According to social media, it seems as though everyone and their mother hit up the Amalfi Coast this summer – and after visiting for the first time in August I totally understand why. Imagine a land (erm – coastline) that's full of of mermaid folklore, flowing limoncello, bougainvilleas blooming everywhere... oh! and it also happens to be the birthplace of pizza. Heaven? Uh, yea – I'd say so. If you want to experience Euro-low-key coolness and eat until you can't move, then Amalfi is the spot for you.
The sights, smells, and people of Amalfi, Positano, Ravello, and Sorrento make for a monstrous sensory overload. If you stay in a smaller beach town, you'll catch yourself transfixed by peaceful stillness and spectacular beauty. Waking up early (hangovers don't happen when the wine is home grown) and taking in all of the views with an espresso in hand before a day of whizzing around the curvy coastline provides a certain mix of relaxation and culture that I personally can't get enough of.
Top hits below:
- Cruise around Capri for an epic day trip: It's the most stunning place I've ever seen. Try to convince your captain to let you swim in the Green and Blue Grottos (which may or may not be illegal).
- Path of the Gods in Positano: all about the views.
- 600 Steps to Crapolla (close to Sorrento): the hike is no joke, but the desolate cove of Crapolla (TERRIBLE name) makes it all worth it.
- Atrani Walk in Ravello: the most landscaped and maintained cities we saw (as the others tend to let nature run its course); it's majestic and a must-see.
- Vesuvius for another day trip: touristy? yes. But badass? yes. Go check it out.
The meals that I ate during the trip gave me a newfound appreciation for the art of cooking. To the Italians, food is so much more than sustenance. As a grand finale to our six-day stint, we hired a private chef to come to our villa and he made it so obvious that friends, a healthy helping of wine, and the foundation of quality food are the only ingredients necessary for an unforgettable evening. From mozzarella smoked in lemon leaves to cheese and ham stuffed calzones, grilled zucchini, and the most fresh-to-death tomatoes known to man, the meal and its accompanying laughs (along with a butchered group rendition of "That's Amore") left me feeling more #blessed than I have in a loooong time.
More deets below:
- Da Maria in Amalfi: try the eggplant.
- Da Gemma in Sorrento: for bomb seafood.
- Ristorante Taverna Azzurra (also Sorrento): seafood, pizza, wine, and a waterfront view? Check, check, check, and check.
- Cumpa' Cosimo in Ravello: legit everything you could ever want in an Italian restaurant.
- Private Dinner: honestly sounds more baller than it is! If you rally a crew, definitely consider hiring a private chef one night. It was by far the most authentic experience. They'll bring ingredients from their own backyards and bottles of wine.
- This Airbnb for two in Torca (super close to Sorrento) for $72/night.
- Or this one (also in Torca) for four for $116/night.
- And if you're with a group, this one in Sorrento for $87/night.
The stereotypes about Italians being overly warm, friendly people are completely true, so even if you non parla italiano, someone will try their best to help out a lost soul. Speaking Italian is incredibly fun, though. Reserve using Buongiorno and Buona Sera for more formal occasions and drop a Ciao Bella! among friends. Stuff your face with formaggio (cheese), tell your servers grazie mille (thanks a lot!) and everything will be va bene (OK!).
Oh, and fill that playlist up with some Dean Martin and Andrea Bocelli jams.
Have a reliable recommendation or sweet spot to share? Go crazy in the comments section.