Snow on the Amalfi Coast over Ravello

Does it Snow on the Amalfi Coast?

Have You Ever Wondered if it Snows on the Amalfi Coast?

When you imagine the Amalfi Coast, what does it look like? Do you see rugged beaches bathed in warm summer sunshine, colorful beach umbrellas fluttering in the breeze and the sparkling sea? Or perhaps a bougainvillea draped terrace or trees dripping with lemons. Well that is absolutely what it is like on the Amalfi Coast … most of the year! But what about the winter? Does it ever snow on the Amalfi Coast?

Many of you have asked that question over this past month, as I’ve shared several videos and photos of blustery weather and snow on the Amalfi Coast over on the Ciao Amalfi Facebook page. The answer is yes it absolutely does snow on the Amalfi Coast! However, it is a rare occurrence, and usually only happens about once every winter. This January has been an exception. We’ve had several snowy days that have caused a bit of havoc in the higher towns on the coastline like Agerola, Furore and Tramonti.

Dusting of Snow on the Amalfi Coast

When Does it Snow on the Amalfi Coast?

A cold snap usually arrives in December, just in time for the holidays. Three years ago there was an incredible snowfall on New Year’s Eve day that even reached the beaches on the Amalfi Coast! You can see more photos of this beautiful snowfall (including our fluffy orange cat Puffy playing in the snow!) in this blog post. If it is going to snow, it generally happens between December and January. By February the temperature is already starting to rise and the days become noticeably longer.

Snow on the Amalfi Coast over Scala

Where Does it Snow on the Amalfi Coast?

Except for rare occurrences like that New Year’s Even snowstorm, snow usually only falls on the higher elevations of the Amalfi Coast. It’s not uncommon to see the mountaintops dusted with snow like the photos I’m sharing in this post. Towns like Scala, Ravello and Tramonti are more likely to get snow than sea level towns like Amalfi or Minori. Positano has such a massive elevation change from the beach to way high in the mountains of Montepertuso that sometimes it can indeed snow in Positano. Just at the higher elevation frazioni of Montepertuso and Nocelle.

 

Since it happens so rarely, it’s a nice surprise to wake up and find snow-capped mountains or a dusting of snow on the ground. Have you seen snow on the Amalfi Coast? Share your photos over at the Ciao Amalfi Facebook page!

Atrani Transformed into a Christmas Presepe

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Christmas is a magical time on the Amalfi Coast. With its colorful lights and picturesque setting, Atrani is one of the most charming spots this time of year. It feels like you’re walking right through a traditional prespe, or nativity scene. This holiday season Atrani has created a unique and modern light show that plays on that theme. The town truly feels like a presepe! The light show was inspired by a poem “Atrani è nu prisepio” (“Atrani is a Presepe”) by local writer Enzo Del Pizzo. Stars dance across the beach, the town is lit up with multi-colored lights and on the mountain above town there’s a large projection with a vintage image of Atrani and lines of poetry.

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Come along through the tunnel into the quaint piazza Umberto I, which is full of lights and such a festive feel. There was even Christmas music playing throughout the town when we visited last night!

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The steps leading up to church of San Salvatore del Birecto are like a colorful tapestry with shimmery lights around. Later when we passed by there were kids and a dog playing in the lights on the steps. It was fun to see the children interacting with the lights throughout the town!

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A large Christmas tree decorates one side of Piazza Umberto I, and it’s covered with lights that match the decorative swags on the balconies around the piazza.

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Over by the steps leading up to the Maddalena church, the arches of the Amalfi Coast Road are lit up blue with glittering lights and more lines from the poem talking about the church and seeing the characteristic arches of Atrani.

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Many of the little alleyways through town were also lit up in different colors. We had the benefit of a tour from our friend Linda who lives in Atrani. She showed us all the best spots!

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Looking down on Piazza Umberto I, you can see my favorite part of the light display on the left. It is a design by artist M.C. Escher. Why an Escher design in Atrani? The artist spent time in Ravello and on the Amalfi Coast in 1923, which was when he met the woman who would become his wife, Jetta Umiker. With its labyrinthine alleys and twists and turns, it’s not surprising that Atrani appealed to Escher, who was inspired and made many drawings in the area.

The design in Atrani’s light display this year is from Escher’s work Metamorphasis II, where birds transform into cubes and then eventually into the town of Atrani. You can catch a glimpse of the lights (and soccer game) in action in the short video clip below.

If you are on the Amalfi Coast this Christmas, stop by Atrani to see the fun light display. You can also find out more about the tradition of Christmas nativities and see some in the fountains of Amalfi here!

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Visiting the Amalfi Coast in the Winter – 5 Things You Need to Know

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When most people think of the Amalfi Coast, the scenes that come to mind are beaches strewn with colorful umbrellas, bougainvilla draped pergolas and pastel hued buildings in the bright sunshine. If you’ve visited the Amalfi Coast from say April through October, that is very likely what you experienced. But what about the winter months? What happens on the Amalfi Coast the rest of the year? I love watching the change of seasons throughout the year, and mountains with a dusting of snow, lonely beaches and quiet winter days are just as much the Amalfi Coast to me as those summer experiences. While you can still plan a beautiful trip exploring the Amalfi Coast off season, you do need to know a few things in advance to have a fun time. Here are five things you need to know to plan a winter trip to the Amalfi Coast!

 

1. Ferries Don’t Run in the Winter

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It’s no secret that my favorite way to get around the Amalfi Coast is by ferry. You get a stunning view of the coastline and avoid the traffic. What’s not to love? However, if you’re planning a winter trip to the Amalfi Coast, the first thing you’ll want to know is that the ferries don’t run off season. The sea is often too rough, especially in Positano, and there just aren’t the crowds to justify the service. While there’s not a precise beginning and ending date for the ferry season, it usually starts running by Easter or a little earlier if it’s a late Easter. The ferries run throughout the spring, summer and fall until the end of October or beginning of November. Weather permitting, the service runs through the beginning of November for All Saints’ Day. If you’re planning a trip right at that shoulder season where you’re unsure if the ferries will be running, it’s best to arrange alternative transportation options before you arrive.

 

2. Many Places are Closed

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While winter on the Amalfi Coast is relatively moderate, the season ends at the beginning of November and doesn’t pick up again until the spring. This means many, if not most, hotels close off season. Some close entirely, some re-open for Christmas & New Year’s and some do stay open. You’ll just want to do a bit of planning in advance to enjoy your time on the Amalfi Coast off season. Many restaurants and shops close as well, but the amount that stay open depends on where you visit. Nearly everything closes in Positano all winter, while if you head over to Amalfi you’ll find the majority of the restaurants and shops open through Epiphany and then many close through February. Yet, if you visit a quiet village like Scala, you won’t find much different off season.

If you’re planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast over the winter, my recommendation would be to stay in Amalfi since it has excellent bus connections and a lovely local feel all winter long. You’ll have the beach to yourself … well you and the seagulls!

 

3. Except for Christmas & New Year’s – Fun!

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So everything I’ve said about the quiet winter days on the Amalfi Coast is what you’ll find – except for Christmas and New Year’s. They’re a wonderful time in Amalfi! Notice, I didn’t say the Amalfi Coast. I said Amalfi. And by that I mean staying in Amalfi over the holidays is a lot of fun. The streets are decorated with lights and the stores are open for holiday shopping. There are concerts all over the area and the fireworks on New Year’s Eve are spectacular. Need something else to make it even sweeter? You can pop into the Pansa pasticceria next to the Duomo and try out their fabulous artisan panettone and special local desserts made only for the holidays. The holiday atmosphere usually lasts through the Epiphany and then gets a little quieter for the rest of January and February as the Amalfitani go on a much deserved holiday time. That’s when you’ll find many hotels restaurants closed even in Amalfi.

 

4. There’s Not Much to Do Indoors

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The winter months on the Amalfi Coast can be rainy, and it’s important to keep in mind that there isn’t a lot to do indoors on the Amalfi Coast. While you will certainly want to visit the Duomo, with its beautiful Cloister of Paradise and museum, along with the Museo della Carta (Paper Museum), that pretty much covers all the indoor sights in Amalfi. (Besides eating more panettone at Pansa…) However, Naples is only about an hour drive away from the Amalfi Coast, so you could plan a rainy day exploring the National Archaeological Museum, the Capodimonte Museum or a number of other outstanding museums and cultural sights.

 

5. It’s Beautiful – Most of the Time!

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Yet, the majority of the winter is beautiful along the Amalfi Coast. And if you get a sunny winter day in Amalfi, there’s really nothing quite like it. The light is different, there’s a quiet atmosphere and it gives you the chance to see daily life on the Amalfi Coast. That daily life is there throughout the year, but it’s just easier to spot during the winter. My favorite thing to do in the winter is walk along the pier and enjoy the view of Amalfi. Maybe we’ll just bump into one another this winter!

 

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, and you can read about this month’s topic – Winter – at the links below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please share the stores if you’ve enjoyed them!

ArtTravHow to travel the Cinque Terre in Winter Too

Girl in FlorenceWhat To Expect in Florence This Winter 2016

Italy Explained4 Reasons to Visit Italy in Winter

Moments of Sea Glass

Photo Copyright Laura Thayer

Photo Copyright Laura Thayer

A quiet afternoon not long ago I found myself walking along the waterfront in Amalfi with my husband. Sometimes hand in hand and other times meandering along, bumping into one another as you do when walking on uneven cobblestones. Somehow that has become just as romantic as walking hand in hand, perhaps even more so since it feels so natural.

As February approaches, I often find myself thinking back over my time in Italy. My first visit was a particularly sunny and warm February nine years ago now. Nine years. As I watched the waves roll in and the white foam create delicate patterns on the beach, only to be washed out again seconds later, it felt like the last nine years was something just like that. Beautiful, soothing and fleeting.

Amalfi Coast Travel Winter Beach - Laura Thayer

Photo Copyright Laura Thayer

With a few crashes of pounding angry waves along the way of course. Perhaps there’s nothing quite so good for reflection as the sea. There’s certainly no better time for that in Amalfi than during the quiet days of January and February. I treasure these days like you might a little piece of colorful sea glass washed up on the shore, nestled amid rough edged rocks and tidbits of intricately pattered yet somehow still old fashioned looking ceramic tiles. It seems like a gem and a gift all at once.

That’s when I’ll reach for my husband’s hand while we walk along, tucking this beautiful moment into my pocket like that piece of sea glass.

Ice Skating in Amalfi

Amalfi Ice Rink Skating

There is a fun addition to the festive atmosphere in Amalfi this year with the arrival of an ice skating rink. Yes an ice skating rink in Amalfi! The kids in town have been enjoying trying it out on these warm December days. There are even cute little bears they can push around to get used to the ice. It certainly isn’t a natural experience on the Amalfi Coast!

Amalfi Coast Ice Rink

The ice rink is set up along the lungomare with beautiful views of the harbor and Amalfi. Even if you’re not one to take to the ice, you certainly can’t beat the view!

Amalfi Ice Skating Rink

The ice rink in Amalfi is open until January 6th, 2016.