So first of all, major apologies for taking so long to post Part Two of our Family’s Italy Adventure! It’s been kind of bananas around here. Not only are we in our busiest season at the hotel, but I’ve also been in London doing some Florida Foodie cooking demos, working my booty off on my cookbook, and have been *trying* to plan our wedding! So many things!! Ah!
But alas, I’m back and ready to share our Amalfi Coast excursions. Since we were there way longer than we were in Rome, this post is going to flow a little differently. We’ll begin in Positano, which was our home base.
To get from Rome to Positano, most people take the train, bus, or ferry but since there were 6 of us, we did the math and found that it was almost the same amount of money to get a private driver. Cha-ching! It was not cheap but the three hours it took to get there versus a full day of traveling on public transit definitely seemed worth it. We used Amalfi Coast Drivers and I highly recommend it if you’re traveling with a large group! They’re awesome and they basically are tour guides, too!
During our 3 hour car ride, our driver gave us the low down on Mount Vesuvious, Pompeii and all the spots along the coast. He even let us take a much needed limencello and cappuccino break before we arrived on the swirvy steep streets leading up to Positano. We stayed in the most AHHH-MAZING airbnb EVER — Villa la scalinatella! This spacious and ultra clean 3 bedroom 2 bath villa of awesomeness is located on the east side of Positano which has the best views ever! The scene right outside of Jeremy’s and I’s room (pictured above) was freakin’ STUNNING! And If you click the link above, you’ll notice that the view out of the kitchen (and all the other rooms to be honest) was absolutely breathtaking!
Take note, Positano is not a place to go if you are not in shape or if you have bad hips or knees or joints in general. This place has more stairs than that reoccurring falling-down-the-stairs-dream that I always have. I mean, just to get to our airbnb, you had to walk 250 steps WHILE carrying all of your luggage. I consider myself pretty in shape and even I was a bit winded after this. The entire town is located on a coastal mountainside so to get nearly anywhere, you have no choice but to walk up and down a zillion steps. I reached my fitbit goals in like 1 hour each day which was pretty amazing considering I wasn’t even trying to work out!
Another note to take into consideration, Positano has a very serious off season. We totally didn’t realize this when we decided to travel there in November. Not gonna lie, it was kind of a bummer because a lot of the restaurants and cooking schools that I had been obsessing over weren’t open. But after a mini meltdown, I said whatevs, ate some pasta, drank some wine, and told myself that it wasn’t going to let it bother me.
Mediterreano, Chez Black, Casa E Bottega, and Ritrovo were pretty much the only restaurants that were open while we were there and they did not disappoint. We ate dinner at Mediterreano twice because it was absolutely delicious and it was just a few dozen stairwells away from our bnb. Since I’m allergic to shellfish I didn’t get to eat all the good stuff but my family was raving over their gigantic seafood platters while I loved ALLL of their fresh pasta dishes. Chez Black, which is probably one of the most iconic beach restaurants in Positano, was really good but also super expensive. I think this pizza pictured above was like 25 euros or something ridiculous like that whereas everywhere else was totally reasonable.
Casa E Bottega, a health-forward Italian cafe owned by our airbnb host, opened its doors halfway through our trip and was TO DIE FOR! This sunny, bright open-air restaurant was a nice contrast to all the carbs that we had been housing for the last week. Everything on their menu was fresh, light and flavorful. They also had organic juices, beautiful Italian salads, and clean breakfast options like eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce. And don’t get me wrong, even though I dug the breakfast here, I absolutely adored eating pastries from the local cafes every morning for breakfast. Then there was Ritrovo, well… something super special (can you guess what?!) happened there so I’ll talk more about that in the next post. Hehe.
Since Positano was basically a beautiful deserted ghost land, we decided to venture out and see what the rest of the Amalfi Coast had to offer. We got on the local bus (which costs like 2 euros) and headed to east to Sorrento. After walking aimlessly for a few blocks, we ended up in the old town where tiny alleyways full of colorful shops, overflowing markets, and countless orange trees lined the busy streets. I loved everything about Sorrento, especially when we started our day with sfogliatella, the Amalfi Coast’s most infamous shell shaped pistachio cream stuffed pastry.
For lunch, we stopped at a cute outdoor cafe in the middle of Piazza Tazzo called Fauno Bar and chilled out with some refreshing aperol spritz and white table wine while watching the city swirl. I got the broccoli pesto sausage pasta and Jerm got the penne pomodoro with these amazing teeny tiny meatballs. The rest of the fam ordered various seafood plates with octopus, calamari, and muscles while Andrea, my brother’s girlfriend, went rogue and ordered the walnut ravioli – which i will be trying to replicate the rest of my life.
After that, we wandered around the narrow christmas-lit streets and started my traditional travel cheese plating adventure. We stopped at a million different little markets and got a bunch of really cool stuff from fresh tomatoes on the vine to envelopes stuffed full of thinly sliced prosciutto. And i’m not sure if it’s illegal or if I should even write it but we picked about 100 oranges from all the citrus trees that grow LITERALLY EVERYWHERE around Sorrento.
Then to my delight, we got kind of lost and randomly found Alimentari Il Bocconcino, an amazing stocked-to-the-brim cheese store that turned out to be one of my favorite places on this entire trip! They literally had every kind of raw milk Italian cheese that I could ever want. I could cry just thinking about the big beautiful tub of gorgonzola dolce that they scooped up like ice cream. IT WAS HEAVEN! If you were to make a wine, cheese and charcuterie spread like this in America, it would probably cost like $300. This on the other hand cost exactly 55 euros all together (including wine!) which is absolutely bonkers and reason enough to visit this place if you ask me!
Fast forward to a rainy bus ride home where we were all totally exhausted. The weather was pretty bad but luckily we had filled our backpacks and tote bags full of meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, breads and wine that we had found in Sorrento. I built the spread out across our kitchen table and it was truly a sight to be seen. We ate the entire spread for dinner and passed out immediately afterward. And to be honest, I might have eaten the entire pound of gorgonzola dolce doused in local honey that night. I still dream about that glorious gorgonzola dolce. Gah it was magic.
Path of the Gods Hike
The next day, we decided to give into my brother’s biggest desire and try our luck with the Path of the Gods hike which spans the length of the Amalfi Coast. Heavy rainfall and mudslides had occurred the week before we visited, so most of the local tour guides had cancelled their excursions because of dangerous conditions. I wanted to give up on the idea instantly but to my dismay, the rest of the family decided they weren’t scared and just like that, we became our own tour guides.
The plan was to hike for an hour and turn around so that we avoided the parts of the trails that had been washed away. Unlike here in America where there are signs everywhere warning you of potential safety issues, in Italy, they use little dots of red spray paint and it’s honestly sketch as fuck. Also, the one time I leaned on a handrail, the wood had rotted, and it fell to the ground so there was that, too.
After about two hours on the trail, we collectively renamed it Trail of Tears because it was hella scary and we had no idea what we were doing or what we had embarked on. Since we had only planned on going an hour, we ONLY had one bottle of coke that was leftover in my moms backpack from the day before. There was no water, no lunch, no snacks, no tissues, no cell phone service, NOTHING! And compared to everyone else who was dressed in top of the line hiking gear, we had on pea-coats and cardigans and looked like we were lost in translation.
A million sketchy steps later, we reached the top of the mountain where the views were absolutely breathtaking… and not just because we were literally out of breath from the altitude or winded from scaling over huge boulders and crawling under fallen tree trunks. During the next two hours, we met a really cute kitty (notoriously named the Mountain Lion of the POTG) who joined us for about an hour and saw wild mountain goats and sheep that were grazing the steep cliffs. Of course, I asked everyone we passed if it was almost over and they all laughed out loud which confirmed my fears. And as the sun was setting a few hours later, we finally reached the part of the trail that took us down into Priano, our final destination.
Turns out, this was also the part of the trail that had been washed away. Luckily Jeremy and my brother Taylor decided to be the brave ones and scaled down the mountain to look for the red dots to appear. Just as I had suspected, we were doomed. The boys told us our only option was to slide down the steepest part of the mountain until we reached the next foot path. Andrea started to have a panic attack, I started to cry a little, my mom who’s deathly afraid of heights just started blankly and stopped talking (which literally never happens) and my dad, well he decided to just take a seat and let the young guys figure it out.
I got on my butt and dangled my feet down to Jerm who basically let me use his hands as a step. Andrea held on to me like a baby koala and my mom was behind her. We slid about 15 feet down the rocky mountainous terrain and got sodomized by a bunch of random sticks and roots that were sticking out. Not gonna lie, it was absolute hell. After that, when we were all finally safe on the next path, we realized that Jerm had left his backpack up where we had been waiting. Him and Taylor had to scale back up the mountain to get it. From there, we all headed to the end of the trail where 1700 more stair steps awaited.
I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty freaked out by this whole day but we still had a blast! By the end of the hike, my legs were complete jelly and my cheeks were cramped from nervously laughing so much. While we waited for the bus back, we drank about 30 drinks and laughed off the fear. All I could think about was how much pasta I was going to emotionally eat to make up for this anxiety ridden experience. But honestly, In the end, it was totally worth it and you should definitely do it if you visit The Amalfi Coast. Just be sure to get some hot Italian guide to show you the ropes.
Tune back in next week for the final installment of our Family Trip to Italy which features Amalfi and our engagement story. It’s already written (!!!) so I’m totes not bluffing this time! Also, don’t forget to read part 1 below in case you missed it!