There is something magical about Christmas in Europe; something to do with the weather, the lights that spring to life late in the afternoon, woolly jumpers and snuggly coats, hot chocolates and open fires… and I am so happy and grateful to be able to enjoy it here in the south of France this year.
Sending you all loads of Christmas cheer, bubbles and great times for the holidays, and may your new year be filled with all the wonderful surprises that life can throw your way.
The Amalfi coast in Italy needs no introduction from me, suffice to say that it is one of the world’s most popular and beautiful tourist destinations. The coastline is dramatic and mediterranean gorgeous, beauty is everywhere you look and it is to be found both on and off the beaten path, on land and on water.
If however you are like me and don’t like crowds then my advice would be to absolutely avoid the months of July and August. If you can’t avoid them as we couldn’t, then perhaps think about basing yourselves in one of the smaller and lesser known (but equally as stunning) towns or villages on the coast, or set back in the hinterland overlooking the coastline (see Solaria below for a tranquil beautiful get away from it all B & B), which leads me to a word of thanks to Emilio and his wife Angela.
One day when I felt an itch to explore the area further I ran into the Positano tourist office asking if anyone could help me locate a lemon grower, a cheese maker or any other farmer in the area. As fate would have it on that particular day I was led to Emilio Lucibello.
Emilio generously suggested I meet him up in a tiny hamlet called Tovere (only 7 kms from Amalfi) set back from the busy coast in a hinterland of green terraced gardens, lemon groves and small parcels of farm land overlooking the sea, and where his neighbours just happen to make some of the best cheese on the coast, supplying many of the restaurants in the area.
On our arrival a few days later we were warmly greeting by Emilio, Angela and their son Domenico whose kind hospitality included some of Angelia’s delicious homemade cake and sweet Italian coffee.
It is in this tiny hamlet surrounded by the scent of lemon trees and overlooking the mediterranean that they have restored an old farmhouse into a modern functioning and tranquil B&B, Solaria, only minutes from the coast but a world away from the crowds.
Thank you Emiio and Angela for your warm hospitality, and for your introduction to Gregorio, Carmela and Luigi who so kindly let us into their world of cheese making and allowed me to photograph them at work. I hope to see you all again one day soon.
More Amalfi coast images can be seen in the Travel 1 gallery of my Portfolio
I couldn’t have been more excited to hear the words ‘do you mind waiting 7 hours for me in Naples’! My sister was arriving from Australia and I from France, we were on our way to the Amalfi coast for 10 days. The gateway to this coastline is of course the historically beautiful and vibrant city of Naples.
Luggage locked in safely at the train station I hit the streets with my camera, beaming from ear to ear, a whole 30 minutes sleep under my belt from the night before, walking shoes on, cornetto and a strong coffee in my site!
Life is what happens in the streets of Naples; its noisy, colorful, and frenetic, people jump out for photo opportunities, invite you into their homes for coffee, show you their art and lead you to their special corners of the city. Nothing and nowhere is like Naples, and there is nowhere else I wanted to be for those 7 precious hours.
Fortunately we were able to change our plans so we could spend a night in Naples at the end of our 10 days and so I got to spend another few more gorgeous hours on these streets.
Thank you Naples for your special brand of beauty and all the Neapolitans who appear in these images, along with all the others who smiled, laughed, joked and shared a moment of their joy with me, I adored every single minute I spent with you.
For more images of Naples see Travel 1, Travel 2 and Art|Culture Galleries in the Portfolio
We arrived into Porto from our time in the Restonica Valley in time for sunset and dinner and left not long after a late lazy breakfast overlooking the marina the next morning.
All of us would have been more than happy to have stayed and explored everything that this part of the coast offers, however we needed to be in Calvi that night for our departure back to the mainland the next morning, and we wanted the day to enjoy and appreciate the less direct coastal road which had come highly recommended.
We weren’t disappointed, the drive more than made up for the quick exit, the views from this coast road from Porto to Calvi are nothing short of jaw droppingly beautiful, with no shortage of small quiet beaches to choose from for a picnic (not a very glamorous one mind you) lunch of, YES, more Corsican salami, brebis cheese, bread, olive oil and fig paste. Sitting on a little pebble beach off the beaten path overlooking the bluest of water I imagined not taking the plane the following day!
PORTO TO CALVI
We hit the outskirsts of Calvi and decided to continue onto l’ile Rousse before heading back to Calvi just in time for a quick pre-dinner walk up into the tiny cobbled streets of the historic citadelle where we enjoyed one of our best dinners on the island at ‘A Candella’. Spending an evening around the table in a Calvi village street overlooking the mediterranean, enjoying the best of Corsican produce and cooking while sipping on our last bottle of Corsican rosé was the perfect final evening on this magical and compelling island. Corsica, I want to know so much more of you, until next time…….
(Note, I would advise you if you can to arrive at A Candella early or make a reservation, we missed out on a table on the terrace overlooking the port), no complaints however!