I recently came across a post by Michele at Hello Lovely highlighting her stay at this beautiful apartment while in Paris. After reminiscing with her, my mind kept wandering back to one of my favorite all time trips.
In 2007, two years after I was married to my husband, we were lucky enough to travel to Italy - a prerequisite of mine before there was any talk of children! I, correctly, assumed that once our little ones were here, romantic trips to far away places would likely be a thing of my dreams. Luckily, I had the chance to visit the Amalfi Coast, because it is literally the place that dreams are made of with its soaring cliffs, breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, and enchanting atmosphere.
My favorite stop of the Italy trip - although I enjoyed it all - was in Positano, a seaside town situated amongst the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. The Amalfi Coast, a stretch of coastline and series of towns, is on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in Southern Italy. (Wikipedia, baby :))
You can reach Positano in one of two ways: by water on a Hydrofoil from Naples, or by car once you travel to Sorrento. This is the view you see approaching the town by water:
The waters were too rough for the hydrofoil the day of our planned arrival, so we took a boat from Naples to Sorrento and from there we hired a taxi to drive us to our hotel, Il Marincanto.
Driving through the cliffs of Amalfi is heart racing: while the views are breathtaking, you realize quickly that you are flying high at potentially dangerous heights. The fact that these roads exist are mind boggling (at least to me). Here is an example of the roads you are required to travel to reach your destination. It looks like a bridge built into rock:
Needless to say, I was highly anticipating our arrival to the hotel, not only out of excitement to see our accommodations, but simply to have my feet situated on solid ground! When our car dropped us off outside, I wasn't quite sure what to think of our hotel. The entrance was fairly insignificant. In fact, upon seeing the entrance, I wasn't quite sure where the hotel was. The entrance was right in front of me, but where were the rooms?
This was it, nothing but a room, about 10" x 12" in size, with stairs and an elevator. (Although we arrived during the day, the only picture I have of the hotel entrance is in the evening). We discovered that once you entered this room, the only place to go was down. So we traveled down, four flights, to the hotel lobby:
When we arrived in the lobby, I was pleasantly surprised. And it started to make sense...the street entrance to the hotel was at a higher elevation than the hotel lobby and rooms itself. But honestly, when I looked out the doors of the lobby, I didn't care at all about the rooms because I saw this:
This area was right off the lobby and we often enjoyed breakfast or a quiet dinner here.
We actually stayed in two different hotels room for this leg of the trip. To explain why, you need a little background information. I'll try to be brief but sometimes that's really hard for me!
I originally found this hotel at Expedia (or the like) however the Expedia website said it was booked for our dates. So I looked at image after tacky image of other brightly colored, floral, and overly decorated hotels in Positano. I wanted simple and sophisticated and the options - in my price range - were anything but. So, I kept coming back to these images of Il Marincanto because of its simplicity. Finally, one day, I decided to call the hotel to hear for myself that they were fully booked.
When I gave the dates of our stay, I was told "yes, there is room." I had a reservation! To be honest, leading up to our arrival, I was a bit nervous. In this Internet age, it seemed a bit strange to call Italy myself and book a hotel. Would we have a room? Thank goodness, we did. The kicker was that when we checked in, we were told the next day they would have room to upgrade us to a suite. Sweet!
But then we entered our "temporary room" and saw this:
We didn't feel the need to go anywhere and had lunch delivered right to our terrace (anywhere else in the world, and I'd call this a balcony, but in Italy, it's a terrace).
..along with a little Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio...I still have the cork from this bottle of wine!
...did I mention the breathtaking views? This was the view from our terrace....
The actual room wasn't much to speak of: it was an entry level room. We simply didn't care because we planned on exploring the town or staying on this terrace most of the time! Due to this terrace and its proximity to the sea, we were reluctant to change rooms. The next day, the bellhop took us to room after room, each a little bit larger and a little bit nicer than the next, until finally the concierge fessed up. Given the fact that the room we were in had two rooms and two beds, they needed it for two couples that were arriving that day to share the room!
Not wanting to be difficult Americans, we finally accepted the up-grade! I still can't complain. I'm pretty sure the reason the online booking site said this room was unavailable is because the entry level room was booked by these other two couples. But the concierge at the hotel simply shifted us around to make accommodations.
This was the room, and views, we finally ended up with:
Not much, but fairly large by European standards. I didn't take pictures of the whole room. I was mostly focused on this:
Here are a few more shots of the extensive hotel grounds:
When staying at Il Marincanto you are allowed private access to a private beach below (one of the only hotels that is low enough to sea level to offer that option). Did I mention there were a lot of steps in Positano? Given that the town is built into cliffs with such a steep incline, most travel is done by foot...on steps.... Here is a picture of the steps leading up and down to the beach. My husband counted and seems to remember that there were 365 in total:
These steps are the reason I actually lost weight on vacation...or so I say.....I never actually got on a scale, they have been banished in my household, but it would be nice to think that, no? Especially considering the eating extravaganza that Italy is....
Here are a few (a lot) more shots from our time in my beloved Positano, hope you enjoy:
Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.....