Laura Thayer, an art historian and freelance writer, is one of the fortunate ones to be living in the beautiful Amalfi Coast in Campania, Italy. She loves writing about travel, shopping and preparing local recipes and walking the ancient pathways on the Amalfi Coast. She blogs about life on the Amalfi Coast at her own site Ciao Amalfi.
I am sure her insights as a resident in the Amalfi Coast will give you some goods ideas in planning your trip to this part of Italy.
1. How long have you lived on the Amalfi Coast?
I first came to the Amalfi Coast in 2007 on vacation with my mother, and fell in love with this beautiful spot in Italy immediately. The warmth of the people, the charming small towns, the sea – it was all so captivating. And I still feel that way every single day!
2. Why did you choose to live here?
Love. Yes, it’s that simple … and that complicated! You’ve heard those stories about people who travel to the other side of the world and fall in love with their tour guide, right? Well, that actually does happen, and it was one of the best things that has ever happened in my life. Making the move from America to Italy has been a challenging experience, but a deeply rewarding one at the same time.
3. In a few sentences describe the Amalfi Coast.
Imagine clear blue sea, rocky shores, the sound of pebbles washing back and forth in the waves and the feel of the warm Mediterranean sun on your face. Look up and see the rocky cliffs with homes and villages somehow, magically perhaps, clinging and facing out to the sea. Church bells echo in the mountain valleys, and you have to pinch yourself to realize it’s not a dream. That’s the beauty of the Amalfi Coast!
4. One picture/photo which you feel represents the Amalfi Coast and why did you choose this picture?
This is the panorama of Amalfi that you see when you arrive by boat in the port of Amalfi. Every time I see it I am reminded of the very first time I set foot in Amalfi. I just knew there was something special in this place for me!
5. What are the positive and negative aspects of living in the Amalfi Coast?
Adjusting to living in another country always has ups and downs, but one of my goals has been to stay focused on the positive aspects. The people are extremely warm and friendly here, which has helped me feel welcome and a part of the community. The positives must also include the beautiful scenery, the beach days in the summer and the quiet days in the winter. It can be challenging to live in an area that is so busy with tourism in the summer months, but I live in a peaceful spot and just lay low during the hot and crowded days of August.
6. Three towns on the Amalfi coast that shouldn’t be missed.
If it is your first trip to the Amalfi Coast, you have to hit the classics: Amalfi, Ravello and Positano. Each one has its own character, beauty and sights to discover. Ravello is located high up in the mountains with unimaginably beautiful views, while Positano hugs the cliff side earning its name as the “Vertical City.” Amalfi was the home of the powerful Republic of Amalfi in the Middle Ages, and has an impressive Cathedral you won’t want to miss.
7. Best kept secrets about the Amalfi Coast that you can share.
Hiking and walking the ancient pathways connecting the villages on the Amalfi Coast is the best way to really experience the beauty and way of life in this part of Italy. Don’t just bring your flip flops!
8. Your favorite Amalfi dish.
Anything with lemons! I love preparing chicken with capers, green olives and freshly squeezed juice from the lemons that grow on the terraces along the Amalfi Coast.
9. Favorite restaurant(s)
Many people only think seafood when they think of the traditional cuisine of the Amalfi Coast, and fresh fish is certainly one of the highlights. But if you head up into the mountain villages, you’ll find entirely different dishes based on terra (earth) instead of mare (sea). There you’ll find wonderful dishes with locally harvested mushrooms and even cinghiale (wild boar). I’ll tell you about one of my favourite restaurants for seafood and one where you can discover the other side of traditional Amalfi Coast cuisine.
For seafood, go to Ristorante Le Arcate located right on the sea with wonderful views of the charming town of Atrani, which is just next to Amalfi.
Ristorante Le Arcate
Largo Orlando Buonocore
84010 Atrani (SA)
+39 089 871367
The drive up to Trattoria Le Querce takes you up into the mountains above Maiori and past Tramonti, one of the sleepy mountain villages of the Amalfi Coast that few visitors explore. This is one of my favourite restaurants on the coast, and where I head when I’m hungry for a really good steak.
Trattoria Le Querce
Loc. “Le Chiancolelle”
+39 329 9380782
10. When is the best time to visit the Amalfi Coast?
The best times of year are the late Spring from April to May and autumn from September to October. Avoid coming in August when it is hot, crowded and most expensive. If you’re coming for the beach and the sun, June and July are your best bets. The winter is also a nice time to visit, but ferries stop running usually around the beginning of November, which means the only way to move about the coast is by public bus or to rent a car. However, if you want the experience of driving along the Amalfi Coast Road, coming off season is the best since you’ll find less traffic and fewer coaches.
Checkout Laura’s blog Ciao Amalfi! at http://www.ciaoamalfi.blogspot.com/