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Finding Home on the Amalfi Coast

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When my mother first set foot in Amalfi’s main piazza and stood gazing up at the Duomo of Amalfi, something deep inside her said, “Home.” It was strong, clear and visceral. She didn’t tell me this story until many years later, long after I had moved to the Amalfi Coast.

My first experience with Amalfi, while not quite so succinct, was just as powerful. It was as a result of my mother’s immediate connection, since I tagged along on her subsequent trip to the Amalfi Coast. The emotions that flooded over me that first time I set foot in Amalfi were overwhelming. Later that day, in late February 2007, I found myself in the hotel room in Vietri sul Mare trying to make sense of it all in my journal. I wrote that when I stepped off the bus and looked up the mountainside at the colorful buildings and the watchtower above, that I had felt so intensely that this would be an important place in my life.

And now it is my home.

Have you experienced that before? That odd yet extremely familiar feeling of finding home in a place you’ve never been before? If you have, you know just what I mean.

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And if my mother and I both falling for Amalfi immediately at different times wasn’t enough, there’s more to this story. When I stepped off that bus in 2007 and knew instinctively that Amalfi would be an important place, I had no clue that my tour guide that day—now my husband—was born and raised in Amalfi. How’s that for destiny?

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Nearly ten years later, I still have moments when I marvel at this place I call home. Travelers come from around the world and fall in love with the Amalfi Coast. Perhaps with the pastel cascade that is Positano or with the dreamy views from Ravello. Or like me and my mother with Amalfi. There’s some reassuring about know that around the world there are countless kindred spirits who have been here—or simply dreamed of being here—and have felt that deep connection with the Amalfi Coast.

What can I say? When your heart says home, you have found your place.

 

Italy Blogging Roundtable

italy-blogging-roundtable
This blog post is part of a series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Every month our group of Italy based writers takes on a new theme, and you can read the contributions for this month’s topic – Home – at the links below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please share the stores if you’ve enjoyed them!

Bleeding EspressoChristmas in Calabria: Home for the Holidays

BrigolanteThe Humble Art of the Nativity Crèche in Umbria

Italy ExplainedYou’ve Been Gone So Long (On Leaving Home & Finding Ancestral Roots)

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Bitten by the Amalfi Coast Bug

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Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.

John Steinbeck wrote those oft-quoted lines after visiting the Amalfi Coast in 1953. While his words have resonated with every traveler smitten by this temptingly beautiful coastline ever since, I am sure he was not the first visitor to fall in love with the Amalfi Coast. Yet Steinbeck captured an intense emotion in his seemingly simple description. There is certainly something tempting about this landscape that is hard to pinpoint – a certain something that captures the imagination and dreams.

Everyone who loves this part of Italy has a different story to tell about how they were bitten by the Amalfi Coast bug. Perhaps it was a romantic honeymoon, tracing family heritage or maybe a dream vacation. So how did I end up here? I’ll share a little bit about what lured me here and what compelled me to stay. I do hope you’ll share your own story about how you fell in love with the Amalfi Coast in the comments below!

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One late February day in 2007, I arrived at the Naples airport – without my luggage and, much more importantly, without my mother. Thanks to a blizzard in the midwest, I had lost both en route to Italy. (Fortunately, both arrived the next day!) My mom had planned a week holiday on the Amalfi Coast after seeing the coastline briefly during a day trip from Naples the year before. It was her dream since she was a young girl growing up on a farm in rural Nebraska to live in Positano. (Yes, loving the Amalfi Coast is in my DNA!) But, as fate would have it, I was to spend my first day on the Amalfi Coast missing my mom. Yet it was also that very same day that I met the man who would become my husband – a very charismatic tour guide from Amalfi. Life is strange, no?

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Not really having any idea what to expect, I stepped down off the bus in Amalfi and looked up the mountainside. That was the exact moment I was bitten by the Amalfi Coast bug. Later that evening back in the hotel I wrote in the handmade paper journal from Amalfi (a gift from my mom from her first visit to Amalfi) that this place was going to be important in my life but I wasn’t sure why. Yes, life is strange.

That incredible holiday on the Amalfi Coast with my mom was nearly 10 years ago now. It has been quite the adventure at times living here, but I’ve never doubted that this is where I’m supposed to be. It’s not just Positano that bites deep, it’s the entire Amalfi Coast.

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There are roads you follow that sometimes lead you to surprising places in your life. And then there are places that stop you in your tracks and make you stay put. That’s what happened to me on the Amalfi Coast. Yes, I’ve definitely been bitten the Amalfi Coast bug … and I hope there’s no cure!

 

Italy Blogging Roundtable

italy-blogging-roundtable
This blog post is part of a monthly series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Every month our group of Italy based writers tackle a new theme, and you can read about this month’s topic – Bugs – at the links below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please share the stores if you’ve enjoyed them!

Italy ExplainedWhat Bugs You About Italy?

ArtTravBugs That Look Like Jewels at La Specola

BrigolanteOf Flowers and Bees, Butterflies and Dreams: Il Lavandeto di Assisi