Amalfi, Italy

 La Dolce Vita in Italy… I have fallen in love.  Having grown up with a Maltese Grandmother and frequent trips to the area I know for sure that my heart belongs in the Mediterranean Sea.

Rome to Positano
Italy is a dream for anyone who visits including my family of four ( 2 adults, 2-year-old and 17 month old) who travelled there in June and spent seven nights exploring the Amalfi Coastline.  We flew into Rome from Abu Dhabi after a four-hour flight, (we had just spent 3 nights there.)  I had pre arranged a hire car which was easily picked up and we headed off to find Positano.   NOTE:  If you plan to hire a car in Italy get one with a GPS it’s a no brainer.  We had done no research on the drive other than it would take three and half hours according to Google… well it took us six and included a 100 euro toll fine, a bottle of Prosecco (shhh don’t judge I wasn’t driving) and getting locked in the toilet of a random bakery screaming for help.   Isn’t it always the events that seem the most stressful at the time that you remember as the best!  So the second piece of advice I will give for driving in Italy is NOTE: Do some research on what to do at Tolls BEFORE you get there! I had booked our five night stay in Positano on Air BnB through Sorrento Holiday Homes.

The apartment was located in a more ‘locals’ area of Positano about 400 stairs up from the beach (the only way to get the best view and eat more gelato!) In true Italian fashion we met the owner with the key at his gorgeous restaurant Ristorante Mediterraneo which overlooks the coastline.  After indulging in delicious spaghetti we took our very tired babes home to sleep.  The apartment was both beautiful and spotlessly clean, featuring 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen/living and the most idyllic balcony taking in the coveted Positano view.   WOW.  Bertia who runs Sorrento Holiday Homes was fantastic to deal with from start to finish and even baby sat the children for us when we went out to dinner.  She manages properties throughout the area and runs a few websites which I have listed below. Accommodation in Positano is key and Berta has a lot of variety to offer, and having someone available to talk to at anytime is important when renting an apartment outside of a hotel.

Our time in Positano was kept jam-packed with things to see.  The absolute highlight though being two boat tours with Blue Star Positano.  Our first trip was a group tour to Capri with 12 people in total on board the most gorgeous traditional boat, it looked like right out of the movies!  As we made our way to Capri with Captain Massimo he pointed out icon landmarks before dropping us at the port.  We were given 5 hours to explore the island which wa a great amount of time.  Blue Star provided us with a map and outlined the perfect itinerary should we choose to follow it, we did!   We grabbed a taxi up to Anacapri where we took a cable car to the lookout.  This was super fun for the kids as the cable car was more like a single person chairlift and once we arrived the view was incredible.  After catching another cab back to main Capri we ate literally the best Gelato of our lives at Buonocore Gelateria.  There were so many sites to see in Capri and I will honestly say that it is one of the cleanest most pretty places I have been to.  Once onboard the boat and heading back to Positano we stopped to swim in one of the famous caves that shimmer blue. Even with all of Capri’s beauty and marvel the highlight of my day was the look of joy on Ari’s face when Massimo let him ‘drive the boat.’  Hands down Blue Star Positano are the only way to see Capri in my eyes, the ticket cost is inexpensive and the boat is low on passengers compared to some of the other boats I saw that had people packed in like sardines.  (They may have bribed me to say that with lemoncello… jokes!)

For our second tour we decided to hire one of Blue Star’s boats privately and my gosh did it feel glamorous!  We were picked up at the pier by Captain Sandro aboard Nanninella and made our way down the Amalfi Coastline.  To have the boat to ourselves was a dream.  The children fell asleep while we ate the food and drank the Prosecco provided.  We pulled up at private swimming holes and beaches that were only accessible by boat.  The whole coastline needs to be experienced by water to take in its incredible beauty.  After docking in Almafi we spent a couple of hours there eating lunch in the courtyard outside the front of the Almafi Cathedral.  Once back on the boat Sandro took us to Da Tersea which is only accessible by water and famous for their local fish. After lunch we relaxed at their private beach. This restaurant has a really local feel about it that I loved. We ended the day with a cruise back up the coastline taking in the beginning of sunset as we arrived into Positano.  The staff at Blue Star (especially Elisabeth the owner) really became our friends and we loved enjoying a drink (and ice cream for Ari) with them at the end of the day.

Revello was next on our list to visit and being that we had a rental car we decided to drive there and explore.  To get to Revello you drive along the coast past Amalfi and then take a short detour inland.  It was amazing to experience the Almafi drive by sea and land.  There are so many opportunities to take photos so we allowed plenty of time to drive there.  Revello is a special place, a photographers dream I would imagine.  It sits 365m above sea level and is famous for its two stunning villas which is what most tourist go there for. The highlight of our day was lunch at Da Salvatore which was recommended by a local shop owner.  I am going to tell you that this was without a doubt the best Italian meal I have EVER tasted and we even considered driving back to Revello just for another meal there!

On our last day in Positano we headed down the many steps to the beach called Spiaggia Grande and hired beach chairs costing about 25 euros on the front row for the day.  If you want to relax this is a must especially if you have children!   You get two chairs, an umbrella and a waiter who will serve you food and drinks so you literally don’t have to leave all day.  Just sitting on the beach in Positano is breathtaking with its view of the colourful town right out to the Mediterranean Sea.  I won’t tell you how many bottles of Prosecco we drank during our 9am to 5pm day down there!

We had huge days so ate a lot of our dinners in our apartment on the beautiful balcony.  We bought ingredients from our local store and made pasta with pesto, olives and buffalo mozzarella.  We did eat out at Chez Black which sits on Spiaggia Grande and is worth mentioning for its interesting boat like decor and relaxed vibe, we went here on date night but it would have been a great place to take kids.  Positano was a dream come true, somewhere I had wanted to go for years and was everything I expected and so much more!

Sorrento and Pompei
After Positano we headed back up the coast for a two night stay in Naples.  (From Naples we would then drive to Rome before flying to Santorini.)  Between Positano and Naples there are two major must see being Sorrento and Pompeii.  By leaving early enough (10am haha) we found it quite easy to fit both into one day and with two little ones.  The drive to Sorrento was only 40 mins so we arrived in time for lunch and with both kids asleep in carriers we decided to make it a walking lunch from Queen’s Chips (Amsterdam style hot chips.)  We didn’t spend a lot of time here so I can’t say much except that it is a stunning place to just wander round, look at shops as explore.  Sorrento can also be an excellent base while in Amalfi as there is a port that runs ferries all over the Coast and our to the islands.  In saying this my preference would always be to stay in Positano.

We hopped back in the car and continued the drive onto Pompeii to see the ruins.  You just cannot go past the area without visiting the site which was at the center of the Mt Vesuvius eruption in 79AD.  You could spend a whole day here or just a few hours.  We opted for the latter (because kids in carriers) and found that to be perfect for us.  Paying for an English audio guide would be recommended otherwise you really have no idea what you are looking at.  Visiting late (we got there about 3pm) is also a good idea as the sun is not as hot and there are barely any ticket queues or crowds.

From Pompeii it was onto Naples and to find our accommodation that was booked on Expedia.  We stayed directly on the promenade which I was told is the place to be.  I found accommodation to be a lot cheaper than other areas on the coast but that might be because of the place that we stayed in which was basically a room off of a lady’s apartment.  The best restaurant we ate at in Naples was Gusto & Gusto a family owned chain.  The owner was wonderful with the kids and let them make their own pizzas by moulding the dough.  We only had one day in Naples  and our must see were a ride in the tram to explore the castle, a visit to the gardens and walk along the Promenade.  Naples was a great and diverse stop to break up the journey between Amalfi and Rome.

Click on the linked sites below for more –

Sorrento Holiday Homes various sites :
Blue Star Positano
Ristorante Mediterraneo
Da Salvatore
Da Tersea
Chez Black
Gusto & Gusto-Tripadvisor

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