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Naples and the Amalfi Coast

ITALY | Thursday, 13 July 2017 | Views [474]

What a wedding!  Congratulations James and Corinna on organising such an amazing weekend for your friends to join and enjoy your celebration. The views over the Bay of Naples from the villa were incredible, and following a nice service in Naple's Anglican church, we enjoiyed partying on into the night following an amazing feast on the terrace.  A higher terrace was decked out with bar and DJ with lights and glitter ball, making for the most amazing disco setting.  At 1.30am or so guests were invited to let off candle lit lanterns that floated across the bay towards the shadow of Mt Vesuvious.

On Sunday, we swam in the bay and enjoyed a BBQ with other guests.  It was hard to drag ourselves away form such an amazing place - bullt on land donated by the King of Naples apparently back in the 18th century.  The Presidential Villa is next door. After 3 months in S America, it was fanstastic to meet up with old friends and meet some new folks.

From Naples, I took a boat to Ravello via Sorrento and Amalif where i board the small bus that winds its way up the steep mountain pass to this gem of a medieval town.  Boat is a safer way to travel to Amalfi since the buses going in that direction tend to overhang the mountainous roads and switchbacks and travel at crazy speeds.  It was just as I remembered it. I was particularly looking forward to re-visiting the amazing gardens overlooking the stunning blue waters towards Capri. Villa Rufolo gets top billing in Ravello - in part due to the Summer Concert season that is held in its grounds. But the lawns and statues that i remembered were not here.  On checking with the guide, I discovered that the gardens I recalled were actually at Villa Cimbrone - a few hundred yards further up the hillside town. Fortinately, the gardens open late in Summer and were still open at 7 when I arrived.  They were just as I recalled - rose gardens, hydrangeas, masses of geraniums, antique statues on the further terrace overlooking the sea... The gardens, un surprisingly given their arts and crafts feel, were restored and enhanced by an Englishman who had set out on the Grand Tour at the beginning of the 20th century. Truly exquisite gardens with the most incredible views.

My day in Capri was too short but given the high tempartures in the mid 30s it was hard to stir ourselves to do too much.  This really is millionaire;s row - and President Trump's glamour daughter was in town - no doubt with scores of CIA men... I didn't see her but I did meet up with a friend and seek to find the terrace tavern, Le Grottelle, that I also recalled enjoyed stunning vistas of the natural stone arch that frames so many photos. After a hot and humid walk through the exquisite town and up the hillsides, we found it - again just as  I remembered, but alas it was closed so we back traced to one of the big 5 star hotels in town for a terrace supper.  

The one downside to the Amalfi coast is that for every charming, delightful host, somebody else seems to rip you off.  Instead of paying 2.5 euro for a small coffee and coissant as in Naples, my Capri breakfast cost 8 euros.  A small takeaway icecream 5 euros in Amalfi. My friends have all experienced the same tendency to overcharge English speakers.  A few have abandoned taxis early in disgust. 

Its a pity since the coastline is so beautiful. I spent my final morning in Amalfi visiting the exqusiite church in the central plaza. Parts go back to Roman times and the frescoes are stunning.  

Farewell Amalfi - I look forward to travelling here again.




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