Monday, February 20, 2012

Positano Honeymoon

On September 24, 2011, I married the love of my life in Boston.  Two days later we were on a plane to Italy for our honeymoon.  First stop: Positano!

Tuesday:

From Boston, we flew direct to Rome on Alitalia.  After some minor delays in Rome, we flew to Naples, where we met our driver who brought us to the Albergo Miramare in Positano.  Driving through Naples was not all that scenic, but in the distance we saw Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples.  We drove through tunnel after tunnel, into Sorrento and suddenly the magic of the Costiera Amalfitana began!

Positano
To our left we saw lemon and olive trees and beyond, theTyrrhenian Sea sparkled.  The roads twisted and turned and as we approached Positano, the switchbacks combined with our driver’s high speed and the height of the coastal cliffs, turned our stomachs.  We needed food and a nap in the worst way but we couldn't believe what we were seeing in terms of landscape and beauty. 

Finally in Positano, our driver stopped along the main road (and the only road!) and unloaded our luggage.  A friendly porter with the strength of ten men put our four heavy pieces of luggage on his back and disappeared down the 100 stairs that led to the Hotel Miramare.  We paid our driver and began our descent to our hotel, which was built into a cliff.


Miramare is the red building, center.
Nicola at the front desk welcomed us warmly and an iced bottle of champagne awaited us in our room.  Our room, 210, was large (by European standards), bright and spacious.   Almost one whole wall, facing the sea, was glass.  Our very private terrace had a table with two chairs and two sunbeds – this is where we spent most of our time, enjoying the view.  We especially loved the shower which overlooked the ocean and the harbor filled with tiny fishing boats. The location of the hotel was a challenge to the legs, about 100 steps down from the main central road and 200 steps down to Positano’s beach but good for working off all the food we ate!

Our shower

Our room

200 steps from the beach to Miramare
Jason and I quickly changed and headed back up the 100 stairs.  Our honeymoon officially began at a table for two at Caffé Positano.  Perched on the side of a cliff, we ate roasted eggplant and ravioli, washed down by delicious red wine while trying to keep our eyes open.  We needed a nap!



After a very painful wake-up call and one bottle of champagne (enjoyed on our terrace in the warm September air), we were shuttled to our 8pm dinner reservation in the hills above Positano in Montepertuso.  The restaurant’s complimentary shuttle climbed and climbed up a mountain before reaching La Tagliata, which is located on a cliff overlooking Positano and comes with a fabulous view of the mountains and ocean!  We were very happy we dragged ourselves out of bed.

Our server started us off with a complimentary glass of prosecco to celebrate our marriage and then the food began arriving (no menu here) in various courses – all fresh ingredients grown and produced on the restaurant’s adjoining farm.  Homemade buffalo mozzarella, fresh vegetables, homemade pastas, grilled meats, desserts – you name it, we ate it, course after course, washed down with two bottles of La Tagliatia’s own house wine.  Live music also added to the fun, and guests sang along, passing around a tambourine between courses.  After the after-dinner limoncello drink, the whole restaurant erupted in dance, including me and Jason.  What an awesome way to begin our honeymoon!  To see a brief video of the live band and a glimpse of the view over the bay, click here.


Wednesday:

After a much-needed sleep, we ate breakfast on our terrace, overlooking the ocean and the colorful buildings built into the cliff.  Breakfast included fresh juice, assorted pastries and croissants, cappuccinos, cheeses, meats, eggs and yogurt to our balcony. 


After breakfast, Nicola gave us beach towels and we hiked down the 200 steps to the beach, passing residences, little cafes, shops and hotels.  We spent a few minutes exploring the beach area, which was home to a ferry dock, gelato shops, restaurants and folks selling watercolor paintings and boat trips to Capri, Ravello, Sorrento, etc.

Our hotel offered a complimentary boat ride and we figured we’d start our day with a tour of the coast.  We boarded O' Sole Mio with six other passengers.  I will never forget, as we puttered away from Positano, how the town looked from the water, just incredible. 


Stopping a few times to swim and explore coves and caves, we boated past Praino, Amalfi and Ravello, picturesque villages built into the cliffs. Our captain, Garibaldi, did not speak English but somehow gave us an excellent and very animated coastal tour.  It was wonderful!

Back on land, we hiked the path to Fornillo Beach, which is smaller and quieter than Positano’s crowded Spiaggia Grande (main beach).   Beach bars lined the quiet beach and we ordered fresh mozzarella and basil paninis, a couple Peronis and spent the day swimming and reading in sun chairs.  The sand on both beaches was quite pebbly; you almost need water shoes.


 

On our way back to the hotel, we walked up the Via dei Mulini, Positano's main shopping street, instead of taking the 200 stairs, passing tiny shops selling colorful silks, limoncello, shoes, painted tiles, wine, souvenirs, gelato. I bought a lemon-scented candle and a bar of lemon-shaped and scented soap, which I used the entire honeymoon.  We headed back to the hotel and after a long siesta, we enjoyed a glass of wine on our terrace.


That night we ate dinner at Ristorante Il Ritrovo, up in Montepertuso.  A complimentary shuttle transported us up to the cozy restaurant high in the mountains above Positano.  After a very long and relaxing feast of homemade pastas, veal and wine, we headed back to Positano.  We followed the sound of live music to La Zagara, a bar with a beautiful garden of orange trees and colorful flowers.  We each had a drink and danced to a song or two before heading back to Miramare for the night.
Thursday

Another glorious breakfast on our balcony.  It didn’t take long to realize that today was going to be HOT.  We had planned to ferry over to Ravello and Amalfi to see some sights and have lunch but quickly realized that we wanted to be near the water instead.

We decided to rent our own motor boat for a half day, which turned into a whole day when we realized how much fun this was!  We grabbed our snorkel gear, waters, towels and off we went!  Led by Captain Jason, we circled around Li Galli, a small set of islands which according to Greek legend were home to three mermaids or sirens who tempted Ulysses on his way back home.  


We boated along the cliffs to swim and snorkel but grew afraid after seeing a flock of menacing jelly fish swarm our small boat after we anchored.  We decided to head south of Positano, stopping to swim and snorkel in various coves, past Maiori and Minori, making it to Salerno before we turned around. 



On the way back, we docked in a tiny harbor in Cetara and I ran into town to find us some lunch. 


All shops were closed except for a tiny butcher shop where I met a woman who sautéed some sausages and broccoli rabe for us, which she placed in the most amazing bread.  We bought a couple of ice-cold Peronis, boated out a bit and enjoyed an amazing lunch together lazing in the sun before heading back to Positano. 


That evening, after a full day in the sun, we took naps on our terrace sunbeds and enjoyed yet another very happy hour, before heading to Chez Black, a restaurant on the Spaggia Grande.  We split a delicious pizza and some amazing pasta while watching the beach area buzz with action. Sitting at the table next to us was Kirstie Alley and a small entourage, who bothered us with their cigarette smoke the entire night.  We watched the town stray dog romance another dog, but I’ll spare you the details on this! 

Friday

At our request, the Miramare booked us on a boat trip to the Isle of Capri.  We left early in the morning, stopping to swim in the most amazing turquoise water before checking out the Green Grotto.  Our captain also boated past the Faraglioni, three blocks of rocks located off Capri.



The line to enter the Blue Grotto was too long so we docked and took an open-air taxi up to Anacapri – I loved the taxi ride and the views were phenomenal as we climbed up the island.  After a very long lunch, we took the chairlift to the top of Anacapri to admire the view and the island. 



After that, we walked around the town, checking out the local shops.  Capri was an interesting experience but it was mobbed with tourists and not very relaxing in the blazing heat.  I hear it’s a beautiful place after the sun goes down and everyone leaves for the day.  Maybe someday we’ll come back to experience that.

Back at the hotel, we realized we were starving so we asked the front desk to deliver a snack.  A beautiful tray arrived with Italian cheeses, prosciutto, salami and bread.  We drank prosecco and sat on the terrace, admiring the view.



I wanted to check out the Hotel Poseidon, so we hiked the 100 stairs to the main road and then more stairs and up an elevator and finally we arrived at the Poseidon’s beautiful pool and restaurant area.  In addition to candle-lit ambiance, the view of the town and bay was stunning.   We each ordered a drink and snacked on the complimentary olives and nuts while listening to live music. 


For dinner, we ate at the restaurant in Bucca di Baco, a hotel where I considered staying at in the beginning stages of my honeymoon research.  We split a tomato soup, twisted pasta with pesto and taggliatelle with boar ragu.  The dinner was tasty, despite the table of 10 very noisy, and very drunk, Americans sitting next to us.


After dinner, we relaxed and listened to music at La Zagara, such a wonderful spot.

Saturday

Being our last day in Positano, we decided to head back to Fornillo Beach for some reading and swimming, eating lunch at one of the beach bars.  We knew the next portion of our honeymoon in Tuscany and then Rome would involve lots of sightseeing, and we needed some down time to relax together.  On the way back to the hotel, was stopped in our favorite market for a bottle of wine and some grapes.


We asked for a pizza recommendation from Rosita at the front desk at Miramare.  Rosita recommended Lo Guarracino, a restaurant along the seaside walkway to Fornillo Beach.  The restaurant’s ambiance and view of the ocean was so pretty and we loved the house wine.  We split a caprese salad, some pasta and a pizza.  On the way home, we grabbed gelatos and sat on our terrace, admiring our beautiful view one last night and cherishing this beautiful place where we spent the first five nights as husband and wife. 

Next stop: Tuscany!

To learn more about Positano, visit Wikipedia here.  To learn more about the Amalfi Coast, click here.


9 comments:

  1. Your pictures and stories are fantastic!!! I SOOO want to go to Italy. Can you believe my in-laws have lived in Sicily for 15 years now and we have never been there?! There is just too much that I want to see and do in Italy - I think I would need several weeks there :)!! But after reading this Positano is definitely being added to the list!!

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  2. It is such fun reading about people I know in other people's blogs. Garibaldi is a neighbour of mine. His wife is English and she learn't Neapolitan Italian rather than he learning her language. You would have found other experiences to do on my blog such as Da Adolfo but I am glad you went to Fornillo which is considered the local beach.

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  3. This was such a wonderful report to read. Six years ago I was married in Positani (I am from NZ and my husband from Australia), and we too stayed at the Albergo Miramare, and dined at Bucca di Baco on our wedding night with 10 friends who had 'dropped in' form various parts of the world to celebrate with us. Your report was a perfect reminder of a very romantic time. Our next trip in 2 weeeks is to Palermo, which I am told is equally beautful.

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  4. Thank you all for reading and for leaving a comment about my blog - I love the feedback! Christine, you must visit Italy! Scintilla, I just subscribed to your blog, it looks wonderful and informative! Oliviasmum, have a wonderful time in Palermo, will you share a trip report anywhere?

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  5. Thank you for such a well-written trip report. Your descriptions and photos are a great resource for me as I begin to plan a week in Positano with my family this summer. I hope you enjoy many more years of travel with your new husband!

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  6. Thank you cybertraveler! Have a wonderful week in Positano with your family!

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  7. Nice post. The Amalfi coast and Positano are on my Travel Bucket List

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  8. Awesome it is a wonderful place for spending the time for new couple for honeymoon more detail visit italy honeymoon .

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