Praiano, Positano, and Capri
The Amalfi Coast is probably among one of the most stunning places I’ve been lucky enough to see with my own eyes. Unbelievably so. And now, I barely remember my time there. All right, that’s an exaggeration. I could never forget the flawless bay of Positano, the crystal blue water hugging the cliffs, and the breathtaking flora overflowing in every corner. What I need you to understand from this blog entry is that my writing will not do it justice. You need to save up your money, stop making excuses, and just get there immediately.
After driving 8 hours from Venice, we were more than ready to arrive at our hotel in Praiano as the sun began to set. Thanks to our GPS, Shirley, we took a few wrong turns that lead us to be stuck in questionable bumper -to- bumper traffic in the crap town of Castellammare di Stabia. It was a Sunday night. We never found out what the hell that was about. Once we broke free, we quickly realized that we were on one of the most unforgettable stretches of road we’d see in our lifetime: the Amalfi Coast drive. Perched on the edge of an expansive cliff side, it is as stunning as it is terrifying, especially at dusk. Unsure of where exactly our hotel was, we white knuckled it all the way through Positano and finally made it to Hotel Le Fioriere, where they welcomed us graciously despite the late hour.
Hotel Le Fioriere is the Italian hotel of your dreams: family-run, attention to your every need, accommodating, warm, friendly, and well-maintained. Luigi, Rosalia, and their family made you feel like part of theirs. It was a wonderful experience all around, and highly recommended! Upon our arrival, we were presented with fresh cherries, Prosecco, and a late meal on the exquisite rooftop terrace. I may have slightly embarrassed myself (okay, I embarrassed myself and my husband thoroughly- it was a long day,) when I did a happy dance after stepping out onto the deck and seeing the sunset behind the mountains of Amalfi. You wouldn’t care either, if you saw this:
We grabbed a spot to take in the view, ordered lamb burgers, spicy potato wedges, and a few glasses of vino rosso della casa. The food was satisfying, and the red wine instantly became my new favorite. It was a locally made meritage called Falerno del Massico, and we were told it could not be found to purchase anywhere. Only for restaurant owners. (Yeah right.) So much for your souvenirs.
We chose Praiano for two reasons: the quiet and the cost. Many of the other coastal towns are larger and chock full o’tourists, but Praiano is tiny and a cost-effective alternative to the frequently inflated Positano and Amalfi. We wanted for nothing there, truly, and any other town was a 5-10 minute bus ride away. The catch: you must wait for whenever the bus feels like showing up, (lest you forget what country you’re in.)
Our time on the Coast was sprinkled with much-needed relaxation, a day soaking in the sun on the dreamy terrace, walks through Praiano and Positano, hitting the beach, and then a day in Capri. Positano and Capri especially deserve a full day if not two to enjoy, especially if you’re into the shopping and beach scene. We spent our afternoon in Capri on a rented boat (Capri Boat Co.), just for the two of us. This ended up being one of our absolute best, unforgettable favorite experiences. For 2-4 hours (you pick,) you get a speed boat complete with life vests, a cooler, a map, and a quick boating lesson. Then, jet around Capri, swim, sun, drink, and explore the many grottos around the island. It was so much fun! Don’t be scared if you have no boating knowledge- we didn’t either. Just watch out for jellyfish. They were EVERYWHERE! I’m happy to report we passed along this recommendation to 2 of our dear friends recently who also visited Capri, and they raved about their boating adventure, too. Well worth it, folks.
Our trip to La Gavitella Beach in Praiano was another interesting feat. As I’ve chuckled about before, Italian are obsessed with the beach. It’s all they want to do, and it’s all they’ll try to get you to do as well. The funny part is, Italy is not known for its beaches, unless you happen to be in Sardinia. So, we weren’t sure the 500+ steps down to the beach (and worse, back up) would be worth it. Short answer: mmm okay, I guess it was. Set upon a wide slat of concrete, the beach is a grid of orange umbrellas, lounge chairs, and tables with a snack bar behind, and the Mediterranean Sea in front. There isn’t sand on this part of the beach, so if that’s your thing, you can walk over to the “free” public beach area, just to the right of the “pay” area. It’s rocky and full of kids- not what we were looking for. Each beach chair was 10Euro for the afternoon. Not bad, compared to what we’ve heard about other beach rentals. Your options for getting in the sea: jump. Or you can awkwardly totter down the provided ladder while other people look at you, like I did.
Another major hobby during our time in Praiano was, you guessed it, eating. Here are a few tasty recommendations:
- Restaurant La Strada – We had our share of seafood inspired, lemon-infused dishes. Everything was yum, and of course, you can’t beat the view.
- Restaurant La Brace – disguised as a pizzeria, it’s so much more than that! Also ran by the most adorable elderly couple, you can pretty much taste the love. It was the only restaurant that was too busy to sit down right away, but we were given wine to soften the wait.
- Vivaro Wine Bar – Our absolute favorite, we first noticed this tiny hole-in-the wall (but not decorated as so, it should be mentioned) one night while strolling by. There was some kind of live music trio jammin’ out, and I said, “I want to go to there.” Surprise, you need reservations, and at least a few days in advance. This wine bar is unique because it is run by one dude, Gennaro. He picks your wine, takes your orders, cooks your food, and provides you with all his favorite late night music, should you be so lucky as to be invited for the after party. We were, and it was a night to remember. Come prepared with an idea of what you might like to eat- he will literally come to your table and say, “what do you want to eat?” There is no menu here! That’s the real deal.