Once you have a child, your life is over. That is a comment I hear from many. The dreams of traveling are believed to be impossible, and that is a comment I hear from actual parents. But why? Doesn't life get more interesting when becoming a parent? To see the world through my child's eyes has proven to be one of the best experiences of my life. The excitement, the laughter, the exploration. My recent trip to the Amalfi Coast with my five year old daughter changed me. It made me see and view the world differently, and only in a positive way.
First, I researched each and every spot I was planning to stay and utilized the Italian hospitality to the fullest. Do not feel embarrassed to email a potential hotel with questions. After getting a good idea for what areas I wanted to plan our nightly stays, I began to map out our two week trip to the Amalfi Coast.
Choosing where to fly in can be based off of ticket prices and/or convenience. I found a great deal with United Airlines that flew direct from New York to Naples, and I had discovered Duegolfi Car Service through a friend's recommendation and this company became a staple during our trip making transportation seamless. Many hotels do offer shuttle transportation, but for me personally, I liked the security of knowing exactly where I would be meeting our driver. The long flight of course made me nervous, especially since my daughter has never sat on a plane for eight hours straight. I packed a carry on full of games, coloring books, head phones, and even a "pillow in a bag" that I ordered online and kept it in the airtight packaging until we were ready to sleep. All in all, she did amazing.
We started our stay in Sorrento and this is a place I wouldn't miss. We stayed at an intimate boutique hotel, Maison Lauren, and they were so welcoming upon our arrival. The rooms were extremely clean, the balcony was very spacious, and they prepare your breakfast every morning. The walk from Maison Lauren to the main square of Sorrento was easy and safe, and our first lunch in Italy was spent at Ristorante Donna Sofia which I would highly recommend, and came recommended to us by our driver. Unfortunately my daughter hit the moment of jet lag at our first dinner which was in a lemon tree dream, O'Parrucchiano la Favorita. She slowly just started resting her head on the table, told me she was playing with her hands when I asked for her to sit up, and before I knew it I was asking for our dinner to be boxed and I was carrying her back to the hotel while she was completely asleep. Peter's Beach is a fun and relaxing beach you can walk to and there are several ways to rent beach chairs with umbrella's, my advice would be to get there early! I had packed a beach float in our luggage and they so kindly blew it up for us when they could see that I was struggling. L'Antica Trattoria was one of our favorite restaurants in Sorrento, we loved it so much that we came back a second night but a reservation may be needed depending on which month you're there. Dinner at Il Buco was a fabulous experience as well, a little more on the pricey side, but the food and service was top notch and they never once made me feel uncomfortable for being in a Michelin Star restaurant with my young daughter. They actually embraced her presence and insisted on treating us to dessert when they could feel that I was hurrying once she started getting antsy. We had made a reservation for Duegolfi Car Service to take us to Monte San Costanzo and this is where you can find the most breathtaking views in Sorrento. Afterwards we headed down the hill to the most charming fishing village, Nerano. We rented beach chairs with an umbrella from Bar Bagni Mimi for the day and relaxed among the stone beach. This is where my daughter discovered all the sea glass that decorated the Amalfi Coast beaches. The water was so crystal clear, I couldn't help but to look around and think, "How does a place like this exist in the world?". Maria Grazia was a perfect beachside restaurant to grab a bite, and make sure you order the famous Spaghetti alla Nerano. My daughter and I loved this fishing village so much that we took a taxi back for a second full day. Before leaving, we ventured out to find some souvenirs and stumbled across Terrerosse Sorrento, a beautiful art gallery filled with pieces that are handmade by a husband and wife duo. After our four night stay in Sorrento, we traveled on to Capri.
To get from Sorrento to Capri, you will travel by boat. I booked our tickets through Ferry Hopper and this is something I booked a few weeks in advance. Maison Lauren scheduled a taxi to pick us up to transport us to Marina Piccola. Once we docked in Capri, the porter from Hotel Luna greeted us and took our luggage and we made our way to the funicular station. The staff at Hotel Luna were extremely helpful in explaining how to get to their hotel and once we arrived to the pathway explained to me via email, I felt like I was in a dream. A pathway of bougainvilleas guided us to the most serene and beautiful place, Hotel Luna. Nestled to the side was a long swimming pool alined with lounge chairs and a perfect ocean view. In the mornings, they served a beautiful breakfast buffet in their garden terrace. Near Hotel Luna is a perfume factory, Carthusia, and I always say that when my Ligea perfume runs out, I need to go back. An absolute must while spending time in Capri is to book a private boat tour around the island which the concierge at Hotel Luna did for us, and make sure to include the Blue Grotto on the tour. La Capannina Ristorante was a place we dined at each day we were in Capri, and my daughter and I both agreed that they have the best tiramisu among having some of the most tastiest Italian dishes. One night when we were at La Capannina for dinner, the elderly owner was the one walking around taking every tables food order, he was so hospitable and we could tell that he adored his restaurant and staff. One of the most memorable meals of my life, and one of the best meals in Italy, was at Da Tonino. Tucked away among little paths amongst residential homes, this experience was remarkable. Our server had clued us in on a spot he refers to as Honeymoon Point. When leaving the restaurant, you take a right down the pathway and follow it to the end where you will be greeted by the ocean and stunning views of the Sorrento Coast, including a distant view of Monte San Costanzo. Be prepared though mama's, you may have to give some piggy back rides when walking to Da Tonino but it will be well worth it.
After our two night stay in Capri, we took the boat over to Positano which was the town that attracted me to the Amalfi Coast. I can honestly say that I wish we would've stayed in Capri longer and Positano less due to the high tourism in Positano. During the 40 minute boat ride, we were passing the hillside that Monte San Costanzo resided and I heard a gal say, "I wonder what that little white building could be?", and shortly after I was able to get a last look ocean view of charming Nerano. Upon arriving to Positano, you realize that the pastel layered town is far more beautiful in person. Our porter from Villa Rosa met us at the boat to collect our luggage, I forgot to mention that in order for the porter's to meet you to collect and drop off your luggage, you will have to inform your hotel about your booked boating arrangements. Upon arriving to Villa Rosa we were greeted by the lovely ladies at the front desk and they had a gentleman take our luggage to our room that had a beautiful balcony overlooking the pastel stacked cliff. I had booked a professional photographer, Andrea Gallucci, to do a mother and daughter photo shoot one morning and I would highly recommend him to anyone. Not only were his photographs beautiful, he did amazing with my daughter who decided to be beyond stubborn that morning and refused to smile until I gave her some tickles and a toy bribe (which is something I never do but I became desperate.) A dinner highlight in Positano was at La Tagliata. They had a bus pick us up from Villa Rosa and we headed up the hillside and landed at a beautiful restaurant tucked in the hill with astounding coastal views. When we sat, we were warmly greeted followed with, "white or red?", and shortly after they sat a bottle of red wine on the table. There were no food menus presented, instead plate after plate full of food kept arriving to the table, everything coming from the families farm, and each and every dish was to die for. La Tagliata was such a warm and fun environment, we interacted with the tables around us, and the food and service was top notch. Spending a day at Arienzo Beach Club was another Positano highlight. Make sure you make a reservation several weeks in advance. There's a little boat with an Arienzo Beach Club sign that shuttles you over to the private beach where you can lounge for the day, eat on your lounge chairs, or choose to dine in the restaurant. Towards the end of our beach day it began to downpour, and even though it put a damper on our sunbathing, it was so entertaining. Everyone huddled undercover at the restaurant, the owners were letting my daughter sit in their "office room" for warmth, and all the guests were watching as the employees were trying to stop the flooding stream that started from the hillside. When the weather started to lighten up and we all boarded the boat back to Positano, the driver let my daughter sit in the captain chair with him and helped her steer. Stopping by La Pergola for a gelato made the rainy day even better. Another beach we loved in Positano was Fornillo Spiaggia. It was cozy, not crowded, and had delightful beachside restaurants. We discovered this beach thanks to our photographer, Andrea Gallucci. Before leaving Positano, make sure to visit Ceramica Assunta. We had some beautiful custom dishes made for us and we didn't need to worry about traveling with them as they offer to ship with an additional cost. After our four night stay in Positano, we traveled on to Atrani.
To get from Positano to Atrani we had made reservations with Duegolfi Car Service, and though it was a little tricky, we had asked if they could make a stop at Fiordo di Furore. Before arriving to Fiordo di Furore we had delicious pizza at La Moressa which is located in Praiano, the town right before you get to the famous bridge beach. The reason for the trickiness was that the road is extremely narrow and curvy, but the driver was able to let us out and we then headed down the long stairway to the water. Being at Fiordo di Furore was a huge check on the bucket list. It felt like a dream. There was a cliff that people were climbing up and jumping off which I wanted to do so badly, but when traveling with a kiddo there are some desires that can't be fulfilled for obvious reasons. After we spent an hour at the beach, our driver came and picked us up to take us to La Scogliera Rooms in Atrani. I had discovered La Scogliera Rooms when looking for small B&B's in Amalfi and this was conveniently located just a short five minute walk away. La Scogliera Rooms was by far, one of the biggest highlights of our trip. We were greeted by the owners, Pino and Pina, and they made us feel right at home. When they took us to our room, it literally took my breath away. The balcony had a perfect ocean view, an adorable bistro table with fresh juice, and homemade lemon cake by Pina. The room was cozy and perfect for my daughter and I. Right around the corner from Pino and Pina's was a restaurant tucked underneath an Atrani archway, Le Palme. Our server, who I believed to be the owner, danced in and out of every seated table making it a lively show. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was beautifully quaint. In the town of Amalfi, which is a short walk from Pino and Pina's, my daughter and I landed beach spots at Mar di Cobalto Spiaggia Snack. The time spent here was so relaxing we returned a second day. It was the perfect spot for me to read a book, dip in and out of the ocean, and for my daughter to collect all the different hues of sea glass hidden on the beach. When in need of lunch, we could always count on Da Maria for their pizza, and my daughter loved any place that had french fries. We were given this recommendation from the owner of Bazar Florio, who had the best leather bags I'd seen on our trip and the owners were so kind and helpful. The wife even helped explain to my daughter that the bag she was crying over wasn't meant for girls at the age of five, but more for when she becomes a young lady. They even shipped a leather traveling bag I had deeply regretted not purchasing while there. La Scuderia del Duca was an adorable stationary shop where we scooped up some artwork for gifts along with handmade leather keychains and is located right next to Duomo di Amalfi. One of our favorite nightcaps in Amalfi was to get gelato from Mago del Gelo and sit on the highest steps of Duomo di Amalfi and watch the bustling city square. During one of our days here we decided to take the bus to Ravello. This was the first time we used the public transportation in Italy and I will say that it gave me anxiety. At least during our experience, there seemed to be no formation of lines, so when the bus arrived it became this big huddle and slow push of people to get on the bus. It made me feel very happy that we budgeted to have Duegolfi Car Service shuttle us the majority of the trip. Villa Cimbrone was our first destination when we got to Ravello and it met every expectation that Pino and Pina said when they recommended for us to go there. My advice, do not go to Ravello on a Monday as a lot of recommended eateries were closed along with some shops, but we were lucky to discover Nino's Pizza and it was a "no frills" kind of place but the pizza was delicious and well worth the walk even with hungry tears from my daughter. Still one thing I dream about the most from our Amalfi/Atrani stay, is the daily breakfast cart presented by Pino. It always came with anything we requested, within reason of course, and the most delicious homemade cappuccinos. Staying with Pino and Pina truly made the ending to our trip the most magical and memorable. I still dream about their balcony views and the heart filled hospitality.
There is so much more about this trip that I could share. A whole books worth. In fact, when I do these trips with my daughter I write in detail about our days, things she said or did, places we ate, where we stayed, as much as I can possibly write so if there's a time I can't tell her about it, there's a place she can read about it. I think the one thing that surprised me the most during this trip was the easiness of it all. I was nervous about the walking since the Amalfi Coast is known for the hills, steps, and cobblestone streets, but my daughter did great. There were actually very few piggy back rides and when she called for one, my legs were even hurting from the incline. To all the mama's that are scared to take the trip, no matter where it is, do it. Do the research, take the time to carefully plan, and take the leap. I can promise you that your heart filled with those amazing memories will thank you.
*photograph by Andrea Gallucci
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