A day exploring the Amalfi Coast – Positano, Ravello and Amalfi in March

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There are several ways to explore the Amalfi Coast in a day.  By bus, ferry or car.  We were there in late March when the ferries are not running or running sporadically, so we decided not to go that route.  Not being big bus tour people we opted to hire a private driver to take us exploring the Amalfi Coast for a day.  After reading great reviews on TripAdvisor I contacted Gerry at Sorrento First Choice.  He provides car service but really does so much more than that as he knew where to stop to see great views, told us history and culture of the area and also recommended restaurants for lunch.  He came to pick us up at 9am and since there were six of us he brought a nice, comfortable Mercedes minivan.  Sadly, the weather this day was not ideal – overcast with clouds and chilly.

In spite of the clouds, we were able to see some wonderful scenery along the coast – amazing structures, some centuries old, such as towers built by the Saracenes and Normans as a lookout for pirates.

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Our first stop was Positano.

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I must say with everything I had heard about this place I was anxious to see it.  Perhaps it was the weather, but I was not that “wowed” by it.  Despite the poor weather it was still quite crowded – and I can not imagine what it would be like on a nice day.

We explored some stores and Lauren did find a nice bathing suit cover up (apropos to buy here), and had a quick stop for some espresso.

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We went into the Le Sireneuse lobby and pool area, another place we had been looking forward to seeing.  We have been fortunate to have the opportunity to stay in some highly rated resorts and hotels, and again we were not overly impressed by Le Sireneuse.  We did not see any of the rooms, and I am sure they are quite lovely.  I think we were struck by how small the common space areas were – obvious restraint when perched on the side of a mountain like that.

We went inside the church, Santa Maria Assunta and there was a very interesting display set up for Easter.

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Obviously, the main attraction in this town, would be to enjoy the beaches, or better yet, be there in the evening when the daytrippers (like us) have gone away and you can enjoy a lovely dinner.   Three years ago we spent 4 nights in Bellagio in the Lakes.  It was VERY crowded during the day, but at night, everything was at a much slower pace and we enjoyed our evenings there.

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Our next stop was Ravello, where we first stopped for lunch at Ristorante Cumpa’ Cosimo.  It is a great traditional trattoria located before you actually arrive in the main square of Ravello.  We started out with proscuitto et melone and marinated sardines.  The melon was not quite ripe, but the sardines were excellent.  It was passionately run by the Nonna, who came out to take our order.  I had spaghetti de mare, Stephen lamb, Michael pasta de la mista (a plate of different kinds of pasta), Lauren gnocchi di sorrentino, Mom fettucine bolognese and Dad roast chicken.  The pasta dishes were all delicious, but the lamb and the roast chicken were both overcooked.  I would stick with the pasta when eating here.

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Though Ravello is located high on the mountain and not right on the ocean like the other two cities, I think I liked it the best.  I really loved the main piazza.   It was not nearly as crowded which may have helped to.  Can not believe we did not take any pictures in Ravello!

Our next stop was Amalfi.  It has a very striking cathedral in the Piazza del duomo with an impressive set of steps.

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There were many touristy shops here, but I did find a little shop that was run by eight artists who sold their work in the shop  (Milleunaceramica Via Pietro Capuano 36).  I collect Nativities, and there was a unique ceramic one there I found that I just love!

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I was delighted to find this charming store on the right hand side about halfway up from the main street.

We headed back to Sorrento and just in time, as the heavy clouds that had been hanging around all day finally burst open with rain – perfect timing!

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2 responses to “Rome 2006”

  1. Melanie says:

    Great blog that I discovered today from your link on the Fodors forum! My husband and I are planning a 2 week trip with my girls who will be 7 and 9 at the time and have options between early April, anytime in July or early October. We are planning to fly into Venice and out of Rome, spending time in Lombardy and Abruzzo in between. Do you have a recommendation for the best time of year weather and crowd wise to travel to Italy given our available options above? Thank you!!

    • Judy Gambee says:

      Melanie – glad you found the blog – the Fodors forum is an excellent source of information!! With respect to crowds and weather – I would skip July – it will be very hot and very crowded! We have been to Italy four times – twice in late March and twice in June. Our first trip in late March the weather was really great, the second time was pretty rainy – but that had been a rainy year (my daughter had been studying in Rome that semester and she said it rained a lot that year). Our first trip in June was unbearably hot – particularly in Rome. Our second trip in June was nice but then we also stayed in Northern Italy for that trip. I can only imagine that July would be very hot.

      According to historical weather info (I just looked at Rome) it appears that early Oct might be a little warmer than early April but the days are longer in April. I had always heard that Europe in early Oct was a great time to go so we did that for the first time this past Oct (Brussels, Berlin and Budapest) and I have to say it was unusually cold and rainy so I’m a little hesitant to recommend Oct (though apparently that was an anomaly). I think both early April and early Oct will be good for not super big crowds. I’m not sure if you are planning for 2016 or 2017 – just recommend you check when Easter is the year you are going if plan for April. Our first trip we specifically did not want to be there then but our other time in March we were actually in Sorrento on Easter and really enjoyed the festivities!!

      Sounds like you are planning a wonderful trip!!

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