All tagged Amalfi Coast

A Guide to Conca dei Marini


If you ask any Neapolitan about Conca dei Marini, they will enthusiastically tell you that the sfogliatella pastry was invented there.  Like many pastries of the middle ages, cloistered nuns invented the sfogliatella.  It seems that while the cloistered men made alcoholic tinctures to maintain their independent cash flow, their sisters of the cloth were busy making sweet treats.  And so was the case of the sfogliatella.  The Santa Rosa Convent soaring above the tiny port of Conca dei Marini is where the ricotta stuffed and amarena cherry studded shell shaped pastry was born. 

A Guide to Furore

Furore is perhaps the most logic defying of any town on the Amalfi Coast. It is a vertical sliver of land that runs from the deep crevice of the Fiordo port on the sea to about 600 meters above sea level high into the Monti Lattari Mountains.  There is no central piazza.  No easy road to connect lower and upper Furore.  The people of Furore even have split identities with those in the upper quarters more closely identifying with the mountain dwellers of Agerola and the lower quarters more historically linked to the mariners of nearby Conca dei Marini.

A Guide to Praiano

Praiano gets her name from the Latin word pelagium, meaning open sea.  Later the same word would evolve to mean beach in both Spanish (playa) and Portuguese (praia). Praiano consists of two main parts. Vettica Maggiore which lies lower on the coast and Praino on the upper part of this vertical town.  The main road SS 163 Amalfitana slices through the two neighborhoods.   Nobles throughout the days of the Amalfi Republic summered here and today you can affordably rent family villas in Praiano with dazzling sea views.  

Positano defies gravity. Pastel buildings hang like tendrils dipping over the sea. Mosaic church domes are wedged between cliffs. Old ladies with in matching house dresses and droopy nylons trudge up countless stairs.  The town is vertical, funneling from a long, winding strip of coast into the hills.  The highest neighborhood of Positano is Montepertuso, meaning Mount Hole in local dialect.  As the legend goes, villagers attempting to escape marauders scampered into the hills above town only to become blocked by an imposing rock formation.  They prayed to the Virgin Mary and so she ventured down from the heavens and parted the rocks, allowing the early Positanese to pass through safely.  The hole in this rock formation is said to resemble the Madonna (I think it looks like an rather beaky eagle) and would give Montepertuso its name. 

The Towns of the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast offers some of the most striking panoramic vistas in the world.  I like to call it suffocatingly beautiful because everywhere you look, every jagged cliff, every bougainvillea encrusted villa, every secret stone tipping into the sea is simply more beautiful than the last thing you saw not just that day but in your life.  Driving down the Amalfi Coast is the pastel panoramic equivalent of gavaging yourself with shrooms at Woodstock.  You just do not, cannot believe that what you are seeing is real.  The good news is that it most definitely is. 

A Guide to the Amalfi Coast and Beyond

Most of the visitors to our little region of Italy, technically referred to as the Region of Campania, blow through Naples on their way to the Amalfi Coast.  The Region of Campania actually consists of five provinces Naples, Salerno, Avellino, Caserta and Benevento.  The Amalfi Coast is in the Province of Salerno.  The Gulf of Sorrento and Capri are in the Province of Naples.  It is important to remember that culturally, historically, geographically and even linguistically and culinarily the Amalfi Coast and the Gulf of Sorrento are two distinct regions.  Many like to think of Sorrento as the gateway to the Amalfi Coast.  Fair enough, it is certainly a convenient and less expensive place to stay and use as a home base when exploring the towns of the Amalfi Coast.