Today, we sit in the Bay of Naples waiting for our ferry to Sardinia. But before we do let me rewind a few days…
The landscape turns from city sprawl to prehistoric volcanoes along the highway towards the Amalfi. For two hours the road rolls passed mount Vesuvius, ancient Pompeii, pastoral scenes before it winds up the steep volcanic ridges. Filling the caldera of a prehistoric volcano, the lemon, grape and olive grove plantation was created by one of the largest eruptions in history. One that blew out so much detritus that it would have made Krakatoa look trifling.
Last time we were in Italy we missed the Amalfi Coast because motorhomes are not allowed on the coastal road. Well thats not strictly true, you can drive along between 12 midnight and 6am but you don’t get to see the villages the same. The road condition is good especially for Italy with very few bumps but the narrow lanes, rock over hangs and the sheer volume of traffic including tour buses would make a motorhome journey a nightmare. Anyway, ever since our first time to Italy, I have regretted not taking the time to visit, so now we plan on spending a few days parked in the hills and zipping down to the coast on our motorbike.
We arrive at the Agritourism sosta, which is small and basic and not great value at €30 a night but, much cheaper than a 5 star hotel on the Amalfi. The area has room for about half a dozen motorhomes amid the small plot of land in front of their house. The family have a lemon grove and offer a selection of homemade treats from marmalade to lemonchello.
Our Bumble agritourism sosta at Pietre GPS position: N040.699484, E014.618244
This is the last leg of our mainland tour of Italy. Big question, did the Amalfi live up to its promise? oh yes, I just loved it. From Salerno to Positano we drove back and forth. The road of 1,000 bends that hugs soaring cliffs and weaves tortuously in and out of deep gorges.
During our stay the sea planes were zipping back and forth constantly putting out the forest fires. The fire fighters never stopped working day and night to keep the fires under control. With high temperatures, high humidity and warm gusty winds the fire battle seemed endless. I guess its part of the annual course for these guys but being surrounded by raging fires and plumes of smoke must be unnerving at times… it certainly was for us!
Passing terrace upon terrace and tumbling whitewashed villages and all against a background of a shimmering azure sea. The road is barely wide enough for two lanes of traffic, so traffic jams are inevitable. But on our motorbike we zipped in and out of the honking horns.
The villages are built almost entirely on the side of mountains, dramatically and precariously so. It practically drips into the sea, defying all expectations of gravity and foundations. I suppose it stands as a testament to the value of the sea that anyone would dare consider building such a place.
The best day, the last day when we got up for sunrise. The colours are bright, the air is fresh and the sea is tepid. And the crowds…they are sleeping. It was so good to watch the sunrise and the villages slowly start to wake. One of those moments I will remember for ever.
After a couple of days at Amalfi there is only one thing left to do…head to Naples, quick tour of the city, grab a pizza at the famous pizza parlour and of course, an ice-cream.
Ciao,see you in Sardinia!