3 Hidden Gems of Amalfi… Besides the Beautiful Beaches
I had the amazing opportunity to explore the Amalfi Coast for three days while studying abroad in Florence, Italy. I grew up with the naive thought that Amalfi would only consist of just beaches and sand. On this three day excursion I thought I would tan, swim and be a typical “beach bum.”
Boy was I wrong… starting with hidden gem #1…
1. Capri- Limoncello Tasting
The first stop throughout Amalfi was the island of Capri. At Capri I participated in limoncello tasting. Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur that is known for being made in southern Italy. In Capri you can find this in little shops everywhere, decorated in cute, fun-shaped, glass bottles.
Davide D’Alia, my tour guide for the trip explained, “The past fourteen trips I’ve done to Amalfi, everybody always tries the limoncello. I love the fresh flavor it has. Everybody is always pleasantly surprised with the taste.”
Once the tasting testing began, the yellow liquor was generously poured into little, paper cups for each individual. Once I was poured my shot, I swirled the liquid around a bit before tasting it, so I was able to see the other individuals’ reactions around me first. After seeing shots being thrown back and positive reactions, I decided to join in. I counted to three and let the limoncello hit the back of my throat, and to my surprise this Italian drink went down smoothly. This limoncello had a refreshing taste, with hints of lemon, sugar and vodka. After the taste testing, I was in love. My taste buds were craving more citrus, tanginess… This was the ultimate summer drink for me.
If You Go…
1. Where to eat
- Restaurant called Isidoro and try the spaghetti with clams and broccoli
- Piazzetta and try granita (lemon and fresh orange juice mix)
- A chairlift option is available to reach the top of Capri to see views
- Funicular railway which is taken to get from Marina Grande and the center of Capri
2. Pompeii- The City Ruins
My second stop in Amalfi consisted Pompeii, an ancient Roman city that was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. I entered through the south side of the city. Old remains of cobble stones fill the streets and sidewalks. These well designed streets lead tourists to a restored theatre, arena, houses and a city plaza. These sites were restored to the best of the architectures’ ability, but still incomplete looking with crumbled walls and missing doors. Only being half restored leaves the visitors room to imagine what once made up the city. Minds can imagine men fighting in arenas, shows being put on in the theatre, or salesmen selling goods in the plaza. By walking up and down the cobblestone streets, it is easy to see how a whole civilization once roamed the area. By emerging oneself into the ruins of the street, it is easy to realize that this city is full of rich history.
“I’ve heard a little bit about Pompeii, but I never realized there was this much history,” Delaney San Martino, a merchandize and fashion intern explained. “It is honestly mind bottling.”
Knowing that the city of Pompeii is visible for everyone to see is truly a miracle. The work that the archeologists did to provide visitors with a look into the past of the ancient Roman times is something that no textbook or movie scene can encompass.
If You Go…
1. Where to eat
- Food stands with snacks, sandwiches, salads and granita placed outside of the ruins of Pompeii
- Local bus system runs frequently throughout the city for transportation
3. Vesuvius- Climb a Volcano
Mt. Vesuvius covered the city of Pompeii in 79 A.D. Vesuvius has not erupted since 1944, but is still considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. And yes, visitors are allowed to climb this volcano, which is exactly what I did.
After purchasing my entry ticket into the volcano, I began my journey. Steep incline and gravel rocks is what I encountered for the next twenty minutes. With every step, I could feel my legs getting more and more tired. I passed visitors plastered along the railings taking pictures of the amazing views, but my mind was set to making it to the top. Digging my feet into the gravel to help with the difficult incline, I was able to master the rugged path. After another few minutes I made it to the top of the volcano. The view was incredible, with miles of Italy scenery.
At the top of the volcano, discussions consisted of how we were all standing on the landmark that destroyed thousands of people’s lives. College junior at James Madison University, Mark Thomas said, “This is one of the coolest things ever, but also weird since it was the cause of a civilizations death.”
Recently coming from the city of Pompeii, and then standing on the volcano that destroyed the city gave a weird feeling. The feeling was strange, but it also put into perspective how lucky tourists are that they are able to visit these landmarks that contain so much history.
If You Go…
1. Where to eat
- Snack stands placed along the hike with food and beverages
- Hiking up the trail is the only way to get to the top of Mt. Vesuvius (total of 15-20 minutes)
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Delaney San Martino
- Recent graduate from University of Rhode Island
- Merchandise and Fashion Intern in Florence, Italy
- Junior marketing major at James Madison University