Wednesday, September 7, 2011

{wanderlust} amalfi recommendations

To round out my coverage of our Italian adventure, below are some recommendations for the Amalfi Coast. Truth be told, I spent much of our stay right here, but nevertheless, I still have a few favorite spots. Our home base was Praiano, a small town outside of Positano, so many of my picks are centered there.  Feel free to email me for more ideas if you're planning a trip to the area (and feel free to consider taking me with you? I want to go back!)


Bar Mare Petit: Simply one of the best restaurant experience I've ever had. It doesn't look like much (in fact, we wondered if we were in the right place) but the food and hospitality are unparalleled. We were greeted by Salvatore, who served us house wine and delicious eggplant, peppers and tomatoes from his father's garden. (His father, by the way, is 77 and still climbs 250 stairs to and from his garden every day to pick the vegetables for the restaurant). Next, we ate ricotta gnocchi and spaghetti al vongole, which were handmade by "Mama", who has been fishing and cooking in the area since she was a girl. To finish, Mama brought us a slice of cake and some of her homemade limoncello, which we enjoyed alongside her. Trust me on this one--you simply must go if you are near Praiano. 

Casa Angelina: A beautiful and modern boutique hotel built into the cliffs of Praiano. Our room was small but clean and well appointed, and everyone at the hotel was incredibly friendly, welcoming, and made sure that we had a wonderful vacation. Like most hotels on the coast, the beach is quite a hike from the main building, but there is an elevator that takes you part of the way there. (They also serve delicious zucchini fries on the beach, which make the trek worth it). We also loved that we could walk from the hotel to several of the restaurants in town, instead of having to take taxis everywhere.

Cultural and Historical Sites

Ravello: Ravello was my favorite of the coastal towns we visited. Quaint, charming and stunningly beautiful, visiting Ravello feels like stepping back in time. We spent an entire afternoon wandering its cobblestone streets, and could have spent days in the gardens at the picturesque Villa Cimbrone (where there is also a restaurant and a hotel). Villa Rufolo was lovely as well (and hosts concerts throughout the summer that we heard are fabulous and quite popular) but if you only have time for one Villa, make it Cimbrone.

Pompeii: We were blown away by Pompeii, which is a couple of hours from Positano by car. We took a guided tour of the ancient city, which I would highly recommend since Pompeii is huge and could be overwhelming to navigate on your own.

Capri:We took a day trip to Capri, but I recommend staying overnight if possible. Even if you catch the first ferry there and the last ferry back, one day isn't enough time to explore the entire island. That being the case, we stuck to Capritown, but I would love to go back and see Anacapri one day. In Capritown, we toured The Blue Grotto (which is exactly as everyone says it is--touristy and crowded but a must-do all the same), ate at Pullali Wine Bar, and strolled through the town.

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