My Amalfi Coast Holiday – Beaches, Restaurants and Dream Landscapes
by Giuseppe Morvillo
by Giuseppe Morvillo
Our Amalfi Coast Trip
It’s from our emotions that we let ourselves be guided and so recently, Filomena and I decided to take a spontaneous week’s vacation in September and spend a few days in her beach house in Praiano, on the Amalfi Coast, which is a few kilometers from my home in Sorrento.
We know the Amalfi Coast very well but we have always visited it with short daily trips, and spent this time between Positano, Praiano, Ravello, Amalfi, Atrani and Minori; this time we decided to savour it fully, to enjoy the beaches and the sea, to experience it with the eyes of a tourist and with the knowledge of a local, equipped with my 1984 Vespa, a travel bag, two books and two swimming costumes, Tuesday 8th September we leave for our magical adventure on the Amalfi Coast.
- Day 1: A Vespa trip on the Amalfi Coast, a Sunset Swim , White Wine and Jazz
- Day 2: Praiano, the Pearl of the Amalfi Coast: Enchanting Views, Dream Bays, Food and Authenticity
- Day 3: Amalfi and Ravello, immersed in Beauty between Sea and Mountains, Infinite Beauty
- Day 4: Positano, the iconic and beautiful Positano!
- Day 5: A Swim in Conca dei Marini and Lunch by the Sea. Returning home to Sorrento is always sweet.
Day 1: A Vespa trip on the Amalfi Coast, a Sunset Swim, White Wine and Jazz
Motivated by adventurous plans we have set our of the week ahead and inspired by some films we had watched from the 1960s, Filomena and I chose to travel on my Vespa to make our adventure even more fascinating and memorable. Only when preparing the baggage, we realize that the space that we had available is infact very little, so with a small bag each, a full tank of petrol and a camera, in the early afternoon of Tuesday 8th September we leave Sorrento in the direction of Praiano, Amalfi Coast. Immediately after lunch, we took advantage of the open road free from the usual traffic and pass the hills of the Sorrento Peninsula, headinng along the famous road of the Amalfi Coast accompanied by a pleasant breeze and some clouds on the horizon. This time we do not stop along the first stretch that we would have usually stopped at, the one that leads from Sorrento to Positano, but instead we head directly to Praiano. After we park along the road and take our bags, we begin the descent down towards our apartment.
Praiano, like Positano and many other villages of the Amalfi Coast, is located from the hills to the sea and it is inevitable to climb and descend hundreds of steps to reach any destination. The apartment is located in one of the most fascinating points of Praiano and from the terrace you can admire a breathtaking view: the Amalfi Coast, Positano, Capri and the Faraglioni Rocks. It is almost five in the afternoon but the day is still long and having the good fortune of having the sea located right under the house, taking a short flight of 100 steps, we decide to take a dip from the fjord of Torre di Grado and relax on the rocks, enjoying a few hours before the sun disappears behind the hills of Positano.
It is precisely around seven in the evening, in front of an incredibly beautiful sight difficult to be described in words, we go up the steps that take us home and we can’t help but take a moment to turn around and admire the changing sky with its red, pink and purple shades. Once we arrive back home, we choose the terrace of the apartment to enjoy a glass of white wine together in front of the last changing colours of the sunset. Filomena and I look at each other in disbelief, enchanted and smiling as the last boats return to port and a jazz playlist accompanies our silence.
“We can’t help but take a moment to turn around and admire the changing sky with its red, pink and purple shades.”
Day 2: Praiano, the Pearl of the Amalfi Coast: Enchanting Views, Dream Bays, Food and Authenticity
The thing I love most about my land is that I never stop discovering new places and taking advantage of the still very like summer temperature, Filomena and I dedicate ourselves to discovering some beaches that we have never visited before. After a fantastic breakfast on our terrace, we head on foot to one of the most famous and well-known bathing establishments on the Amalfi Coast, the One Fire Beach Club. Nestled in the Gavitella bay, the One Fire Beach Club is famous all over the world for its fun atmosphere and breathtaking view, for its music and crystal clear water, good food and the famous ritual of cutting watermelon.
To get there, you can easily take a shuttle by sea that leaves from the Marina di Praia or by walking along the streets of Praiano and then taking a hundred steps that lead you down into the sea. The walk that leads to the Gavitella is characteristic and unique in its kind, the narrow alleys of Praiano intersect in a network of straight lines and at every step we stop to photograph the typical Praiano ceramics set in the buildings: fish, octopuses, molluscs and marine calls that decorate the city. Between ancient buildings and doors, luxury villas with gardens overlooking the sea and stairways immersed in the wild nature, you arrive at the Gavitella fjord, where there is precisely the One Fire beach with its characteristic orange umbrellas and sunbeds. A few days in advance we made sure to book two sun loungers and an umbrella in the front rows to ensure we have the best view and in no time at all, we find ourselves swimming in a mirror of fresh and crystal clear water admiring the fantastic view of Positano and Capri.
“We find ourselves swimming in a mirror of fresh and crystal clear water admiring the fantastic view of Positano and Capri.”
In the early evening at around 6.45 pm, as the sun slowly goes behind the hills of Positano, we set out for the return and immediately after the first stretch of stairs, halfway between the beach and the apartment, we stop at the Mirante Bar where we sip a cool Spritz on one of the two terraces overlooking the coast. A little tired from the trip and stunned by the sun and the prosecco, around ten in the evening we decide to go for dinner at the Trattoria da Armandino, a little place hidden in the Marina di Praia fjord and just a few minutes from home. Armandino, the owner of the restaurant, welcomes us with all his hospitality and we let ourselves be guided by his advice in the choice of dishes. The moonlight illuminates the sea and our faces.
Day 3: Amalfi and Ravello, immersed in Beauty between Sea and Mountains, Infinite Beauty
Today the Amalfi Coast gives us another wonderful day and we take advantage of, a cloudless sky to visit the south side of the coast in the direction of Amalfi and Ravello. At about 9:30 in the morning, we leave for Amalfi; on the way we stop to take some photos at the Fiordo di Furore and the bay of the Emerald Grotto, soon after in less than thirty minutes we arrive at the Port of Amalfi. After parking the Vespa, we wait for the boat that offers the free shuttle service to Lido degli Artisti, which we made sure to book a few days in advance also. From the dock we leave for the Lido, a corner of paradise nestled in the coast where it is possible to swim in a crystal clear sea and eat excellent fish dishes. The day is hot but the cool water of September is a cure-all and so we spend most of the day swimming in the dreamy coves that emerge in front of the beach. Only around four in the afternoon, when the sun begins to make its way behind the hills, we eat a quick snack and taking advantage of the boat that is about to return, we say goodbye to the Lido degli Artisti with the promise to come back soon.
“A corner of paradise nestled in the coast where it is possible to swim in crystal clear sea and eat excellent fish dishes.”
Arriving back in the town of Amalfi, we walk towards the famous Cathedral of Sant’Andrea and the historic center known for its colourful alleys, and since we are close we stopped at one of the best pastry shops in Italy and undoubtedly my favourite, the historic Pansa pastry shop: from Pasticciotto with lemon cream to ricotta and chocolate cake, from the famous Santarosa to Babà it is really difficult to choose just one to try.
After this sweet stop we leave in the direction of Ravello, one of the most famous and elegant hilltop towns of the Amalfi Coast. Passing through Atrani, which despite being the smallest municipality in Italy preserves a fascinating essence typical of the Amalfi Coast, we arrive at the intersection that leads to Ravello and from here the climb begins that goes into the Lattari Mountains and runs alongside vineyards and villages. We visit the famous Villa Rufolo from where we admire one of the best known views of the Amalfi Coast and we let ourselves get lost in the narrow streets that detach from the main square that are filled with shops, ceramics and art galleries. Ravello retains an elegance out of the ordinary and for our part, it is absolutely worth a visit.
The fresh air of the Lattari Mountains accompanies us to the sea on our return and we take the coastal road towards sunset. We arrived back to Praiano when it is already dark and after a quick shower we sip an aperitif at the Bar del Sole, easily accessible from the main road then head for dinner to Kasai Restaurant in Praiano, a restaurant that I consider among the best on the Amalfi Coast and also another of my favourites.
Day 4: Positano, the iconic and beautiful Positano!
It may be my enthusiasm or the scent of freshly brewed Italian coffee that comes from the neighbourhood close by, but I don’t want to stay in bed for too long and despite Filomena wanting to sleep more, I persuade her to get up early with me to fully enjoy our fourth day together. We take the staircase that takes us to the fjord below the house and in less than ten minutes, with a rubber boat that offers transfers by sea, we arrive at the beach of Laurito di Positano, where the beach club Villa Tre Ville is located. The atmosphere is fairytale like, the sea is clean and the seabed is transparent, a dream beach day to say the least.
At lunchtime we chose to sit at the tables on the restaurant’s veranda and enjoy a a wood-fired pizza and an ice-cold beer. Perfect combination! After lunch, Filomena dozes off on the bed and I enjoy collecting coloured stones and pebbles on the water’s edge like when I was a child. We dedicate a last swim and around five o’clock, as in the outward journey, we return by water taxi and upon reaching the fjord below the house, we go up the steps one by one and just like the first day we find it hard not to turn around to admire the landscape at our shoulders and the colours of the sky changing before our very eyes.
With it being our last evening we treat ourselves to an aperitif in a special place, the terrace of the Hotel le Sirenuse in Positano. Filomena, in all her beauty, wears a long, ocher yellow dress that reaches up to her ankles and with the golden tan of skin makes for a stuning and special image. From Praiano we leave for Positano and along the road that goes down to the town, we park the vespa and head to Franco’s Bar. We order a drink, but in no time at all, a storm approaches from our shoulders and we are forced to shelter from the wind and rain. As soon as it rains, we stroll through the streets that lead to the Spiaggia Grande and savour the bohemian atmosphere that has made Positano famous all over the world. Upon returning to Praiano, we head to Il Pirata restaurant, one of the most romantic locations, perched on the cliff of Marina di Praia. The storm refreshed the evening but the white wine warms our minds and the distant lightning lights up the night making the atmosphere evocative and unforgettable.
“We stroll through the streets that lead to the Spiaggia Grande and savour the bohemian atmosphere that has made Positano famous all over the world.”
Day 5: A Swim in Conca dei Marini and Lunch by the Sea. Returning home to Sorrento is always sweet.
The last day of vacation always brings with it a bit of melancholy, but when returning home means returning to Sorrento we can only be happy. At dawn we are already up, sipping a hot coffee on the terrace and jotting down the drafts of this trip. Around eight Filomena is still asleep and this time I do not wake her up and in silence I prepare to explore the surroundings and visit a special location that organizes luxury stays and weddings, which I will be sharing very soon.
Once I arrive back home, Rita, Filomena’s sister, has already joined us from Sorrento and after a hug and a chat we head towards Conca dei Marini, one of the most fascinating bays of the Amalfi Coast. To get to the Lo Zeffiro Sereno beach club, we walk a hundred steps and a boat takes us from the pier to the bathhouse. The day is warm but windy and we take advantage of the sunniest hours to cool off in the cool waters of the coves and swim offshore to admire the Amalfi Coast from afar. Once the sun begins to make its way behind the hills, around 4pm, we take a seat at the beach club restaurant: a wooden stilt house with a small open kitchen, recommended for lunches excellent local fish and pasta with seafood. Around six o’clock, full and drunk with wine and sun, the little boat takes us back to the dock and back home, we arrange the luggage and mount them on the Vespa ready for our return.
“We take advantage of the sunniest hours to cool off in the cool waters of the coves and swim offshore to admire the Amalfi Coast from afar.”
The sun is still high over Praiano and once we are ready for departure, we find a sea view table on one of the most beautiful terraces of the coast, the rooftop of the Hotel le Fioriere, with a view of Positano and Capri. We take a few minutes and enjoy the last moments of this paradise while sipping a refreshing cocktail and photographing the breathtaking view. Before the night comes and the sunset falls behind the horizon, we return to Sorrento happy and grateful for this wonderful adventure on the Amalfi Coast together with the Vespa loaded with luggage. Thankful for this splendid life.