Turquoise seascapes, fresh seafood from the Mediterranean, the world’s best limoncello—it’s almost impossible to name all of the things we love about the Amalfi Coast, but it’s fun to try. Go Ahead staffer Brittany agrees. She was wowed by the stunning Italian region when she set off on our Amalfi Coast Walking Tour this past May, and shared the six things she enjoyed the most while exploring Sorrento, Capri, and beyond.
Views from the Path of the Gods
Hiking along the Path of the Gods
It’s overwhelming how breathtaking this mountain path is. As you walk, you get a full view of Positano and the coast. Plus, just being in nature was really nice; the smell of thyme and rosemary was so strong. It was a beautiful, sunny day when we set off on the excursion, and while the scenery was incredible, the camaraderie made the experience really special. My group had a good time walking and bonding and seeing all the sights. The hike was strenuous, but everyone was super supportive of each other, and we all made it to the end with an incredible memory to share.
Traveler tip: Keep your eyes open for the capra napoletana, rare Italian goats from the Campania region that feed on the shrubbery along the path. There are only about 500 left in the world, and the products made from the goats’ milk are only sold locally in Agerola and Positano as a way to give back to the community.
Spring table settings at a family-run agriturismo outside of Sorrento
Visiting a family-run farm
I enjoyed lots of wonderful wine, food, and laughs with my fellow travelers on the Rustic Italy: Farmhouse Dinner & Wine Tasting excursion. Everything was farm-to-table in the true sense of the term, and the meal was incredible. It was the best food I’ve ever tasted, paired with amazing wine served by Luigi, one of Italy’s top sommeliers. He told us all about his training and was so funny! Plus, I loved the family who owned the farm. The dad was so sweet; he took my hand and showed me the vegetable gardens where they grow all of their ingredients.
Traveler tip: Glance up to see beautiful bundles of seasonal flowers! There were dried blooms, fresh plants, and vine-ripened tomatoes hanging from the ceiling, and all the tables had centerpieces made from hydrangeas and lemons. I’ve never seen anything like it; the setting was just so beautiful, and each room smelled like flowers.
A shoemaker works on Brittany’s sandals in Sorrento
Buying handmade sandals
Handmade sandals were something I was really interested in seeking out as a souvenir from the Amalfi Coast, so I researched where I could find some in my travels. I ended up buying a pair with an animal-skin pattern and a green pair, reminiscent of the dark green plants I saw along the coast. I’m reminded of my trip every time I look down at my feet!
Traveler tip: Buy some of the best sandals at Sandale Siniscalchi in Sorrento. The owner was so sweet and welcoming. He showed me all of the strap options and measured my foot, and I was able to watch the shoes slowly came to life. He cut holes in the leather base, added the straps, and meticulously hammered in each nail. Then, he stamped my initials in the sole as a finishing touch.
Marina Grande, Sorrento
Savoring the seafood
We had the most amazing seafood at a little restaurant called Trattoria da Emilia in Marina Grande, which our Tour Director suggested we visit during free time in Sorrento. We sat near the water and watched as local fishermen brought in their catches of the day at sunset—it was such a spectacular view. For an appetizer, we ordered a basket of fried anchovies, prawns, and octopus, and then I had delicious sea bream baked with local lemons. Everything was so fresh!
Traveler tip: Cap the meal off with gelato from Antica Gelateria Sorrentina. Three generations of the Gargiulo family have run this shop in Sorrento since 1860, and they served the most delicious gelato I have ever had. My favorite flavors were the Nutella and coconut.
Walking to the top of Mount Vesuvius
Walking up Mount Vesuvius
Wow. Once you hike up to the top of Vesuvius and look into the crater, you realize how massive this volcano actually is. It was incredible to see the smoke coming out of the ground and admire the coast below. It brought everything back full-circle when we visited Pompeii and could really grasp the magnitude of Vesuvius’ destruction.
Traveler tip: When hiking to the top of Vesuvius, remember that slow and steady wins the race. The path is steep so it’s a good idea to wear sturdy sneakers and bring layers because it was a little breezy once we got to the top. Also, it was very sunny on the path, and aside from one little shop, there’s nothing you can stand under for some shade. So, bring sunscreen!
What’s your favorite part of Italy? Tell us why you love it in the comments below!