Be Italian Royalty on the Amalfi Coast
I, Janiel Green, am a budget traveler, so when I was on a cruise with my WHOLE family, there was a shore excursion that I figured would be the cheapest way to see the Amalfi Coast. The Amalfi Coast is not a place a budget traveler would visit. You go there to feel gloriously luxurious, and to fork out money to the hotel you stay it at obscene prices. Visiting the Amalfi Coast was one of those dream destinations, I knew I could never reasonable justify spending that much money on, so I chose an all inclusive shore excursion that would hit all the highlights and satisfy the FOMO mentality I often feel about these gorgeous destinations.
I first fell in love with the romanticism of the Amalfi Coast when I saw the movie. Under The Tuscan Sun. It's about a woman recovering from a divorce who meets this gorgeous Italian man, and they have a bit of an interlude. He then invites her to the black sand beaches of the Amalfi Coast and they have a wonderful bonding dinner with friends. Like most women, I am entranced by men with accents, especially so with French and Italian accents.
I'm not much of a 'tour group person', so I specifically chose a smaller group and it was PERFECT! It was a small bus, so no one developed car sickness on the way from the port to the Amalfi Coastline.
At one point we even had a policeman helping us around the tighter corners to get to our destination. This was the point where I started to feel self-important and beautiful. We only had about 8 hours to see the Amalfi Coast and take a tour through Pompeii Ruins with our guide (Pompeii will be covered in a later post). We sped past mosaics, yachts sitting in the various alcoves along the coast, and my favorite:
There is an entire replica of Bethlehem carved into the wall of the mountain along the road. People have apparently decorated it with the people from the Nativity, and they light it up with candles around Christmas time -- HOW WONDERFUL WOULD THAT BE TO SEE IT AT CHRISTMAS TIME?!
I was absolutely STUNNED as we drove along the road to the center of town. There were hotels that looked so luxurious and romantic! The hotels had these pools on the edges of cliffs looking out at the ocean and featuring a canopy of roses and other flowers, and the clouds gently rested on the mountainside like a baby laying on its mother's chest. It was so relaxing! I got swept away in the environment where everything looked amazing, even the shops filled with white, lacy clothing --- I bought a shirt there and really felt like I had stepped onto the set of Under The Tuscan Sun.
We stopped at the lovely Hotel with dei Principi everything, from the entrance to the back of the hotel; it was really like one huge masterpiece! I really felt like I was a princess that had just arrived at her coronation luncheon.
Before we sat down to eat, I stepped out onto the patio of the Hotel (that I found out really was owned by royalty at one point) and my hair was swept upwards in the wind. I could smell the salt from the sea and feel the slight sting of it, and the sun kissing my cheeks. All of this made me feel like someone would sweep through the doors, hand me my tiara, and tell me my carriage was waiting outside.
I went back inside after my Photo Op from the Paparazzi ;) and sat down to my coronation luncheon, which was so delicious, fresh, and nutritious, that I forgot to take photos of anything but the salad and the table. I loved every bite of it; the fresh fish, the fresh mozzarella, and the gorgeous waiters that were like footmen in my own Cinderella story.
After lunch, we explored the gardens at the hotel and I took 100 Instagrammable photos, lol. I don't really like photos of myself and I really hate how I look on camera, but people tell me I'm really photogenic (this whole argument could take me weeks to debate in my own head, so I won't bore you with it here). The pathways of the gardens were immaculate, the flowers were perfect, the quiet nature of this place further made me feel like the Queen herself would walk around any corner and ask if I would like to share a cup of tea.
After the gardens, we were able to wander around the town and down to the shore. There were artists everywhere!
There were two old women arguing in the alleyways on the way down to the shore and wonderful shops full of Italian clothing I couldn't get enough of.
The Roman Catholic Religion was everywhere, with an amazing Church, Santa Maria Del Carmine, I found full of Fontanini style Nativity characters, and 17th Century paintings. The intricate details of the ceiling and woodwork inlay was stunning. After the wonderful experience I was already having, I decided to make use of the church and thank God for all that I had been given (even though I'm not Catholic). I spent a lot of time in this church (see below).
There were oranges everywhere! Even the Statue of Saint Anthony in the middle of a roundabout held Oranges. Be sure to visit his reliquary across the street should you find yourself at his feet. If you don't like celebrating Valentine's Day in the States, then head to Sorrento where they hold a feast in St Anthony's honor.
After wandering through the streets and slowly making my way down the side of the mountain, I came to the wonderful black sand beaches I had seen in Under the Tuscan Sun. The beach is beautiful in photos but is actually quite rocky, so I couldn't quite imagine myself swimming in the ocean at this particular spot. However, I could see myself relaxing in a nice beach chair with a wonderful glass of orange juice and soaking in the sun. I was here during the off-season, so the beach was pretty empty; but typically I hear that the beach is filled with beach chairs to do just what I was imagining.
I think the Amalfi coast is somewhere I would like to definitely go back to, but with a romantic partner. It is the perfect setting to relax, explore, and enjoy the magical setting that is sure to make anyone (whether single or married) feel like royalty.
Welcome to Culture Trekking!
My name is Janiel, a medical professional, and solo adventurer. I have over 23 years of international travel experience and have a sincere passion for celebrating humanity, connecting with cultures, finding unique art and adventure. I’m an advocate for animals and sustainable travel and want to invite you to join the Culture Trekking community.