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Trip Report Italia September 2008 Rome & The Amalfi Coast - Part Two - The Amalfi Coast

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Italia September 2008
Rome & The Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast


Getting there & around
1. Marozzi Bus - we had booked tickets on the 7 am Marozzi Bus leaving from Roma Tiburtina a few days in advance directly at the bus station for 20 euros each. it was an uneventful ride with a stop on the autostrada for a bathroom break. at the first stop, Sorrento, we were transferred to a smaller SITA bus which then took us to Positano, where we got off at the La Sponda stop and walked to our hotel. the bus ride was about 4 - 4.5 hours. However, later in the trip, we decided to take the bus back to Rome (also 20 euros) from Amalfi (having taken the ferry to Amalfi from Capri) and that bus ride was considerably longer, stopping at many more destinations, with a total travel time of 6.5 hours, with only one bathroom break!! No sure why the route/stops were so different. I'd recommend the ride from Rome but not the ride back!

2. Traveling around the area -
-right near our hotel at the La Sponda stop we were able to get the SITA bus in one direction to Sorrento and in the other to Amalfi.
-down the hill from our hotel at piazza dei mullini we were able to get the tiny orange bus that travelled to Praiano as well as one that travelled in a circle around Positano, including up to the chiesa nuovo stop.
-once in Sorrento, we transferred to the circumvesuviana to go to Pompeii (villa dei misteri stop) and Naples (Piazza Gabrialdi stop)
-once in Amalfi, at piazza flavio gioia, you can transfer to many SITA buses, one goes to Ravello, one to Salerno, etc. Also there are small orange buses that go to Montepertuso.
-we found it helpful for days we were doing alot of traveling on the SITA buses to purchase the all day ticket for 6 euros, which is exactly what you would pay for tickets from positano to sorrento and back. so it made sense. we bought our tickets at a small gas station/store right on via c.colombo which was on the short walk from the hotel to the bus stop. you can not buy tickets on board.
-the small orange buses required a different ticket which cost 1.10 euro and was purchased on board. we did encounter a very rude driver in Praiano. From what we could tell the bus made a loop from positano-praiano-positano. so after dinner we boarded the bus. it took us around praiano and stopped at the edge of town near Amalfi. we explained to the driver that we were going to the la sponda stop in Positano, which he said the bus was going to next from there, but that it was the end of the line and that we had to pay again. really we got on the bus on the wrong side of the street, so we caught the end of the loop rather than the begininng. he refused to take us without paying again and it was dark and in the middle of nowhere so there was no way we were getting off the bus. then even though he knew we were going to La Sponda in Positano yet he drove right past it and it was dark so we missed it and wound up all the way on the other side of Positano.
-at the docks in Amalfi and Positano you can take boats along the coast as well, which we didn't do because they were twice to triple the cost of the bus. There are a few stands on each dock that sell various tickets. we bought our ticket from the dock in Positano to go to Capri, there were 2 stands selling the ticket we needed, at different prices and different time schedules, so it is definitely worth it to "shop around".

Where we stayed
Residence La Tavolooza, via c. colombo 10, positano - near the la sponda bus stop.
We found this small family run hotel in rick steves italy 2008. It was such a good find. Not only was it cheaper than other hotels right in that same area, it truly was a beautiful place. Our double room, room #5, had a large balcony with a gorgeous view of the water and Positano. We discovered right away that the la sponda bus stop was the best stop to be near, as the other main Positano spot was further up the mountain, chiesa nuovo, and therefore further from the ocean and all the restaurants and shops. Yes our bathroom was right across the hall from our room but it really wasn't a big deal. No one was allowed to use it but us and there were only 2 other rooms on that floor (1 had a bathroom out in the hall as well, the other had one inside the room). The balcony had two great chairs for lounging and a little table and chairs for eating, etc. We spent alot of time out there, especially on the last night when 2 nice couples checked in on either side, we all were out on the balconies chatting about our trips. The staff couldn't be nicer!! We asked about laundry services in Positano and there weren't any "self service" places. The hotel sent our laundry out for us and it was back the next day and cost 13 euro. Also we never had the breakfast that you can pay extra for but I did get a cappucino one morning and it was one of the best I had in Italy. I would definitely stay here again as you get a wonderful value and a view/balcony for less than it would cost for a similar room elsewhere. The location was also very conveinent to catching the bus and walking around town.

Where we ate
in Positano
Buca di Bacco, Positano
September 15th dinner -
arancini- huge!
eggplant polpette
handmade fussilli with zucchini flowers - delicious
wild boar tagilettelle
53 euros with water, bread and cover charge.

Ristorante Bruno, Positano
September 16th dinner-
gnocchi alla sorrentia - one of the best
gnocchi al frutta del mare and eggplant
59 euros with wine, water and cover charge

La Cambusa, Positano
September 19th dinner -
complimentary bruschetta
fried zuchinni flowers, fried mozzerella, fried potoato croquettes
mussel soup- delicious, huge crock of mussels with very little broth
rigatoni with eggplant tomato and mozzerella
spinach ravioli with cream sauce- decadant!
80 euros with wine, bread, water and cover charge

La Pergola, Positano
September 21st dinner -
was just ok. can't remember what we ate.....

Delikatessen, via dei mulini 5, Positano
lunch almost daily!!! go up to the counter and look at what they are serving that day. everything was delicious. we'd bring it to out room and eat on the terrace.
orchiette with broccolli
roasted peppers
fresh buffalo mozzerella
assorted olives
meatballs made with meat, eggplant, proscuitto inside
baked pastas with all kinds of yummy things inside

La Zaggra, Positano
a great little shop with small pizzas and sandwiches to go. as well as delicious pastries and desserts. great cappuccino. there is a retaurant there as well, with live music nightly. we never sat down, always took things to go. could hear the music from our room terrace anyway!

Bar Mullini, Positano
right down the street from out hotel. so we had many cappucinos there. very good. great gelato too, very fresh and you could tell it was made that day.

in Praiano
La Strada, via gennaro capriglione, Praiano
September 17th dinner-
hanmade ravioli with roasted tomatoescaprese salad
fried calamari for two
59 euros with beer, water and bread

in Ravello
Cumpa Cosimo, via roma 46, Ravello
September 20th lunch-
we heard about this place from rick steves. there is a pasta misto plate. for 13 euro we got 6 different pastas on one plate for one person. all really good!!! the house red wine was delicious. exactly what we needed right before our hike!

in Naples
Antica Pizzeria da Michele, via sersale 1, Naples
September 18th lunch -
this is supposed to be the best pizza in Naples! it was really good. they only serve margarita or marinara. we each got a magerhita. can't beat the price at 4 euros per pizza, and it is huge! the water was really affordable too!

in Amalfi
Ristorante Marina Grande, on the waterfront, Amalfi
September 20th dinner -
salad with goat cheese, apples and little tomatoes stuffed with ricotta
rigatoni with eggplant
eggplant parmagiana

da maria, via lorenzo d'amalfi, Amalfi
September 24th lunch -
pizza with sausage and brocolli rabe
pizza with onion, pecorino ad mozerella
23 euros with cover charge and water

Savoia, across from piazza flavio gioa, Amalfi - gelato, their savoia flavor is really good!

in Sorrento
da franco, across from the lemon grove, corso italia 265, sorrento September 16th lunch - amazing pizza! it comes out on a huge square baking sheet. it is very long depending on how many people you are with! we had alla contidina which was cheese peppers and sausage. you order according to the amount of people you have but can get different pizzas. 12 euro for 2 people
local wines we tried while on the amalfi coast:
reds only of course!!
aglianico del taburno
costa d'amalfi furore rosso
falerno del massico

What we did
Day 1 - Monday September15th
-church of Santa Maria Assunta
-lunch from La Zaggra
-dinner at Buca di Bacco
-walked around the shops and beachfront in Positano

Day 2 - Tuesday September 16th
-lunch at da franco
-lemon and orange grove, many tastings, bought limoncello here - 5 euros for a 0.10 liter bottle
-walked around Sorrento, limoncello tastings on via san cesareo.
-loosely followed Self Guided Tour in Rick Steves Italy 2008
-dinner at Bruno

Day 3 - Wednesday September 17th
-beach in Positano
-lunch from Buca di Bacco bar
-dinner in Praiano at La Strada

Day 4 - Thursday Septmber 18th
Pompeii and Naples
-Pompeii - free with campania artecard
loosely followed guide in Rick Steves Italy 2008
lunch at Antica Pizzeria da Michele
Archaeological Museum - free with campania artecard, followed guide in Rick Steves Italy 2008
loosely followed "A Slice of Neopolitan Life Walk" in Rick Steves Italy 2008

Day 5 - Friday September 19th
lots of rain
read alot on the terrace under the awning!
dinner at La Cambusa

Day 6 - Saturday September 20th
-lunch at Cumpa Cosimo
-hiked from Ravello to Amalfi, stopping in Atrani - followed the sunflower guide. trails were mostly well marked, with just a little bit of confusion about halfway through. the views were breathtaking and took us through what seemed like people's backyards! many grapes growing, lemons, peppers, olives, figs, etc!
-limoncello store - Antichi Sapori di Amalfi, where they make and bottle limoncello, bought limoncello and crema di limone here
-tastings along via lorenzo d'amalfi
-dinner at ristorante marina grande
-gelato at savoia

Day 7 - Sunday September 21th
-walked the path that leads west from the right side of of the ferry dock. This cliff-hugging walkway is named the Via Positanesi dAmerica, a reminder that three-quarters of the town's population set sail for America in the late 19th Century, with most settling in New York City. This footpath, links the Marina Grande with the less-crowded but smaller Fornillo Beach.
-lounged around Positano
-dinner at La Pergola

Day 8 - Monday September 22th
we took the ferry from the dock in Positano to Capri. we had made a reservation for the later morning time because it was the discounted time to go and could be sold out. then purchased the tickets that morning about 30 mins before. the boat ride took us right by the galli islands and took about 50 mins, which is the "faster boat"


Where we stayed
La Tosca - Via D.Birago, 5
loved loved loved this hotel. the owner Ettore was so helpful and attentive. the room was gorgeous and clean, with a very large bathroom by Italy standards. it had a cute little patio area with no view but a table and chairs. the breakfast terrace had a beautiful view and breakfast was included. it consisted of a cappucino, corsaints, hard rolls and cracker toasts with butter, assorted jams and nutella on the side.

Where we ate
-da gemma, via madre serfina 6, Capri
September 23rd lunch-
pizza with proscuitto
pizza alla diavola (pepperoni type sausage/salami)

-verginiello, via la palazzo 25, Capri - best restaurant ever! so good we ate there 2 nights in a row, our only 2 nights in Capri.
September 22nd dinner-
ravioli caprese - the most delicious ravioli ever, they are little round balls.
scciatalleli puttanesca - thick handmade pasta of the region, great light puttanesca
mussels au gratin
caprese salad - tomatoes, buffalo mozzerella, olive oil and basil - decadent and light, I couldn't get enough!
torta caprease - famouns almond chocolate cake, outstanding!
58 euro with a liter of house red wine, water, bread, cover charge

September 23rd dinner-
more ravioli caprese
limguine frutta del mare
steak pizzaiola
more caprese salad
53 euro with liter of house red wine, water, bread, cover charge

-buonocore, via vittorio emanuele 35, capri - everytime we walked by this place going to our hotel it smelled so amazing you could smell if before you even saw the place! they had really good looking pizzas and pasta pies, that I sadly never got to try! they do however make fresh waffle cones right up front on the street and thatis what the smell is! the waffle cones were very good as was the gelato. they had a fantasia capri flavor that was very yummy! 3.25 euros for 2 flavors in a waffle cone with chocolate sauce on top.

-sfizi di pane, via le botteghe 15, capri - great little bakery with fresh breads and pizza.

What we did
Day 1 (day 8) - Monday September 22nd
-via krupp down to Marina Piccolo.
-lunch from bar merendero, great caprese sandwiches, recommended by ettore at the hotel, sat on the very pebbly beach to eat.
-the Blue Grotto. via bus to anacapri, got off 1 stop past the town center "the cemetary stop", transferred to the blue grotto bus (the little bus station is on your left). short wait in line. was worth it. touristy but something to experience nevertheless! beautiful inside and a little scary getting in! our rower laid back righ on top of me!! sand a beautiful rendetion of o' sole mio.
-chair lift up Mount Solaro in Anacapri, then hiked down, beautiful views, a unique Italy experience. great info on the hike on the back of our free map as well as a way to extend the hike to cetrella.
-dinner at verginiello
-piazza umberto main square. leading to the main drag "rodeo drive" with high end shops.

Day 2 (day 9) - Tuesday September 23rd
-capri-arco naturale-grotta di matermania-pizzolungo-tragara hike deatiled on the back of the free map we got from the hotel, they also had it at the TI. took us on a beautiful tour of the island!!
-lunch at da gemma
-boat ride around the island - Laser Capri boat - reserved at the hotel, purchased tickets and boarded down on the docks. 13 euro each. visited blue grotto (not inside), white grotto, green grotto, thru the faraglioni rocks, etc. great experience!
-giardini augusto (gardens) - lovely to stroll around and great views.
-certosa (monestary) was closed, but walked around the perimeter and could see into it pretty well from our hotel
-dinner at verginiello

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