View of Scala on the Amalfi Coast

A Glimpse of My Scala in Italia! Magazine

While travel and most everything has been on hold this spring, the April 2020 issue of Italia! Magazine featured an article I wrote called 48 Hours in Scala. For those of you following Ciao Amalfi for some time now, you’ll know that I’ve spent a lot more than 48 hours in Scala. About 12 years actually. Until last summer, when we moved down into the historic center of Amalfi, I lived in the charming area of Minuta in Scala with my husband. It’s a peaceful and beautiful area with views to set your heart dreaming.

I treasure my time in Scala for so many reasons, especially the quiet atmosphere and the welcoming people. It will always be the first place I lived in Italy, where I learned the Italian words to go shopping, where I realized how much I love hiking, where I became an Italian citizen, and so many more memories. So it was a pleasure after all these years to share more in depth why I think Scala is such a sweet spot on the Amalfi Coast.

When John Steinbeck wrote about Positano in Harper’s Bazaar in 1953, he wrote, “Nearly always when you find a place as beautiful as Positano, your impulse is to conceal it.” Although he was mistaken to assume that Positano would never become such a popular travel destination, I do understand that desire to keep special places hidden away. So, consider this an exceptional glimpse into one of my favourite quiet spots on the Amalfi Coast.

– Laura Thayer, “48 Hours in Scala”

What makes Scala such a special place? It starts with the fact that hardly anyone has heard of it. Yes that is possible on the Amalfi Coast. Yet it also happens to be between Amalfi and Ravello – two of the most popular towns on the coastline. When they say hidden treasure, this is Scala. If you’ve stood in Ravello’s main piazza with the church to your back and gazed across the valley, you were looking right at Scala. It is among the oldest settled areas on the Amalfi Coast and was once closely tied to the Republic of Amalfi in the Middle Ages.

View from Scala looking down the valley to Amalfi

The town spreads out across the mountainside and is comprised of many different areas, including the area called Minuta with its Chiesa dell’Annunziata from the 11th century. Although rarely open, the crypt holds a captivating series of 12th-century frescoes. I’ll give you a look inside the crypt here as well since it isn’t easy to get inside to see for yourself.

Minuta and the Chiesa dell’Annunziata
Frescoes in the Chiesa dell’Annunziata

Scala is perfectly situated for hiking as you can set off up into the mountains above town for spectacular views, hike to the 15th-century Torre dello Ziro watchtower above Amalfi, or hike down into the Valle delle Ferriere above Amalfi.

Hiking in the Valle delle Ferriere

In this article, I’ve shared my favorite spots in Scala, the best hikes, great restaurants, and places to stay if you’d like to make Scala your home base while visiting the Amalfi Coast. Something I would highly recommend, especially if you enjoy a quiet and natural setting. One of the things I love about collaborating with Italia! Magazine is that they cover popular spots in Italy, like my piece 48 Hours on Capri, as well as smaller places a bit more off the radar so you can experience all the different sides of Italy.

If you’d like to read the full article 48 Hours in Scala, you can purchase back issues of Italia! Magazine or you can also purchase individual digital issues. Italia! Magazine is currently on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully, the magazine will continue with publication later this summer, but now is the perfect chance to support Italia! and your favorite magazines by subscribing or buying back issues.

Trattoria da Lorenzo in Scala with View of Ravello

Trattoria da Lorenzo | Excellent Seafood Restaurant Overlooking Ravello

Trattoria da Lorenzo in Scala with View of Ravello

Trattoria da Lorenzo in Scala

For this month’s Italy Roundtable theme of Flavor, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite restaurants on the Amalfi Coast – Trattoria da Lorenzo. You’ll find it in Scala, just across the valley from Ravello. This restaurant has all the charms of a trattoria—friendly, family-run atmosphere and a lovely, rustic setting—but with a cuisine that you’ll be talking about long after your holiday! Add to that beautiful outdoor dining terrace with a view of Ravello and you can see why it’s one of my top choices for dining on the Amalfi Coast.

Lorenzo gives a hearty and warm greeting when you arrive, and is always on hand to help with menu suggestions and offer the best choices for the day. And since Trattoria da Lorenzo specializes in seafood, it’s a great idea to hear what the freshest options are direct from Lorenzo or his son Luca. Of course, for non seafood lovers, there are always options on hand, too!

Trattoria da Lorenzo in Scala Wine List

There’s also an excellent wine list, which includes choices from local wineries on the Amalfi Coast in Ravello, Tramonti and Furore. My recommendation would be to start out with their wonderful antipasto mix. Soon your table will be full of little plates full of seafood dishes to try – all cooked in a traditional Amalfi Coast manner. After that there are wonderful pasta and main course dishes with seafood options to choose from … if you still have room! I’ve never managed to get a photo of the delicious pasta dishes we’ve had at Trattoria da Lorenzo. I’m always far too excited to eat them when they arrive.

Trattoria da Lorenzo Seafood Restaurant Near Ravello

One of the charms of Trattoria da Lorenzo is its setting in Scala. If you haven’t explored this quiet little town, it is Ravello’s peaceful next door neighbor. The whole town has a much more rustic, mountain feel compared to Ravello. This is one of the reasons I love it so much. You’ll enjoy this vibe at Trattoria da Lorenzo, which feels like you’re stepping into a home setting from the moment you walk into the garden.

Trattoria da Lorenzo Charming Entrance

There’s a small dining area inside and a larger outdoor terrace at Trattoria da Lorenzo. This is the place for a lovely outdoor dining experience. They’re even well equipped with blankets should the evening be a little chilly.

Trattoria da Lorenzo Rustic Style Building

The restaurant entrance opens to a beautiful garden with a sitting area underneath olive trees. At night the area is lit by white lights in the olive trees, adding the perfect romantic touch! With this great indoor and outdoor setting, Trattoria da Lorenzo is also a great spot if you’re planning a private family gathering, ceremony or event.

Trattoria da Lorenzo Garden with Olive Trees

Trattoria da Lorenzo is open seasonally from Tuesday to Sunday, but it’s always best to call in advance for reservations. Or you can make a reservation online here.

Trattoria da Lorenzo in Scala

Trattoria da Lorenzo
www.trattoriadalorenzo.com
Via Fra Gerardo Sasso 21
Scala, Italy
Tel: 089 858290

 

Italy Blogging Roundtable

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

Bleeding EspressoFlavors of Calabria: Amarelli Licorice 

Brigolante – Local Flavor: Best Restaurants in Assisi

Girl in Florence – Barely Bigger Than A Breath, Tiny Spaces That Pack A Punch in Florence

ItalofileFive Favorite Flavors From Ferrara and Modena

Italy Explained7 of Italy’s Weirdest Foods

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A Rose-tinted Morning

 

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Sometimes the curiosities of the night and weird places my dreams carry me linger on after waking. I suppose that happens to everyone now and again. This morning I woke up even earlier than usual and couldn’t settle down again to rest. We all carry things from long ago inside us, even if we choose not to think about them, seemingly forget them or try our darnedest to move on. But that’s fine, it’s the way it is. I’ve never been one to focus much on the past—in its good or bad moments—but I think the very nature of being an expat means you have left things behind. Family, friendships, experiences, possibilities. Of course, those are very often replaced by new family, new friends, new experiences and a new world of possibilities. But there is a piece, sometimes large pieces, of your life left behind when you move to another country.

I padded across the bedroom floor in the dark and heard my husband stirring. I hoped I hadn’t woken him up, but I sensed he was awake, too. Toulouse stretched in that satisfying way only cats can stretch in the morning and followed me out of the room. I went into the adjacent bedroom and opened the windows. The sky was ablaze with a rose-tinted sunrise over Ravello. In that moment, the sadness of the night’s dreams floated away. It was another day in the place I love most in the world.

Wherever you are at right now or whatever things from the past might be weighing you down, there are always new possibilities ahead. Maybe it’s a rose-tinted way of looking at the world, but it makes me smile and look forward to all the adventures ahead!

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The Best View of Ravello … is From Scala!

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A picture perfect view of Ravello from Scala

Of all the towns on the Amalfi Coast, perhaps the one most noted for incredible views is Ravello. Situated on a promontory about 1,200 feet above the sea, there are indeed amazing views in every direction. Yet, one of my little secrets is that the best view of Ravello is from the town of Scala. Located just across a deep valley, Ravello’s sleepy next door neighbor isn’t a spot that many of the day tripping visitors get a chance to experience. It’s peaceful, it’s traditional, it’s charming and it’s got awfully good views, too.

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Looking across the valley to Ravello

Earlier this year, Scala inaugurated one of the town’s newest civic projects – a brand new terrace overlooking Ravello. The new little piazza that has been created is appropriately called Piazza San Lorenzo after the Duomo of San Lorenzo that borders one side of the terrace.

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The Duomo of Scala is right next to the new terrace

A small flight of steps, a great wheelchair ramp and even an elevator lead down to a large terrace that looks across the valley to the center of Ravello. There are benches to stop awhile and enjoy the view – a must! I love strolling by and watching kids kicking around the soccer ball on the new terrace – safe from cars nearby yet still close enough for their parents to keep an eye on them while shopping or running errands in the center of Scala just a few steps away.

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Scala’s new Piazza San Lorenzo

The new terrace opens up a great deal more space for people to hang out, relax, talk and enjoy the view. After all the time that I’ve spent sitting in the main square of Ravello admiring Scala and thinking that I’d like to do the opposite, now there’s finally a great spot to take in how beautiful Ravello is from Scala!

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Sit down and rest awhile …

If you walk all the way to the edge of the terrace and look down the valley, you can catch a glimpse of the very tip top of Atrani below. You can also see the very end of the promontory of Ravello where the Villa Cimbrone is located. It’s all luscious green on the Ravello side to the left and a mountainside of chestnut trees on the Scala side on the right. There’s even one cute little pony that meanders around munching on grass, seemingly oblivious to the incredible view.

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Looking down the valley between Ravello and Scala

So next time you’re in Ravello in search of beautiful views, don’t forget to head over to Scala to discover this beautiful little town and enjoy the views from the new Piazza San Lorenzo!

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A Straight Shot of Spring on the Amalfi Coast

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It has been a rainy weekend on the Amalfi Coast, and we’re all wondering just what happened to spring. It seemed like it had arrived early when the mimosa bloomed at the beginning of February. March and the first half of April were picture perfect nearly every day. Then at the end of April it seems nature got a memo that we all missed and it has been cooler than usual and rainier than usual. I know I know it’s spring. But I’d just like a little more spring before summer arrives! So until the weather straightens out a bit, here’s a straight shot of spring that I photographed back when the mimosa was blooming in Scala.

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The frazione, or neighborhood, of Minuta in Scala has incredible views overlooking the valleys down to Atrani and Amalfi. In the photo above you can see the ruins of the church of Sant’Eustachio in Pontone, which is another frazione of Scala.

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After a dreary and wet winter, there’s nothing that says spring more than the brilliant mimosa blossoms on a clear blue day. I didn’t edit these photos – that’s really how intense the colors are. I could just eat up those blossoms!

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Blue and yellow together is one of my favorite color combos, so I really just can’t get enough of the mimosa when it blooms on the Amalfi Coast. But you have to arrive early. While mimosa is the traditional Italian symbol of the Festa della donna, which is on March 8th, it is usually finished blooming by then in this area. These photos were taking during the first week of February. But the photos, well, those we can enjoy year round!