Punta Campanella, a hiking experience near Sorrento

Punta Campanella, a hiking experience near Sorrento

Punta Campanella is the most extreme point of the Sorrento peninsula and it’s a gorgeous place to visit!

In particular, is the perfect destination for those of you that are looking for a hiking experience during a holiday at the Amalfi coast. Punta Campanella can be reached only on foot, following a scenic path that offers wonderful views of the sea and the island of Capri.

 

Why is so special

 

Italy is a country with unique geographical features.
The fact of being a peninsula, in the center of the Mediterranean, between continental Europe and Africa, makes it a place where many different species of animals and plants have stabilized.

More specifically, the sea, the mountains and the Vesuvius make the area between Naples, the Sorrento peninsula and the Amalfi Coast rich in wonderful scenery. Moreover, the mild climate, the fertile soils and the fishing waters have facilitated the development of many cultures over the centuries, and we can still admire some of their archaeological remains.

 

Punta Campanella is a special place because there are only a bunch of small towns and the natural environment is still intact.

 

But there is more.

Punta Campanella is a place that combines history and legend.

In the Odyssey, the great poem written by Homer, it is said that Ulysses met the Sirens in Punta Campanella.

The Greeks built a temple to Athena, which the Romans turned into a temple to Minerva. Later, in 1300, Robert of Anjou ordered the construction of a tower, called Torre Minerva by the name of the previous temple, to monitor the coast and advise in case of Saracen raids. For this reason, a bell was placed on the top of the tower to ring in case of alarm. This little bell, in Italian campanella, is the origin of the name of Punta Campanella.

 

The hiking path to Punta Campanella

 

As I have already said, Punta Campanella can only be reached on foot.

The path to Punta Campanella starts from Termini, the last inhabited village on the Sorrento peninsula, and follows the northern slope of the promontory that separates the Gulf of Naples from the Gulf of Salerno. The path is part of the longest Path of Athena, a loop path that connects Punta Campanella to Monte San Costanzo.

 

It takes about an hour to reach Punta Campanella, but the path is easy.
It is a pleasant and soothing walk, suitable for everyone, during which you’ll enjoy wonderful sea views, vegetable gardens, olive trees and citrus groves.

At a certain point the path will separate into two directions. The uphill direction will lead you along the ridge of Monte San Costanzo, the other one to the plateau of Punta Campanella where you find the remains of the Temple of Minerva and the Torre Minerva.

 

Once you’re there, to the left of the Tower you will find a crumbling staircase that leads you to a cliff in which are some grottos and sea caves. Among these, there is the Grotto of Sirens, famous for the clear water and the light reflections that create a magical atmosphere.

Along the staircase to the Grotto, about halfway, stop and take a careful look around. You will find an ancient writing engraved in the rock. It dates back to the 2nd century B.C.

I’m sure you will love the hiking path to Punta Campanella.

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The Blue Grotto in Capri

The Blue Grotto in Capri

The Blue Grotto in Capri

The Blue Grotto of Capri is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Italy.

 

The wonderful island of Capri is located right in front of the tip of the Sorrento peninsula, at a short distance from Naples and the towns of the Amalfi coast.
This whole area offers a breathtaking scenery, charming towns, a lively atmosphere and great food.

For all these reason I consider it the ideal place for those looking for spending an unforgettable holiday in Italy.

 

Let’s discover Capri and what’s worth a visit.

 

Capri

Capri

Capri can be easily reached by ferry. The trips takes about a hour and all the ferries dock at Marina Grande.

From here you can take the funicular and reach Capri Town.
The main attraction of the town is definitely its famous Piazzetta, a tiny square covered with bar tables, crowded with tourists and residents who stop for a coffee.

 

From Capri Town you can go to Anacapri.
This town is still touristy, but more authentic. It is close to Monte Solaro, the island’s highest peak. You can easily reach the top of the mount by a lift chair and once there you will enjoy some gorgeous views on Capri, the sea, the coastline.
One attraction I suggest you to visit in Anacapri is the church of San Michele. It may not seem so special from outside, but once inside the handpainted majolica tiled floor depicting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden will blow you away.

If you love gardens in Capri there are 2 places that you should visit. One is the garden of Villa San Michele, considered one of the top 10 most beautiful gardens in Italy. The other is the Gardens of Augustus, from where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Faraglioni and the incredible zigzag road Via Krupp.

 

The Blue Grotto

The Blue Grotto is a natural cavity hidden behind a low entryway.

To get into the Grotto you have to lie on the bottom of one of the many small rowing boats allowed to go inside. The boatman will drag the boat into the cave by clinging to a chain attached to the rock. It is a fun experience!

 

Once inside, the atmosphere completely changes.

You are suddenly surrounded by the darkness, but the water beneath you shines with a color that seems artificial.

Many people who see photos of the Blue Grotto of Capri on the internet think they are retouched, but the water is really fluorescent blue!

 

This unique phenomenon is caused by the sunlight entering through an underwater window just below the grotto entryway. The light is thus filtered by the water, which absorbs the red radiation and reflects only the blue one. The unique light is accentuated by the many small air bubbles that adhere to the surface of the immersed objects, giving them silvery reflections.

 

And now some useful infos about the Blue Grotto of Capri.

 

Those who want to visit it have to pay a fee.
As you can immagine, many are the tourists who want to see this magic place, so in high season the boats line up to enter.
Usually boatmen ask for a tip, but it is not mandatory.

 

From November to the end of March the Blue Grotto is generally closed due to the wind and the rough sea. In summer, the best time to visit it is between noon and 2 pm.
On cloudy days the absence of the sun light makes the effect inside the grotto less intense.

 

The Faraglioni Rocks

The Faraglioni Rocks

Together with the Blue Grotto, the Faraglioni rocks are the symbol of Capri.
They are 3 100 meters high rocky peaks that rise from the sea a few meters from the coast of the island.

Each Faraglione has its name.
The one close to the land is called Stella; the one with the rocky arch is called Faraglione di Mezzo, the middle Faraglione; the third one is Faraglione di Fuori, the outside Faraglione, also known as Scopolo.

They create a unique and suggestive panorama, especially at the sunset. I’m sure you’ll take great Instagram-perfect photos!

 

 

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Campania during Christmas: the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Salerno and Naples

Campania during Christmas: the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Salerno and Naples

Campania during Christmas: the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Salerno and Naples

Campania during Christmas can be a lovely destination for a short holiday.The long traditions and the unique folklore are mixed with the lovely nature of places such as the Amalfi Coast or the strong identity of centers like Naples and Salerno.

From city decorations to traditional foods, the period between November and January is full of things to see and do.

Each city has its own calendar of events, which changes every year. What doesn’t change is the peculiarity of some spots that are worth a visit regardless what they organize to entertain people.

 

THE AMALFI COAST DURING CHRISTMAS

Tourists from around the world are used to visit the Amalfi Coast during summer.

The weather is perfect to enjoy the small towns and the sea at their best. Still, this area can surprise you even in winter, when visitors are gone and the towns go back to their residents.

The scenographic nature and towns of the Amalfi Coast are particularly charming during Christmas, since they somehow look like a real-size representation of the ‘presepi’, the nativity scenes that are so popular among Italians.

Light decorations are strategically placed to enhance the architectures and create a fairytale atmosphere.

When it comes to Christmas lights, every town of the Amalfi Coast has its own style and Minori is certainly one of the most appreciated.

I suggest you to rent a car, drive along the panoramic road and stop to each town to discover the Christmas events, or just to see the views or taste a traditional Christmas dish.

To appreciate the Amalfi coast during Christmas you should like tranquillity.

The towns are small and don’t offer great or fancy entertainments. However, seeing the fireworks reflecting off the Italian sea on New Year’s Eve and spending the rest of the night on the beach with the residents is a unique experience that you should try at least once in a lifetime.

 

SORRENTO DURING CHRISTMAS

During Christmas many are the cities embellished with decorations. However, Sorrento has take this tradition to another level.

From November to January, the town center is transformed into a magical word.

The streets are lit with colored lights, while buskers and street artists share their talents with the visitors.

The heart of this Christmas atmosphere is Piazza Tasso, where a big Christmas Tree is set every year.

The official Christmas Tree lighting ceremony is an event that summon both residents and tourists, and the Tree is set up to give a music and light show each hour.

Sorrento has also a rich calendar of holiday events, called “M’illumino d’inverno” that includes cinema, music, dance, art and food.

These events, together with the natural attractions, the hikes and the traditional customs, make Christmas in Sorrento a truly memorable experience.

 

SALERNO DURING CHRISTMAS

Another city in which Christmas lights enhance the winter atmosphere is Salerno.

27 km of city streets are embellished with light installations and decorations!

Salerno also hosts a large Christmas market. The stands display handicrafts or typical foods. It’s the perfect place to find a last minute present or an original souvenir.

Since it si a larger city, Salerno has many things that are worth to see, like the Arechi Castle, the Minerva’s Garden or the promenade in front of the sea.

 

NAPLES DURING CHRISTMAS

Naples is one of the largest cities in Italy and, as you can immagine, there are lots of things to see and do during a Christmas holiday.

You can think that in such a big city it could be impossible to feel the festive atmosphere, however Christmas is an important event for the residents.

Like the other cities, in Christmas Naples is an explosion of lights and decorations, especially the historic center.

The most folkloristic part of the center is Via San Gregorio Armeno. This street is renowned for the Neapolitan nativity scenes, called ‘presepi’, that are displayed on stands and handicraft shop windows.

Small statues and scale models are often handmade by master artisans that are continuing this tradition since the 1700s. The interesting thing is that artisans doesn’t limit their work to religious figures, but they also represent famous artists or VIPs.

This mix between the sacred and the profane makes the experience of visiting Via San Gregorio Armeno even more interesting.

If you like presepi, you can find some wonderful ones in many churches or at popular location such as the Certosa Museum of San Martino, the Palazzo Reale or the Royal Palace of Caserta.

Of course, this is just a brief overview of all the wonders that you can enjoy in Campania during Christmas. There are many other small towns and large cities that offer unique events. Fortunately, people in Campania are very friendly and if you want to discover something more all you have to do is just ask them! They’ll be happy to suggest you the best things to see and do around.

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Procida. What to see during a day-trip to the island

Procida. What to see during a day-trip to the island

Day Trip Procida

I went to Procida quite a few times in the past and I always loved its picturesque scenario. Its small size and the stunning views on the sea make this island perfect for a day trip.

If you decide to visit it you will probably land at Marina Grande, the main harbor of Procida. The first things you will see are the fishermen, their boats and the pastel-colored buildings of the town facing the waterfront. It’s a lovely view!

You will immediately feel like you are in a place where time has stopped and the rush of modernity is left behind. It’s not just because of the mix of typical architecture and nature. People in Procida is very friendly and I think this is the most important element that creates such a nice relaxed atmosphere.

But what you can visit to take the best out of your day trip to Procida?

In my opinion there are 2 spots that you can’t miss.

The first spot is Terra Murata with its fortified center built on the highest point of the island.

The walk to reach this spot is not easy but it’s worthy since the views on the Gulf of Naples are breathtaking.

Terra Murata is an historical point of interest of Procida. If you have time, take a visit to Palazzo d’Avalos (also know as the Procida Castle) and the Abbey of San Michele.

Palazzo d’Avalos was built in the 16th century and it’s a beautiful example of renaissance architecture. In 1830 the building become a prison, closed in 1988 but stil available for booked visits.

The Benedictine Abbey of San Michele dates back to the 11th century, but it underwent partial makeovers during its history. The most interesting thing of the Abbey is a painting in which you can see a depiction of Marina Grande in the 16th century.

 

The second spot to visit is Vivara.

Vivara is a tiny island connected to Procida by a long pedestrian bridge that cross the sea. The walk on the bridge it’s a charge of sunlight and sea breeze! It’s the perfect way to arrive to this island, in which nature is the queen.

It’s an ancient volcano with a unique wild flora and a plentiful presence of sea birds and marine fauna. These are the reason why Vivara is a nature reserve since 2002. Moreover, the island has also an archeological value thanks to the remains of Bronze-Age Mycenaean settlements.

Procida is certainly the best place for those who wants to eat the freshest sea food. There are many restaurants to choose from.

I want to end this article talking about an event that can be interesting if you’re coming to Procida during Easter.

As in other towns of Campania, also in Procida takes place a Good Friday Procession, called Processione dei Misteri. During this procession men dressed with white and blue tunics carry by hand life-size papier-mâché reproductions of scenes of Christ’s Passion. It’s very suggestive.

So, as you can see, Procida is small but has nice surprises to offer to its visitors.

A day trip will not disappoint you.

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Christmas time in Sorrento. Events, Presepi and Struffoli

Christmas time in Sorrento. Events, Presepi and Struffoli

Christmas time in Sorrento. Events, Presepi and Struffoli

I know that many think of Sorrento only as a destination for summer holidays, but thanks to the mild climate it is an enchanting town even at Christmas.

From the end of November buildings and streets of Sorrento are decorated with plenty of wonderful lights and ornaments. All the little shops of artisans are decorated too and their shop windows showcase beautiful presents. Moreover, every year a large Christmas tree is placed in the central Piazza Tasso, and its lighting is an event for all inhabitants and tourists.

In other words, the whole center of Sorrento is transformed into a magical world of colors and it is impossible not to feel the festive atmosphere. I love to spend Sunday’s afternoon walking around with my family, enjoying one the the most scenographic moment of the year.

Another thing that makes Christmas in Sorrento special is discovering all the Presepi in town.

Presepi are wonderful reproductions of the Nativity Scene. Many of them are made by expert artisans that creates by hand beautiful sets and figures.

Some Presepi are inspired by the classic models of the 18th century and reproduce entire villages. They can be huge! Some of them are even automated, with moving figures, real water from fountains, background light that recall day and night, and even falling rain. I could spend hours starring at these pieces of art, discovering all the smallest details!

In Sorrento there is also a living Presepe, whit real people wearing costumes and a set that reproduces the Native Stable.

Another good thing about Christmas in Sorrento is enjoying some foods that are available only during this period, such as Struffoli.

Struffoli is a typical dessert of Naples. It is made of small balls of fried pastry, covered with a lot of honey, small pieces of candied fruits and tiny colored sugar decorations.

Besides being delicious, there is another reason why Struffoli are very popular. People say they bring good luck and those who eat them on Christmas are supposed to earn more money during the coming year. Not bad uh?

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Relax and nature at Conca del Sogno Beach Club, Amalfi Coast

Relax and nature at Conca del Sogno Beach Club, Amalfi Coast

Relax and nature at Conca del Sogno Beach Club, Amalfi Coast

Conca del Sogno can be translated into something like Dream’s Hollow.  It’s quite a suggestive name for a beach club, isn’t it? But believe me when I say that this place won’t  betray the expectations behind its name.

I go often to Conca del Sogno and I love it because the Recommone bay in which it is located is secluded between steep cliffs covered with Mediterranean vegetation. Absolutely beautiful!

The beach club is sticked to the cliff and it has been build on different levels. Gazebo and sun-beds are available in different areas, offering different views on the little pebbly shore and the wonderful blue sea, which is always fresh even in the hottest weeks of the year.

I find the atmosphere of Conca del Sogno relaxing and refined.
The facilities are nice and functional, the background music is ok, and the bar offers tasty cocktails. Well, actually you can also enjoy a lunch.

I think that food is a strong point of Conca del Sogno.

My opinion is that the cuisine is quite traditional but the high quality of the fresh and local ingredients is a plus.
The menu has a wide choice of dishes, raw and cooked seafood and crustaceans are always available. The wine list is remarkable too, which is a thing that I always appreciate.

There are 2 dishes that I recommend above all.

The first one is Spaghetti with Zucchini. Does it sound too simple? Actually it is one of the most classic dishes of the Amalfi Coast, in particular in Marina del Cantone,  famous place not so far from the Recommone bay. The funny thing is that every restaurant claims to have the best and original recipe of  this dish. I really don’t know who really owns it, but I’m sure that the Spaghetti with Zucchini I had at Conca del Sogno were great!

The second one is the strong point of the restaurant. It’s Linguine with Sea Truffles, Basil and Parmesan cheese. This dish mixes the tastes of the Mediterranean with the most typical Italian flavors. It’s a must-try, especially because the sea breeze you feel while eating makes everything more tasty.

It’ s always nice for me to spend time in places that combines good food, stunning nature and relaxing atmosphere. If you are looking for the same kind of experience, Conca del Sogno is absolutely the right spot.

It is even better if you reach it by boat. It’s lovely to watch the contour of the Amalfi Coast and suddenly see this little treasure appearing in front of your eyes…

 

The Amalfi Coast has a lot of wonderful places to discover! Plan your holiday and stay in one of our luxury accommodations. Check out our website.