This rugged coastline which stretches along the Sorrentine peninsula in Southern Italy and overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea is one of the most beautiful attractions in Italy. It is known as the drive of “100 hairpin turns” and if you’ve got the guts and the stomach to drive it you will witness one of the most majestic views from the side of this mountain that you’ve ever seen.
I tried it three times. The first time was on a big shool bus with a large group of my students which almost convinced me I’d never do it again. As it is impossible to see the other car coming toward you from each turn, drivers usually honk their horns to make them aware. This time the bus was too large to make the turn and we practically remained suspended for over an hour on a bridge before the driver could maneuver the turn. The next time, I had taken my mother to Italy and we were to be staying in Positano, one of the jewels of the Amalfi Coast.
I bravely rented a car and we began our descent down to Positano and Sorrento and Amalfi. I really don’t know where I got the courage to make that drive, but I can tell you it was all worth it, even stopping next to a railing to buy some native peppers.
The last time I was on the Amalfi Coast was when my cousin Connie and I made the trip two years ago and hired a driver who was so accommodating that he actually stopped the car for a while so Connie could go swimming. Positano is so special. One needs to walk a long stretch of narrow road to reach the beach.
On the way there are tons of vendors of just about everything ceramic, majolica tiles they are called, and very expensive clothing shops. The astounding thing about Positano is that it is built into the side of a mountain but you can descend to the beach if you want to climb lots of steps.
Once in Positano, our driver took us to a very special place to eat: a restaurant with a balcony that looked down into the sea very high up with a lovely view.
There we feasted on homemade manicotti, meatballs and homemade gnocchi before making our way back to Sorrento.
Sorrento is probably the heart of the Amalfi Coast as there are many reasons to “Come Back to Sorrento”. Everyone walks in the evening and there are operatic singers at the end of the main road who burst into song from a small Piazza with an accompanying group of musicians. There are so many back streets and so many vendors that in summer it is a challenge not to get lost. Our Hotel had a swimming pool and Connie was even able to hire our same driver to take her to Pompeii for an excursion one day. Sorrento is known for the liqueur limoncello and every shop you enter will have the liqueur wrapped in souvenir bottles or will have something made of Sorrento lemons, like soaps, etc. as a reminder of their special native digestivo.
Inlaid wooden boxes and small musical wooden tables are still made in Sorrento, but they told me it is a dying craft. You can still find shops that have these beautiful but rare items. I still have a nest of inlaid boxes which I bought many years ago in Sorrento as well as a beautiful music box.
On Tuesday we’ll continue our tour from Sorrento by hydrofoil to see the amazing Blue Grotto.
Stay with me and have a good weekend.