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It’s true. People lose their hearts whilst driving along the winding roads that hug the cliff side of the Amalfi coast. Unsuspecting, they fall deeply in love with this stretch of coastline where sharp cliff edges are softened by green leafy villages filled with pastel coloured houses that are adorned with bougainvillea. In similar fashion their mind opens up to a world that is imbibed by the scent of lemon that infuses the salty sea air. But It is also tangibly felt by the dance of warm sunshine on your face that is given its rhythm by the breeze. You may say this feels like fantasy, but wait until you see the evidence, then like the rest of us, you’ll be convinced.
Our primary case study involves a young lady, Simona, who travelled along the Amalfi coast and has since reported having lost her heart there. Having returned her symptoms now include long reveries and an acutely intense desire to travel every chance she gets.
She presented us with realms full of evidence that pointed to exactly how and why hearts are lost on this Italian coastline. With a retinue of primary evidence that included photographs, a stunning sun lit tan and a perpetual smile on her face, there was also the eye witness account, that we were simply unable to refute. The case is now officially closed. Read on and you’ll be sure to understand why.
This photo was taken of our drive into Amalfi. We arrived in Naples where we rented a Mercedes convertible and from there we drove for a few hours along the A3 to arrive in Salerno. This coastal town is pretty much the gateway to the Amalfi coast and is a treasure in its own right.
Here we are! After an amazing scenic drive we finally arrive in the center of Amalfi. The homes are built into the cliff side of the enormous mountains which makes them quite a spectacle, but honestly, if you are standing within those houses looking out on to the Tyrrhenian Sea it is hard to say who has the better view!
With a voracious appetite we quickly settled in for a delicious meal of authentic Italian cuisine at Da Maria. Deriving all their inspiration from the natural beauty of the local environment, this is a place where you can enjoy all the thrills of a tasting menu with flair and style. At 80 euros per person, you are free to savour the flavours of the tasting menu, which is worth every penny. Between us we tried the Tortellini with mozzarella, the basil infused lasagne, fresh tomatoes served with mozzarella balls and deep-fried pumpkin flowers filled with ricotta. All accompanied with glasses of rose wine and traditional live music.
Well satiated, we decided to take a walk from Amalfi to its neighboring town of Ravello. Situated up into the hills, in the thick of the forested mountains Ravello offers some spectacular views, particularly if you are looking back down towards Amalfi. In this picture you can see how the mountain edges dramatically slip into the ocean below. In the end the walk was far longer than what we anticipated especially in the heat of midday, so we returned to our car and drove to the town of Ravello. I have to admit we did feel rather ridiculous as this is pretty much the reason why we rented the Mercedes in the first place!
Ravello ended up being well worth the commute, it is characterised by cliffside terrace gardens and 13th century Moorish style villas. This resort town has become an icon in Italy for its historic architecture that is embellished by all the beauty of its surrounding gardens. Sigh.
Here is a picture of the accommodation that we stayed in, during our visit to Amalfi. Called the Amalfi Luxury House Hotel, it was difficult to find as it was a bit removed from the town center, but the staff were incredibly friendly and helped us with all our luggage.
This is the the view from the rooftop of our hotel at Amalfi Luxury House. The hotel turned out to be a wonderful place to stay, with modern furnishings, it was clean and comfortable. There was little more we could really ask for!
Breakfast is calling! There is coffee and then there is authentic Italian coffee, brewed by people who have turned this drink into an art form.
First day in Amalfi and our destination was this perfect patch of beach front. We spent almost the entire day joining worshippers of the sun and sea. This photo was taken as we gradually drove down the steep hilly roads. Scenes like this, make up just another day along the Amalfi coast.
This section of beach joins Amalfi with Ravello. We quickly got used to life lived under umbrellas, perhaps with special thanks to rather strapping waiters who quite happily took our orders for cold cocktails and served them with their fabulously cheeky grins.
Amalfi’s many victims. In all probability these folks have lost their hearts to Amalfi too and are now captive to her sunshine, stunning azure seas, delicious food and climate. Poor things! We hear there is no recovery either!
We decided to head back into town for lunch and after finding this cute little restaurant we sat down with our menu orders of Prawn salad and an eggplant lasagne. Enjoyed with a bottle of Cava, I can report that both meals highly satisfied!
Never a fan of omissing dessert, we stopped off at a nearby ice cream parlour and ordered some of these highly enticing flavours of gelato. I went with a Sette Veli, which has tiny, crispy biscuit textures in the chocolate ice cream, while my friend went with the Tartufo, from the word “truffle” it is a combination of any two flavours covered together in a crisp chocolate shell.
Not hungry at all we still couldn’t stop ourselves from following the scent that led us into this little deli. Just take a look, ridiculously teasing, the food smelled as good as it looks. As it turns out it tasted as good as it looks too. Apparently, the family who owns this store has done so for generations.
While we were already out and about, we spent some time wandering through the town of Amalfi and found this very pretty narrow alley way filled with potted flowers and arched entrance ways, we could only imagine the stories it could tell of the people who had walked through its doors! Such a romantic little nook!
Eventually we found our way back to the beach and without too much difficulty picked up exactly where we left off.
You might find this hard to believe, but a hard day of beach bumming really works up a shocking appetite. So in the great Amalfi tradition of satiating appetites with rich pastas, that is exactly what we did. We found a charming trattoria on Via Augustariccio and ordered the classic Linguine with tomato, on just one serving I can see why this dish has become a staple of Italian living.
Although we were exhausted from our day out in the sun, neither I nor my friend wanted to call it a day. So we picked up our energy reserves (of which admittedly we had built up a few), and dressed to impress as we were going to have a memorable night out. We started our night on these snacks and drinks, but with rounds of live jazz music thrown into the mix, we ended the night dancing and laughing with the other guests. All before eventually falling like a sack of potatoes into bed that night.
Hook, line and sinker, dear Simona is clearly lost to life on the Amalfi coast. But with any luck, you and I may be too.
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