Kasia Dietz Handbags Amalfi

My New Kasia Dietz Handbag in Amalfi

Kasia Dietz Handbags Paris

I’m a firm believer that there no such thing as too many bags. I have old bags, new bags, weird bags, colorful bags, plain bags. Whatever the shape or style, they all remind me of something or often some place. When I travel, I often bring home a bag as a souvenir, which is always a happy memory while out shopping or going about day to day life.

When I first happened across Kasia Dietz on Instagram, her beautiful Paris photos and handbag designs immediately caught my eye. When I had the pleasure to meet up with her in person earlier this year in Paris, I discovered she is just as lovely! I enjoyed sharing Paris and Italy travel experiences, and of course I couldn’t leave Paris without one of her handbags.


Although Kasia has many beautiful lines of handbags inspired by travel destinations around the world, I couldn’t resist bringing home the 75007 hand printed bag. Although not the most obvious, which is why I love it, the number will probably only be familiar to travelers who have spent time in Paris. 75007 is the zip code for the 7th arrondissement, which is my favorite neighborhood in Paris. I love this bag for traveling since it folds flat and doesn’t take up space in my suitcase.

Just had to share one of my favorite new bags and highly recommend you pop over to check out Kasia’s beautiful handbags – designed and made in Paris! Find out more here: www.kasiadietz.com

Driving on the Amalfi Coast

The Wildest Ride in Italy

Driving on the Amalfi Coast

Living on the Amalfi Coast means learning to live with the Amalfi Coast Road. This twisty road—the only one along the stretch of the coastline—offers an intoxicating blend of captivating views, tight spaces and treacherous turns. For many travelers it is a lasting memory, sometimes amazing, sometimes frightening, but always memorable. As it’s the only road, it means that getting around on the Amalfi is an adventure – for locals and visitors alike. It also means that if you plan to get around on public transport that you are in for quite the ride on the local buses.

When I’m on the bus and hear gasps from first time visitors while the bus careens around yet another curve, I often think of John Steinbeck, who wrote an essay about Positano for Harper’s Bazaar in 1953 that put the Amalfi Coast on the map for many Americans. Before writing about Positano, however, he had to get there. Then just as now it was along the Amalfi Coast Road. Steinbeck arrived with his driver, “Signor Bassani Bassano, Experienced Guide – all Italy – and Throt Europe,” who gave him a good and proper introduction to driving in Italy.

“To an American, Italian traffic is at first just down-right nonsense. It seems hysterical, it follows no rule. You cannot figure what the driver ahead or behind or beside you is going to do next and he usually does it. But there are other hazards besides the driving technique. There are the motor scooters, thousands of them, which buzz at you like mosquitoes. There is a tiny little automobile called ‘topolino’ or ‘mouse’ which hides in front of larger cars; there are gigantic trucks and tanks in which most of Italy’s goods are moved; and finally there are assorted livestock, hay wagons, bicycles, lone horses and mules out for a stroll, and to top it all there are the pedestrians who walk blissfully on the highways never looking about. To give this madness more color, everyone blows the horn all the time. This deafening, screaming, milling, tire-screeching mess is ordinary Italian highway traffic.”

Buses on the Amalfi Coast

In a place as transportation challenged as the Amalfi Coast, we don’t just have “ordinary Italian highway traffic” here. We have the cacophony Steinbeck experienced all condensed into a road, as he described it, “carefully designed to be a little narrower than two cars side by side.” Add in a zillion buses and the curves and you’ve got yourself the wildest ride in Italy. Steinbeck’s description of his first drive down the Amalfi Coast road is still one of the best I’ve ever read. While I suspect it might be a little more challenging to hit a chicken now than it was in 1953, you probably wouldn’t have to try too hard to make it possible.

“We squirmed and twisted through Naples, past Pompeii, whirled and flashed into the mountains behind Sorrento. We hummed ‘Come back to Sorrento’ dismally. We did not believe we could get back to Sorrento. Flaming like a meteor we hit the coast, a road, high, high above the blue sea, that hooked and corkscrewed on the edge of nothing … And on this road, the buses, the trucks, the motor scooters and the assorted livestock. We didn’t see much of the road. In the back seat my wife and I lay clutched in each other’s arms, weeping hysterically, while in the front seat Signor Bassano gestured with both hands and happily instructed us: “Ina da terd sieglo da Hamperor Hamgousternos coming tru wit Leeegeceons“. (Our car hit and killed a chicken.) “Izz molto lot old heestory here. I know. I tall“. Thus he whirled us “Throt Italy“. And below us, and it seemed sometimes under us, a thousand feet below lay the blue Tyrrhenian licking its lips for us.”

The bit about Sorrento always makes me laugh, which surely wasn’t Steinbeck’s sentiment at the time as he sat weeping hysterically in fear in the back of Signor Bassani Bassano’s taxi. And the poor chicken.

Driving on the Amalfi Coast

Daily life and getting around are intertwined with the Amalfi Coast Road here, and it’s no surprise that there are stories—and a lot of them—that I’ve heard over the years. If you think that riding the bus on the Amalfi Coast makes you feel queasy now, you should hear the stories of back in the 60s when the buses were filled with cigarette smoke. When she was young, my husband’s sister would get sick to her stomach the day before thinking about the bus ride to Salerno! Or another friend who still can’t stomach alici (anchovies) after a childhood spent taking the bus through Cetara when the heady scent of alici wafting through the bus windows would combine with good old fashioned motion sickness. Bleck. Or the man in Amalfi who ages ago used to drive the bus to Naples and ran his own courier service delivering packages—and even chickens—back and forth. Again the poor chickens.

Traffic on the Amalfi Coast

While you might think it’s madness, it actually works. That’s the amazing thing. Well, besides the fact that the Amalfi Coast Road even exists. A road along the coastline didn’t exist until the 1830s when construction began. It took nearly 20 years to build, bulldoze and tunnel the road along the coastline, now officially called SS 163. Before 1850 the only way to get around the Amalfi Coast was by walking along the maze of stone pathways that connect the villages or to take a boat. Public transport? Um … your own two feet. Although you could hire a donkey to get to where you needed to go, which is what Wagner did when he visited Ravello in 1880. It’s not unusual during the summer months to still see donkeys giving a hand to visitors, but these days they’re hauling suitcases and not German composers.

City Sightseeing Bus Amalfi Coast

Getting around on the Amalfi Coast has always been an adventure. Even after the first road was built, there were still many villages that didn’t get road access even until the 20th century. In a day and age when we rather expect multiple options for public transport while traveling and precision with schedules, the Amalfi Coast is a reminder that not all places can be tamed. This is a place with an incredible natural landscape that we must adapt to in order to experience it to the fullest.

Getting Around by Bus Amalfi Coast

So when you’re squeezed into a bus zigzagging along the coast or hauling your luggage up a long staircase, remember that it’s just daily life on the Amalfi Coast. And if you’ve got a bit of a sense of humor, like Steinbeck, it’s also part of the fun. You’re taking part in a long tradition of traveling on the Amalfi Coast. Just pack your patience, some good motion sickness medicine and get ready for an adventure!

PS: Planning on getting around the Amalfi Coast by bus? The local SITA bus company has just been released the summer schedule this week, and timetables and routes can be found at their website www.sitasudtrasporti.it. For a more comfortable ride with audio commentary available in multiple languages, consider the City Sightseeing buses.



Italy Blogging Roundtable

I’m pleased to be joining a wonderful group of Italy writers in a monthly series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Every month we write about a theme, and you can read about this month’s topic – Public Transport – at the links below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please share the stores if you’ve enjoyed them!

Italy Explained6 Reasons You Should Travel by Train in Italy

ArtTravHow Not to Let Public Transportation Ruin Your Holiday in Florence

BrigolantePublic Transportation: Getting to Assisi from Rome and Florence

Becoming Italian on the Amalfi Coast


It’s one thing to be from a place and another to love a place. But what happens when those two things blend into one? I’ve been pondering those sort of questions and feelings recently leading up to the day of my Italian citizenship ceremony. An exciting and emotional experience that has made the Amalfi Coast feel even more like my home!

The ceremony took place in Scala, and for some of you reading this might be the first time you’ve heard of Scala. It’s my little hidden gem on the Amalfi Coast and the place I’m very happy to call home. It’s a small town, considered the oldest on the Amalfi Coast, located in the mountains above Amalfi and just across the valley from Ravello.


The Comune, or city hall, of Scala overlooks the central square of town, just across from the Duomo and next to a new terrace with incredible views of the Ravello. After four years of waiting (a mandatory two year waiting period after the wedding and then about two years of processing time), all of the paperwork was finalized in Salerno for me to become an Italian citizen. The final ceremony takes place in the city hall where you are a resident.


There ceremony was presided over by the mayor of Scala, Luigi Mansi, and took place in the city hall’s large reception room. While the ceremony itself is relatively short, it was beautiful in its symbolism and meaning to me. It’s hard to put into words what it felt like – and it’s still sinking in!


Before officially receiving Italian citizenship, I had to make an oath swearing to be faithful to the Republic of Italy and faithfully observe the laws of the state. Here’s the statement: “Giuro di essere fedele alla Repubblica Italiana ed al suo Capo e di osservare lealmente la legge dello Stato.”


Then, of course, there are all the papers to sign. And … that’s it! A piece of paper doesn’t even come close to being able to contain all of my enthusiasm and emotions for becoming an Italian citizen. I look at that piece of paper every day (yes sometimes several times a day) and it feels just a little bit more real every time.


What really made the day special was my husband’s family coming to the ceremony and celebrating with us. I couldn’t imagine my life here – my Italian life – without their support and love. Whatever the piece of paper says, they’ve already made me feel Italian!


Thank you to the city hall of Scala and everyone who made it a very special day and experience for me. I’m proud to be an Italian citizen and grateful to have such a beautiful place to call home on the Amalfi Coast!