My week in Italy: A personal diary
The time before summer finally kicks off in Germany, generally marks me going away on holiday for a week. Because a) who doesn’t need a break from time to time and b) you can come back to better weather by the end of it….and as I don’t live in Sydney aka where the sunshine never stops (anymore), I can really do with some good weather. This time, our holidays took us to Naples, the Amalfi Coast and Capri. Main reason being a wedding of a great Kiwi-friend of mine who decided to get married Hollywood style above the cliffs of Anacapri (as you do)! Perfect for me as Capri had always been on my bucket list of “places to see” and even better as it was easy to connect with a stay in Naples and Positano. To keep it short: We got ready to see all the hot spots that Hollywood’ s celebrities used to hang out at during the 60ies! Let’s just say in most parts nothing much has changed in the past 60 years and the feel is still a little ancient. Which, if you are looking for a real holiday is just the right place to be.
Part I // Arriving in Naples
Catching an early morning plane out of Hamburg into Naples had me sleeping for the whole duration of the flight. I am pretty good at shutting my eyes right at take off, it somehow eases me into a snoozy kind of sleep, opening them right before touch down. So I did not miss my chance to see the city of Napoli from above. As we had booked a fabulous Air BnB spot we made our way directly from the airport to our downtown abode. Arriving at Via Foria in the old part of the city, we rang the doorbell and were let into one of Naples fascinating and large backyards, only accessible via a very Italian tiny door that we had to squish our luggage through. Being greeted by Massimo, one of the owners of the space and gallery, we were shown to our room and given fabulous insider tips on where to eat and what to see. In case you are still wondering about the “gallery” part: Yeah, this Air BnB spot is somewhat special as it doesn’t just feature guest rooms, it is an art gallery situated in a 16th century building with amazing interior design. Just the right spot for anyone, really!
Naples turned out to be an Italian city unlike any other I had ever witnessed. It certainly has a more southern feel, is even more busy than Rome or Milan and has a whole lot of interesting streets and alleys wherever you go. It’s just that little bit more adventurous! Eating Pizza at Da Michele, mind you, Julia Roberts dug into a slice of pizza here for her movie “Eat, pray, love” and enjoying a fabulous dinner at La Cantina dei Lazzari this city has a good few culinary hotspots going. What else did we do? We took the funicular uphill towards Montesanto to visit Castel Sant’ Elmo and enjoy the view across Napoli and the Gulf of Naples – stunning and an absolute must if you can. But one of my favourite things to do in Naples was the evening stroll around Chiaia, a stylish area of town and home to plenty of boutiques and restaurants.
Part II // Moving on to Positano
Having explored Naples and Pompeii (a city completely buried by the ashes and lava of the Vesuv in the year 79 A.D.) to the fullest, we decided to take a trip down the Amalfi Coast towards Positano. Driving by the little villages along the ocean had been a dream of mine for years and the view did not disappoint. Checking into small bed & breakfast only accessible by foot via a long set of stairs, we enjoyed a stunning view across the ocean and were set right in the middle of Positano town. The first night we had dinner at Chez Black, the absolute number one hotspot along the beach front serving fresh fish and amazing seafood. While the second evening was spent at Rada an even pricier but absolute amazing location and restaurant. Make sure to pre-book and ask for a window seat as you will be sat right above the ocean! Bar from its culinary highlights, Positano was quite busy with plenty of tourists even before high season had started and sadly enough did not make ends meet to stay on my list of top places to see. But before I forget: One of the best breakfast spots I encountered along the whole holiday was Janina Vanacore’s Casa e Bottega. In case you make it to Positano, definitely enjoy their fresh fruit juices, smoothies, granola bowls and general healthy goody goodness.
Part III // The island of Capri
The most exciting part of our vacation took us to the island of Capri. Just a 40 minute ferry ride from Positano, this island really did not fail to amaze! It’s wonderful streets, cute little cafés, boutiques and the overload of Capri sandals (you will not leave the island without at least one pair, believe me) made the whole stay a real pleasure. We checked into our hotel in Anacapri, the more quiet and less touristy bit of the island and enjoyed chilling out by the pool, going for strolls along the town’s tiny streets and heading to the beach club Il Riccio. Catching an early sun bed you will have the most perfect view across the ocean as well as all those boats queueing to get into the Blue Grotto, one of Capri’s main attractions. If you are not keen on touristy stuff, I suggest you leave out most recommendations in your travel guide, simply wander the small streets, stop for an ice cream here and there and enjoy Capri as your very own holiday destination! It’s what we did and neither did I know I would catch up with an old work colleague who by chance we met in Capri downtown, nor would I have thought to be walking past designer Michael Kors, who apparently loves spending time on that island (why not, I mean, who doesn’t!).
As mentioned, we initially travelled to Capri for a friend’s wedding which was held by one of the most beautiful restaurants of the island called Da Gelsomina (in case you may be looking for a place to wed – this is the one!). Not just the food was out of this world but so was the reception: Held outdoors in a wonderful setting above the ocean, this wedding sure was something out of the ordinary! After a whole week of experiencing nothing but pizza, pasta and the Italian sun, we said “arrivederci” and made our way back home.