Occasionally during our travels, Michael and I would find ourselves unable to agree on what to do or where to go. For instance, while we were in the southern region of Italy, he wanted to see Pompeii while I wanted to see the Amalfi Coast. I admit, both were solid choices and places neither of us have ever been to. Unfortunately, we only had one extra day in the area. So what do we do when we can’t agree? Well, we agree to disagree! We ended up deciding to go on a day tour that would take us to BOTH the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. Win-win! After perusing online, we found an 8-hour tour on Viator that would take us to both places, and would (hopefully) get us back to Sorrento in time to take a cab to Naples so we can catch the last train to Rome later that night. The tour coach picked us up at a centrally-located restaurant in Sorrento at 9:00 am. It was an air-conditioned coach, which we appreciated greatly since summers in Italy can become extremely warm. They also provided an English-speaking “professional guide”, who unfortunately was a little disappointing since she didn’t really talk during the entire trip. We expected a little bit more commentary from her, but I guess she was more of a tour leader who coordinated scheduling and transportation, and just gave us general tidbits here and there. We got over it pretty quickly and ended up enjoying the day immensely. The drive alone along the UNESCO-listed shoreline of the Amalfi Coast was worth the money we paid for the tour. Make sure to sit on the right side of the coach for better views during the drive.
Positano We headed towards Positano, which was our first stop of the day. We spent about an hour there, which is not nearly enough to see the beauty of the place. We headed straight down to the main beach as soon as we arrived, since our guide told us it had one of the best views of the town and we didn’t want to miss it. She was right, the view was spectacular! We spent a few minutes there, just enjoying the view and each other’s company. Afterwards, we headed towards the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta e Cripta Medievale, which features a 13th century Black Madonna & Child. On the way back to meet up with the others, we encountered a number of charming pathways with quaint little shops that sold everything from souvenirs to beachwear to packaged treats made locally, which of course I had to check out. It was too bad we only had a limited time to spend here. We could spend hours walking around this exquisite town.
Amalfi The trip continued on to Amalfi. On the way, the guide told us that we had 2 hours to spend there at our leisure. She gave us the option of seeing Grotta dello Smeraldo (Green Grotto) for an additional fee before going around town on our own. We opted to go, and she took us to the pier where we had to wait for the boat that would take us to the grotto. The ride to the cave took about 20 minutes in a boat packed with people. Even though the views were great, it wasn’t the most comfortable boat ride.
When we got there, we entered the cave on foot then got in line again to get on small rowboats which would take us around the small cave so we could see the green water. We were only inside for about 10 minutes. If we are being honest, the only interesting thing about the whole excursion was the small nativity scene found underneath the water. If you ever visit Amalfi and you don’t have a lot of time to go around, don’t go on this tour especially if you’ve already been to Grotta Azzurra in Capri. There are a lot of other things to do in Amalfi that are more interesting and worth your time.
Because we only had about an hour left by the time we got back to the pier, we didn’t have time for a sit-down meal so we bought pizza at a small family-owned pizzeria and decided to sit on the Piazza del Duomo, Amalfi’s main piazza, to (quickly) eat and people-watch. After eating, we headed up 62 steps to the top of the stairs to reach the Duomo di Sant’Andrea Apostolo. For the unmarried (and superstitious) couples, legend has it that couples who go up the stairs hand in hand will not end up together. Since we don’t really believe in superstitions plus since we were already married, up we went holding hands. Not only was the exterior of this church beautiful, the inside was stunning. While here, make sure to see the remains of St. Andrew the Apostle, the bronze doors cast in Constantinople in the 11th century & the 9th-century Basilica of the Crucifix. I am glad that we at least had time to see it before we had to go back to the coach.
We would love to be able to visit the Amalfi Coast again someday. There are so many things we’ve yet to see and experience in this breathtaking region. For now, it’s time for us to head to Pompeii (see post here). ====================
Other Sites in Positano: Spiaggia Grande, Grotta dello Smeraldo (€6pp), Grotta di Fornillo (small grotto carved on mountainside)
Other Sites in Amalfi: Museo della Carta, Chiostro del Paradiso (Cloister of Paradise), Torre dello Ziro, Ruga Nova Mercatorum, Via Maestra dei Villagi, Luna Convento We did not use any itinerary while we were in the Amalfi Coast, but you can find the Viator tour that we took here. As always, HAPPY TRAVELS!
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