Coast Travel Meet the Bear

Finally capturing a photo of the bear of Capo d'Orso

Usually it’s the view from Capo d’Orso that would be described as breathtaking. As I walked around the curve to take a few photos I was very nearly knocked over by the wind. It quite literally took my breath away! After I braced myself and took the photo below, I got into the car gasping a bit. I didn’t feel back to normal until we reached Minori!

Amalfi Coast Travel Ciao Amalfi View from Capo Orso

A breathtakingly windy view from Capo d'Orso toward Amalfi

While the cold wind was a bit intense to stop for long to see the view, it did bring with it a beautiful and strange blue that the sea turns when the north wind blows. I was happy to enjoy the colors from inside the car the rest of the way home! I’ve been asking around trying to find out about how long this cape has been called Capo d’Orso. I suspect it might be as recent as when the Amalfi Coast Road was built before 1850 since the bear isn’t clearly visible from the sea. I’ll report back if I find out more!