As an early tenth anniversary present to ourselves, my husband and I traveled to Italy last June, sans kids, for nine days on the Amalfi Coast and Capri. It was our first real vacation (as opposed to "trips" with family) in two years. And we needed it --- time together, to slow down, to relax, to appreciate the world around us.
Miriam at Moonrings helped us organize. Her recommendations were spot-on, and we highly recommend Moonrings' services for special occasion travel. (Moonrings planned, and then replanned, our honeymoon ten years ago. We had meticulously arranged two weeks in Bali, but terrorists struck on our wedding day, and we thus spent our wedding night reconfiguring the Bali trip into a safer Hawaiian getaway. Moonrings worked overtime for us then, and we trusted them completely with this trip as well.)
Our itinerary: Fly into Naples then immediately transfer to Positano for five days. Follow with three days in Capri, a day in Pompeii, and a night in Naples before flying home.
Every minute of the trip was perfect, but here are the first five of our Top Ten Highlights:
1. Il San Pietro.
We stayed at this secluded gem outside Positano for most of the week. If I could design Heaven, it would look and feel exactly like San Pietro. The hotel grounds are magnificently landscaped; the service is exquisite; the mood serene. While there, we met several guests who vacation at Il San Pietro every summer --- one had been coming for more than two decades. It is that magical of a place, to draw repeat visitors, across the globe, year after year.
Every morning I swam. This was my view from the San Pietro pool:
After swimming, we'd breakfast on our spacious, bougainvillea-wrapped private terrace and watch the yachts go by:
We'd also spend part of the day lounging by the sea:
We took a sailing and snorkeling excursion on the hotel boat. Here is a view of the hotel from the water:
And sea views of Positano:
We spent a glorious afternoon at the Il San Pietro spa. This is the walkway to the spa:
And this is the lemon orchard outside the treatment room. After my massage, the therapist picked lemons and made me fresh lemonade:
We drank limencello made from those same lemons almost every evening:
Anyone planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast must read Amanda Tabberer's gorgeous book:
We had purchased the book a few months before our departure and spent hours swooning over the stunning photographs and insider's perspective on Positano. Tabberer lived and worked in Positano for years, marrying into the family which owns and operates Da Adolpho. After reading her nostalgic description of the restaurant, we knew we had to try it. We made our reservation for lunch, the wooden boat with the big red fish picked us up at the San Pietro dock, and within two minutes, we were taxied around the cove to the waterfront restaurant. While there, seated amongst locals, we were delighted to spot some of the "characters" from her book, hosting, cooking, and serving. They were as colorful in person as she described in her text. And the food! Incredibly fresh, simply prepared, and absolutely the best lunch of our week.
3. Dinner at Donna Rosa.
Owned by a mother and two sisters, this hilltop restaurant in Positano serves gorgeous handmade pasta. And the staff are so, so charming. We ate on the terrace, overlooking the lights of Positano, and savored every bite.
Just look at this truffle pasta!
We loved Positano, but for variety, took a half-day and evening sidetrip to Ravello. Perched high above the sea, Ravello is one of the most charming towns on the Amalfi Coast. There is plenty of space to slow down and breathe in Ravello.
Our driver recommended we hike to Villa Cimbrone. And although the long walk was steep and sweaty and not particularly comfortable in the dress and heels I had worn for dinner, it was totally worth it. The Villa Cimbrone gardens are spectacular. I felt like I was in a fairy tale:
After drinking wine in the square, watching the sun set over the mountains and local children play...
A terrace view from our dinner table:
5. Amalfi Drive
There is perhaps no better sensory experience than traveling the curvy Amalfi Coast at night, in an expertly chauffeured Mercedes, windows down, wind blowing, Pavarotti blaring on the stereo, intoxicated by the hibiscus perfume. It was pure luxury, and although we certainly don't live like that every day, it sure was fabulous for a week.
It's not time to go back to the real world yet! The journey continues tomorrow with Amalfi Coast Highlights #6-10! Please join me!
(Sharing with Savvy Southern Style, Memories by the Mile and Common Ground)