When life gives you lemons... Drink Limoncello.
Alright... That's not exactly how the saying goes but as we head into winter with travel still disrupted I thought a blog to bring a little bit of sunshine to everyone is just the thing, and whats sunnier than dreaming of a cold shot of Limoncello on The Amalfi Coast.
I usually go on about how important it is to get to know a place before you even think about taking any photos. Observe the people, watch the light changing, eat & drink with locals so you understand the place before you try & capture it in a photo. BUT with a massive brief from Jet2holidays & some serious miles to cover this wasn't one of those trips.
After a manic few days in Naples it was off on the road to Sorrento & Massa Lubrente to shoot some amazing hotels. A whistle-stop trip to Capri then a drive along the Amalfi Coast taking in Positano, Amalfi, Minori & Vietri Sul Mar.
We all know the most important part of a destination guide is the photos so below is a quick run down of the trip to accompany the all important photos.
Enjoy & hopefully get some inspiration for your next adventure (whenever that may be).
Sorrento & Massa Lubrense
Sorrento, a stunning town perched on cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naples & home of the legend of the Sirens. Who would tempt sailors with their beautiful song and drive them to shipwreck on the rocky shores off the islands in the sea.
Today's Sorrento is full of tourists ambling round Piazza Tasso & the historic centre & while you won't see many sailors flinging themselves off the rocks at the port to the sound of the Sirens you will see day trippers there every morning swarming out to Capri.
I'm not a big fan of the hit n run style tourism you get here & out in Capri but appreciate for some it's their best opportunity to see a place. While Sorrento is a lovely place to potter round for a day, buy some souvenirs (I bought my daughter some amazing hand made leather sandals she NEVER wore) & try some Limoncello I was glad to get out on the coast road.
While in Sorrento I shot the Art Hotel Gran Paradiso, a fabulous hotel overlooking the town where every room has been designed by a different local or international artist. A little further round the coast at Massa Lubrense I had the pleasure of a day shooting at the exclusive Villa Fiorella Boutique Hotel.
Art Hotel Gran Paradiso
Strada Satale 163...
No self respecting list of the worlds best, most beautiful, scenic drives forgets the Strada Satale 163, or the Amalfi Coast Road as we know it, and for good reason. It's stunning and magical and straight up terrifying for anyone who is just a little bit nervous in a hire car. I loved it... but then I was once reprimanded by an Italian man in Sicily for driving like a maniac. Winding along the Unseco listed Amalfi Coast from Sorrento to Salerno taking in the sophisticated resort of Positano, pretty Amalfi, the old school charm of Minori & finishing up at Vietri Sul Mar, the ceramics capital of Campania.
- A sophisticated town perfect for people watching, shopping & enjoying fabulous food overlooking the Spiaggia Grande.
- Give yourself plenty of time here, a few days if you can to really experience the place.
- Be prepared to walk. Dump your car at the 1st car park that has spaces & forget about it for the rest of the day.
- Half way up (or down if like me you love a good breakfast) the hill is the Casa e Bottega a food & design store I fell in love with. Their fresh food & smoothies are a real treat, especially if you have taken full advantage of the abundance of pizza & pasta & cheese the region has to offer. Also its a handy stop off point on the massive treck back to your car.
- This was one of my favourite places along the coast, it has a real old school Italian charm about it with a great beach, lots of great restaurants & a cool art & antiques scene.
- This is the town I discovered the life changing, absolute carb filled joy of Pizza con Patate!
- Eagle eyed Gomorrah fans will recognise the Santa Tofimena church in the main square.
VIETRI SUL MAR
- The home of ceramics in the Campania region with an abundance of studios & shops creating & selling their unique pieces, you can loose hours wandering between studios watching the artists at work, make sure to buy a piece to take home.
- Vietri sul Mar feels more like a real living town & is definitely easier on the pocket than the rest of the towns along the coast, the views from the town are incredible & it boasts some of the biggest beaches on the Amalfi Coast.
- It's also a good end point to the road trip if you need want to loop back inland to get to Sorrento or even Naples without going back along the coast road.
Hiring a car in Italy & especially from Naples can be the single most stressful & expensive thing you ever do.
I'm not going to recommend any specific company to go with but if you take my advice on just a few things it might save you a few Euros & a lot of tears ...
Twice I have cried at the car hire desk at Naples airport & once I nearly passed out after 4 hours queuing at the Hertz desk with a cracking hangover (the hangover was not big or clever).
- Do not just book the cheapest deal! You will end up paying more at the desk.
- Take ALL the insurance or have lots of space on your credit card, I have seen holidays of a lifetime ruined at the car hire desk because people couldn't afford (hadnt researched) the insurance or had a cc to hold off a deposit.
- If you can try & sign up for the vip membership when booking online, it will save you hours of your life when you get to the desk.
- Book the smallest car you need , you will thank me later for this.
- Expect the worst & you won't be disappointed.
- Seriously though, once you are on the road in Italy its the best! You just have to wait to the end of the day for that Limoncello.