The Amalfi Coast is that place that you see in every travel magazine and overly inspirational "wonderlusty" Instagram feed. The ones where every image seems to need in the comments a #nofilter. In short there is a very good reason for this and if you can look past the bus loads of Chinese, American and British tourists you might just get that #nofilter experience.
When my fiancee and I started planning our wedding back in the summer of 2015 we had no idea what we would be up against as the time went on. Between family dynamics and an unfortunate and serious illness precluding my fiancee's mother from travel, our... or really my future wife's... dreams and aspirations about her wedding day were slowly being crushed.
Something had to be done and by April of 2016 we finally said "fuck it" lets just spend the money on ourselves! In a few hours we went from being depressed and emotionally exhausted about our wedding to excited about using the money we had to go off on a trip. We could go anywhere in the world and we picked Amalfi.
the Amalfi coast is a small stretch of land between the town of Salerno and the mega city of Naples in Southern Italy. When we began planning we were amazed to find, as North Americans, that you could drive the Amalfi Coast in about 4 hours. But man do they pack a lot of shit into that stretch. There are dozens of unique and individual towns along the coast, more than enough to spend weeks in the area.
We flew into the Naples airport from Paris. It was our first time not in Northern Europe and the change was significant. everything felt a little grimy and in need of some TLC. the streets were a cluster of motor bikes and taxis making up their own traffic laws as they went about their business. Smog checks on cars are still something they are working towards in Naples and in our taxi booking it for the central train station it was hard to tell how the driver was able to see the pedestrians running across the street through all the clouds of black thick exhaust emanating from the cars and buses.
Naples is a city on the verge of having all its buildings morph into one single 10 story super complex. Between the cacophony of vehicles people and roving dogs in your path and the sometimes impossibly narrow streets no wider than a large mans shoulders its difficult if not impossible to get a view of your surroundings.
That all changed as we hopped on our train heading South. Within a few moments our high speed train was outside the city and there right at the edge of the city was that most famous of volcanoes, Vesuvius, and all at once it hit us. The history, the culture, the sun, the landscape... we were in Italy now!
We were heading South for Salerno the next largest town and the southern tip of the Amalfi Coast. We were staying in an Airbnb in Salerno with a guy named Lucca at the B&B Salerno in alto mare. (Check it out here
) Our accommodations were spectacular and Luca was fantastic.
Salerno is a small town and not a very tourist-ed town. We walked the streets which were unusually quite but very charming. You got the feeling that "this is were real Italians live." (although real Italians live all over, we had that oh so touristy smug opinion that we must have found some magical place that only locals know about.)
Luca (the actual local) did show us some of the better places to eat and drink including a restaurant that had all you can drink wine which poured out of a fountain in the wall. Yes this is a reason alone to go to Salerno...
My Wife and I rented a car and began our drive up the Amalfi Coast. Its hard to put into words what was seen along the way but needless to say every quarter of a mile we would both simultaneously say holy shit we gotta stop here. And we would pull over, get out, take a picture and then get back in the car to do it again a quarter mile down the road.
The Amalfi Coast is famous for its lemons and its limoncello. (A very strong and sweet liquour made from grain whiskey, sugar and the rind of an Amalfi lemon... go figure)
These lemons and much of the other produce in the Amalfi is made along in the upper elevations of the cliffs along the coast. These towns are not to be missed which is easy to do as the ocean is like that bright light at night attracting all months to its beautiful warm rays, but your would be a fool not to venture higher up.
We stayed in the town of Praiano in a small room carved out of the cliffs just above the il Pirata restaurant. with bars built into caves in the cliffs and crystal clear turquoise water in the small coves bellow you could really satisfy your Bond villain obsessions.
Driving in Amalfi is not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced driver. The roads are exceedingly narrow with blind turns more appropriately named blind, def and dumb turns. Add to this bus after bus of tourists careening down the hills it can be an unsettling, to say the least, experience. But hey its all part of the fun.
Our time in Almafi was too short and as we began our journey back north along the coast to Naples we both new we would need to come back soon. Our trip was but a small taste of that oh so famous coast line. Our time on the coast made us all to aware of the struggles modern travelers face with a 7 billion person population and the need to feel like something has been discovered for the first time or that you are on your own. But like the limoncello it is famous for; the Amalfi Coast is a parring of romance sunshine and color like the sweet syrup of the liquor but with a base of grain whiskey warm sharp and intoxicating.