A few decades ago a destination for wealthy Europeans and Hollywood movie stars, the Amalfi Coast still keeps its glamorous appearance, but it became more affordable and popular for worldwide tourists. And since it is the most famous Italian shoreline, which we never got to see before, we added it to our Italian road-trip. Amalfi and Tuscany were actually the first destinations we agreed upon, and built the rest of the itinerary around them.
We spent 5 nights in Salerno, in the south of the Sorrentine Peninsula, as we looked for a location less crowded, child&budget friendly, from where we could explore the whole area. Salerno is far from being a quiet city, southern Italy is very different from what we experienced in the northern side. People here are noisy, nervous and always in a rush, except for the siesta, of course, when the streets are empty and everybody hides from the mid-day heat. Still, we enjoyed our stay here, very convenient for our trips, but also for evening walks by the sea or lazy days at the pool. Middle of September weather was perfect for us: sunny, with warm mornings and evenings, still breathable to be outside the whole day with a baby and great for bathing and catching some sun.
The first must-do here is a road trip through the whole coast, from Salerno to Sorrento. UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, Amalfi Coast consist practically from 13 towns or villages, linked by 40 km of narrow road with breathtaking views. Your car should be as small as possible and you should be a very skilled driver in order to pass the coast stress free. During the day, there are lots of cars, even touristic busses, and hundreds of scooters, on a curvy road that barely has two lanes, marked by steep cliffs and the sea. Andrei was really worried about the car, but we made it with no scratch and our emotions were rewarded by breathtaking views. We took short breaks in several little villages and I couldn’t believe how different they can be, rocky or with sandy beaches, wild and isolated or very touristic, each with its own charm.
We arrived in Sorrento early afternoon and spent a few hours getting lost through its narrow streets, admiring elegant buildings and fancy boutiques. This little town, typical for Southern Italy, really impressed me and it would worth a longer visit; it offers spectacular views over the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius, hidden little beaches and beautiful old architecture.
Next day we took a boat trip through the Amalfi Coast, which I highly recommend, as it is a great way to contemplate the dramatic coastline, with luxurious villas and spectacular towns, secluded by steep cliffs, olive trees, lemon groves and vineyards. We took a private tour with just 4 more people, to have a personal experience with enough privacy and appropriate for Eric as well. He was extremely happy as we sailed on the sea; he could nap with no worries in the baby-carrier and the rest of the time he just enjoyed the sun, the breeze and a lot of attention from the crew. We took breaks in two of the most famous towns from the whole coast, a good occasion for Eric to stretch its feet and take a savoury snack from fresh local fruits. In Amalfi we tasted a limoncello in Piazza del Duomo, as we admired the IXth century Cathedral and buildings with Moorish influences, while Positano impressed us by truly being a “vertical town”, with steep streets and thousand of stairs that make way to pastel-coloured little buildings, trendy shops and luxury villas. They are both charming and impressive, even though over-crowded with tourists, and I can totally understand why they always attracted artists of any kind
Eric enjoyed so much spending time on the water, so we also took a day trip to Capri Island, as it was less than one hour away. Top destination for artists and celebrities since late XIXth century, this tiny island has an even more aristocratic and exclusivist feeling than the Amalfi Coast. Luckily it was the end of the season and just a reasonable amount of tourists, as I know Capri has a serious problem with over-tourism during the summer and even consider measures to limit the amount of people that get to the island in peak season.
We skipped Naples and Pompei this time, as we were not sure Eric would enjoy so many hours in the hot sun. They will still be here in a few years, for a future trip, no need to rush things now and end up with a fussy and tired baby. Instead, we spent a couple of days by the pool, just chilling with no clear plan.
As we left Amalfi Coast relaxed, recharged with enough sun to last for a while, we started to fell a bit home sick, after all, we were on the road for almost 3 weeks. But we were heading to our last destination: Rimini, that will be detailed in the next post.
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