The ‘Glory’ in Amalfi Coast

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During the Italian Holy Week there are many unique traditions shared amongst the villages of the Amalfi Coast. Some of the traditions are somewhat macabre, showing the crucifixion of Christ in the solemn processions on Good Friday. The Catholic Church considers the Holy week to be a time of total abstinence from the joys of life: candles and lights are switched off, altars are bared and undressed so are without flowers and decoration and sacred stoles. Just penitence, prayers and giving handouts. What a shame for the joyful Neapolitan people who by their nature always try to convert sadness to happiness! But Easter means that the spring is just around the corner, winter is over and the locals make merry.

Preparation for the Easter weekend starts on Good Saturday and traditional food takes centre stage. Kitchens turn into a hub of food preparation for the first true dinner after the long Lent period: first of all women put on the table the fellata, a selection of Neapolitan salamis such as capicollo, soppressata and salami and then the casatiello which a special bread made with lard, black pepper and cheese with eggs on the top, then fresh cheese ricotta with 

broad beans which announces the spring and in the end the pastiera made with wheat, eggs, sugar, citrus candy perfumed with orange flower water. The smells and the fragrance of the food are detected by the adults and they must retain the control and try to keep the children away from the table because nobody can eat before “the Glory” when the bells of the main church ring for a long time to announce the Resurrection. Even though the locals are deeply involved in their religious traditions, Amalfi during the Easter weekend offers a vibrant image of the Italian life style.

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

 

 

Good Friday in Amalfi

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As you well know we Italians are catholic, not good observant at all, but tradition is stronger during the Holy Week.

Good Friday in Amalfi and procession of Death Christis one of the most sacred events in the year.

A mystic atmosphere soaks in the narrow alleyways and vertical houses when the sunset comes.

Public lights are turned off and torches and candles light the way of people wearing white robes.

They carry the statue cradling and singing sadly. Music played by a band is a great element of this ritual.

Immersed in a very solemn atmosphere foreigners and dwellings breathe slowly while chorus starts to sing the dirge that represents Maria’s finding his death Son.

I warmly suggest visiting Amalfiduring Easterdiscovering traditions and that very appealing experience.

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

Traditional Easter Lunch

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As the saying goes ‘Christmas with relatives and Easter wherever you want’ and Amalfi is the best place to spend a week end home away. Food is one of the Amalfi Coast’s biggest draws and Easter lunch well worth a tasting.

Tradition requires meat- based lunch after the period of Lentand many restaurants offer traditional Easter lunchin their menus.

Usually starter is ricotta (fresh salty cheese) with local salami, boiled eggs and broad beans. There isn’t any white bread in the nest but savoury ‘casatiello’ a bread made by lard, black pepper and pork scratching. Delicious!

First course is tagliolini tart, a baked pasta with meat sauce and fresh peas following by roast baby lamb with fried artichokes, and of course, the famous pastiera, a traditional sweet tart filled with eggs, wheat, ricotta and flavouring millefiori, our symbol of resurrection and new life.

Angels sing and coming down from the heaven!

 If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

Mont Vesuvio

Vesuvio  is not only included in the Unesco World Mab Biosfere Reserve but it is  the real symbol of Naples and inhabitants. They affectionately call him ‘The mountain’ but they always have a special consideration  for one of the most dangerous volcanos in the world.  Vesuvio has frightened  collective imagination since the dawn of time. Considered the ‘Netherworld’ by Greeks and Romans the eruptions were thought of as the fury of Gods.

Loads of folk stories  from the fervent imagination of Neapolitan people have always filled tourist guide books: Vesuvio fallen in love with the wonderful Capri (that is just a short ferry ride away) released warm breaths and fire-hot tears; it was considered the Mount of Devils because a monk claimed the help of magic powers for getting an ‘unmentionable desire’ was swallowed by him.

The only heaven’s saint, San Gennaro, the Preserver and Guardian of Neapolitans, was able to fight against Evil: in fact  a fresco of V century, discovered in the catacombs of S. Gennaro, shows the Patron of Naples close to Vesuvio. But the weird behaviour of Neapolitans got over the drama: in the 1952 when the smoke plume on the top of Vesuvio disappeared as well as tips of tourists ,they invoked the Saint to get the smoke back……. saving people once again!

Whatever happens Vesuvio well worth a visit,  you can enjoy from the top a spectacular view of Naples bay with Sorrento peninsula, the island of Capri until Ischia and Procida. Local travel agencies in Amalfi arrange once a week full-day trip to Pompei and Vesuvio from April to October to admire the beauty of landscape.

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site


 

 

Wheat is life

One of the most typical of the many Amalfi Coast traditions during the Easter week was to bring the wheat to the church on the evening on Good Thursday. This day was called ‘sacred sepulture’ and the grains of wheat had a lot of symbolic meaning for the Catholics. When harvested during the first week of Spring, the wheat was completely white and thus compared to the pale face of Christ marked by sorrow and fatigue, and then it was stored in a dark corner with no lights just as Christ in his tomb.

semi di grano

The metaphor of wheat is clearly visible: it seems to be dead but it is ready to come into a new life. And what happens when the white wheat brought by the women to the Church becomes green in just two days of light, it blooms the same day of Resurrection. Wheat is a promise to get over death, it represents the hard job rewarded by bread.

Many customs of the local people have disappeared and personally I do not remember this tradition, but stories told by the elderly residents keep their special appeal still today. I decided not to waste this heritage of the past , so this year I will put a plate full of wheat to represent waiting for a new start.

Happy Easter to all of you!

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

 

Street food in Naples

If you are willing to visit Naples you cannot miss the intriguing and fascinating old centre called Spaccanapoli. This street is of Greek origin, it is very long and seems to cut the city in half. Nothing could better express the culture and tradition of Neapolitan people as well as their life style as Spaccanapoli.

Couples walk arm in arm, mums with trolleys go shopping, elderly women chase for a bargain, boys on Vespas zip through. People shout and wave all around while tourists visit the most stunning monuments of Naples: San Severo Chapel with the amazing sculpture of the veiled Christ, the Cloister of Santa Chiara with painted, colourful columns, the Duomo , the Cathedral of Naples consecrated to San Gennaro and San Gregorio Armeno where the tradition for crafting nativity figures survives all year round.

This general excitement makes you hungry very quicly andthe best way to sample the flavour of Naples is through the street food‘. Kiosks and stands are everywhere along Spaccanapoli and vendors propose the famous ‘Cuoppo’ a paper cone containing fired-up delights: rice balls, (crocche’) potatoes balls, chopped courgette and eggplants, small pizzas, cherry mozzarella, pumpkin flowers, corn mush slices and some stands sell ‘taralli cavere’ that are hot, round, salty biscuits with lard, black pepper and almonds paired with a strong glass of red local wine.


Street food is much more popular in Naples than in other Italian cities and in the past represented an important source of income for many poor families. It is simply very good food nowadays and the quality of the fresh ingredients is very high. So do not hesitate to pamper yourself, do not miss this exciting food experience when in Naples.

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

Carnival in Amalfi Coast

carnival 

In a Catholic country like Italy, the last non-religious rite survived over the centuries is Carnival. Carnival attracts people from all over the world with masquerades, parades and feasts that take place across several cities.

Today the Carnival theme is a dramatisation of daily life, but in the past it was the only day of year when the poor played the role of the rich people in agreement with the legal-powers of the Church. Neapolitans, out of the government’s control as usual, have been able to combine sacred and profane also in the food making fools of the upper class in this unusual day. The “sanguinaccio” is a custard made from the blood of pork mixed with milk, dark chocolate, nuts, candied citron and cinammon and was a very special dessert. What kind of people ate the blood of pork? The vampires? I had the good fortune to taste sanguinaccio and I lived!!!!!
My English companion told me there was a similar dessert called ‘black pudding‘ typical of northern England. Unfortunately many sweets and pastries are disappeared over recent years due to the very strict modern hygiene rules, but if you have an extremely rare chance to taste a true sanguinaccio don’t be scared and enjoy this wonderful experience.

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site


A Day amongst the pasta

FOTO1

Intrigued by the fame of Gragnano, known as the ‘city of pasta‘, I decided to see one of the most fascinating Italian rituals. Thanks to my close friends I discovered an extraordinary reality in a very friendly atmosphere: the Gentile Pasta Factory.

 

The Zampino family runs the factory keeping the traditional methods of production. They use the best quality of Italian wheat and a natural drying method called Cirillo. The pasta is dried at low temperature using a combined heater and fan to release thickness and flavour. In the past, pasta took about 10 days to dry outside, in the cells now only 4 days but  just 4 hours in the huge food industry.

One of the most famous varieties of pasta is ‘fusilli’. They look like long curls apparently regular but they are not. Women roll up every single noodle with a knitting needle under their forearms, giving the pasta a helical form and their work is fundamental in the pasta factory: they pack every single kilo, cut by hand the long varieties and they constantly check the production.

Following the best Italian habit, the day cannot finish without eating pasta, so we went to La Galleria Restaurant just a few minutes walk from the to pasta factory. I was impressed with the quality of food and wine pairing. The head chef Giulio prepared a sensational gourmet tasting with a selection of pasta and seasonal ingredients. All heaven’s angels sung and came down drinking the Pompeii rose’ wine with us! An excellent excuse for a return visit!

 If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site


 

 

 

 

 

Festival of St. Andrew in Amalfi

Festival of St Andrew Procession Amalfi

The grand religious procession for the festival of St. Andrew in Amalfi

Two of the most impressive moments of the year in Amalfi are dedicated to Sant’ Andrea, or Saint Andrew, who is the town’s patron saint. On June 27th and November 30th each year Amalfi celebrates St. Andrew with special masses in the Cathedral of Amalfi and an impressive and beautiful religious procession through the streets of town culminating in a dramatic run of the statue up the grand staircase of the cathedral.

While the religious festival in June is the grandest event of the summer, the festival of St. Andrew at the end of November offers visitors a more intimate glimpse of Amalfi’s most important religious festival. As Christmas is just around the corner, the town is often decorated with beautiful holiday lights and decorations just in time for the festival.

After a special mass in the morning, the procession begins from the Cathedral and follows through the streets of Amalfi, along the waterfront and back into the Piazza Duomo in the center of town.

After the procession reaches all the different parts of Amalfi where they can carry the statue (and even some where you think it would be too hard to reach!), the procession stops at the base of the grand staircase leading up to the Cathedral. After a rest and organization and a big breath … up it goes! The statue is run up the staircase in a dramatic corso that has to be seen to be believed.

The festival of St. Andrew is a wonderful chance to experience a unique side of Amalfi where the residents have a very strong and deep religious connection to the saint. After the procession you can see the statue up close inside the Cathedral.

Festival of St Andrew in Amalfi Statue in Cathedral

A close up view of the beautiful statue of St. Andrew inside the Cathedral of Amalfi

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

 

Amalfi Coast Recipes – Limoncello

Limoncello Amalfi Coast Recipe

Enjoy a taste of the Amalfi Coast at home with your own limoncello!

The perfect lunch or dinner on the Amalfi Coast is often finished off with a small glass of limoncello, a lemon infused liqueur, which many families make at home. Made with the famous Amalfi Coast lemons, the brilliant yellow color and intense refreshing taste make it a popular digestivo, or after dinner drink. It’s simple to make your own limoncello at home to remember the sweet flavors of the Amalfi Coast no matter where you are!

Ingredients
8-10 organic lemons
1 quart of pure alcohol
5 cups sugar
3 cups water

Directions
1. Wash lemons and peel the zest from the lemons in long strips. Be careful not to peel away the bitter white pith – only the bright yellow zest! If your strips of zest have white pith, use a sharp knife to cut them away. Since the lemon peels are infused in the alcohol to create this drink, we recommend using organic lemons. Or grow your own!

2. Place the lemon zest strips into a large glass jar and add the alcohol. Give it a good stir and then cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the jar sit in a cool place out of the sun at least over night or up to a week. Some family recipes call for infusing the alcohol for 20 days … or even up to 40 days! You’ll see the alcohol turning a brilliant yellow as it is infused with the lemon flavor.

3. After letting the infusion sit for awhile, boil the water in a pot and stir in the sugar until well blended being careful not to bring it to a boil. Cover the pot and let it sit overnight to cool completely.

4. Mix the sugar syrup and lemon infused alcohol together either in the large jar or pot. Stir well and strain out lemon peels while pouring into clean bottles.

5. If using pure alcohol you can store your finished limoncello in the freezer like we do on the Amalfi Coast. Then it will always be chilled and ready for you to enjoy after lunch or dinner!

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

(Photo Credits: ewanr)

The Cathedral of St. Andrew in Amalfi

Amalfi Sightseeing Cathedral of St. Andrew

Climb the grand staircase to visit the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Amalfi

When you step into the busy Piazza Duomo in the heart of Amalfi, it’s hard not to look straight up to the stunning Cathedral of Sant’ Andrea, or St. Andrew, which sits overlooking the square from atop a grand staircase. As you climb the steps you can take a closer look at the 19th-century facade with its Byzantine revival design, colorful patterns and beautiful mosaics designed by Neapolitan artist Domenico Morelli. Gaze up at the soaring bell tower, which was built from 1180-1276 and features ornate Moorish inspired designs and majolica tiles. As you walk through the Cathedral of St. Andrew, usually called the Duomo, you’ll discover thousands of years of history as you make your way through the religious heart of Amalfi.

Mass in the Duomo of Amalfi

Attend a mass at the Duomo of Amalfi or simple admire the gorgeous Baroque interior

The sumptuous interior of the Cathedral is Baroque and dates from a restoration in the early 18th century. This is only fitting for a church that is home to the relics of St. Andrew the Apostle, which were brought to Amalfi on May 8th, 1208 by Pietro Capuano, the Papal Envoy to the Fourth Crusade. For over 800 years St. Andrew has been the patron saint and protector of the town of Amalfi – from its days as the powerful maritime Republic of Amalfi to a small fishing village to one of the most popular holiday spots in Italy.

Cloister of Paradise Duomo of Amalfi

Stroll around the peaceful Cloister of Paradise

Visitors today can also see the serene Cloister of Paradise, which was built as a cemetery for the nobles of Amalfi from 1266-1268. As you walk around the cloister and the pretty central garden, you can see ancient and medieval works of art. On the northern side of the cloister look for the arch that perfectly frames the bell tower for a great photo!

Museum Duomo of Amalfi

Explore the history of Amalfi in the Cathedral’s Museum

The Cloister of Paradise leads into the oldest part of the church, which is called the Basilica of the Crucifix. This church dates back to 596 and has been transformed into a Museum to house rare works of art and historical pieces. Here you’ll find the precious Angevin Mitre, a gorgeous piece from the 13th century that is decorated with gemstones, gold leaf and about 20,000 pearls. There are many other beautiful chalices, reliquaries and important religious works on display.

Crypt of St Andrew Amalfi Cathedral

Visit the religious heart of Amalfi

From the Museum you can follow the steps down into the lavishly decorated crypt of St. Andrew below the church. The beautiful Baroque decorations and the ornate ceiling frescoes date from the 17th century and have been very well preserved. Take a moment to feel the history of Amalfi, thousands and thousands of years, before climbing the steps to reach the nave. Once back out on the steps of the Cathedral you may just look at the town below with different eyes.

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

Top Things to See and Do in Ravello

Ravello Sightseeing Amalfi Coast Panorama

Ravello is easy to visit during your stay in Amalfi

Amalfi is a wonderfully central location for your holiday on the Amalfi Coast. Not only is there so much history and charm to discover right in Amalfi, but there’s also easy access to beautiful hikes on the Amalfi Coast, simply stunning beaches and the other villages on the Amalfi Coast. Located high in the mountains above Amalfi, the village of Ravello is a popular spot. If you’re staying at the Hotel Aurora, it’s easy to take the bus to explore Ravello in one day. Here are some of the top things to see and do in Ravello!

Ravello Sightseeing Duomo San Pantaleone

Enjoy a break in Ravello’s charming piazza

Once you arrive in Ravello, walk to the main piazza where you will find the beautiful Duomo of Ravello overlooking the pretty square surrounded by bars with outdoor seating. The Duomo is dedicated to San Pantaleone and the village’s main celebration of the year is for the festival day for this saint on July 27th. The church is very often open so you can simply walk in to find a moment of calm in the peaceful setting. Along the central nave look for the large ambone from the 13th century decorated with elaborate mosaic work and ornate spiral columns resting on the backs of lions. Opposite is the smaller but much older ambone from the 11th-12th centuries featuring a mosaic representation of Jonah and the Whale. For more history, visit the the Museo del Duomo below the church.

Back out in the piazza, turn left from the church entrance and look for a tower. This is the entrance to the Villa Rufolo, a historic villa from the 13th century that was once the home of the Rufolo family. Today you can visit the grounds, explore the gardens and enjoy the marvelous views.

Ravello Sightseeing Villa Rufolo Panorama

Panoramic views of the Amalfi Coast from the Villa Rufolo

And what views they are! You’ll enjoy a gorgeous view of the Amalfi Coast with the villages of Minori and Maiori and across the Bay of Salerno. During the summer months many concerts and events take place against the backdrop of the Villa Rufolo during the Ravello Festival.

After strolling through the Villa Rufolo, enjoy exploring the charming streets of Ravello lined with tempting shops. Many display local ceramics, which are one of the traditional crafts of the Amalfi Coast.

Shopping in Ravello Italy Amalfi Coast

Beautiful ceramics on display in Ravello

Follow the signs pointing to the Villa Cimbrone located at the very tip of the promontory where Ravello is located overlooking the sea. The expansive gardens at the Villa Cimbrone date back to the 11th century, although much of the design of the gardens today dates from when the villa was owned by Ernest William Beckett, Second Lord Grimthorpe, who bought the massive estate in 1904. The romantic gardens lead to the Terrace of Infinity, a large terrace with dramatic views overlooking the the Amalfi Coast.

Ravello Sightseeing Villa Cimbrone

Walk out to the Terrace of Infinity at the Villa Cimbrone

Strolling through beautiful gardens, discovering the quiet walkways through the village, tempting shops and marvelous views all come together to create a fun and memorable day in Ravello!

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

Amalfi Coast Recipes – Spaghetti alle Vongole

Spaghetti with Clams Amalfi Coast Recipe

Enjoy one of the classic dishes of Amalfi at home!

The Amalfi Coast is famous for its seafood dishes made with freshly caught fish from the Mediterranean Sea. One of the most popular recipes, in both restaurants and homes, is Spaghetti alle Vongole, or Spaghetti with Clams. This recipe captures the flavors of the Amalfi Coast and is remarkably easy to prepare at home. Find the freshest clams that you can and enjoy a taste of Italy tonight!

Ingredients
Serves 3-4

Extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, cut in half
3 1/2 pounds clams, cleaned thoroughly
Fresh parsley, chopped
12 ounces spaghetti, preferably thick, or linguine

Directions

1. Combine about 5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and the garlic in a large saute pan or big pot. Cook over low heat until the scent of the garlic is infused into the oil but the garlic doesn’t brown.

2. Increase the heat to medium high and immediately add the clams and cover the pan. Shake the pan to move the clams around in the oil and cook until the bivalves of the clams open, usually about 2-4 minutes depending on the size of the clams.

3. Remove the clams from the pan and cover to keep warm. Cook the pasta until it’s just a little more than al dente in salted water and drain. Finish cooking the pasta in the sauce from the clams and it will absorb the flavors as it finishes cooking.

4. Add the clams and parsley to the pan, mix well and serve right away!

Buon appetito!

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

 

Photo Credits: Nate Gray

Amalfi Coast Hiking – The Torre dello Ziro

Amalfi Coast Hiking Experiences

The Torre dello Ziro watchtower in the mountains above Amalfi is full of mystery

Sitting atop the mountains high above Amalfi, the Torre dello Ziro watchtower has been watching over the town since the 15th century. Just imagine all of the history, stories and events it has seen! We’re often asked by guests at the Hotel Aurora more about the Torre dello Ziro and its history. Here’s a brief look! The tower was built as part of a larger fortress in a strategic look out point above the town by Duke Antonio Piccolomini in 1480. Throughout history the watchtower has been filled with mystery, especially involving the tragic love story of Giovanna d’Aragon, the Duchess of Amalfi. Her sad tale has inspired many writers, including John Webster’s book The Duchess of Malfi.

You can walk back through the history of Amalfi by hiking to the Torre dello Ziro during your holiday in Amalfi. The tower cannot be reached from Amalfi, but instead this hike starts from the hamlet of Pontone in Scala.

Hiking on the Amalfi Coast from Pontone

Start the hike to the watchtower from the hamlet of Pontone

Once you leave peaceful little Pontone, the trail to the Torre dello Ziro leads along the side of the mountains overlooking the valley down to Atrani and Ravello on the opposite side. While there are some stairs and ups and downs, the hiking path from Pontone to the Torre dello Ziro is not very tough, which makes it a fun hike to do with younger children. They will be fascinated by the ruins of the watchtower and the remains of the historic crenelated walls!

Amalfi Coast Hiking with Children

The Torre dello Ziro is a fun hike to do with kids!

Once you arrive at the tower you will find incredible views of Ravello, the Amalfi coastline and the Bay of Salerno. It’s a marvelous spot for a picnic and rest while taking in the views.

Amalfi Coast Hiking Trails

A rewarding view of the Amalfi coastline from the Torre dello Ziro

Take a look down the mountainside to Atrani where you can see the bell tower and majolica tiled dome of the Collegiata di Santa Maria Maddalena and the Amalfi Coast Road hugging the curve around the base of the church.

Best Hiking on the Amalfi Coast

Peeking down the mountainside to Atrani

Look down on the other side of the mountain and you’ll find a bird’s eye view of Amafli – simply stunning! Watch the ferries come and go in the harbor, listen to the sounds of the town from high above and see the Duomo of Amalfi from above. Can you spot where the Hotel Aurora is located?

Stunning view of Amalfi from Torre dello Ziro

Stunning view of Amalfi from the Torre dello Ziro watchtower

After exploring the hiking paths around the Torre dello Ziro and enjoying the views, retrace your steps back to Pontone where you can enjoy the hike from Scala to Amalfi or catch a bus back down to Amalfi. When you look up at the Torre dello Ziro from Amalfi, it won’t look quite the same again!

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

Amalfi Coast Lemons

Lemons on the Amalfi Coast

Lemon trees soaking up the sunshine on the Amalfi Coast

Lemons and the Amalfi Coast – it is a love story that has been woven across the centuries. Frescoes in the ancient Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, located near the Sorrento Peninsula, show lemons very similar to the variety still cultivated on the Amalfi Coast today. The Limone Costa d’Amalfi, also called the Sfusato Amalfitano, is a unique variety that grows particularly well in the environment and mild climate of the Amalfi Coast. It is noted for its distinctive shape–long and tapered–rich oil in the skins and extremely high vitamin C levels. And, of course, its intense and delicious flavor!

Amalfi Coast Lemons Interior

The intense yellow of Amalfi Coast lemons

Over the centuries the rugged landscape of the Amalfi Coast has been adapted for the production of lemons, which grow on terraces that have been carved out of the mountainsides. The task of caring for the lemon groves continues today and in many cases has been passed down by generations of families. Everything is still done by hand, including the yearly harvests. As many of the groves are located up or down hundreds of steps from the nearest roads, the harvests are painstaking work!

Lemons and Pepperoncini in Amalfi

Lemons and spicy pepperoncini peppers in Amalfi

Given the abundance of lemons, it’s natural they have found their way into the culinary traditions and recipes of the Amalfi Coast. You’ll find lemon risotto, ravioli scented with the delicate flavor of lemon, fresh lemon juice squeezed atop fish and vegetable dishes and more. Naturally, lemons are proudly featured in the traditional desserts on the Amalfi Coast. Torta al limone, a rich lemon-scented pound cake drizzled with a lemony syrup, is an Amalfi Coast classic. The sweet and tempting Delizia al Limone is a cake infused with a  lemon syrup and covered with a lemon cream.

Delizia al Limone Amalfi Coast

Delizia al Limone – an classic Amalfi Coast dessert

Dinner on the Amalfi Coast just isn’t complete without a chilled glass of limoncello. This strong lemon liqueur is made by infusing alcohol with lemon rinds and then blending it with a sugary syrup. Served right out of the freezer, it’s the perfect digestivo after a meal. You’ll find the classic limoncello in Amalfi as well as a creamy version.

Amalfi Coast Limoncello

A creamy limoncello from Amalfi – delicious!

While limoncello is quite easy to make, there’s just something special about the Amalfi Coast lemons that give the limoncello here a special touch. Perhaps it’s that the lemons growing here have been kissed by the warm Mediterranean sun and grown with tradition and love!

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

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Image Credits: Amalfi Coast lemon trees by Bill McIntyre, Amalfi Coast Lemons by Mr. Chung, Lemons and Peppers in Amalfi by Yvon, Delizia al Limone by Yuen-Ping, Amalfi Limoncello by McArthur

Amalfi Coast Hiking – From Scala to Amalfi

Amalfi Coast Hiking Scala to Amalfi

Start this beautiful Amalfi Coast hike in the village of Scala

Travelers from around the world fall in love with the beautiful beaches on the Amalfi Coast, but fewer discover the other side of this coastline that is just as remarkable – the mountains! Hiking on the Amalfi Coast is one of the best ways to experience the quiet villages, the ancient pathways and the majestic mountains that soar high above the sea. The town of Amalfi is perfectly situated if you enjoy hiking and walking as it is surrounded by some of the best pathways offering marvelous views.

Come along on one of our favorite walks, which begins in the little town of Scala located high in the mountains above Amalfi. You can easily catch a bus from Amalfi to Scala, a quiet mountain village that you can see in the photo above. Follow the road toward Minuta, which is a tiny hamlet in Scala. This is where you begin the descent toward Amalfi. Locals say there are about 1,300 steps between Scala and Amalfi … but we haven’t counted them yet!

Amalfi Coast Hiking Scala to Amalfi Minuta

The sleepy hamlet of Minuta has marvelous Amalfi Coast views

The Piazza in Minuta has a very old church dedicated to Santa Maria Annunziata that was founded in the 11th or 12th century. It is rarely open, but if it is do ask to see the rare and beautiful 12th century frescoes in the crypt of the church. From Minuta you will see the ruins of another church standing on a little promontory overlooking the valley. This was the Church of Sant’ Eustachio, which was built in the 12th century.

Amalfi Coast Hiking Scala to Amalfi Sant Eustachio

The ruins of the medieval Church of Sant’Eustachio on the Amalfi Coast

Take in a deep breath and just imagine how many centuries people have been living in this beautiful spot and looking out to the sea beyond. When you walk along the ancient pathways connecting the villages of the Amalfi Coast, it’s possible to really feel the history with every step you take.

Amalfi Coast Hiking Along the Ancient Steps

Hiking under the olive trees and oleander flowers along the ancient pathways on the Amalfi Coast

Below Minuta the steps will take you below olive trees with their silver-green shimmering leaves and oleander trees that drop their colorful blossoms on the stones. Look to the left and you’ll have a picture perfect view of Ravello in the distance. That lush green garden on the top of the promontory is the Villa Cimbrone, but we’ll have a visit there in another blog post!

Amalfi Coast Hike Scala to Amalfi Ravello Villa Cimbrone

A fine view of the Ravello promontory and the gardens of the Villa Cimbrone

Below Minuta is a sleepy area dotted with homes, terraces of olive and lemon trees and the rhythmic song of the cicadas on a hot summer day the only sound to fill the silent air. Continue to follow the stairs down and soon you will arrive in the peaceful hamlet of Pontone. The lovely little piazza is a great spot to rest your legs before tackling the rest of the stairs down to Amalfi.

Amalfi Coast Hiking Scala to Amalfi Pontone

Stop for a rest in the peaceful piazza of Pontone

From the piazza in Pontone, follow the staircase below the overlook (pictured above) down and cross the street. Look for the little sign pointing down toward Amalfi and that’s your pathway. Below Pontone you’ll be walking amid terraces of lemon trees with the view of the brilliant blue sea beckoning you on. Across the valley you’ll see Pogerola, a hamlet of Amalfi tucked away in the mountains high above. Down the stairs and around a few more corners and you’ll be greeted by an incredible view of Amalfi from above.

Amalfi Coast Hiking Scala to Amalfi View from Above

Getting closer to Amalfi with every step!

The stairs hug the side of the mountain between the rocky cliff and a grove of lemon trees. As you approach Amalfi the sound of church bells fills the valley and the staircase becomes steeper and very close to the mountains. Turn around and take a look up to see just how far you’ve come!

Amalfi Coast Hiking Scala to Amalfi Cave

Looking up at the stairs and mountains on the walk down to Amalfi

Soon you’ll hear more sounds from Amalfi and before you know it you’ll be walking along a straight pathway amid the rooftops of the city. When you’re in the town take any of the staircases down to the right and they’ll lead you right back to the main street of Amalfi. Stroll along the bustling street lined with shops and restaurants until you reach Piazza Duomo.

Amalfi Coast Hike Scala to Amalfi Piazza Duomo

What a beautiful sight at the end of your hike on the Amalfi Coast – the Cathedral of Amalfi in Piazza Duomo!

Here the stunning Cathedral of Sant’ Andrea sits atop a grand staircase overlooking the lively piazza below. Stop for an aperitivo or gelato to celebrate the end of a beautiful hike on the Amalfi Coast. Stay tuned … we’ll be sharing more of our favorite hikes on the Amalfi Coast soon!

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

Five Favorite Beaches on the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast Beach Sirene Hotel Aurora

The stunning Le Sirene Beach just in front of the Hotel Aurora

One of the most magical experiences of traveling to the Amalfi Coast in the summer is the chance to soak up the warm Mediterranean sun on one of the beautiful beaches along the coastline. From dramatic rocky cliffs to hidden away romantic coves and pebbly beaches, the Amalfi Coast has many different types of beaches. Here’s a look at five of our favorite beaches for you to discover during your holiday on the Amalfi Coast!

Le Sirene Beach, Amalfi

This stunning little beach is just steps from the Hotel Aurora, but that’s just one of the many reasons that we love it. Set in a quiet spot behind the port of Amalfi, this beach has a dramatic rocky setting and a lovely pebbly beach. Guests of theHotel Aurora have access to a little piece of paradise with a private spot on the Sirene Beach with sun beds and umbrellas.

Amalfi Coast Beaches Hotel Aurora Marina Grande

Colorful beach umbrellas on Amalfi’s Marina Grande beach

Marina Grande, Amalfi

Stretching out along the harbor of Amalfi, the Marina Grande beach is one of the most popular and colorful beaches in Amalfi. This beach is just as popular with locals as it is with travelers on holiday on the Amalfi Coast. We love the brightly colored rows of beach umbrellas on a sunny day!

Amalfi Coast Beaches Hotel Aurora Santa Croce

The secluded Santa Croce beach just a few minutes by boat from Amalfi

Santa Croce, Amalfi

This beautiful beach is one of the gems of the Amalfi Coast and is located just west of Amalfi. It’s very easy to reach the Santa Croce beach from the Hotel Aurora by taking one of the small boats that run to and from the Amalfi port to the beach. This rocky beach is famous for its incredibly clear water and unique setting with mountains soaring above.

Amalfi Coast Beaches Hotel Aurora Fornillo Positano

The Fornillo beach in Positano with views of the Li Galli islands

Fornillo Beach, Positano

From Amalfi, simply hop on the ferry to Positano where you can wander through the narrow passageways, shop for the famous Positano moda, or fashion, and enjoy a leisurely afternoon on the beach. If the Spiaggia Grande beach by the center of the village is too hectic for your taste, walk to the Fornillo beach set in a beautiful cove nearby.

Amalfi Coast Beaches Hotel Aurora Atrani

Walk to nearby Atrani to enjoy the charming village and beach

Atrani

This little village is Amalfi’s quaint neighbor and is only a short stroll along the twisty Amalfi Coast Road from Amalfi. The beach is a mix of black sand and pebbles and sits below the colorful Church of Santa Maria Maddalena.

 

{Photos by Laura Thayer}

WEDDINGS IN AMALFI

There is nothing more romantic then getting married in Amalfi. If you plan a civil cerimony instead a religious wedding you’ll have the chance to get married in a national monument now: the Shipyard Museum in Amalfi. The architecture is stunning made by local stones and cross-arches stood by ten pillars, proving the ability of residents to build during the middle age one of the most powerful  fleet. Why do not add glamour and romance getting married among the glorious past of the First Sea Maritime Republic? If you are looking for a spectacular and unusual wedding location, the shipyard museum in Amalfi has everything you could need and the Hotel Aurora will be very proud to offer a reliable support renting the set and arranging guests’ accomodation. Contact us info@aurora-hotel.it

Easter in Amalfi

Spring is around the corner. Bright and sunny days increase rapidly the temperature in Amalfi , leaving behind one of the coldest winter we never had. Easter week end is the first happening to encourage people to join us in the gentle sunlight.

My friend in London is willing to visit me for a couple of days. He said ‘Please, help me I really need a defrost week end!’ Come here, you’re welcome’ I answered.

But what to do and see in Amalfi during the Easter week end? Mild climate, a bit up to 20 degrees, is perfect for a full-day Pompei visit, before the buzz of summer caravans break the tranquility of Escavation and the sun beats out your head till a migraine.

Walking tours through paths and steps which connect Amalfi with the neighborhood villages are suitable for leisure: Valle delle Ferriere, a natural reserve in the heart of Amalfi and paper mills ruins, well worth a visit. Spring can be the best season to afford the Path of Gods which offers the most dramatic view on the Amalfi Coast, from Bomerano to Positano. Lemon tour through the oldest lemon gardens is a way to taste the really scent and flavour of Amalfi Coast.

But now what to cook to make my friend’s stay unique and unforgettable? As people know cooking is the first thought of the italian women when they wake up in the morning. Obvious choice: traditional Easter lunch, but with Pastiera cake as happy ending!

Not bad for a DEFROST WEEK END on the Amalfi Coast!

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site

Put a lemon tree on your balcony

It’s what recommends my girlfriend Anny who is a florist with a special feeling for lemons.Amalfi Coast is surrounded by lemon trees hung on the rocks and squeezed into a small terraces on the hill. Looking at the top you can imagine how hard is the work of farmers who carve out new terraces in the rocky mountains and carry the harvest on their shoulders up and down by stone steps.

Locals have invented numerous uses of lemon for beauty first: some drops added in a yolk is a nutritive face mask, juice added after shampoo makes glossy, rubbing pulp on the nails is a good whitening, zests soaked in oil are a wonderful balsam for skin.

My great grandmother who run an historic hotel in Amalfi welcomed tourists came all over the world with slices of lemon with sugar or salt on.

She often said ‘nothing of lemon is going waste, it’s a BOON!

She wrapped raisin inlemon’s leaves and baked them, she made in the hot days of summer the ‘granita’, iced lemon’s juice with sugar and grated zests giving relief for dried throats and the last but not the least for horrible hangovers or after-dinner drinks she boiled lemon’s zests adding some honey and mint and invited people to drink ‘canarino’ instead coffee. She was very helpful and wise!

Today more than in the past we needed good memories and practices looking into the future.

If you can’t put a lemon tree on your balcony, don’t worry, come here in Amalfi, we will happy to share our tradition with you!

 If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at dcarrano@aurora-hotel.it or visit our web site