Italy Day 1 (+ Night 1)

We arrived in Naples on time and made our way to the car rental agency. 45 minutes later, we climbed into a rather large automatic vehicle (for Italy that is) and took off. Everyone warned us about driving in Italy. It’s awful. People are horrible. We felt it wasn’t really that much different than congested cities in the US… that is until we reached the Amalfi coast. 15 kilometers took more than an hour. The curves were insane to begin with. The drivers? On another planet. We crawled (sorry to those behind us!) and even that didn’t help. Honestly, if scooters were banned, this would have been a breeze. Or if the cars on the road weren’t just parked there (in not a spot, just parked on the side of a very narrow road). It was stressful and horrendous and I would highly recommend hiring a car to drive you here.

We arrive at the hotel, quickly changed and headed out to explore a little Minori and find something for dinner. We ended up at¬†Pasticceria Sal De Riso (which sells more than just pastries – though we’ll get to those too!). We sat outside, facing the ocean, I ordered a “SparkLady” which was a cocktail made from limoncello and prosecco and some other array of citrus. For dinner I ordered gluten free crepes filled with ricotta and herbs. James had a trio of mini pizzas. The food was surprisingly good (we had low expectations, especially because this place had everything you’re warned about avoiding – pictures of food, over the top decorations, outdoor patio seating…). But the real gem was inside the bakery. For dessert James got some strawberry cake and I had a gelato sundae with coffee and dark chocolate flavors. Divine.

We crawled back to the hotel and promptly got ready for bed – only having to deal with the sounds of those horrific scooters buzzing past every few minutes.

The following day we had literally nothing on our agenda, and purposely. The sun was out and we decided to hike to Ravello, which is the city next to Minori. Some things we didn’t take into account: mountains, stairs and more stairs! Google Maps said it would be a 45 minute walk (more like 90!!), but the views were breathtaking and it was fun to meander through a quaint neighborhood that did not have any roads or cars. We paused outside a church (it was Sunday) and listened to locals sining hymns in Italian. Stray cats were everywhere. It was truly remarkable and very, very sweaty. When embarking, we had little concept of the amount of water we needed. I am here to say that the random water spigots on this trail are indeed water and I have lived to tell the tale. Also, we purchased a trusty guide book that helped us navigate our way through the countryside and they called these out.

Very sweaty.

My friend, the hissing gato.

Ravello itself is absolutely charming. There are very few roads, almost everything is entirely walkable, and it was quiet. I was determined to find the Terrace of Infinity, and so after recognizing a few names from my research, we set off towards Villa Cimbrone. We were surprised by the 7 euro cover fee, but it was hands down, totally worth it. Also there were public restrooms and this is always important. We weaved our way through a beautiful garden that was restored by an Englishman after his wife passed away. The views are spectacular, and the though a bit late in the season, there were still some flowers in bloom. Infinity Terrace is stunning – and even better than every picture taken of it and posted online.

After the gardens, we strolled back through the streets towards the center of town. We stopped at a limoncello factory and a ceramics shop. James was hungry but we quickly realized that the cafes here are definitely tourist traps and definitely don’t have anything I can eat. So we headed back into Minori. James was hangry – I’ll spare you of the details – but we eventually were able to pick up some olive oil, prosciutto, fontina and bread (I had my trusty gluten free pitas at the hotel!). We enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the hotel, and then went to the pool for a few hours.

For dinner, we went to¬†Ristorante Giardiniello in Minori, and only a few minutes from our hotel. We were seated outside, under a roof of trees. For dinner, I had the seafood salad and seafood risotto (so much seafood!). James also had the risotto and tuna for his appetizer. I stuck with the house white wine (so good) and at the end of the meal, they brought complementary limoncello. It’s a good thing I like this stuff!

We opted to do dessert at Sal Del Riso. James had a pear and ricotta cake while I had a dome of chocolate and almond mousse, filled with a cherry jam and covered in chocolate. It was delightful.

PS Italian mosquitoes are a real thing. They do not seem to be deterred by American bug spray. I’ll keep trying though.