“Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life” ~Anna Akhmatova
The hills of the Amalfi Coast are steeped in romance and tradition. As a travel enthusiast I’m extremely grateful to have the had the opportunity to visit many unique and beautiful destinations. This particular area of Italy holds a special place in my being that keeps calling me back. I am of Italian descent so maybe that’s why it feels so much like home every time I return.
John and I spent 5 unforgettable days in the town of Praiano celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. As milestones go, this was a big one and we wanted to choose a location that matched the grandeur of the occasion.
We booked a five night stay at the Hotel Margherita
Suela and Andrea are the marvelous proprietors (read their story here) and are almost always onsite making sure that all of their guests are happy and well cared for. This hotel exudes a calming Italian vibe and the feelings of relaxation and joy while we were here were absolute. We were upgraded to a room with a gorgeous balcony when they learned we were celebrating our anniversary. Now that’s Amore!
In Italian, the word Meriggiare means to escape the heat of the midday sun by resting in the shade. We spent hours unwinding and enjoying the cool solitude of our patio. Sometimes while reading a book or magazine, other times just starting at the mesmerizing blue sea that seemed to expand exponentially before us. This activity almost always included a cup of coffee or a glass of wine….
We ventured out for several memorable outings in the area. We discovered One Fire Beach while on 2015 trip to Praiano with our sons. Hidden in between the the rocky hillside and the sea is this beautiful gem of a beach, dotted with bright orange umbrellas that provide a vivid backdrop to the alluring water. The owner, Picoletto, is genuinely friendly and exudes Italian charm. He assigns the lounge chairs to visitors (to ensure your spot and for the best sea views, reserving ahead is highly recommended, especially during the summer months!) Your hotel concierge can assist with this if your ability to speak Italian is limited. The vibe of this place is happy and upbeat. Music plays throughout the day and each afternoon at 4:00 PM is: WATERMELON TIME. Picoletto and his staff turn up the tunes, he dances and slices up watermelons for the beach goers. We thoroughly embraced the festivity of this environment. There are 2 ways to get to One Fire Beach. The first is on foot, while going down is easy, getting back up is a little more (ok – alot more) work. There are approximately 400 stairs to climb up to get back into the city (see photo below). You can also go by water taxi. We walked every time, it was a great way to work off the wine and pasta that we’d been indulging in.
John and I love wine and were on a mission to visit at least one vineyard in the Amalfi area during this trip. Suela recommended Cantine Marisa Cuomo. Located in the small village of Furore, this winery offers sweeping panoramas of the vineyard and the sea. The vines cling vertically to the Divina Costiera hillside. Upon arrival, we discovered we were the only guests scheduled on that day so we ended up having what turned out to be a private tour of the property and the fascinating underground cellars. We learned about the unique growing process in this region and the difficulty of harvesting grapes from vines growing at such steep altitudes. We finished our tour with a tasting across the street at the Hostaria Di Bacco. We paired a glass of Cantine Marisa Cuomo wine with an aperitivo ( a small appetizer). They do have full wine and food pairing menu but we had dinner plans shortly after our tour so we weren’t able to partake in the tasting experience. All the more reason to go back for another visit!
A few of our favorite restaurants in Praiano are:
M’AMA! Restaurant located on the rooftop of the Hotel Margherita – The menu is filled with brightly flavored Mediterranean dishes. The wine list is lovely and has a variety of international and local labels. Read here to learn why the restaurant is so aptly named. We spent our first afternoon up on the roof sipping refreshing cocktails and noshing on a prosciutto and melon sandwich. At dinner we were served perfectly cooked fish and for dessert, a lovely, crisp waffle covered in cream and berries. The hotel also has a charming lobby where they offer an enticing daily breakfast.
Kasai Praiano – Unforgettable dishes and panoramic views are what this restaurant is all about. We discovered it while exploring the area on foot shortly after our arrival in Praiano. The outdoor tables are situated high above the sea and line the gorgeous coastal terrain. We loved everything we ordered here. While I’ve never been a super fan of anchovies, I continue to crave the fried version they created for us at Kasai (see image below).
Costa Diva – This restaurant was a short taxi ride from our hotel. The open air patio is so beautiful! We loved the fresh lemon trees, the views and their divine Mediterranean menu. I ordered a very memorable fish dish, it was prepared in an exquisite tomato sauce. They also have a lovely wine list.
We spent one lively evening in Positano during this trip. Our intended destination was Franco’s Bar which is attached to the Le Sirenuse Luxury Boutique Hotel (founded and run by the Sersale Family). The outdoor bar is situated high above the sea and boasts creative cocktails and views for days. We were treated to a dazzling sunset from our seats on the patio.
Getting to Praiano and Positano: We flew Delta Airlines into Rome and rented a car for the drive to the Amalfi Area. If driving the winding roads of this region is not your thing, there are a multitude of transportation options that will get you there. Private drivers, limo/van services, buses, trains etc…
I really hope this post inspires you to visit this breathtaking area of Italy! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I would also love to hear about your travel experiences. Comment and let me know some of your favorite locations.
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