Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you! How about an unforgettable holiday with us at New Years’ Jazz in Italy?
What do we love about the Amalfi Coast? Well, there are the VIEWS – always astounding, always drawing oohs and aahs, whether we’re relaxing by the pool at our favorite Capri hotel, approaching iconic Positano from the water, gazing up at the majestic Duomo of Amalfi, posing before the Faraglioni rocks of Capri, watching Vesuvius fade into the distanceas we speed across the bay, pulling into Capri’s colorful Marina Grande before spiraling high above to Anacapri, or enjoying the vista from the Belvedere of Infinity in Ravello. We’ve taken in these views for nearly twenty years, and they still make us gasp anew each time!
Then there’s the food….a fritto misto fresh from the surrounding waters, a caprese salad created on the island for which it’s named,
pizza in the land of its birth, a lemon granita (a slushy) from our favorite cart up the hill in Positano,
fresh fish from the sea below us in Ravello, and that marvelous lemon-tinged lunch we learned how to make with our guests at Villa Maria Agriturismo, under the lemon groves above Minori, before enjoying it with yet another fabulous view.
We also love the history that surrounds us – that 13th century Moorish style cloister and loggia of the Duomo in Amalfi,the peaceful Villa San Michele, constructed in Anacapri for a Swedish doctor at the turn of the 19th century, incorporating relics from the ruins of a villa of Emperor Tiberius on which it was built,
the gardens and cloister of Villa Cimbrone, dating from the 11th century, and the mysterious 13th century passageways in Atrani and Amalfi, even more enticing after dark.
Is it any surprise that we chose this fabulous part of Italy to premier our Wonder Tours last spring?!
We’ll be back in April 2020 – why not join us and experience these wonders for yourself?
Monday, July 20, 2015
We’ll speed on the sea to Capri, but first we have to get to Amalfi from Maiori..along the barely-wide-enough-for-2-little-cars Amalfi Coast Highway…will these buses make it by each other? Not without a LOT of manoeuvring! I continue to be in awe of these patient and skillful drivers – I can’t imagine driving a car on this road (although Kirk does it expertly), much less a huge BUS!
The sea is wide open – no challenge to avoid other boats here – and soon Capri comes into view. See that dot of white about a third of the way down the ridge? That’s our destination – who knows what it is?!
We quickly load into a taxi and head up the rock from Marina Grande, and soon we’re walking the peaceful paths of Villa San Michele in Anacapri, Dr. Axel Munthe’s exquisite house and gardens built over the ruins of a Roman emperor’s palace in the early 1900s. We love how he incorporated Roman relics discovered during construction – a marble face here, a bit of a pillar there…Through the shaded gardens, we stroll to that white spot we saw from the sea on our approach…our group has expanded a bit, with the addition of two of the marvelous musicians of the Amalfi Coast Music Festival, pianist Boaz Sharon and flutist Nancy Stagnitta, who’s taking the photo.
And there, far below is where we sailed in, with this red granite sphinx gazing down on us – we could see the white building, but not this red speck from so far away. Olga and her daughter have been relaxing on the rooftop cafe, and we join them there before browsing the shops on the way back to Anacapri’s main square, then making our way to lunch at Il Solitario. Sharing a toast, we all agree that a Caprese Salad tastes best in Capri, and imagine the fishermen catching our lunch early this morning. The only way to get from the marina, and Capritown, to Anacapri until 1874 when a road was built, was a still-usable stairway zigzagged into the cliff. The ride down, along the side of Monte Solaro, is as scary as that staircase! Anacapri is the quieter, less-glitzy town on the island, Capritown is the one FILLED with high-end shops – including a grand total of FIVE Ferragamos! But as you know from our stay here earlier in July, the entire island is filled with beauty – keep looking around and up as you shop and stroll!A quick funicular descent, and we’re back on the boat towards the mainland – arrivederci, Capri! Oh how much beauty that rock hides in its crevices! Soon we’re pulling into Amalfi, and we meet again for a final dinner in Maiori. Chatting with Edith, the charming mother of Leslie, the festival director, we’re the last to leave…and tomorrow we’ll say goodbye to this gorgeous coast and head for Tuscany!
Monday, July 13, 2015, continued
After that VERY strenuous hike we deserve a good meal or two, right?! And some nice relaxing time by the pool too! On the way to the pool Kirk can’t resist deadheading (he actually does this wherever he goes in the world)…he always leaves a garden prettier than when he arrived. Another plus at San Felice, the beautiful pool…with lots of chaises to soak in the sun, and inviting corners in which to relax under an umbrella. The poolside bar offers an extensive menu, and a glass of cold crisp white is the perfect aperitif as we choose our lunches.“My brother caught these this morning…” says the owner…But we decide on something lighter – a salad for me, grilled vegetables and buffalo mozzarella for Kirk….and we’re wowed by the size of the mozzarella! The afternoon’s spent napping and relaxing by the pool – now I REALLY feel like we’re on vacation!
We’ve chosen another place with a view for dinner, and aren’t disappointed. Panorama’s been open less than a year, and in addition to the obviously spectacular view, there’s a garden right beside the outdoor dining area, and the meal is as delicious as the vista. Capri, you’re a delight!
Monday, July 13, 2015
We’ve long wanted to walk Via Krupp, a beautiful curving walk with great views of the Faraglioni, the rock cluster on the south side of Capri, but once again it’s closed…as it has been every time we’ve visited. So we’ve chosen another hike for this morning, early, before the heat of the day…to Arco Naturale. Up via Tragara, through an al fresco restaurant where the only one stirring is the Signora, cleaning up after last night’s diners, then down towards the rocky shore, and there it is, one of Capri’s natural wonders. As we pass back through the restaurant’s terrace we see stairs angling down, with a sign to Capri center and via Tragara – another way back – let’s try it!
Well if we’d known what we were getting into we would have taken the original way back…and we should have COUNTED all the stairs we climbed, up and down – at LEAST a thousand. Pausing once in a while to take in the views, such as this unique property filling a point with its modernity (the sun so bright that a photo was difficult), we were wishing that we had brought water…we had no idea our hike would be this long!
Finally the Faraglioni came into view – we’re getting close to civilization! And then we sighted yachts from Marina Piccola, and soon were out of the woods and on a paved walkway near this impressive hotel, loosely based on a Corbusier design.The wilderness is behind us, and ahead are gardens laden with lemons and morning glories,vivid homes, their color accented with brilliant bougainvillea, and just beside the flower covered property we posted on the previous blog, a lush wisteria vine over a hundred years old!Just before we step through the archway of San Felice is one of our favorite entries – a lovely walkway to a private home.
Now for a well-deserved breakfast in the garden!
Sunday, July 12, 2015
As we did before our Prague tour, we’re fitting in a weekend escape before the Amalfi tour starts on Wednesday. We were seaside in Barcelona in May, and this weekend will be an island getaway – to an isle that has long been a prized escape for the likes of emperors, movie stars, and the rich and famous. But there’s still room for thrifty dreamers like us! Off we go on a ferry this morning, passing by fabled towns along the coast, tiny islets dotting the sea here and there. Rudolf Nureyev owned these three gems in sight of Positano, and spent the last years of his life in a gorgeous villa – can you imagine the views?!
Capri’s not far off the end of the Amalfi Coast – Kirk describes the area as ” the Amalfi Coast is an exclamation point between the bays of Naples and Salerno, and Capri is the dot at the end of the point.”We pull into the Marina Grande,
hop into a taxi, and whisk up to the Piazzetta, the center of Capritown. As our driver zigzags up the narrow roads, a helicopter or two whirs overhead, and he tells us that the owners of yachts helicopter over to visit friends on THEIR yachts moored on the other side, at Marina Piccola.
We’re dropped off near the center, since no vehicles are allowed further (the lanes are just wide enough for people), and walk to the Albergo San Felice. Through the arches to a lush garden, and up the steps into a cool and simply elegant white inn – even better than we’d imagined!
Even in the heat of summer, Capri is lush with color – the wisteria (which we usually expect in springtime) draping pergolas and terraces right along with summer blooms such as this façade-covering bougainvillea.In search of dinner-with-a-view, we choose Da Giorgio, and enjoy a delicious meal almost as much as the stellar view. This gorgeous island deserves its hype!