Happy Friday, friends! I’m back with the last post in my mini travel series. I’ve been sharing snippets from our quick Italian anniversary getaway these past couple days- check out Venice & Florence, if you missed those posts. Today, we’re venturing to the Amalfi Coast! Click through to see how we spent a couple days exploring the small cities along the Tyrrhenian Sea…
I knew I wanted to go back to the Amalfi coast when planning our anniversary trip. It’s a special landscape I knew Emmett would also thoroughly enjoy, and I’ve been dreaming of going back. Years ago when I was living in Italy, my roommates and I hiked Cinque Terre, explored the coast, and even rented a boat for a day. Cassie, Meredith, Brandon, and Lauren… if you’re reading this, that trip was one of my all-time favorites and I wish we could do it all again together! Anyhow- somehow I persuaded Emmett to take a six-hour train ride with me and squeeze in a couple days on the coast, despite being short on time. I’m happy to report, he thought it was well worth the effort! To be fair, we did upgrade our seats on the train, so it was pretty relaxing to cruise and sip wine along the way…
A train ride landed us in Salerno where we were met by our hilarious driver, sent by our hotel. After a quick introduction, he offered to assist with our bags, as Emmett & I watched the mini van he had just hopped out of, rolling into oncoming traffic. He recognized the look of terror on our faces and quickly spun around to see what we were witnessing. Forgetting to put the car in park, he ran after the van, jumped in just in time, slammed on the brakes, and shouted, “MOMMA MIA!!” We knew we were in for an interesting ride. Haha! After some nervous laughing, we were on our way to the Amalfi Coast. The road along the coast is not for the faint of heart- or for those who get car sick. Luckily, Emmett & I are fine in those situations, but it was a crazy ride- swerving in & out of traffic along the narrow winding roads on the edge of the sea cliffs.
Having explored much of the Amalfi Coast and islands previously, I suggested we stay off the beaten path this time around… we opted for a local hotel in Conca Dei Marini and it was a lovely choice! Once settled in at Hotel Belvedere, we immediately descended down the narrow staircase to the pool for capresé and a spritz.
We took our drinks to-go and ventured down to the rocky beach at the edge of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Tired from our long day of travel, we opted to have dinner at the hotel restaurant that evening, which turned out to be really good. The lemon sorbet for dessert was the best I’ve had in Italy… when in Amalfi, eat & drink all the lemon concoctions!
The next morning, we were up bright and early. We headed into Amalfi, stopped by the market for picnic supplies & essentials, then made our way over to the marina to pick up the boat we had rented. I’d done this over a decade ago with my friends from art school, and knew Emmett would love it. Having experience with boats, we didn’t require a captain and were capable of touring on our own, exploring the coast and islands.
We cruised around, stopping to swim, picnic, and eventually parked for lunch in a little coastal town called Nerano.
You moor your boat, and a small water taxi comes to grab you, whisking you to shore. We had lunch at Il Cantuccio, which is a lively and packed seaside joint. We watched a couple get engaged and the entire place turned into a party. We hopped back onto our little boat, did some more exploring, enjoying the breathtaking scenario, stopping along the way, before turning the boat back into the marina.
We had some time to tour the famous Duomo di Amalfi, dedicated to Saint Andrew, which was absolutely stunning- I had never been in the garden area before…
We had a quick gelato and espresso at Pasticceria Pansa Amalfi, then did some walking & exploring before heading back to our hotel for the evening.
We were so stuffed from eating all day, we skipped dinner and opted for cocktails and dessert (more of that mouth watering lemon sorbet) at our hotel.
I have to say- this hotel was one of the most special and most impactful places we’ve stayed…. not because of the decor, service, pool, beach access, or food- but solely because of the people. I’ve never stayed at a place where the staff was as warm and welcoming.
They truly treated us like family, sharing their stories and asking about our own. The bartender, Bonaventura, is basically the Italian grandpa we all wish we had, speaking wise words, positive affirmations, and he made some of the finest cocktails we had the pleasure of sipping. We could have talked to that man all evening, had it not been for the drink orders keeping him busy. The same 5-6 people wear multiple hats and are there every single day from sun up until the dark hours of the night- it was evident how hard they worked, and always with a smile… a classic family-owned Italian hotel. While old school with a bed & breakfast kind of feel, there was a magic to that place that was really inviting, and the people had everything to do with that. The location was fantastic, and the fact that it had a pool, beach access, and was affordable sealed the deal for us. I’ll drop some photos in a gallery below… one image shows the hotel in proximity to the water- it’s right on the edge with the arched details.
The following morning, we had an amazing breakfast at the hotel, said our goodbyes, and hopped into the car with the same funny driver, winding along the swerving road out of Amalfi back to the Salerno train station.
I hope you enjoyed seeing snippets of our trip, and these travel journal type posts! Maybe someday they’ll be helpful for your own Italian adventure. I’m happy to share any recommendations or answer any questions you have. We’re already trying to figure out when we can get back to Italy. There are so many more places I’d love to share and experience with Emmett… Lake Como, Siena, San Gimignano, Portofino, Assisi, Milan, Atrani, Bologna, and Tropea, to name a few. Ha! Once you begin exploring & learning about a wonderful country, it’s tricky to hit pause. Often times, I’ll visit a place once and then dream of other destinations- after all, there is an entire world to discover and we only have so much time. However, Italy is one of those unique countries I’m always game to revisit.
Next week, I’ve got some fun fall & Halloween posts lined up for you. Peggi also has a lovely curated post that I’m looking forward to reading myself. Be sure to check back next week. Thank you again for following along and for taking the time to read, say hello, and connect! I missed this place. Now that I’m feeling a bit better, I’m ready to focus on home projects once again. We’re also taking the camper out this weekend- one last time before the snow flies! I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well. Ciao!