Let’s get this baby on the road
It was always one of my dreams to drive along the mesmerizing area of the Amalfi Coast with an old Alfa Romeo Spider and enjoy the Italian culture in all its glory.
After picking out the cities I wanted to visit and a rough road map I started searching for a car that would be perfect and I have to say: It was not that easy. There were not a lot of car rental places that rent an 1970s Alfa Romeo Spider Cabrio (Convertible) in Red (I ended up with white put you have to make compromises). The thing is that most companies offered packages that included your stay at a hotel which is a bit contradictory to the idea of a road trip. But at the end the best price vs quality package was one of those. I ended up in Sorrento and headed out each day to explore more of the landscape and cities of Amalfi. Driving around in an old car without power steering is hard work especially if you realize that most of the roads are curves….actually it felt like all of them were curves but it was still worth it. With the right attire – white linen shirt, khakis and 70s sunglasses – and the right car playing Adriano Celentano music – I was part of what everyone loves about Amalfi and people loved me for that idea. Whilst driving through Positano people where cheering and high-fiving me – which is possible because you literally drive 3km/h. But I never was in any hurry because the journey was the trip.
Positano – What a city. Even though it is the most famous one and has probably the highest tourist per square meter quota I loved this city with every beat of my heart. I can’t explain it but somehow I blurred the hustle and bustle out and just enjoyed the view. Not out onto the ocean but inward to the incredible city landscape. Afterwards I enjoyed a couple of oysters at Le Sirenuse because here you are up above the city and it is one of the most wonderful places to see the sunset.
Sorrento – (Not officially part of the Amalfi coast but who cares) The laid back brother of Positano with a lot more Italian people actually living there and great cuisine. Also don’t forget to drink Limoncello, buy lemons and eat lemons. It is very important. If you have time walk down to the Marina Grande and enjoy a dish of Spaghetti ala vongole (one of the favorite restaurants of Sophia Loren) at Emilia.
Praiano – Leaving Positano behind I drove down the coast passing olive groves and vineyards slowly but surely reaching the ancient fishing village of Praiano. Built into the cliffs, a serpentine led me down to the shore. I would recommend parking at the top and taking the bus down. As far as I saw there are no parking spaces close to the sea. But no worries the bus comes every 15 min and the ride up or down takes about 5 minutes. Finally reaching the shoreline I was greeted by happy people, kids jumping of cliffs and the smell of saltwater in my nose as the waves clashed against the rocks below. This was the happiest place I experienced on my travels all over Italy. I can’t say if it was me or the delectable food and drinks, the hot sun, the relaxed conversation but somehow this place was in harmony and so was I. If you can spend a night or two there. One of the things I missed out on. For food – Il Pirata
Amalfi (city) – Not much to say about it, the main gate to the coast with a lot of tourists and the always dreaded tourist buses shoving their clientage through the cute but crowded part of old town. I was overwhelmed and not impressed. The ride continued after a quick ice cream break.
Ravello – Out of Amalfi I took the next opportunity that took me into the surrounding hills and mountains. As the city comes closer the scent of the world around you changes from the salty sea to a light breeze with wooden aromas from the surrounding forests. Suddenly the road opens and there I was standing in a town that was built in the 5th century BC.an sometime later…about 700 years later….some of the richest families in Italy had their residences here and that’s the reason the town looks so oddly misplaced. Beautiful villas built on the edge of the mountain with views that took my breath. A calm place, time for meditation, sipping tea and writing the next novel. (or pretending to)
Furore – A micro town with houses clinging to the side of the cliffs. The main attraction that is mostly unknown to tourists is the Fiordo – a rocky gorge with houses on each side and an arch bridge spanning over it. Time to stop and take some pictures.
ADD.: Pompeij – If you are staying anywhere around the coast this is easily reachable and worth your time. Beware it gets very hot here in the summer (headwear and sun cream) – It’s a one hour drive from Sorrento and the history behind this disaster is terrifying and exciting at the same time.
At the end every moment on this trip was unforgettable and will stay with me for years to come. I finally understand why the Amalfi Coast is so beloved by the people living there. It is a place where the sky hangs just a little bit lower than anywhere else.
La Dolce Vita.
Finding gas stations is no problem.
Calculate your route with lots of traffic time.
I wouldn’t recommend driving at night with an old car – scary shit.
On Ischia is a frigging awesome resort (expensive) but worth it if you wanna relax – Mezzatorre
Parking is always an issue as most cities have no place for that – here my recommendations: Positano (absolutely car park), Amalfi (car park), Ravello (side of the road), Praiano (public parking space), Sorrento (public parking space), Furore (anywhere you can stop for 5min), Pompeij (car park if you don’t want to walk for a mile and safety of the car)