I’m often asked what is my most favorite place I’ve ever visited and, without hesitation, I always answer Amalfi. But it’s not for the reasons you think. Before reaching the picturesque coast, I traveled from Naples to Sorrento with five strangers and an Italian driver obsessed with disco in one of the best (messiest) car rides I’ve ever been in (and that’s saying a lot.) That prelude made reaching the coast all the more special.
Naples to Sorrento
Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of visiting Sorrento. (Not really.) I loved this magical place so much, I even insisted that the song for my first piano recital be “Torna A Surriento.” (Nope, it was my piano teacher’s idea.)
A decade later, (two decades) I finally saved enough money (it was a free trip) to travel to Italy. It was no coincidence (yes, actually it was) that Naples was among the regions I would be visiting and, therefore, would finally make it to magical Sorrento (I really wanted to go to the island of Capri instead.)
Upon arriving in Naples, we hired (the alpha male of our group negotiated) a (cab) driver and had him whisk us away to the place I longed to visit (again, because Capri was not an option). We drove along the coast, where I snapped photographs of the scenery. (I took inappropriate pictures using the side-view mirror.) Hardly containing my excitement upon entering the city gates, I exclaimed, “This is it!” (I think I sighed, “Is this it?”)
Overcome with emotion (limoncello), I got out of the car and kissed the ground (I fell) like the Pope does on the tarmac. The first site I requested to visit was the church of St. Francis Cloisters (the bathroom at St. Francis Cloisters). It is a tradition of mine to visit the holy sites of ever city I visit. (Because they usually have clean bathrooms.) Which is why I dress in a black dress with a matching mantilla. (Is mantilla a fancy word for flip flops?)
Only, before entering, I genuflected (ashed out my cigarette) before the statue of St. Antonio, patron saint of Sorrento, but by the time I got back on my feet and looked up I wished I had never paid respect to this horrible man. As a matter of fact, I wished I had never stepped foot in a town that allowed such a mean person be their patron saint.
When I looked up at Antonio, I noticed he was stomping on a dolphin with his gross monk sandals. What did a poor, defenseless dolphin ever do to him? I mean, was Sorrento overrun by marine mammals? The horror. Was he really just stomping them out with his feet? Like roaches? Or, worse, was he responsible for casting tuna nets to get rid of them?
Regardless, he must have been a total dick. (Total dick.)
Sorrento to Salerno
The Amalfi Coast offers one of the world’s great drives. The places you will see on your coastal trip between Sorrento and Salerno will leave you in awe. And you’ll gain respect for the Italian engineers who built the road — and even more respect for your driver…even if he insists on playing disco’s greatest hits.
Of all the coastal towns in Italy, Positano has to be the most beautiful, with its surreally steep geography and colorful houses. Be sure to explore Roman ruins near the stunning Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta. (No statues of saints stepping on sea mammals here.)
Bask on Furore Fiordo
This ultra-secluded beach is considered one of the most interesting geological features on the Amalfi Coast. The Amalfi Highway connects the two sides of the fjord via a bridge, and you must descend stairs that cascade down the gorge’s stony cliffs to take a dip.
Walk the Sentiero degli Dei
A true adventurer should walk the legendary Path of the Gods (Senriro degli Dei) that encompasses five miles of hiking trails with dramatic views of the Amalfi Coast (and, yes, even dumb old Capri.)
Cruise the Emerald Grotto
Take an unforgettable boat ride through the interior of the famed Emerald Grotto where stalactites and stalagmites form columns, figures and shapes and contribute to the water’s incredible green hue.