Looking Down the Tyrrhenian Coast

August 31 – September 9
Amalfi & Cilento Coasts, Campania, Italy

Twenty minutes into our ascent from Sorrento town up the cliffs near Sant’Agata, and Ollie was puking up his breakfast. Such was the nature of the roads in this part of the country that his delicate tummy was simply no match.  And so we began our foray down Italy’s sublime Amalfi and Cilento coasts.

Upset stomaches aside, it was hard to find fault in this region.  After winding our way past the hordes thronging downtown Sorrento, and making our ascent, the reward was sweet, to say the least.

And here’s one of the many rewards that come to those who have the benefit traveling slowly…we made some pretty important discoveries. Like Marina de Cantone, the virtually unpopulated pebble beach on the other side of Sorrento’s madness. The only other souls present on a fine day at the tail-end of August were Ralph and his wife Patricia, pizza makers from Casserta who had been returning to the same beach for fifteen years.

A few days later found us driving down the coast again and edging toward Positano, a drive that left us breathless on more than one occasion.

Yes, this IS a two-lane road.

Next stop was the iconic Amalfi itself, a medieval town plunked down in a narrow valley between to sea-facing mountains.  Occupied at various times by the Saracens, Normans, Pisans and others, it now seems to make its mark in plying its streams of tourists with locally-made limoncello.

We were more partial to Amalfi’s lemons in another form, such as those taken by the lemon gelato at A’Sciulia.

And some of us were more partial than others.

Home for the next two weeks was a bit further down the road in the small town of Minori, which sat nearly on the edge of the famed coastline, and therefore, was a tad easier on the pocketbook.  Despite the discount, there were no gripes about the views at La Zinefra.

No visit to the region could be considered complete without a pilgramage to Richard Wagner’s old stomping ground in the mountains of Ravello. We went the extra mile (literally) and climbed the 1,600 steps to the top.

But Ravello’s cobbled alleys and overgrown ivy terraces were well worth the effort, especially when I considered the absurd amount of scialatielli I’d had for dinner the night before.

On the road again, we exited Amalfi through Salerno, another sea-side town whose pine-forested hills recalled Central California’s Big Sur.

And further south still to Acciaroli, the town featured in Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea...

…all the way down to Palinuro, named after Aeneas’ helmsman; Campania’s final hurrah and undisputed gem of the quiet Cilento Coast.  Here there were boat rides to sea caves that were tucked away within the famous triple-pronged peninsula.

The blue flagged beaches indicted that they were some of Italy’s most pristine, and indeed they were.

Palinuro was only surpassed, in our opinion, by one very special beach in the next province further south…but that is another story!



  1. Such gorgeous photographs! It takes my breath away even on a computer screen. Glad to see Ollie perking up toward the end :). And what a wonderful picture of Ryan & Kendley in the boat. Looking cool as a couple of cucumbers.

    1. Thank you, Courtney! Ollie bounced back as soon as we hit the beach, as he always does 🙂 Hopefully one of these days you can join us! xxoo

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