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Just Back From Italy Part 1: Jean’s trip to Amalfi and Capri

Arriving in Positano

After flying from the states to Rome, with a quick stopover in Zurich, my colleague Suzanne and I were thrilled to be in Italy. We arrived in Positano and quickly settled in to our hotel the Covo Dei Saraceni.  We love this hotel because it is right on the beach and offers rooms with balconies and beautiful views. The staff remembered us and treated us with the utmost respect. After a long day of travel, we had dinner at the Covo’s restaurant, which I think is the best food in Positano because of it’s authenticity.

It was Easter week and the village of Positano was bursting with life. With kids on school break, there were many travelers among us. Throughout the village, lemon trees and wisteria vines were in full bloom, allowing the village to be filled with refreshing scents of spring.

On Monday, we drove down to Hotel Coccumella in Sant Agnello. This hotel is in the Campania region, southeast of Italy. This hotel is perfect for any guests who want to spend a few days in Naples before staying in a villa on the Amalfi Coast.

Starting Our Villa Tours in Sorrento

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Villa YPI SOR, a 6 bedroom villa, has a new pool area, gym, and professional kitchen, with equal-sized bedrooms and large baths. With views of Sorrento, it is one of my favorite villas in this area, and every guest seems to love it just as much as I do.

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Villa YPI SOP was the biggest surprise of the day because of its immensity. It was in the country with views of Capri, Ischia, and Naples with Mt. Vesuvius looming in the background. This 6 bedroom, renovated villa was a former monastery from the 14th century. The entire villa is lined with exquisite art and antiques throughout, and a garden of lemon trees.

Thoughts on the Region

We stopped for a late lunch in Sorrento—shrimp scampi and a chilled glass of wine—and relaxed. Later that night we had dinner on the water at Chez Black. The local seafood spot had a busy, yet entertaining atmosphere, which is perfect for every guest.

The weather on the Amalfi Coast in late April was perfect because of cool mornings, warm afternoons, and back to cool evenings. Breakfast with endless ocean views, singing birds, and the sun rising made for tranquil mornings, and a fresh start to every day.

Villas in Maiori

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Villa YPI LUI is a very private property with 20 acres of land in Maiori, a region just east of Ravello. We hopped on one of the golf carts for a tour of the property, past donkeys, goats, geese, and a fish pond. The villa has a modern flare and a spectacular living room for gatherings. The professional kitchen is able to hold cooking classes for guests as well. The outdoor kitchen is the perfect spot for pizza-making because of its multiple authentic pizza ovens. The villa is delightful, with impressive, groomed grounds that keep guests entertained.

Back in Positano, YPI SNO is a 4 bedroom villa that I have visited many times because of the panoramic ocean views. Look to your right and you will see teetering cliffside villages, but look to your left and you will see perfect platforms for sunbathing. No matter which direction guests look in, they will always be surrounded by glistening blue water.

We set off for an early dinner and fell asleep quickly at our hotel after a long day of driving.

Nerano

The next day we were lucky to go down to Nerano to meet with the owners of hotel and restaurant Le Sirene. We watched the boats going in and out of the harbor as people laid on the stone beach catching rays after a busy day. The area of Nerano is the complete opposite of Positano, and yet not that far away. I would love to spend more time in this area because of its fantastic views and a peaceful ambiance. Lunch was remarkable. We had everything from brochette to squash blossoms, eggplant like I’ve never had, arancini, fresh local fish, and pasta. It was a meal fit for a queen.

After lunch, we toured a number of villas. Villa BRV GAL was a fabulous 5 bedroom with great taste in décor. I could imagine staying here in August, relaxing on the balcony with the breeze and bougainvillea flowers everywhere. The airy rooms paired with bright tiles culminated in a fresh feeling that was truly a delight, thus securing our love for this villa.

Villa BRV GIG has electric color and design in the kitchen and living room, as well as serene and peaceful bedrooms, which creates the perfect dynamic for every guest. Walking up to the quaint, private pool area with picturesque views of the coast, and other private villas, you would never know that on the other side of the mountain was the bustling town of Sorrento.

Massa Lubrense

 Villa BRV LIK in Massa Lubrense is a 4 bedroom clinging to the hill with the pool below. Because of the villas perfect location, you’re just a short walk to the beach and local village. Bedrooms and closets are spacious, and the kitchen is fully equipped to fulfill the urge to cook like an Italian. Whether you’re dining in or out, you will always be surrounded by crystal blue water, so take your pick!

Amalfi

In the morning we were off to Villa BRV MRN which is not for the faint of heart because of its 170 steps to the front door. From the top of the daunting stairs, it seems as though the ocean never ends. You feel as though you’re on top of the world, surrounded by the jagged rocks and cliffs that make Amalfi the iconic destination it is today.

We stopped for lunch at the Hotel Luna Convento di Amalfi and their restaurant Dei Cappuccini. After a desert and espresso we set off again on our tour of the region.

Above the Amalfi Coast

Villa BRV NUM is a four bedroom villa located in Furore, a village high above Amalfi by about 20 minutes. Because of its elegant furnishing, and three-feet thick walls, the villa is filled with history from the 15th century. We were blown away with the art and history of this beautiful villa, and I would highly suggest it to anyone who is looking for an elegant escape. As you look down on the town of Amalfi, the sunset highlights the ocean with red and orange light. This villa has a remarkable location that it easy to soak in, and gives guests a panoramic ocean view.

Suzanne and I chose to dine at one of my favorite restaurants that evening called Al Palazzo, located about 200 steps up from the hotel in Positano. We sat outdoors with the gas heaters on and enjoyed a glass of wine, steak, and tiramisu. We were looking forward to our journey to Capri the next morning.

On to Capri

After dropping our car in Sorrento we headed to the ferry dock with time to spare. We squeezed on to the ferry and jetted off to Capri in under a half hour. Upon landing, a taxi escorted us to Casa Mariantonia, one of our favorite, family-run hotels in AnaCapri.

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Then, we were off to see villas YPI VEN and YPI GARboth of which remain timeless, with the exception that Gardenia now has a new pool. Because of its ornate furniture and stunning art, Villa YPI VEN is, and will remain, a favorite.

Villa YPI GIU was luxurious, and yet it felt like home because of its wonderful sun rooms and terraces, which provide the perfect places for sunbathing. The villa staff was at work preparing for incoming guests. This villa is right off the path from Hotel Capri Palace, which surrounds you with shops and many little cafes. I found a great hair salon nearby and stopped for a quick Italian cut and blowout.

Exploring Capri

We dined that night at our hotel because of their famous lemon pasta and a caprese salad. The next morning we took a taxi to Capri so we could meet with our partner for more villa tours in Capri square near the clock tower.

YPI RUB is a large villa right off the walkway, close to everything in town. This six bedroom has lovely sized rooms with bright colors, and a library filled with ancient books of Pompeii and Vesuvius. Every sunset in this house will be memorable because of its incredible mountain views.

Villa YPI CAM has been redecorated and is simply perfect. It contains a spacious living room and a dining room with a table made of lapis stone that is one of a kind. The art is museum worthy and the antiques are massive. About 300 steps down is a dock area where the jacuzzi is located. From here, the views of Mount Vesuvius, and the sea filled with sail boats floating by is a spectacular sight.  It is truly a wonderful villa to rent on Capri.

Lemon Trees and people watching in Capri

Suzanne and I enjoyed lunch at Da Paolino, a stunning restaurant famous for their lemon trees on the patio. We melted into our seats as we enjoyed ravioli with fresh lemon sauce. Paired with a caprese salad, it was to-die-for.

Back at the town square, Villa YPI PIA is one of my favorites on Capri. There are five bedrooms, all equal sized, with large beds (not often the case in Italy). The pool is large, for Capri, and surrounded by trees that offer welcome shade in the summer.

Suzanne and I decided to stop by the Grand Hotel Quisisana for a glass of wine and a bit people-watching in the square, it was the perfect way to end our evening.

Easter Sunday in Capri

As we were on our way back to our hotel, we noticed priests, nuns, and locals of all ages holding candles and singing soft hymns in honor of Easter Sunday. The local community in Capri is united, yet hospitable to everyone who visits their village.

On Easter Sunday we took things slow, and started with a tour of Capri Palace. The hotel has a wonderful spa which caters to all your needs—from a nutrition plan to any facial. We ate a delicious Easter dinner, three courses with lamb as the main. A perfect ending to our Amalfi Coast trip.

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