Buon giorno, Italy!
Leading off: From Paris, we flew EasyJet to Naples International Airport.
Touching down: We landed around 12:30pm, stood in line for a cab, and drove to our hotel. The city does not offer ride sharing options. They are fairly old school in that regard.
Pro: The hotel was close to many of the popular attractions. They offered breakfast, air conditioning, and a beautiful courtyard.
Con: We stayed there one night, so it’s hard to say. The room was a bit smaller and good for folks who aren’t planning to spend a lot of time at the hotel.
Pro: This hotel owner is so kind and helpful. Additionally, they offer breakfast every morning, balcony views of the water, and air conditioning (which you absolutely will need in warmer months!)
Con: This hotel is toward the top of the hill, so like most places you’ll have to walk a lot of stairs. Plus, I’m not sure there was an elevator/lift.
While the Amalfi Coast was the end goal, we couldn’t leave without first exploring Naples. The area is especially significant for Rob, because this is where his grandparents and ancestors are from. Once we checked into our hotel, we headed out for lunch. There was one and only place we wanted to go.
Naples is known for being the birthplace of pizza— and Sobrillo claims to be the original creator. With that kind of reputation, there is naturally a bigger crowd. However, they cram as many guests as possible into the two floor restaurant and turn tables over quickly. While waiting, we were asked to stay outside until their table was ready (because I mean they really use all of the space inside for tables.) Despite the number of people waiting, we were in within 20 minutes.
Once we ordered, the pizza didn’t take much longer than our original wait time outside (which must be the key to turning over tables rapidly). We ordered a traditional margarita and one with pesto. Each pizza was large, but the crust was quite thin. So, we had no trouble finishing every bite.
I Rei Di Napoli
Similarly to London and Paris, Italy was uncharacteristically hot. So, after walking around the city, we stopped for a drink at I Rei Di Napoli. This restaurant overlooks the Gulf of Naples, which made it the perfect place to relax before resuming our walk.
We had no agenda for our time in Naples, so we really spent most of the day enjoying the sites and scenes. The only other plans we had was dinner. For the life of me, I cannot remember, nor can I find where we ate. It was just off the water, down an alley on a small piazza.
After eating a quick breakfast at the hotel, we loaded our luggage into a black car that we hired for the day. We used MondoGuide, which took us from Naples to Positano with a stop in Pompeii. The company also offers guided tours inside Pompeii and to the top of Mount Vesuvius. However, we had done our research and knew what we wanted to see. This was especially nice since we had time constraints and Pompeii is massive.
Walking around the historic grounds was surreal. While many of the building and structures have been destroyed, there is still enough standing to transport you back to ancient times. Again, we spent most of our time walking around, marveling at the architecture.
When we arrived in Positano, it was lunch time and we were hungry! Luckily, our hotel had its own restaurant– as do most of the hotels. Since we were in the land of lemons, I had to try the lemon and pesto ricotta shells and lemon sorbet. Rob had a pesto pasta that was equally as tasty.
For dinner, we kept the lemon theme going and enjoyed lemon leaf cheese and limoncello cake. Caffe Positano was recommended to us numerous times, and now I understand why. Both the food and view were so nice that we wish we could have gone back for another meal.
Travel tip: Make reservations for each dinner. During peak season, you could be waiting a long time without one, especially because it the Italian way to not rush guests.
Also, keep in mind that locals and tourist like to eat later (about 7pm on.) If you like to eat early, you have a much better chance of getting in to the restaurant of your choice.
Ok, so when I say the Amalfi Coast is known for their lemons, it is because they have acres and acres of lemon groves. Most lemon farms have been owned, operated, and passed down from generation to generation.
In the city of Amalfi, which is a quick drive or ferry ride from Positano, there is a full lemon experience. This family offers tours and cooking classes at their estate. We took the tour, which included samples of their actual lemons, candied lemons, fresh made lemonade and limoncello. Everything was delicious! Even the lemon by itself was sweet and juicy.
For the tour, they will meet you in town on their cute little lemon cart and together you will trek up to their farm. The lemon trees are all situated on the hillside, spanning as far at the eye can see. Altogether, the tour and samplings lasted a few hours. At the end, you will have an opportunity to buy your own limoncello.
Tour tip: While they take you up on a cart, you will be asked to walk back to into town. It will take about 10 minutes for the average walker. However, this may not be recommend for those who struggle with hills and uneven pathways.
La Taverna del Duca
Since we had to walk back into town, we decided to stop for some lunch. Another solid meal of pizza and (lemon) pasta.
After spending some time walking around Amalfi, we took a tour bus back to Positano. Throughout the 45 min. drive, the bus’s sound system would point out notable spots along the way, like the small town of Fuore, where Rob’s ancestors are actually from.
When we arrived back into town, we stopped in for a drink at Franco’s Bar. If you did any other kind of research before your trip, this bar probably came up. Essentially, it’s a small but gorgeous patio that overlooks the water and the rest of Positano. To get a “front row” seat, you have to get there when they open. Well, actually before they open, as we would later learn.
We came for the experience, so we didn’t care where we sat. However, we were lucky to even get a seat in general. The place was packed. While the drinks were good and unique, you really pay for the view. Each drink averaged around 20 euro.
D’Aiello’s Family Restaurant
This restaurant had great reviews, so we thought we’d give it a shot. Those reviews weren’t lying because it had to have been my favorite meal. The only strange part was we were only one of two groups of people eating there. My guess is it’s because we ate around 6:30, before the dinner rush.
When you’re on the beautiful coastline of Italy, you have to spend at least one day doing nothing. That is exactly what we did.
Travel tip: We walked to Fornillo Beach, where they had chairs and umbrellas available for rent. This was definitely worth the money, because then you could also use the facilities to change and use the restroom.
Lunch at LO Guarracino
On our long walk back to our hotel, we stumbled upon LO Guarracino. This restaurant had actually also been recommended to us. It’s hidden away from most of the hustle and bustle, which gives you a rustic outdoor setting overlooking the water. The food was good, but pricey.
We had time to kill before our dinner reservation, so we headed back to Franco’s to see if we could get a front row seat. We arrived about 15 mins. before they opened and there was already a few people in line. Luckily, we were able to snag the last set of chairs near the front of the balcony.
This was another recommended restaurant that had a terrace overlooking the water. Again, we were one of two parties dining at the time we did. In fact, it was the same family we had dinner with the night prior. The sad part is they were more than likely dining at that time because they had young kids. I don’t know what our excuse was.
For our final day in Italy, we took the ferry to the island of Capri. The island is well known for their grottos, but best known for the Blue Grotto. While the allure of seeing the Blue Grotto was there, we decided to take a boat tour around the island that took us to sites like the White Grotto, Green Grotto, and by the entrance of the Blue Grotto. Ultimately, we were happy with our decision not to go into the grotto because there was an incredibly long wait. Plus, you are only allowed inside for about 15 minutes.
Lunch at Bar Aprea
Following the boat tour, we grabbed lunch on the marina. Again, we enjoyed limoncello. However, this time it was served in a lemon…the size of my head. Did I mention this the land of lemons?
After seeing as much of the island as we could on foot, we headed back to Positano.
Travel tip: Like the rest of the Amalfi Coast, the island of Capri is also comprised of steep steps and cliffs. Most hotels are on the top of the island, so there are shuttles which will take you where you need to go. If you want to cease every opportunity in Capri, I would stay the night.
Le Tre Sorelle Wine Room
When arriving back in Positano, we walked to a wine room for some Italian wine tasting. This was a cool concept where you pay per glass and they literally have the wines on a tap-type system which flows out of a spigot. If you like the wines like we did, you can buy a bottle to take home.
For our final meal in Positano, we ate dinner at our hotel’s sister restaurant, Ristorante Mediterraneo. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to say goodbye. The meal was wonderful, the view wasn’t too shabby, and the staff were great. However, the cherry on top was the live music.