After heading to Cinque Terre last year, I knew that I wanted to come back to the Italian coast and see the other comparable, the Amalfi Coast. To get here, it took a three hour train ride from Florence to Naples (approximately 68 Euros). Once I arrived in Naples, it was another 1.5 hour train ride to Sorrento... then... another hour bus ride into Positano where I was staying for the next 5 nights. Haha.
The long journey was well worth it. The views of Positano are famous and you could see why. The only thing is... you feel like you're risking your life being on the bus driving along those winding roads along the cliff of the mountain. The roads were so narrow and there were so many blind turns it could make your stomach rise each time the you approached the next corner. The bus drivers definitely earned their keep though, you could tell that they knew what they were doing (or were just plain lucky) as there were several times where they were maybe 5cm's or less away from the approaching car/bus's side mirrors or the boulders on the other side. Anyway, I made it there so I guess they knew what they were doing!
On a side note, sometimes life can be peculiar. You start to realize things as you go on, whether it be through your daily life at home or on a journey in a foreign place, it really makes you reflect; reflect on what is important to you; on the values and characteristics of those you want to keep around you. Sometimes, they help you to realize the type of people you want to surround yourself with and those that you don't. But perhaps that isn't a bad realization at all.
P O S I T A N O
Positano is the place I based myself out of during this trip. It is a small town but it closely resembled some of the villages that I saw from Cinque Terre. The town itself is perched on the cliffside. When you look at the buildings from afar, the colors are a mixture of different shades of yellow and orange. Truly a sight you want to see for yourself if you haven't already. A beach sits at the bottom of the town and all along the beach front are restaurants (although a bit on the pricey side because it is a tourist trap) where people sit and enjoy great seafood and have a few drinks while enjoying the view. Easily my favorite town along the Amalfi.
C A P R I
An island just off the Amalfi, Capri is quite famous. From Positano, you could take a boat tour around the island for the day. Being on a boat, in the Mediterranean, in the sun? Sounds good to me! There are several tours you could take from Positano, Sorrento, or the Amalfi. The tour around the island was relaxing but hot... very hot. If you haven't done it before, you could go into the famous blue grotto here for about 12-15 Euros. It is a tiny cave that glows blue as a result of the sun hitting the sand under the water. It is neat but once you've done it once, I don't think you will feel the urge to do it again.
Once on Capri, I noticed right away how touristy this place was. Absolutely tiny, the town center would take no more than 1-2 hours to walk through. Except it was jam packed with people! One thing you could do to get away from the crowds though was to hop on a taxi or a bus and head on up to Anacapri. A separate city center, you could then take the gondola (or individual swing seat) all the way up to the top of the island. From there, you can take in the view of the entire island.
A M A L F I
Amalfi is its own small town to the east of Positano. About a 40 minute bus ride away, this town is also very touristy but definitely a lot more lively and "authentically Italian" than Capri (at least to me). Situated in the Amalfi is a very impressive Duomo. Probably the most impressive cathedral I had seen since my time in Siena or Florence. I didn't spend much time in this place though... maybe 3 hours? Then it was off to Ravello!
R A V E L L O
Situated at the top of the mountain above Amalfi, Ravello is a very small town. Walking through the town, it seemed like there were a few highlights. What seems to be a very musical town, there were several ads for the Ravello music festival that takes place annually here. Unfortunately I missed it by just a few days! Would have loved to take in a concert here. Definitely worth the visit, you could spend about half a day in Ravello and the other half in Amalfi and you would have a very productive day.
F O O D
The food in the Amalfi was a startling change from Tuscany. Being right by the Mediterranean, the food was very seafood-centric. Pastas filled with clams, mussels, monk fish and other daily catches were commonly on the menu here. The only catch? The food here is also much more expensive than that of Tuscany. For instance, a glass of red would cost between 1.5-4 Euros in Tuscany. But on the first night in the Amalfi, I had a glass that was 12 Euros. Now I wasn't given much choice so I didn't just choose to drink the more expensive glass. Anyway, the food was decent here! I appreciate fresh, great tasting food wherever I go, so I thoroughly enjoyed my food adventures here. But what was with the definition of al dente here? It tasted undercooked every time!
A C C O M M O D A T I O N S
During my stay in the Amalfi Coast, I based myself out of Positano. It wasn't the most central of locations (ie. Sorrento) but it being the most beautiful of the towns in the area, it was worth it. I stayed at Holiday House Gilda in a private apartment with a huge balcony and an ocean view. Not only was it an ocean view, it was one with a view of the town of Positano during sunset. This place was beautiful as it sounds. The owners of this Holiday house were some of the most genuinely friendly people that I have ever met. Gilda and her husband did not speak very much English at all but they always met me with a smile on their face and always spoke so happily in Italian. Just by themselves, they made the stay worth it. The only thing? It was approximately 20 minutes outside of town.
O V E R A L L
Well, the Amalfi was certainly a different area than Tuscany. This place closely resembles the Cinque Terre but there was one distinct difference. It was far more compact and dense with tourists here. The views of the Mediterranean were spectacular and the seafood was second to none, but which would I choose between Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast? Most definitely Cinque Terre.
I'm glad I had a chance to visit it for the first time on this trip though!