Posts Tagged With: Amalfi

Top Beaches in Southern Campania Italy

Who doesn’t like a good beach on a hot summer day. If you have been reading our BLOG, you know that Italian beaches have clubs that give you a chase lounge or two, table and umbrella. They have great food service or you can bring your own, You can also go to nearby stores to get a pizza or panini. They serve all kinds of drinks right on the beach. A prosecco in a glass on the beach is divine!

There are many different types of beach in Southern Italy. Some with lava stone, small rocks or sand. All of these beaches are awarded the much coveted Blue Flag status.

Here are a small list of beaches to visit:

  1. Amalfi Coast – There are numerous small towns along the stretch from Positano to Salerno. Each may be on a beach or high above with stairs down. Some beaches are reachable only by boat. These beaches tend to be lava rock but the water is great. Pack a lunch and enjoy them.
  2. Capri – This island has two main beaches but they are small and heavy in boat and ferry traffic. Capri may not have the best beaches to relax on but is well worth a visit.
  3. Agropoli – has wonderful beaches and great for boating. This is a major town with an old section high up and worth exploring. The high-speed train stops here.
  4. Santa Maria Castellabate – This is a wonderful seaside town with small but nice beaches and a great promenade. There is the old mountain town of Castellabate high above and waiting to be explored.
  5. Casal Velino Marina – This is our beach town. It can get very crowded in August. The beach is wonderful sand. The waves are non-existent in the summer which makes it idea to swim and for small children. The beach clubs are wonderful. Friday is market day and an entire street is closed to an open air market.
  6. Ascea – We often go to this beach town as well. The sand has small pebbles but it is soft. There are beautiful rocks along the waterline. There are also great clubs here. Thursday is the market day and worth a visit. It is located on the road that parallels the beach. There is a train stop in this town.
  7. Sapri – Is a small town with a high-speed train stop along the sea. It is a cove with beaches and a great promenade.

Many of these towns have ferry services or small boats that can take you to other towns. You have so many choices in this part of Campania and it is home to the world-famous Mozzarella di Bufala. Have breakfast in a bar by the sea, have lunch in a restaurant or get a panini at a bar. There are so many choices of restaurants for dinner. This is paradise for both the beach goers and the explorers. Enjoy!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Ascea, Bars, Beaches, Blue Flag Beaches, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Capri, Casal Velino Marina, Castellabate, Europe, Ferries, General Travel, Italy, Mountain Towns, Panini, Pizza, Positano, Prosecco, Ristorante, Salerno, Sapri, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Trains, Traveling without a tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Top Places to Visit in Southern Italy

Southern Italy has so much to offer. It is different from the north but has great places to see, great food to taste and wonderful people to meet. First let’s look at some of the differences:

  1. Fish – Is the main food in the south. There are meat dishes but great fresh fish is so prevalent.
  2. Language – Italy is barely 150 years old. It was formed by individual and warring states (small countries). As the Italian country was formed, Italian became the official language as it was spoken in Bologna. Each small state had their own languages and dialects. To this day the dialect is still spoken.
  3. Beaches – The south has many of its cities built on the coast. Beaches are important. Each seaport had a walled castle town in the mountains nearby. These would protect the people from pirates. These have become major resort areas for Italians and other Europeans.
  4. Wines – Wines and Olive Oil are a local made commodity throughout Italy. They differ by region and should be experienced as you travel. Always order the local wine.

The main places that should be on your bucket list are:

  1. Naples – Modern Naples is trying to clean up its act as a dangerous city. It is very old and poor but there is so much to see here. Most of what we think is Italian in America comes from the south and much of it from Naples. This is the birth place of Pizza and spaghetti with red sauce.
  2. Amalfi Coast – This very rich area is the vacation spot of the rich and famous. The island of Capri, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello are very beautiful. Each town is built on a mountain side and worth a visit. This is an area of ferries, steps and steep hills.
  3. Casal Velino Marina & Ascea – Two resort towns with beautiful sandy beaches. Ascea has a train station and Casal Velino Marina is very close to the north.
  4. Alberobello – A very unusual town with dome-shaped homes. You can not change the architecture of a building in this town. These homes are called Trulli.Alberobello
  5. Sicily – This is a beautiful island with many ruins, great cities and an active volcano. Many Italians argue it is not part of Italy.
  6. Ischia Island – This is a beautiful island off the coast of Naples in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Ischia is the name of the main port town on the island. The architecture is old and city is beautiful.
  7. Procida Island – Is another island between Ischia and Naples. The architecture is middle ages and a great place to explore.
  8. Matera – A town in the region of Basilicata southern Italy. The historical center is well-known and called the Sassi. Homes were built into the side of a mountain. This is one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. It is dated from the Paleolithic Period.

There so many other small mountain and beach towns that are worth a mention but too numerous to list. Just get out and explore each region.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Alberobello, Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Ascea, Beaches, Capri, Casal Velino Marina, Europe, Ferries, Food, General Travel, Italy, Matera, Mountain Towns, Naples, Pizza, Positano, Ravello, Sassi, Sicily, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Stairs, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Truilly, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ravello Pictorial

Yesterday we were in Amalfi and today we take a short bus ride (or taxi) up 3 miles of very narrow winding road to the town of Ravello. Ravello has a population of only about 2,500 people. This two towns are on the Amalfi Coast in Campania in southern Italy. Ravello was a refuse for the rich and famous. They could come here and relax without photographers or the public. The list included Richard Wagner and Greta Garbo.

Ravello has a Duomo (Cathedral) and two villas:

  1. Villa Cimbrone (both 11th century) and
  2. Villa Rufolo (13th century)

These are worth a visit. We loved Villa Cimbrone. It has wonderful gardens and old buildings. You can walk out to the edge of the cliff and see the sea far below. You can also see the mountain road you took up.

The square in town is a nice place to relax and have a drink or gelato. You will find a tourist information place just off the square. The bus stops outside the town. Walk through a small tunnel that takes you through the old wall to the city center.

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Villa Cimbrone

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Path at Villa Cimbrone

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The road up

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Edge of Villa Cimbrone with sea view

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Edge with sea view

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The view

If you are going to the Amalfi Coast, don’t miss Amalfi or Ravello. They are worth a day trip. Take the ferry from Sorrento, Positano or Salerno.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Campania, Duomo, Europe, Ferries, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Mountain Towns, Positano, Ravello, Salerno, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Taxi, Villa Cimbrone | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Amalfi Pictorial

Amalfi is a city on the Amalfi Coast between Positano and Salerno. It can be reached by car or SITA bus from Salerno or Sorrento. There is also good ferry service from other Amalfi Coast cities (Positano & Salerno) as well as Capri, Sorrento and Naples. Trains go to Salerno or Sorrento.

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Duomo in Amalfi

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Amalfi Harbor

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Beautiful Statues at the Duomo

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The Crypts at Duomo

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The Countryside

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Vineyards around the city

Amalfi is small but a good city to walk around. From the main piazza (just off the harbor) visit the duomo. Then shop the small stores off the piazza. Have lunch or a drink at one of the many restaurant/bars in the piazza in front of Duomo. Watch the Italians drinking from the fountain.

The busses stop in the harbor as do the ferries. Cross the road and enter Amalfi. In the harbor are busses that will take you up the mountain to Revino (see tomorrows BLOG).

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Bars, Duomo, Europe, Ferries, General Travel, Italy, Naples, Positano, Salerno, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Trains | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Amazing & Beautiful Amalfi Coast

English: Amalfi with the gulf of Salerno Neder...

English: Amalfi with the gulf of Salerno Nederlands: Amalfi met de golf van Salerno (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This video below shows the coastline from Sorrento to Salerno, known as the Amalfi Coast in the Campania region of Italy. It is a beautiful drive with cities that will amaze you like Positano and Amalfi. The Amalfi Coast is a 28 mile coast road that is truly exhilarating. Most people start this journey from Naples, Italy. Drive south to Sorrento. Here you can get a ferry to the wonderful island of Capri. Just past Sorrento the Amalfi Coast Drive begins. It winds its way past Positano, Amalfi and ends at Salerno. From Salerno you can drive on the Autostrada back to Naples or farther north to Rome. The drive in the summer can be very crowded and take hours. Other times of the year it is a pleasant but hair-raising drive. Enjoy it and stop at its many cities along the way.

This area of Italy is rugged, beautiful and very romantic. Our favorite resort town is Positano. You have everything here:

  • Beaches
  • Ferries to Naples, Capri, Sorrento, Salerno and many smaller towns
  • Great restaurants
  • Sites like the cathedral
  • Great shops
  • Hotels and homes with a breathtaking view of the sea

Isn’t it time you went to the Amalfi Coast? Have a local lemoncello and enjoy life. You might just see Jo Anne at the table next to you with her lemoncello.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Campania, Capri, Europe, Ferries, Food, General Travel, Italy, Lemoncello, Naples, Positano, Romance, Rome, Salerno, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Getting to the famous Amalfi Coast

Positano

Positano (Photo credit: jimmyharris)

The Amalfi Coast in Italy is a famous place to the well-travelled tourist. It is just south of Naples and Pompeii. It includes Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Salerno. Capri is an Island off the coast of Sorrento. There are also many smaller towns worth seeing like Ravello. How does one get to this area that is sandwiched between a very high mountain and the sea? There are no trains here (except the end towns of Sorrento and Salerno). There is one road, the Amalfi Coast Highway. It is not a highway but a two lane road that on some curves goes down to 1-1/2 lanes. Busses always have the right of way. If you can not get by a bus, you must back up to allow the bus passage.

Getting to the Amalfi Coast can be confusing and difficult. Here are several ways and comments on each:

  1. Plane – Fly into Naples and take one of the transportations below. You can also fly into Rome and take a train or private car to Naples.
  2. Car – Driving is easy but when you get to places like Positano a car is useless. It is expensive to just park it for a week or longer. It is great to visit some of the smaller towns along this coast.
  3. Taxi or Car Service – Taxis are very expensive but there are private reliable car services that will take you in a nice car to your destination. You have a private driver and get door to door service. These services also leave from Rome. They can be expensive but are very convenient.
  4. Shuttle Bus – There is a shuttle bus from Naples airport that can take you to cities along the Amalfi Coast. Shuttle service one way each to Positano is about 35 Euros from Positano Shuttle Service.
  5. Ferry ServiceThere are numerous slow & fast ferries (hydrofoils) from Naples port to Capri, Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi. The ferry is the best option, in our opinion, to move from town to town along this coast.
  6. Trains – You can take a train from Rome to Naples, Sorrento or Salerno. There are NO trains that reach the Amalfi Coast directly. The mountains prevent easy access.
  7. Bus – There is a bus that runs from Sorrento to Salerno and back. It stops at each town along the way. In the summer this bus is crowded and can take a long time because of traffic. It is the cheapest way to move around this coast. There is another bus that runs from Amalfi up the mountain to Ravello and back. You can also take a taxi.

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                                         Capri                                                          Sorrento

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                          View of Positano                                                         Amalfi

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View from Ravello

If you are going to Positano there is a great hotel on the main road through Positano called Villa Delle Palme. All rooms have a sea view. Enjoy your trip however you get there. Once at a city on the Amalfi Coast, you can take bus or ferries between the various cities. They tend to get very crowded in the summer especially August. These cities are small and are perfect for walking. around. There can be a lot of hills or stairs (as in Positano). Wear comfortable walking shoes. If you get tired stop in a bar for a drink and refreshments. Move slowly, be romantic and enjoy this part of Italy. Be Italian!

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Bars, Campania, Capri, Driving in Italy, Europe, Ferries, Flights, General Travel, Italy, Naples, Pompeii, Positano, Ravello, Romance, Rome, Salerno, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Trains, Traveling without a tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Only a day in Positano?

English: Part of Positano, Italy.

English: Part of Positano, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We spent a full week in Positano and enjoyed every day there. You can go to Naples, Sorrento, Capri and Amalfi by ferry. If all you have is one day, don’t worry. Here is what to do.

Make the best of it! Come by boat (ferry) and arrive at the large beach. There are shops and the cathedral. Take the walkway over to the small beach (referred to as Lovers Lane). On the way almost to the small beach is a great restaurant on the left (La Guarracino – Via Positanesi d’America 12 Telephone: 089-875794)

Lo Guarracino1 Lo Guarracino2

with great food and magnificent views. Go back to the big beach and up the stairs to the cathedral. Take the stairs on your left up to a walkway with restaurants and shops. This ends at Positano’s one street (a narrow one way street). The bus stop is here which circles around Positano and back. It is a cheap way to see the city from different heights. Go up the street to your left (against traffic). Many great shops are here that sell ceramics, linen clothes, leather shoes and sandals. Farther up the hill are great restaurants with views. Positano is to be walked and enjoyed. It is said there are one million steps and only one road. If the stairs are too daunting, walk the road it is steep but easy to walk.

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Our Table at La Guarracino 

From Positano you can get fast inexpensive ferries to neighboring towns including Capri, Sorrento and Amalfi. This is a very romantic part of Campania. Enjoy it!

George & Jo

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Beaches, Campania, Capri, Ceramics, Europe, Ferries, General Travel, Italy, Naples, Positano, Romance, Sorrento, Traveling without a tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

White Wines of Campania

Location of region xy (see filename) in Italy.

Location of region xy (see filename) in Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wine can be refreshing on a hot day, especially a nice white wine. Campania has many great wines (both white and red).

It is the time to stock your cellars with next years wines. We primarily prefer red full-bodied dry wines but a dry white can be refreshing in the warm weather. The Denver Post posted this article on Campania Italy’s white wines. We don’t believe in the certain foods for certain wines theory. We love fish with a good red wine. There are some great whites out there and not all in the oceans! Some of them are full of body and taste. Campania Italy is a region that doesn’t get a lot of wine notice in the US but it produces some great Italian wines. Try them, you’ll like them.

Remember, if you find yourself in Campania (Naples, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Capri), Order a 1/2 liter or liter of wine with lunch or dinner. This is bulk wine bought by the restaurant. It is cheaper and produced locally.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi, Campania, Capri, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Naples, Positano, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amalfi and Ravello

Deutsch: Die Terrazza dell'Infinito der Villa ...

Deutsch: Die Terrazza dell’Infinito der Villa Cimbrone in Ravello (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are planning a trip to Naples, Capro, Sorrento and Positano, don’t miss these two wonderful cities.

We arrived in Amalfi by ferry from Positano. You can arrive by car, bus or ferry. Once in Amalfi you will find a pedestrian piazza with the church. The church is up a set of steps and has a wonderful tour. At the bottom of the steps is a fountain you can drink from and plenty of restaurants in the piazza to eat or have a drink. Outside the city walls by the ferry docks (and bus stop) you can find a bus to Ravello. Buy your tickets at a tobacco shop (there is one at the city wall. The bus ride winds itself up a very steep mountain to the top. Ravello sits atop this mountain with unforgettable views of the sea. Once at Ravello, the bus stops outside the city walls. Walk through into the central piazza. There are bars and restaurants. There is a tourist center near by where you can get a map. Walk to the other side of town to Villa Cimbrone Gardens. It is well worth the walk. These gardens were a refuge for Hollywood movie stars years ago. Now they are open to the public to enjoy. At the very end of the gardens you will find yourself on a walk by a cliff that overlooks the sea, Amalfi and the road up to Ravello. Relax and enjoy.

After your walk back to town stop at a bar and enjoy a drink or a soda.  Relax and take in the people and the town. Imagine life here. When you are done retrace your steps back out through the town wall to the bus stop. Buses can get very crowded. There are also car services and taxis to take you back down to Amalfi.

One of Fiats new car commercials shows a new fiat being driven off a dock into the sea. It was filmed at the docks in Amalfi.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Bars, Cafè, Capri, Europe, Italy, Mountain Towns, Naples, Positano, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What to see in Italy?

Italy has unending beauty and places to visit. Do your homework and pick places that have an interest to you. Rail Europe lists the top ten cities to visit in Italy in reverse order:

10. Ventimiglia

Many people hop between the neighboring border towns of Nice and Ventimiglia with a train ticket. A trip so close, and made even easier with a France-Italy Rail Pass. You’ll find both French and Italian regional lines service Ventimiglia. More than a train hub, Ventimiglia has a stunning, quintessentially Italian medieval city center. As it always has, its classic architecture stands guard on a hilltop over the Gulf of Genoa, but now with the new city between them. Make sure you visit Ventimiglia’s famous Friday Outdoor Market!

9. Bologna

Why not visit the oldest university in the world, the University of Bologna, founded in 1088? Naturally, there’s plenty to study: from medieval, renaissance and baroque monuments to modern-day industrial marvels like Ducati, headquartered there. More high-speed thrills? Travel by train from Bologna to Verona in just under an hour.

8. Verona

What do you call a city dramatic enough to be the setting of three Shakespearean plays, and interesting enough to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site? This is Verona. Along the Adige River, this picture-perfect city of cobblestone streets lined with medieval buildings, Roman sites and churches is second to none for inspiration. Known for its pink buildings and Juliet balcony (yes, one of those plays was Romeo and Juliet), a visit to this city will immerse you in the classic Italian experience. Want more inspiration? Venice is one of the perfect destinations for it. Verona to Venice is about an hour by train.

7. La Spezia

Located on the Gulf of La Spezia, this port city is a bustling mix of old and new. This scenic waterfront is perfect for arrival by train from Verona (via Milan) with a Eurail Italy Pass. Today, this modern-day port stands in stunning contrast to the spectacle of its antiquity and charm. So much charm that many poets have found inspiration here, from Byron to Shelley to DH Lawrence. It is, in fact, referred to as “the Gulf of Poets.” What will it inspire in you?

6. Turin

Baroque architecture with the Alps as the ultimate photo backdrop. Site of the 2006 winter games. And, of course, the Shroud of Turin. The amazing city of Turin is one of contrasts that include a café society of truffles, wine and other extravagances, and Turin Cathedral, home to the Shroud of Turin. (Please note that while The Museum of the Holy Shroud is open daily, the shroud is only displayed once every ten years.) Next stop? Milan. Aboard Frecciarossa trains, Turin to Milan is just about an hour’s journey.

5. Milan

High style all around. The Italian center of finance, industry and commerce, as well as a global capital of fashion, industrial design and architecture. Milan is also the home of “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Don’t miss the spectacular Duomo, which took over 6 centuries to complete. (And don’t forget to get your Milano Card for easy transportation and discounts all over town.) Also, remember it’s just as easy to arrive from Paris to Milan by the high-speed TGV trains.

4. Naples

The birthplace of pizza has drawn many hungry visitors, including those hungry for culture: its historic center is the largest in Europe, covering over 4,000 acres and 27 centuries. It’s almost unreal how much this port city has to offer — including hydrofoils to the Isle of Capri and the Blue Grotto. Naples is a must-see for every history/arts/culinary/naval/political/cinema-buff. And so is Venice. Naples to Venice is about a 4 hours and 45 minutes journey by train.

3. Venice

Venice, the land of gondola-filled canals, ancient trades and water taxis. Enjoy a Grand Canal boat tour and views that have remained basically unchanged for centuries. See how Venetian glass and Venetian paper is made. Shop on the Rialto and along the waterways to roving (and rowing) tenors, as well as the occasional accordion. There is only one Venice, so how could it be #3?

2. Florence

Florence is Italian perfection: the Duomo, the Uffizi Museum Tour, crossing the Arno River on the Ponte Vecchio, the Pitti Palace… everything that makes Italy, Italy, is here in the appropriately titled “cradle of the Renaissance”– except you! You’re not here yet, and nothing makes it easier to get here than the train. On Italo trains, Venice to Florence is about a 2 hours trip, while Florence to Rome is an about 1 hour and 30 minutes of relaxing, stress-free enjoyment. Which is perfect since…

1. Rome

Well, the saying is “all roads lead to Rome”. Fortunately, so do the trains! Travel from Vienna, Innsbruck or Munich to Rome via direct overnight trains. All those “Roman ruins” around Europe, why not visit their birthplace? And where else can you see the Colosseum? Classical architecture buffs will enjoy researching the arch, the dome, and the vault—all developed here. Of course, a Vatican Sistine Chapel Tour is guaranteed to provide a most divine experience. This is it people. This is where the world changed. And when you visit, well, it can change your world too.

We also add:

  1. Capri
  2. Positano
  3. Paestum
  4. Cinque Terre (5 cities)
  5. Siena
  6. Assisi
  7. Perugia
  8. San Gimignano
  9. Matera
  10. Bari
  11. Agropoli (old city)
  12. Castellabate
  13. Amalfi
  14. Sorrento
  15. Orvieto
  16. Pompeii

There are so many interesting places in Italy to enjoy!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Bari, Campania, Capri, Castellabate, Europe, Italy, Milan, Mountain Towns, Naples, Orvieto, Paestum, Perugia, Pompeii, Positano, Regions of Italy, Rome, San Gimignano, Siena, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Venice, Verona | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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