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

Positano

It was late spring, and my colleague Jean and I took an evening flight to Rome. Then, after landing, we took a rental car to Positano and got to Positano just before dinner. Positano looked as beautiful as ever with wisteria and lemons abounding. The combination of yellow and purple, along with the ancient architecture and beautiful blue sea in the background, was stunning.

We checked into our rooms at Covo dei Saraceni, which has friendly and most helpful employees. Our rooms had balconies with exquisite views, a mini bar, nice bathroom amenities, and a comfortable bed. This is the perfect hotel for a short stay because of its central location, affordable price, and complimentary breakfast buffet. There is even a heated pool with spectacular views on the roof.

Hotel Covo dei Saracini, Postiano Italy

Sorrento

After getting some rest, we were ready to meet our partner at Hotel Cocumella to see villas in the Sorrento area. The hotel was newly renovated, and Jean and I had a chance to walk through. It’s central location in Sorrento makes it very convenient.

Our first villa happened to be directly next door to Cocumella. The six-bedroom villa, called Melia, used to be an old Monastery, dating back some 500 years. Because of the property’s history, guests feel transported back in time. The small garden in the back and beautiful stained glass windows make this a perfect family home.

View from Villa Sophia, Capri, Italy

Villa YPI SOR This modern house is located up the hill from Sorrento, about a seven-minute drive from the city. This six-bedroom has a gourmet kitchen, great pool, parking for two small cars, and minimal steps. It’s an absolute gem and one of my favorites! Good family house, quiet area, modern comfortable and stylish, lovely views, and proximity to town are all features for this lovely home.

Villa YPI SOP Adored this six-bedroom villa located in Termini, which is just past Massa Lubrense and a half-hour drive from Sorrento. The perfect location allowed for the best views of Capri. It’s a five-to seven-minute walk to a tiny village with a restaurant, grocery store, pharmacy, bar, and of course, a ceramic store. The villa is a former monastery with old-world charm, tasteful antiques, and access to a lemon grove and vegetable garden. Villa YPI SOP features authentic charm and offers an alternative to typical tourist accommodations.

In Sant’ Agata we stopped for a quick lunch at I Quattro Venti, a small roadside café with perfect grilled vegetables and a delicious four cheese fettuccine.

The Amalfi Coast

View from Villa Orchidea Amalfi Italy

YPI TAM This seven-bedroom, 180 year-old house has a large estate and direct access to the coast road. Blessed with ocean views and a Jacuzzi, the villa also features a private beach.

YPI SNO Located just a kilometer from Positano, this tastefully designed villa is quietly immersed in a symphony of song birds, and sits about 200 steps above a rocky beach.

Villa YPI ORI Originally built in 1820, this newly renovated villa features two-car parking, and direct access to a beach with three local restaurants. The views here are fabulous, and Conca di Amalfi is not a common tourist destination.

Maiori

Villa YPI LUI About an hour drive east from Positano, YPI LUI in Maiori is one of the largest properties on the Amalfi Coast. Designed in the mid 60’s, it has a modern and minimalist style. You easily can visualize the villa’s immensity when parking at the top of the hill and take golf carts all the way down to the villa. The estate is home to many farm animals including sheep, duck, and donkeys.

We ate dinner at Chez Black in Positano, just off the beach promenade. Despite being their quiet season, the promenade was bustling and we enjoyed delicious pesto pasta.

Nerano

We made our way to the beach area at restaurant Le Sirene at Marina del Cantone. This restaurant is not far from other favorites, La Conca del Sogno and Lo Scoglio. We were invited by the owners to sit al fresco at their adorable beach restaurant, where we sampled a dozen different menu items, including to-die-for bruschetta. I loved our experience here, it was the real Italy, “la dolce vita”.

After a lovely lunch of traditional fare, we drove a quick five minutes to our next villa.

BRV GAL Located in Nerano, this five-bedroom villa is the quintessential beach house. The spacious rooms are bright, clean, and ideal for every guest.

BRV GIG – Just a three minute drive from BRV GAL, this twenty-year old house has been recently renovated. With seven bedrooms, this villa is another great family house. Both properties are a twenty-five minute drive to Positano and 20-minute drive to Sorrento.

View from marina of village of Atrani, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Massa Lubrense

BRV LIK

This villa is near the main village of Massa Lubrense, and a short walk to two bars and two restaurants. From here, you have views of Capri, Ischia, and Naples.

Amalfi

BRV NUM – Perched high up in the tiny village of Furore, where only 800 people total live, Nume is a 15th century fortress that was lovingly restored and contains some of the most exquisite antiques. This villa was a personal favorite because of its fabulous amenities. The villa has a cook on staff seven days a week, and offers a shuttle every day to the local beach or town of Amalfi. The ethereal setting makes it difficult to leave this villa.

Villa Nume, Amalfi Coast Italy

Positano

BRV PAM – This villa is located just off of the coastal road that takes you into Positano town. As soon as you enter the lovely courtyard, you are transported to a new world. There is a pervasive warmth and character that surrounds the home and its large secret garden. The convenient location makes walking into town a breeze. (Please note there are some stairs involved to get to town).

That evening, we dined at Al Palazzo in Positano. This restaurant’s convenience and fantastic service, combined with ambiance and cool lighting, created a wonderful dining experience.

Parting Thoughts from Positano

On my way up the hill to retrieve our car at the end of our stay in Positano, massive crowds descended upon the town. I felt as if I were swimming against the tide of people arriving to Positano for Easter weekend and Good Friday. This was our cue to leave!

After dropping off our car in Sorrento, we had a quick lunch at Ristorante Bar Ruccio before catching our ferry. It was the best pesto pasta I have ever had!

Arriving in Capri

Hotel Casa Mariantonia, Capri Italy

The ferry ride to Capri was easy and only took about a half hour followed by a quick taxi ride to AnaCapri and our lovely hotel Casa Mariantonia. One of the owners, Mariangela, who we knew from our last trip, warmly greeted us and checked us into our rooms. Thankfully we had a moment to relax before our villa tours.

Villa YPI VENThis 5-bedroom in AnaCapri is filled with antique furniture and art that is tastefully displayed next to a seaside view. The villa also features exquisite gardens in the front and back, which creates a whimsical experience for all guests.

Villa YPI GAR– This 5-bedroom, also in AnaCapri, has very spacious rooms on the lower floor, all of which can be accessed from both inside and outside the home, along with a brand-new outdoor pool.

Exploring AnaCapri

Villa YPI GIU– This 7-bedroom villa is a five-minute walk from the Hotel Capri Palace. Vlla GIU sits near the famous Villa San Michele, which was home to Axel Munthe, renowned 19th century author and animal activist. From the pedestrian walkway, one climbs about 60 steps through a magnificent garden to the main entrance. The décor and art are truly inspiring. The included breakfast at villa adds in creating a hospitable atmosphere for guests.

Aurora Villa, AnaCapri Italy

After a day of tours, Jean and I strolled down the pedestrian walkway through AnaCapri. Lovely shops, restaurants, and a myriad of locals walking about enhance the charm of this small village. Walking back to our hotel, a large procession of parishioners starting walking in our direction holding candles, and large statues of Mary and Jesus, all the while saying prayers. It was a truly moving sight for every visitor.

Capri Square and Port

YPI RUB– This villa is a tastefully decorated family home with spacious bedrooms, and is located about a ten-minute walk from the main square. The beautiful rooftop deck gives this villa one of the best views of Capri.

YPI CAMThis 9-bedroom is just a short distance up from the port on the right. All the lower bedrooms and bathrooms have been redone and look fantastic. Because of these amenities, this entire villa exudes a hospitable charm.

 

Villa Camelia, Capri Italy

Amongst the Lemon Trees

After touring for the morning, we went for lunch at Da Paolino. The homemade ravioli was just outstanding, as was the ambiance dining in this lemon grove. The restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere thanks to beautiful tile work and water features that surround the dining area.

After lunch, we saw Villa YPI PIAIt is about a 5-minute walk down a pedestrian walkway to the villa, and only a 5-minute walk to Quisisana, Capri’s finest hotel. The villa gives you fabulous views of Capri with partial views of the Faraglioni cliffs, which creates a lovely atmosphere for a family home.

After our last villa visit, we stopped at Quisisana for a cocktail and checked out the nearby shops.

Lunch at Lemon Trees, also known as Paolino Capri

Easter Sunday in Capri

After breakfast, went to mass at St. Sophia’s just five minutes from our hotel. It was packed for Easter and the music was heavenly!

After church, we enjoyed the day off checking out shops, and the spa at Hotel Capri Palace. We explored the lookout area next to Villa San Michele, which has one of the most magical views on the island.

St. Sophia's, Capri Italy

Parting Thoughts on the Amalfi Coast and Capri

We were lucky to have good weather here, with lows in the 60’s during the day. To avoid the crowds in Amalfi, we suggest choosing alternative locales to Positano and Amalfi such as Massa Lubrense, Nerano and Termini. This will create a more authentic Italian experience, with fewer tourists.

Stairs are ubiquitous on the Amalfi Coast so, Sorrento, Nerano, and Massa Lubrense are perfect options for those who are not fond of stairs.

Now, on to Lake Como…

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