A Foodie's Haven, on the Edge of the Mediterranean Sea
Ahh, the Costiera Amalfitana - a living postcard, where the turquoise ocean meets land in the most spectacular of fashions.
Ocean salt lingers in the coastal breeze, while the native citrus that flourish in the sun-kissed spring lend their fresh perfume to the atmosphere. The soft azure of the enviable Mediterranean sea proves endlessly picturesque, its soft lapping waves a gentle yet relaxing whisper in the air. Quaint pastel structures line the vertical streets that cling to the sheer terrain, while the vibrant fuchsia of the bougainvillaea pepper the cliffside expanse, a picture of coastal serenity.
It has been a weekend of exploration. You spent yesterday discovering the ruins at Pompei and Herculaneum, households and dreams preserved perfectly beneath your feet, with Mount Vesuvius, the culprit, at your back. That evening, you dined at Il Veliero - one of Amalfi's best restaurants when hungry for local seafood. You overindulged on scialatielli e vongole - a local speciality, made with the Campanian-born pasta. And it was a delight - ribbons of fresh pasta tangled their way around fresh clams, the creamy sauce cut by tangy citrus and aromatic herbs.
Today, the trundling train around the coastal road had a certain romance to it, as you peered out at the bay through one window, and the backyards heaving with ripe tomatoes and beans out the other. When you finally made it to Sorrento, hot and dusty from the ruins, the sky was turning an outrageous purply-pink, and it was all you could do to pour a crisp white wine - namely, a bottle of Fiano Di Avellino, a famed Campanian white - and sit out on the hotel’s terrace, overlooking the bay.
This morning you found yourself on a farm tour, strolling beneath the shade of enormous lemon trees which had been grafted onto trellises, the fat, thick-skinned fruit hanging low. You spent a leisurely lunch eating the fruits of the family farm – focaccia bread drenched in freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil, tall glasses of tart lemonade, and small, fiery nips of limoncello, the latter the delicious products of the region's famed citrus, the Amalfi lemon. On the route back, you find yourself drawn to the water, and, having soaked up some sun from a sandy vantage point, you head back to the Piazza Flavio Gioia, to the elegant, white-walled shop that you've heard serves the best gelato in Amalfi, Pasticceria Savoia. It's a little pricey, but you're captivated by the array of enticing flavours, teased from behind a glass display case. You feel obliged to pick a heaping scoop of lemon sorbet (when in Rome...), but can't escape the allure of the sage green Pistachio gelato. One taste of the sweet and creamy treat, and you're certain you made the right choice.
In the afternoon, you travel via ferry to Sorrento. Having gathered some antique knickknacks from the narrow streets, you attempt the winding coastal road to Positano on the Amalfi Coast. The twists and turns along the clifftop make you grateful that you were not the one driving, all the more so because you could put your feet up on the dashboard and gaze out at the twinkling, impossibly blue sea. Eventually, Positano materialised, buildings dramatically sprinkled along the steep hillside, in deep terracotta tones. The limoncello from lunch has gone to your head and you know you’ll need something carby and creamy, yet light and summery – pasta al limone, made with those mild and fragrant local lemons. And then maybe a little more limoncello to finish...
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