Amalfi coast drive 15 Nov 2019
Arriving in port of Naples, our group of 18 travellers were met by three vans and expert drivers by 715 am. An early start to the day and change of itinerary from our original booking plan. Due to weather and other complications the Oceania peeps notified us of change of port of call ( was Sorrento, now Naples) and moved it by a day. I was able to change the plans I had made for private tour and visit to Lemon Farm….. thanks to Francesco.
First stop Pompeii for coffee, pastries, and catching glimpse of the town and ruins. One of our drivers was local to Pompeii so suggested a quality stop where the locals eat and drink specialty coffee and “cookies” made famous in Pompeii region and area of Naples.
Onward, refreshed we drive, we stop at variety of viewpoints, each one more spectacular than the last. The rocky steep coast and brilliant turquoise blue water, glistening in the sunshine. Switchbacks, tight corners. Breathtaking views. Olive trees, fruit trees, beautiful buildings adorned with ceramic mosaics, terra cotta rooftops. Brilliant flower gardens and bushes, contrasting against stone terraces, vineyards.
Amalfi Coast is 45 kms long, starting Sorrento and goes to Amalfi town. We drove as far as Positano, with spectacular views of this famous coastal town. Beaches, homes, pedestrian switchback walkways … picturesque in every way. The sun shines bright, the beach, the mountainside. The surf.
Along the drive islands of Ischia and Capri can be seen, and smaller islands, once believed to be home of sirens, lady fish, mermaids. Bewitching the sailors, rocky outcrops with waves gently splashing.
Fruit bearing trees, olive, lemon, orange, grape vines, cherries all cohabitating in small garden plots along the road. Climbing on the bridges and buildings, purple morning glories. Steep rocky coast meets beautiful turquoise sea and white frothy waves.
Arriving at Luigi’s home, a warm embrace, recognition of our times meeting before. Family lived in this house since 1300, in mid 1650 started cultivate lemons as it was believed medicinal properties, to help with disease. Situated on Bay of Naples, Microclimate unique in this area. Luigi gives us walking tour.
First lemon seeds were not actually from Italy, but from India. Lemon tree is delicate. Must be protected from wind and frost, storms. All parts of the lemon are used, seasonally. Luigi describes the various uses, the primary reason for the lemon of this region is production of lemoncello.
Out of financial necessity and lack of labour workers, Luigi’s father and uncle decided to work the farm. Agritourismo concept helps income to keep living here.
Have one cow, have few pigs. Chickens. 10,000 meters square.
Uses solar panel for heat, electricity and hot water. Other self sustaining products on the farm include Olive oil. Mozzarella cheese prepared from milk of their one cow. Vegetable garden. Rental rooms for tourists to stay on farm in beautiful stone building.
In this area of Italy there are 4 restaurants with Michelin stars. The soil for growing produce is volcanic and unique for support of exceptional taste and heartiness, as well as producing the very best quality of lemons.
Luigi described how the trees are planted and grafted by moon .. 3 to 4 weeks per year window for maximum production. Ancient knowledge that still is used today. For the past 25 years this farm has been completely organic, no use of pesticides. The farmhouse and buildings provide 9 rooms for rent.
I would like to come back here, maybe to work for a week or two. This is the home of beautiful Italian family and I am so grateful for the opportunity to share with my family and travel buddies.
Ps. Next day is sea day of rest, time in Canyon Ranch Spa on board ship, steam room, hot tub, dining, time in library, cooking demonstration, coffee, food, wine, cocktail party with my precious family, friends and travel buddies.
Pss. Coming up, Santorini