Take a walk around Praiano and you are rewarded with views like this ...
Day 3, Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I wake up just as the sun rises. The whole sky turns orange, purple, and a bunch of other colors. Standing on our villa terrace, I soak in the view and breathe in the fresh and citrusy fragrance.
While the rest of the group are still sleeping, I change into workout clothes, grab my camera, and take a long walk up the steep hill near our villa, loop down to “downtown” Praiano, then walk back up to the villa, a 60 minutes of vigorous exercise…but I do stop along the way to take pictures.
Praiano, and for that matter, all the towns along the Amalfi Coast have stairs instead of sidewalks. There are very few level-walking surfaces and therefore, everywhere you walk, you either climb up or down the steps. Walking around the town, breathing in the fresh ocean air, passing by old churches, herb gardens, olive and lemon groves; and admiring the view of the sea and the mountain is such an enjoyable experience.
Return to the villa, I take a shower then join the group for breakfast and talk about our plan for the day.
Today, we plan to visit two very famous towns on the Amalfi Coast, Ravello and Positano.
To reach Ravello from Praiano, we drive east, make a sharp left after we pass Amalfi, and drive up and up the hill for another 20 minutes.
Ravello, a serene little town perching 1,500' above the sea, radiates natural and man-made architectural beauty. The town is anchored by a small but beautiful church and its square, where clusters of sidewalk cafes are set up. Off of the main square are narrow streets that have clothing boutiques, ceramic stores, gift shops, and art galleries.
There are many beautiful mansions and villas in Ravello that were built on the cliff overlooking the sea including the magnificent Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone. Due to our limited time, we can only visit Villa Cimbrone which is the bigger and more beautiful of the two.
Olives and lemons grow everywhere.
A 10-minute walk from the town square takes us to Villa Cimbrone.
The Villa's main attractions are its magnificent garden and terrace. The garden is vast, perfectly manicured, and contains hundreds of different colorful plants, trees, and statues.
More stunningly is the terrace, the Belvedere of Infinity, a wide and long stone balcony overlooking the sea. Roman busts are placed on handrail posts and a half-moon balcony is built to cantilever out over the cliff for the braves to walk out and take pictures.
From the terrace, I can see gardens, lemon groves, pine and cypress trees, and the vast and sparkling sea below. The view is simply stunning.
Entrance to Villa Cimbrone in Ravello
Khanh and Lee at Villa Cimbrone
The Infinity Terrace
View of Amalfi Coast from Villa Cimbrone
Don, Lee, and Khanh on the infinity terrace at Villa Cimbrone
We walk under grapevines and flowered trellises
Lee enjoying the view from Villa Cimbrone
Khanh and Don in one of Villa Cimbrone's gardens
Ahh... the famed Positano with its cascading pastel buildings
A pedestrian way in Positano
After a couple of hours at Villa Cimbrone, we head back to the Ravello town square, window shop, have some snacks and refreshment, and then drive to Positan0.
The jewel of the Amalfi Coast is located about 6 miles west of where we stay.
From Ravello, we drive west on the main coastal road past Amalfi and Praiano then turn left onto a one-way street to Positano.
The street, Via Pasitea, is packed with shops, hotels, art galleries, and restaurants. It twists, turns, descends, and brings travelers to the main level where its beaches and main church are located. There, we park our car and wander around the town.
Positano is blessed with natural beauty. Houses in pastel colors are built on top of one another cascading down the side of the mountain overlooking the sea.
The streets are narrow; you walk under flowered trellises and canvas canopies which provide shades for cute little boutiques and art galleries.
Restaurants and shops are all over the place. The town is so picturesque, celebrities come here to enjoy the summer in Italy and so many artists, painters, and poets come here to receive their inspiration.
There are two beaches in Positano and the main one, Marina Grande, is the closest to the main shopping area.
Rows of restaurants and bars line along the gray pebbly beach and colorful umbrellas and chairs are set up to welcome sun worshippers.
We walk toward the end of Marina Grande and have a late lunch of salad, pizza, and chicken sandwiches at an outdoor, beachside restaurant called L’incanto.
On this mid September day in Southern Italy, the weather is just perfect. It is warm, there is not a cloud in the clear, blue sky; and thousand of suns sparkle in the azure water of the Mediterranean.
We finish lunch around 5 pm (hey, who watching the clock? we are on vacation and in Italy…everything is so relaxed here) then walk around town some more, admire the quality of the linens and ceramics on display, then take our place at a spot where we can see Positano lit up after dark.
From Positano, we drive back to Praiano and have a sumptuous dinner of mussels, rice, pasta, and steak at a restaurant in the Hotel Magareta near where we stay.
Lee in Positano
Khanh on Positano's main beach, the Marina Grande
Lots of steps to get up and down in Positano
Looking down on Positano's main beach
An oil painting of Positano
There are shops everywhere
... and this
No level surface. You walk up the steps or ramps. This one is from down the road and leads up to our villa
View of Praiano from the adjacent hill. The Town of Positano is across the water
Main church in Ravello
Lee in Ravello's town square, Piazza Duomo
Inside the church...simple but elegant
Don and Bo in Ravello
Khanh and Lee at a ceramic shop in Ravello
and art galleries
... and more shops
Having a late lunch at L'Incanto on Positano's Marina Grande