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Ravello, Positano and Amalfi, a stunning trio on the Amalfi Drive
Amalfi Coast (Italy)
Member Name: mickeyhunt
Amalfi Coast (Italy)
Advantages: Wonderful scenery, beautiful villages and that Iconic Med view
Disadvantages: The only disadvantage was that we had to leave
My husband and I (sounds a bit like the Queen) visited Sorrento in 2002 and I have always hankered after going back there. We stayed on the outskirts of Sorrento in the Hotel Jararino at Sant Agata Sui Golfi. It was up in the hills so had a fantastic view of the coast across to Versuvious. We had rain on one of the days we were there and that view was equally stunning, because there seemed to be two levels of cloud, the sea of cloud that we could see blanketing the coast which lay below us and another level of cloud above. It looked like we were an Island in a sea of cloud. The Hotel Iacarino is extremely beautiful and is decorated in a traditional Italian period style so our room was large and airy with antique mirrors and furniture. We had room 8 which I think had the best view. The only drawback was the food. We were on half board and the food was not the classic Italian food that we expected, but more like the type of basic hotel food that you would get across the continent. I would still reccomend the hotel, just do bed and breakfast.
We used this hotel as a base for exploring the Amalfi Coast and I have to say I have never been to a more beautiful area. The Amalfi drive is one way for coaches and you can understand why. The cars drive along the coast road that clings to the side of steep cliffs and feels like it is going to fall into the sea at any moment. Even coaches crack on at a phenomenal speed. To have them coming back along this route would be crazy, tantamount to inviting accident.
Positiano is the first jewel that we visited and it is a fairy tale village that seems to tumble down the steep cliffs with a pretty little beach at the bottom. It is wonderful to walk down through the village in the evening, but what is entrancing is the view back up the cliffs from the beach. The village is just a barrage of floating lights that seem to hang from no where. It is just magical. We ate in a restuarnt on the far side of the beach call La Terrace, which was hugely expensive and a little daunting. We ordered 2 bottles of wine just to show we could afford, then went back to the coach afterwards completely broke and completely sozzeled. We had a great evening.
We next visited Amalfi during the day. This is not as pretty as Positano, but it is still a nice place to visit. They have a beautiful catherderal with a humungeous number of steps up to it. Great for wedding photos, but not so great for the bride to walk down. I tripped and was wearing flatties and shorts! It was beautiful inside and so cool and is worth a visit. The town has some wonderful leathershops, but be prepared to spend as they are not cheap, although the quality is so good, that they are probably cheaper than the items would be in London. We found a tiny pizza resturant down the bottom near the cathederal steps where we could view everything that was going on and the food was fresh and excellent.
Our next place to visit was Ravello and this was probably the most spectacular place that we have ever visited. The trip up from Amalfi can be done in two ways, Hard or Soft. Hard is the series of steps cut into the cliffs and it is long. Soft is in the comfort of a coach, bus or taxi. We chose soft I am afraid to say, mainly becuase of shortness of time. You do get some amazing views in the coach and it is a hair raising journey. Ravello is home to the Villa Rufulo which is said to have inspired a lot of the composer Wagner's work. The Villa Rufulo is used to stage operas and concerts and is also home to the most iconic view of the mediteranean, the view of the plane tree that sits in front of the red roofs overlooking the blue bay down to the beaches of Minori and Maori. You can even see the beach where the Canadians landed during WW2 and had to fight their way inland. This is stunning and breathtaking. Next door is the Hotel Rufulo where one day (when we win the lottery) we plan to go and stay.
The rest of Ravello is very sleepy and quiet but just as beautiful. You can walk right up to the top to the Villa Cimbrone, another muse for Wagner. The Palazzo Sasso is located up here in Ravello and is probably one of the best hotels in Italy. Even if we win the lottery I don't think we can afford this.
The view from the oposite side of Ravello is equally stunning. This is the side that faces back towards Positano. You have to walk up a way into the village and you come on a walled area by chance which overlooks this totally green and lush valley that runs right back down to the Coast Road. My husband always says that it looks like wonderful English countryside, with an Italian twist.
When we had to leave Ravello I felt like crying. It is the most beautiful place I have visited and when I get the chance I will go back again.
Summary: The jewels in Italy's crown all together on the Amalfi drive.
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