Discovering Amalfi Coast
Without any doubt Amalfi Coast is one of the most evocative place in the Mediterranean Sea, probably in the entire world. It is so enchanting that, according to the legend, Amalfi Coast is where Odysseus met the Sirens while returning to Itaca.
I have to warn you: this is the first but not the last post you will read about this region, because of its immutable beauty that continues to affect me more and more with each passing day.
Today I’ll tell you about two specific places, in Amalfi Coast. They’re not the most famous and iconic in the area but I believe they deserve further deepening thank to their distinguishing qualities: typical products, the food and the landscape really are extraordinary. You can taste a little of this through our photos.
The perfect period of the year to visit this lands is in my opinion, the end of May and June, when the sun is warm, all touristic services are open but there is not so much people around and you can enjoy the beaches. In August, prices grow to more than 2 times, the streets are crowded and the sea is wasted by tons of cruise ships and yachts.
Beach of Praiano
The fishing village of Cetara
The first little village that I want to introduce you is the beautiful Cetara, with its little harbor of fishing boats and the “borgo” full of greengrocers that sells the best food of all the region.
The landscape all around the village is really distinctive: it is one of the first you meet but you can already observe all the best characteristics that make Amalfi Coast unique. But the best part is that is not as much touristic as Amalfi or Positano: despite in the last years tourism has become an important element in the economy, in Cetara the largest income is made through the fishing. When you will walk the main street to the Marina, you’ll be enchanted by the colors of all the spices and fruits of the groceries, by the mixed scents of the lemons, origan and fish and by the sound of the sea and the boats.
View of Cetara from the marina | © Paola Kervin
But talking about Cetara, we have to mention the “Colatura di Alici”, (Anchovy Syrup) a traditional recipe passed down through generations, probably since Roman Empire. It consists in an “oily” sauce extracted from salted anchovies, with a process that can take from 6 to 12 months. The flavor is rich and salty, so strong that in one portion of pasta you have to use no more than 1 or 2 teaspoons. But, the best part is that we just talked about the sea… what about the mountains? Cetara is set next to Falerio Mountain, and this is where magic happens: thanks to the sea air which create a perfect temperate climate, the vegetation on the peak grow lush and green.
They have thousands of lemon trees used both for the lemon fruit and for the production of the Limoncello, (you certainly know about this important liquor); but the most remarkable vegetables is the origan. The one that grows on the Amalfi Coast’s rocks has a special flavor that will make you doubt about every other spices you have ever tasted in your life. The marinara pizza (tomatoes and origan) or one of the several pasta recipe with this spice probably will be the best memory you will carry home.
Greengrocer in Cetara | © Paola Kervin
A Jump into the Past: Magic Praiano
The second stage of our route is the little beach hidden in the fold of the cliffs next to the little village called Praiano. I’m sure that the photos will be more eloquent than I to explain why you should visit this place. But I want to add more details that are worth mentioning.
First of all, you could visit both Praiano beach and Cetara on the same day. Indeed it takes less than one hour by car to reach Praiano from Cetara, driving on the long winding road among all the coast which is as dangerous as beautiful.
When you’ll reach the beach you will be breathless: the beauty of this little bay hidden by the rocks just cannot be described. You will felt like you travelled back in time: fish nets are piled on the beach; little traditional houses are built directly on the rock walls; the elders drag the boars out of the sea when the fishing ends.
Another impressive characteristic of Praiano beach is the path dug into the rocks that runs all along the coast for miles. Here, after 500 meters, you will find the “Africana”, a club that animate the summer since decades.
The last but not least experience you can’t miss, is to take lunch at Armandino’s restaurant. Just few meters away from the beach, you can sit and taste all the fish specialties of Amalfi Coast. The food is prepared as my grandma would cook it, with traditional recipes and high quality ingredients.
I hope that after reading my post you will “feel” this places as I do and that you will take the chance to visit them as soon as possible.
One last tip: on Amalfi Coast there are a lots of high quality wines, especially when produced on the mountains.
One of my favourite, with good price, is “Selva delle Monache” made by Ettore San Marco, a blend of Biancolella and Falanghina, fresh and pleasing to the palate, perfect with seafood and octopus salad.
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