Adventures in Amalfi: Part II
Welcome to Part II of Adventures in Amalfi (check out Part I here). Even though we had only three short days along the Amalfi coast, it felt like a long, glorious week under the Italian sun.
After spending our first day pootling round Positano, we set out for the hills of Ravello. This time we took the bus - you’ll be amazed at the tight corners they manage to manoeuvre, and I don’t recommend getting a window seat to anyone mildly at odds with heights.
Ravello was my favourite stop. I didn’t really know what to expect - the token striped umbrellas rows of Positano and Amalfi have filled my Instagram feed this summer, but I had seen little of Ravello. It’s a treat. High up in the clouds with breathtaking views of the coast, it has a calming pace that forces you to savour your surroundings.
With only a couple of hours in Ravello, we made straight for the world-famous gardens of Villa Cimbrone. I’ll let my pictures do the talking here. The views are really quite incredible, and feel very peaceful high above the stacked villages of the coast.
We wrapped up our stop just as fellow travellers started to settle into long, leisurely lunches in the town square. We planned to walk back to Amalfi, but the main road is not very pedestrian friendly, full of tooting cars and swerving vespas. So instead we took the bus halfway back to the picturesque village of Atrani, a blink-and-you-miss-it gem of a place along the coast. Ranked by Condé Naste as one of the most beautiful small towns in Italy, we stopped to explore the winding stairs and windy beach. From here you can take a short stroll through a pedestrian tunnel under the hills back to Amalfi, skipping most of the road. A worthwhile stop, especially if you’re out to avoid the crowds.
Back in Amalfi, we took the stairs up to the top of Hotel Centrale for easily the best views of the Duomo in the setting sun (Mum had stayed here the week prior and the receptionist was only too happy to let her back in). We got lucky and caught the beginning of a glamorous wedding, with a photographer coming to join us on the balcony equipped with a drone to capture the bridal party making their entrance.
For some nutty reason, I just wasn’t very hungry on this trip - which in the land of carb heaven, is pure bonkers in my book. Dinner that night largely comprised of Aperol cocktails, which I swear only taste as good as they look in Italy.
On our last morning, we started with a lazy espresso at Andrea Pansa, with scooters tooting past honeymooning Americans idling in the cobbled town square. Our one agenda item for the day was to explore Amalfi’s Duomo, arguably the single most beautiful building in the area. My kiwi self never fails to be blown away by the sheer history in Europe - this church was originally built in the 9th century. Come on!
These touristy sites can sometimes fall into the ‘places I’ve visited’ bingo, where you feel obligated to shell out twenty-odd euro to realise later you would have rather spent two hours by the seaside than staring blankly at yet another aged fresco. However I can attest that the Duomo is worth the visit for its original collection of artefacts and stunning byzantine/gothic/baroque interior that any Europhile would be impressed by.
A winding drive past the watchful eye of Vesuvius to the airport spelled the end of our little Italian vacanza. I’m chuffed to have been able to see such a beautiful part of the world. Grazie, Italia!