As Italian fashion, brick oven pizza, tiramisu, lates, and culinary tours in Italy have become very popular over recent years, many Americans have an increased great desire to visit the city of Naples and Amalfi Coast Italy in the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Can you see yourself sun bathing on the same beaches as Sofia Loren and Rachel Welch sipping ice cold Limoncello?
I am the daughter of Italian immigrants so, I’m not only familiar with the Italian culture, I was raised with it. My parents spoke broken English and taught me the language, authentic Italian food and traditions. I always understand good food!
My mother was an excellent cook! I’ve visited Italy ten or so times in my lifetime to visit my relatives and see neighboring countries-Switzerland, Lichtenstein, France, and Greece. I just love Europe and have a bucket list of places I still want to see. Each country is so different than the next and one can really appreciate each culture along with what is appealing food, wine, language, people, sites, etc.
My relatives live one hour (at 150 kilometers per hour which, is 90+ MPH) or so from Naples. My cousin has a bed and breakfast one hour from Naples in the beautiful valleys of the mountains surrounded by vineyards one of which is theirs and their award-winning wine. Another cousin of mine who is a fabulous cook has a trattoria that only ten minutes away!
Sometimes, I just close my eyes and hold the door handle when we’re on the highway. We saw people driving on curbs like they were doing it on purpose…Oh that’s right, they were doing it on purpose.
Sites of the Amalfi Coast
In visiting Naples and Amalfi Coast Italy, I’ve toured the City of Naples, Isle of Capri, and some popular towns in the Amalfi coast- Sorrento, Salerno and Positano (the beach scene from the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” staring Diane Lane and the cute Italian guy “Marcello”) which is one of the most beautiful coastlines I’ve ever seen. Having been to three islands in Hawaii, that is saying a lot. The hillsides are adorned with colorful flowers and bright painted homes, big yellow lemon and olive trees, blue blue blue water, and everywhere you turn is a breathtaking landscape. The picture below is not photo shopped.
There are jaw-dropping views almost everywhere you turn. As if the beautiful colors, water and landscapes are enough to amaze you, the food is good enough to make you want to move there.
Custom made sandals are sold in Positano and neighboring towns and are very popular because they are so unique. You will not easily find similar sandals in American stores. I saw quite a few shops selling them. They are made of good leather soles and beautifully jeweled. When I saw a pair of purple and lavender jeweled sandals which, had to be the most beautiful pair in the shop that day, I just had to have them! At that time in 2011, the exchange rate was not in my favor but, I knew I would have these unique, beautiful sandals forever and not regret the purchase which, I have not! The sandals pictured to the right I bought from La Botteguccia in Positano. I receive compliments on them nearly every time I wear them. Oh, if only I could wear them all year-long. Next time I go to the Amalfi coast, I will surely buy another pair or two!
La Pizza Napolitana
One night, we had pizza in the Bay of Naples. It was the most flavorful, fresh pizza I’ve ever eaten. It was Neapolitan (round) which are always served in personal size. I ordered the Margherita which, is the traditional pizza made up of sauce and cheese with basil leaves on top. Make no mistake, this basic pizza was comprised of all things tasty: very fresh sauce (definitely not made from canned tomatoes,) fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese which, is made from the milk of buffalo and is more flavorful than plain mozzarella cheese, a tasty thin crust and topped with a few fresh basil leaves that leave the aroma of basil on your pizza. My husband, who can’t speak Italian unless he is ordering food, loves to eat tasty food, so he ate and ate and he drank plenty of good red wine too. I really don’t know if I talked to him much at meals because he was so busy devouring his food!
The pastries in Naples are famously known as the best in Italy but, I’m sure some other areas may contest. I’m sure Sicilians think cannolis are better but, I haven’t been to Sicily yet so I can’t judge. We stopped at a café bar to get one of their pastries from the beautiful display case and wow was that sfogliatella incredible. Who knows what the pastry chefs do to make the pastries sing in your mouth!
The Dinner on the Hillside
Writing this post makes me want to plan a trip to go next summer but, I have to wait until our toddlers get a little older to be able to handle 10 hours on a confined plane followed by a two hour drive and jet lag.
If you are contemplating going to Italy, I highly suggest visiting Naples and Amalfi Coast Italy. You will find so much history in Naples, Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. The exquisite shopping and world class food will fill your desire to see and experience the great Italian culture.