My husband and I returned yesterday from our first international trip, which we took to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It was much of a delayed honeymoon, most of the funding for which came from our wedding in 2017. We never took the trip because I refused to leave Snowflake, but last December it crept into my mind. On impulse we booked everything and started the countdown. To say it was an adventure would be an understatement, and true to form I carried my camera everywhere – so here’s my amateur traveler’s review of the Amalfi Coast, Italy.
Amalfi Coast: Views
Unmatched. Stepping out of our car (after narrowly avoiding throwing up) was absolutely surreal. Arriving on a paved road barely wide enough for two cars, and seeing terracotta and borderline ancient architecture everywhere was definitely foreign. Our driver, Ignacio, was a social butterfly and a pleasure to have as company on the way to our bnb from Napoli.
Amalfi Coast: Places to Visit
In nontraditional fashion, we were quite uninterested in the bulk of tourist attractions. Despite this being our first (and probably last) trip to Italy, we were primarily there to eat. That said, we did participate in a few outings.
Positano – 8/10 stars
We absolutely loved Positano. The only downsides were the infrequency of bus stops versus stairs, and the other tourists. We mistakenly got off at the first stop in the city, walked for ages, and had to catch another bus down to the main street to shop. Then after overestimating the amount of shops towards the ‘top’ of the city, became quite exhausted and irritable trekking around for another bus stop. There just can’t be enough bus stops.
Amalfi – 6/10 stars
Amalfi was…okay. It was somehow seemingly more crowded than Positano, and from our experience there was one main street of things to do, which didn’t take very long at all. We were pretty underwhelmed. We also went to a coffee shop that had no menu, and then served Ozzy a cup of hot milk. He was quite upset – I was quite amused.
Sorrento – 4/10 stars
We really expected more from Sorrento. It had the big city feel, but not enough ‘things’ in our opinion. Granted, we aren’t your average tourists, and we understand our review probably differs from most. There were copious pigeons for me to feed at breakfast, which almost made up for the lack of…anything else. Except penises. There were a shocking amount of penises (iykyk).
Praiano – 10/10 stars
Praiano was our home base, and I’m shocked at my ability to pick the best place to stay in a country/place I’ve never been before. Small, quiet, reasonably close to the other cities. Views for days, excellent restaurants nearby, just an amazing town. If we ever went back to the Amalfi Coast, we’d absolutely stay there again.
Amalfi Coast: Food
Yeah I know, this is all we care about right? I did my best to photograph everything I ate, but got sick Wednesday and went downhill from there. Without further ado –
This was our first meal in Italy, delicious pizza and tiramisu.
Bar del Sole
This was our daily morning haunt. It was the only thing close to an ‘American’ iced latte a girl could find.
Trattoria San Gennaro
This was hands down my favorite restaurant. We went 5 times I think, and would have gone more had I not gotten sick at the most inopportune time. The linguine aglio e olio is something I will dream of the rest of my life, closely followed by the sorbetto di limone.
Il Pirata was where I booked Ozzy’s birthday dinner, and it did not disappoint. The views, food and atmosphere were totally worth the price. It was so dark that iPhone photos were the best we could do.
This was where we opted to settle in for lunch in Positano. I ventured out and tried spaghetti and clams – honestly, it was good until I crunched on something multiple times. Sand? Rocks? Don’t know, but it ruined it for me. If you ignore the crunch, I might recommend it.
Ristorante Il Pino
This was a spur of the moment choice, and while the host was pretty rude about us not having a reservation (the place was empty???) the rest of the staff was amazing. It was the one restaurant I was able to find moscato on the menu, and I was thrilled. We somehow got the best table in the whole place, and the food didn’t hurt.
This one was not as impressive as I had hoped. I again got truffle pasta, he got some kind of ravioli I think. The desserts were pretty good though. Too fancy shmancy for these folks.
Great views, but I was told I was ordering shrimp pasta and it was prawns. Prawns are sort of like shrimp and lobster had a baby, so I was pretty sad I didn’t actually get shrimp. R.I.P.
Gran Caffe Marianiello Di Russo Aniello
This was where we landed in Sorrento, and it was a bit too many options for us. I asked for an iced latte (if they had that) and got coffee gelato. Good, but…not what I wanted. The pigeons were exquisite though.
Lunch in Sorrento. Again, a bit underwhelming given the crowd that was eating there. Looking back, it was definitely because of convenience, but at that point I was already sick and couldn’t dig around for anywhere else to eat.
That isn’t a total exhaustive list, but seems to be all I have photos of, so I hope you’re now as hungry as I am.
Specifically, Pizza. This is Pizza:
La gatti di piccolo I befriended. She is super sweet, a local celebrity, and has a lot of cats she lives at a little house with. I wonder what it’s like to be a stray cat in Praiano, because she makes it look pretty okay minus her respiratory infection. Clearly, I named her Pizza, and will remember her forever.
So anyway, there it is. When it comes down to it, I completely understand why so many people want to go to Italy, and I also understand why so many people want to come to the United States. Despite my affinity for Praiano, I am unapologetically American. I’ve had McDonald’s twice today.
If you have never been and want to go, do it. Seriously! I don’t and never could regret it. However, the fact that I threw up on the way to the airport, in the airport, then on a plane coming home – then faced an overnight delay – I can’t say travel like that is for me. My husband is now also severely ill, but it just goes to show that literally anything can happen. My recommendations?
- Pack less shoes than you think you need, but more meds. I took tylenol, tums, nauzene, dramamine, and wished desperately for sudafed I didn’t have.
- Take a camera and photograph everything. No one’s looking at you, lots of other people are doing it, and it’s the best way to relive the trip (and anything really).
- Pet the cats. Give them water. Pspsps is universal, by the way.
- Learn some basic Italian. It goes a long way!
- The SITA schedules are in route order. The top one is Sorrento to Amalfi, the bottom one is in reverse. You will probably screw this up like we did, but maybe had someone told me that simply we wouldn’t have.
- Book a car service to and from the airport. I cannot imagine had we tried public transport for those.
- If nothing else, budget money to EAT. We had zero limit for food and don’t regret one cent.
- Get euros for bus tickets and a little spending money, but almost everywhere takes cards.
- Prepare to walk. More steps and elevation than you could ever possibly try to prepare for, unless you’re freakishly fit.
Theoretically, would I go back? Absolutely. Will I, unless we invent something better than planes? I honestly kind of doubt it. I’m a little homebody and being back in my nest has been the most relieving feeling (although I’m sure being sick has a lot to do with that).
Grazie mille, Italia.