Our spring trip to the Amalfi Coast
Malcolm writes: If you’ve never been to this region of Italy, then you must, and prepare to be ‘blown-away’. The views in every direction from the towering slopes of the Sorrentine Peninsula are truly spectacular. From the northern coast across the Bay of Naples, lies the imposing silhouette of Vesuvius, keeping watch over the sprawling city of Naples below, with the island of Ischia clearly visible to the west. To the south-west, the island of Capri sits invitingly in the shimmering blue sea (a day trip to this beautiful island is definitely recommended!). On the south of the peninsula lies the world famous Amalfi Coast, an unbelievably spectacular stretch of coastline. The precipitous, winding coast road has to be one of the most stunning road trips you can take . . . anywhere.
Essential Italy have a select portfolio of accommodation in this region, and following our recent visit, expansion is imminent. We were made very welcome by Conny and Amalia, their knowledge of the area is extensive and they appreciate exactly the type of property that fits the Essential Italy profile.
We began our 3 day stay at Oasi Olimpia Cottages (our accommodation), high in the hills of Sant’Agata and in the grounds of the Hotel Oasi Olimpia. Though the cottages lack the views of the main hotel, they are very comfortable and a great base for exploring the region.
As well as visiting prospective new accommodation (watch this space!), we spent time revisiting some of Essential Italy's current properties on the peninsula. First stop, the recently revamped Relais Gourmand in Marina del Cantone, which boasts 2 star Michelin restaurant (and if you stay a week or more, Essential Italy guests are offered a free dinner!). The refurbishment is very impressive and the restaurant has a wonderful fresh, light and airy feel, with views out over the sea.
Next, Tenuta Montecorbo in Massa Lubrense. Originally the home to 16th century Italian Poet Torquato Tasso, this robust stone built property sits high in 1700 acres among olive and lemon groves, with wonderful views over the sparkling blue sea . . . the setting is utterly tranquil. The ecologically conscious hotel offers a vegetarian and vegan menu. The six bedrooms, with garden and/or sea views are traditionally furnished, and all have air conditioning. A stay here would leave anyone feeling reinvigorated.
Also in Massa Lubrense, in the tiny village of San Franceso, we took the opportunity to have a quick look around Casa Zaffiro and the 2 apartments at Vista Capri – all being meticulously prepared for the season ahead. Casa Zaffiro is a contemporary light and airy 2 bedroom apartment, ideal for a couple or small family, the balcony – with seating – enjoys great views across the shimmering blue sea towards Capri. The 2 apartments at Vista Capri (Uno and Due) all enjoy the same wonderful views, have 2 bedrooms, sleep 4 and share a swimming pool. An added advantage at these properties is the pizzeria/restaurant virtually on your doorstep, very convenient after a days exploration.
Sorrento was our next destination. The bustling, cliff-top town is already starting to fill with tourists, all appreciating the stunning sunset vistas across the bay of Naples. Following a superb evening meal, we readied ourselves for the next days trip along the Amalfi Coast.
The Amalfi Coast stretches for 50 kilometres and is one of Europe’s (if not the world’s) most breathtaking stretches of coastline. The cliffs are terraced with scented lemon groves, colourful towns and villages clinging precariously to the slopes, stretching down to the shoreline and gazing out over the twinkling blue sea and uninterrupted horizon. First stop, Positano – the coast’s most photogenic town. The steep streets and paths are flanked by colourful houses, smart hotels, restaurants and flamboyant jewellery and lace shops. Back on the coast road, we made our way towards the town of Amalfi, with stops along the way at Ravello and lunch in the piazza at Minori.
This stretch of coastline is uniquely beautiful, spectacular, quite stunning and should be on anyone's list of places to visit. The best time to visit is in the spring or autumn. In July and August the area is a tourist hot-spot, and the coast road becomes extremely(!) busy, and inevitably, prices are inflated.
Keep a look out on the website for an Amalfi Coast property update.