Amalfi Coast: Cakes, Limoncello and Cliffs

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

When thinking of Amalfi coast, I remember tasty cakes, moorish limoncello, sheer cliffs, pastel-coloured villages and winding roads.

We visited the Amalfi Coast in late March 2017. It was early Spring, before peak tourism season officially started. We flew into Naples and picked a rental car from there. I had read that driving on the Amalfi Coast was no piece of cake - with its winding narrow roads and constant mammoth tourist coaches, only very experienced drivers were recommended to test out the chaos there. Brad has always been a confident driver and certainly very experienced. If he didn't freak out at the crazy 12 lane roundabout in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, we figured he would be able to handle the Amalfi Coast. Although he past the test without a scratch on the rental, it was still nerve-racking for me sitting in the passenger's seat every day, wincing at all those near-misses.

From Naples, we went to visit Herculaneum which suffered the same fate as Pompeii. We chose there versus Pompeii because it is much smaller and manageable, also because it is said to be better preserved. Wooden lofts, wine racks and wall paintings etc were exactly as they were a little less 2000 years ago. It was a fascinating place to visit and practice your imagination.

Herculaneum, Naples, Italy

We then drove on to Sorrento, then Positano and eventually to Amalfi during the five day trip and also visited a number of picturesque historic towns and villages nearby such as Praiano and Ravello.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

One on-going theme at each guest house we soon noticed was: tasty cakes for breakfast and moorish limoncello for evening dessert! Thanks to the endless flights of steep stairs everywhere, we happily devoured those cakes and limoncello without feeling any guilt!

Speaking of steep stairs, the towns and villages on Amalfi Coast were built on steep hills. As a result, walking up and down stairs is a common part of life. We saw small elderly ladies carrying their daily shopping walking up on those stairs, imagining that they had been doing that all their lives.

We enjoyed two great hikes, both of which boasted vast views of pastel coloured historic villages and rugged coastlines where cliffs plunge abruptly into the blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The first hike began from the small fishing village of Nerano and ended at the Bay of Leranto (Baia di Leranto) with beautiful turquoise water and a view of the Faraglioni sea stacks off the Island of Capri. The Path of the Gods (Sentiero degli Dei) started from the tiny hilltop village Agerola and ended at Nocelle, the upper part of Positano, where we took the 1,500 steps to reach Positano town. This 7.8km trail is an ancient mule route and has retained its purpose for centuries. We stumbled upon a herd of handsome and athletic goats being taken along the trail. Brad almost made some friends with them and brought them back with us.

View during Bay of Leranto Hike, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Bay of Leranto, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Needless to say, a visit to Italy is not complete with indulging in great Italian meals and wine, which we did. Despite more than 50% of cafes and restaurants still being shut for the season, we never went hungry.