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Review: Amalfi

City/Town/Region/Island

Italy

We're back - 5th visit to the Amalfi coast

  • By SilverTraveller Di-Castle

    5 reviews

  • Apr 2014
  • Partner

42 people found this review helpful

We’re back! The scent of orange blossom, the tooting scooters, chiming church bells, the gurgling bubble seat, chinking coffee cups at the rooftop pool all tickle our senses. Even the smell of exhaust fumes in stationary traffic and the roar of Vespas thrill us. On the Corsa Italia, hooting drivers of dented or scratched Fiats suggest walking is safer. The panorama hasn’t changed. Churning white swirls follow the Capri ferry, mustard and ochre buildings nestle deep down town. My fifth visit to Sorrento. In 1998, following my graduation, I discovered this spectacular scenery and friendly Italians, encouraged by a friend whose love affair with the Costeira Amalfitina endures. ‘Come with me,’ she said. ‘I’ll show you around.’ And she did. She walked me through the streets of Sorrento to the Piazza Tasso and the Fauno Bar, then to the Foreigners’ Club. Later, down to Marina Grande and Maria’s sundeck where for the price of a latte you can sunbathe on a lounger for as long as it takes. One day to Capri on the fast ferry from Marina Picolo, a baguette lunch eaten on a path overlooking the famous Faraglioni. While I celebrated the Amalfi Drive on my birthday, she visited the Palace of Caserta and she visited friends in Naples when I day-tripped to Pompeii. Single rooms were at a premium in September so we didn’t share a hotel. The cost of one over-ran my budget, another in St Agata less than ideal for socialising in the evenings. So, luckily I happened upon the Bristol Hotel, built into the cliff face with a rooftop pool overlooking the town and marinas, the Bay of Naples and a dining room with a vista to match. The Italian staff treated me royally and sometimes another single traveller shared my dinner table. Otherwise, I ate alone with my book, while the coupled females sent daring looks and suddenly held hands with potentially errant spouses. They needn’t have worried. I’d given up boring husbands twice in twenty years and was happy to be single. Inevitably, single travelling forays ended. In 2000 my partner similarly fell in love with the Amalfi coast. We returned in 2001, just before 9-11 put me off flying, and ferries to France were preferred. But memories lured us back in 2010 by which time I had clocked up four visits. Today, navigating the swing doors of the Bristol, we are remembered and warmly welcomed by the same staff and we wallow in luxurious attention. Is there anything new to see? A cloudburst chases us into the 15th century cathedral, we venture to Naples and take new paths on Capri. The Corso Italia hosts a new range of handbags, shoes and elegant clothing, enough to break the credit card. The last weekend in April is a bank holiday, with free entry to Pompeii and Herculaneum, encouraging swathes of babbling Italian families to crowd the trains. May Day a crammed bus trip to Amalfi and unforgettable Ravello. We’ll be back. Next year?

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