Maybe you’ve noticed that I was in Italy last week. Not without a reason: I went on a roadtrip from Rome to Amalfi and back and tried/tested all the (hot)spots I passed by in collaboration with bedandbreakfast.eu. I never went to Amalfi before, but the first time when I saw this piece of Italy in the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley I was in love with it. Beside knowing it from this really swell movie, I did also know that it’s a place known for the turistic ‘happy few’. It made me curious about if it’s possible to visit such a place without coming back home totally bankrupt. So herewith my tips to have a real Italian holiday on a exuberant place like the Amalfi surroundings.
Easiest way to get around in Italy is by car. You do have to be confident about your driving skills, because driving in Italy has some special ‘rules’ concerning passing by, very (very) small roads, stop signs and speed. Best advice: be alert, go with the flow and use enough Italian gestures… Vai vai vai! And of course be sure to get a real Italian car to make it complete. As a fan of Fiat 500, I was one major lucky girl that I could drive a Fiat 500 Cult that week in Italy. The Fiat 500 Cult is a new vintage version of the 500 in a contrasting colour (smooth mint) with an exclusive black roof and stylishly elegant leather interiors. And very important; it’s a very compact car so moving around those narrow Italian streets is so much easier. You can already rent a car for one week for around 100 Euro. Make sure to make the best deal by using a site like Easy Terra, where you can compare all the rentals.
BED & BREAKFAST EUROPE
If you decide to do a roadtrip like me, what means you’re hopping from one place to another, it can be a bit restless. If you wanna feel comfortable and at home at the places you sleep during you trip, it might be smart to book a bed & breakfast instead of a hotel. A bed & breakfast is smaller, incheck times are more flexible, there’s also more personal contact with the owners and often they’re less expensive than a hotel. Before I went to Italy I got my route mapped (see the card) and booked several Bed & Breakfasts along my route using the website of bedandbreakfast.eu. In every Bed & Breakfast I stayed around 2 nights, so I had the chance to discover the local surroundings. Every Bed & Breakfast had it’s own pluses and minuses, but some were exceptional well (also concerning price and quality). My personal top 5 (the letters correspond to the location on the map):
It was surprising to find out that the best place to stay was not at the Amalfi Coast but instead in a place near Napels, Cassino. The beautiful house ‘Il Maniero’ has the nicest owners, a perfect swimming pool and a sandy beach just half an hour away (near Gaeta). Above Cassino there’s a big monastery which was the site of the Battle of Monte Cassino: Monte Cassino. One of the cultural highlights of my trip, besides my first visit to Pompeii that same week (wow!).
The second best bed & breakfast, Portico del Paradiso, was difficult to find but worth getting lost. The host was modest but passionated at the same time, and told me all about the place. And rightly: the bed & breakfast has a (secret) chapel and brick kiln in it. Furthermore the mansion was surrounded by a vineyard, fresh kiwi fruit (!) and from the terrace you had a perfect view on Ravello. Special detail about this idyllic city is that just the one Monday afternoon I was in the city centre, as many as three weddings were closed. Hmmm…. that made the romantic scenery of this city actually less romantic… Anyhow, by visiting so many places in such a short time, you get a lot with the Italian culture. Interesting!
In the morning
Captain Cook – Marciano Beach
The best cappuccino to start the day with I had at a special place called Captain Cook. Captain Cook is a small, undiscovered rocky bay where it feels like you arrived in Paradise. Almost no tourists, quiet, sun, sea and one beautiful cottage where you can order the best cappuccino. Drink it while sitting on the edge of a rock and just relish the moment…
In the evening
Ristorante Confalone – Ravello
Inside are fresco’s on the wall, outside you can sit at the great panoramic terrace where you can eat traditional meals of the Amalfi Coast and Campania. Take the delicious bruschetta to start your dinner with.
Song’e Napule – Sorrento
Reasonable food for a reasonable price in a new and trendy venue on one of the main streets of Sorrento. The waiters were very kind, but don’t expect too much of a culinary masterpiece. If you want a good plate of food you are at the right spot here.
Pinsere – Roma
Don’t leave Rome before getting a pizza at Pinsere. Unlike most pizza place, the pizza’s (or Pinse how they call it) are round and smaller than a regular pizza. With toppings like zucchini flowers, sundried tomatoes, roasted vegetables, buffalo mozzarella and pancetta, you won’t be at all disappointed or hungry afterwards. Outside there’s a small bench where you can sit but it’s really made for stand up eating or take away.
Il Molo Gelateria – Gaeta
Gelato, gelato! If you go to Italy you have to eat a real Italian Pizza, drink cappuccino and of course get one of those big gelato’s! I tasted my favourite one at Gaeta. Try also the mouse variant, sweet!
WHAT MADE ME SMILE MOST:
– homemade fig tart by Anne-Marie of Bed & Breakfast Il Maniero
– the beautiful coloured tiles in all of the bed & breakfasts (in the bathroom, living room, terrace, everywhere….)
– driving along the coast in my Fiat 500 with an opened sunroof
– drinking a Spritz on one of the cosy terraces of a typical Italian village
– practicing my Italian and find out that it is not at all so bad…