Continuing our vacation, we stayed a week in Italy’s Amalfi Coast — an area I’ve dreamed of staying since I was a child. The trip totally lived up to my expectations, and they were HIGH.
We started in Ravello, which is a stunning part of the Amalfi Coast at the highest point that provides the most amazing views of the coast. It can be a bit of a trek to get to, but I can’t stress enough how happy I am we spent a day and night in the area before heading down to the beach. A little history — the Amalfi Coast was a very prosperous area because of its location on the Mediteranean which meant a great fishing industry and transportation for trades. But, being on the water made it an area rife with attacks from foreigners looking to plunder the riches in Amalfi. To avoid the attacks, the most wealthy of residents in Amalfi moved up the mountain to Ravello in order to protect themselves. The result is that Ravello full of gorgeous 11th century palaces turned into hotels and restaurants that are truly breathtaking.
One of these converted palaces is now the Hotel Belmond Caruso, which we had the pleasure of lunching at. The Pool Restaurant is on the roof of the hotel next to an infinite pool that appears as if it is hanging over the cliff of a mountain. The pictures don’t do the views justice, which is saying a lot. The ambiance of the restaurant is one of the best we experienced over the two weeks we traveled.
We sat in the sun while sampling the menu which was teeming with mouth-watering dishes and local specialties. On the recommendation of our waiter, we started with a pizza. The restaurant lets the pizza dough rise for 48 hours, meaning that it is light and airy rather than dense and overly filling. We paired the pizza with a white wine called Furore, which is a must-have if you visit the region. It’s a dry, local white wine that became a quick favorite.
We then headed into the kitchen area to help ourselves to a wonderful spread of antipasti ranging from fresh olives, different types of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls in a variety of shapes, artichokes marinated anchovies, salads, tuna and other fresh items. This was our first encounter with anchovies from the region, which was one of the highlights. The fresh mozzarella melted in our mouths and the tomatoes were bright red and juicy.
Now, onto our mains (Can you believe we ate this much at lunch?). The Amalfi area is renown for a type of pasta known as Paccheri which are large tubes of pasta best served al dente. The boyfriend ordered the paccheri with a delicious beef ragu and I had the most amazing giant, grilled prawns. They were extremely meaty and fresh.
We ended with a decadent chocolate cake dessert with ice cream.
After our amazing lunch, we received a tour of the hotel and took in the history. The palace at one time belonged to a wealthy family and we appreciated how well the owners preserved the history of the hotel while providing an uber luxurious experience. The property has lovely gardens throughout and seemingly every room — from the breakfast room to the restaurants — has breathtaking views. When upgrading the hotel, workers discovered old frescoes underneath the painted walls. They cleaned and restored the frescoes throughout the building, which was a beautiful sight to see. Painted gryphons are visible throughout the hotel, which are thought to be a family crest of sorts for the original owners. The hotel has even copied some of the gryphons and other designs onto a silk clothing line they’ve created that is available for purchase in the boutique. If you decide to stay at the hotel, there are great services for guests such as daily boat rides on the boat’s 52-foot boat around Amalfi, a spa and fitness center.
I would make the Pool Restaurant a must visit for lunch if you travel to the Amalfi area. Both the food and atmosphere are divine and very memorable. As a bonus, it’s just a quick walk from Villa Cimbrone’s famous gardens, so you can explore those (which I highly recommend) before or after your lunch. Lunch here truly encapsulated the feeling of la dolce vita.
After, a short walk’s distance is Villa Cimbrone, an ancient and enchanting garden with the most breathtaking view. Be sure to have your lunch and leave time either before or after to visit Cimbrone.
As you walk to Cimbrone, inspect some of the world’s best ceramics at nearby shops.
Amalfi Coast Style Guide: