Visit the wonderful Amalfi coast with a guide or just some practical guide-lines

We all know that the Amalfi coast is stunning and well worth a visit. Nothing new there. But the best way to get there? The best way to get around? What to avoid and why? All of these important points and more are not always obvious as the coast is very long, winding and varied and each town along the coast has its own quirks and characteristics.

Here follow a few insider tips and guidelines for you to consider before you visit and/or I am happy to offer more precise guidelines for specific visits:

  1. Avoid August. Period. Unless you love sweltering heat, massive overcrowding and traffic queues then it is better to leave well alone. July is also very hot and slightly less crowded. August swells the 3,000 Amalfi population to 30,000 per day.
  2. Do not bring a car unless you have to. The coast road is very beautiful but also very crowded and narrow. Driving in the area is not easy even out of season, and from May through to October is really slow and hard work. Or get a local to drive you.
  3. From Roma you can take a fast train from Termini station to Salerno station and this takes two hours or a bit less. Then from Salerno station a walk of only about 300 metres takes you to the ferry port.
  4. The wonderful ferry service works from April thro’ to October and covers the entire coast from Salerno to Sorrento. It is not expensive and hops along the coast, the ferry is probably faster than any road transport and you also get to view the coast from the sea as well as enjoy the sea breeze.
  5. Book early, as last minute is very complex and expensive and generally you will find only out of the way places. Folks still book the same room for next year when they leave their favourite hotel, like in the old days!
  6. Be very cautious of the giants like Booking, TripAdvisor and the rest cos they are not reliable on the coast. Simply put these giants cannot get the percentages they want here as the hotels and restaurants are generally full anyway, so often they seem to publish rubbish. Use the direct web sites for better information.
  7. Avoid taxis as they generally charge you a fortune, I guess because there are so few of them. If you have to then ask then to know the fee before you go and you can negotiate. Ask the hotel to book for you for some protection and always ask the fee in advance.

Any other information you require, just ask.

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I am Simon, I am English and I live between Roma and Amalfi in Italy. I have lived in Italy since 1990 and I speak reasonable Italian and French, plus some English!!

I love travelling and exploring, I have worked in Export Sales for more than 30 years which has taken me all over the world, and I like nothing better than travelling around Italy and Europe by car, van or motorbike alone or with friends.

I know Italy fairly well and I love to help others to discover the beauty of Italy and to avoid the many pitfalls. Many visitors love Italy but do not really know how to avoid the difficult bits, as the language and the mentality is very different from the American and North European “norms”.

I also have a small fleet of vehicles that I can rent out to the right people or can use to transport you around. You fly into Roma and wanna get to the Amalfi Coast?? I can take you. You need to transport you and/or your luggage around between hotels? Call me. You wanna try a motorcycle experience?? I can supply a touring bike with a satnav in English all ready to go. You wanna visit the Ducati or Ferrari factory?? No problem. You need a route for a 3 day visit to Sicily or Sardinia? I can supply it.

Here follow some blogs to give you a taste of the Italian experience. Thanks!!

A week takeover of the lovely Aurora Hotel, Amalfi. October 20-27th 2018

Ok so here is the master plan for the hotel so far:

  1. I have asked her indoors if I can book the whole hotel PLUS the 3 apartments for the whole week, and (so far so good) she said yes. Poor woman. This event is by personal invitation only and is NOT open to the general public BUT we do plan to run similar events in the future.
  2. I therefore have 15 rooms in the hotel to host my “guests”, plus the 3 apartments if required.
  3. My idea is to offer the lucky chosen few an “all-in package price” for the week to include almost everything, B&B plus some happy hours and even some meals too.
  4. I am looking to organise a wide range of activities, events and visits for the week and everyone will be able to select say 3 activities. Additional events (if we can arrange them) will be charged but more or less at cost.
  5. I will rent a minibus for the week so that we can provide all local transport free. I suggest that you try to come either by motorbike (free safe parking under the hotel) or by public transport, cos a car will cost you about 30 Euro per dayfor parking!!! From Roma the best way is train to Salerno (2 hours door to door) and then either bus, ferry or minibus to Amalfi centre. The hotel is then only a 10 minute stroll.
  6. I need to plan carefully so I need your yes or no asap please and I will then ask you for a non-refundable deposit for every room, to ensure that you will really come.
  7. We will organise trips to Pompei, Caserta, Thermal Baths and Underground Naples for sure. Other activities will be organised depending on the weather we have that week, for instance a boat trip and motorcycle testing. My Raptor 700 Quad and TMax 530 will be available.

More to follow very soon, watch this space………

Services moves to purchase a property

We have recently been studying the property market in the Amalfi coast area. To be more precise, inland near the coast where the prices are more reasonable, given that we are not looking for a holiday home with sea view.

The ideal property may be a small detached or semi detached house/villa with some land, or it could be a small business unit or even a piece of farm land with a stable or even a garage. Our plan is flexible as there are very few properties on the market and of course anything with a view over the coastline is worth a small fortune!

We may indeed need to rent some parking space to have a fast solution, and then search for a property to purchase later as the ideas are growing as we search. Some ideas are:

a. Car and van parking. There is always a need for safe parking spaces in the Amalfi/Ravello area. In Amalfi town there are only 2 public car parks and by 10am they are both full and so no more cars can stay. Also, the hotels always need more parking spaces.

b. Van and minibus parking. For daily visitors, as again there is nowhere to stop.

c. Rental car services. To be explored, we have alot of ideas on this front.

Etc. Watch this space, we start our property visits this week!!!!

Ok so how can I help you to discover Italy and the Italian way of life…lets see a few examples

So how about you wanna fly into Roma, and then spend a week in beautiful Amalfi and a few days exploring Roma?

Or perhaps you fly into Roma and you fancy exploring the areas of Abruzzo and Umbria. Or you really want to visit Tavullia and see the famous Valentini Rossi ranch???

Or you really fancy visiting the Ducati factory in Bologna, and or the Bimota factory in Rimini, or you would like to see one or more of the Italian race circuits Mugello, Vallelunga, Misano, Monza or others. You fancy some cooking classes, or you would love to see some Italian wine makers or olive oil producers. Maybe you and your partner want to follow two different programs??

Well it could work like this:

You tell me what you need, you give me an idea of the proposed itinerary plus some idea of the hotels you fancy (look on booking.com so I have an idea of the level of hotels you fancy). Tell me how many are in your party and I can work out the rest. Collection from the airport (Roma has two, Ciampino and Fiumicino), then I can take you to your hotel. Then collect you and take you around Italy, and of course I speak Italian so I can help.

Call or text or whatsapp me on +39 333 8153190 or email me on simon.f@spirometry.com.

A fascinating visit to a historic ceramic factory on the Amalfi Coast

Vietri sul Mare is perhaps the most famous town for ceramic tiles in the Naples area of Campania, perhaps one of the most famous in Italy. But the surrounding area, not just the town, still manufacture tiles and other ceramics using the traditional methods.

I went recently with Daniela to a local ceramic factory in Cava to choose the new tiles for their next hotel room restoration. The factory is a truly amazing place where the tile decorations are made totally by hand. The Aurora Hotel in Amalfi was built in 1959 using these tiles in every room, with different patterns and colours in each bedroom, and this is one way that the hotel continue to support the local economy, to keep their traditions alive and to offer their guests a real taste of traditional Amalfi Coast life.

Feast your eyes on this amazing factory, the workers and the products. Amazing.

Call or text or whatsapp me on +39 333 8153190 or email me on simon.f@spirometry.com.

 

Artists at work….

I was recently lucky enough to witness and to help two Italian artists at work. Alessandro Vasari is a descendant of the well known Vasari family and you can read the history of his family here http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studio_fotografico_Vasari. His assistant for the weekend was graphic artist Valeria Lemmi, also from Roma, she frequently works with Alessandro on various of his projects.

They were visiting the Aurora Hotel in Amalfi to capture a series of photographs of the inside and the outside of the hotel, to be used to renew the hotel’s web site as well as to be used for related publicity and publications. The weather was (finally) good for the weekend of the 1st of June, here follow a few pictures of the weekend and hopefully the resulting photographs will soon be available on the hotel’s web site http://amalfi.aurora-hotel.it/.

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The stunning beauty of Sicily by motorbike…

The word Sicily evokes a range of thoughts and emotions in most travellers. Most of us know something of its amazing history which dates back to the Greeks and continues through Roman, Norman, Islamic and Byzantine periods up to it becoming part of the Italian state only some 150 years ago. The word Mafia is invariably associated with Sicily and this evokes uncertainty and fear. Plus Sicily is not so near to mainland Italy, we took an overnight ferry from Naples.

So for a combination of reasons Sicily tends to be under explored and relatively unknown. Yet this island offers so much to explore and so much history to discover that it really is worth a visit. Recently I went over for a 4-day trip by motorbike with a group of friends and we packed a lot into a short time. These photos show some of the beauty and I will seek to make a more detailed descrition of our route and itinerary upon request.

segesta teatro greco
segesta teatro greco
segesta teatro greco
segesta teatro greco
segesta teatro greco
segesta teatro greco
ficuzza - casino di caccia dei borboni
ficuzza – casino di caccia dei borboni
l'abbazia - la chiesa
l’abbazia – la chiesa
l'abbazia
l’abbazia
l'abbazia - la tenuta
l’abbazia – la tenuta
l'abbazia - la chiesa
l’abbazia – la chiesa
l'abbazia - la chiesa
l’abbazia – la chiesa
cappella di s. rosalia
cappella di s. rosalia
sala lettura
sala lettura
sala lettura
sala lettura
chiostro
chiostro
chiostro
chiostro
crociera - chiostro
crociera – chiostro
refettorio
refettorio
abbazia cena conventuale
abbazia cena conventuale
abbazia di s. maria al bosco contessa entellina
abbazia di s. maria al bosco contessa entellina
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte

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A beautiful, peaceful hotel garden in the heart of busy Amalfi

Look at these pictures, they kind of talk for themselves. I was recently visiting the Hotel Aurora and I was told that they had recently renewed their gardens. So what, I asked?

Well, they serve the breakfast in the garden (when the weather allows), so it is worth a look, I was told. And they were correct……they have created a beautiful sanctuary where you can sit and rest and have a coffee and just watch the world go by, mainly by boat as the terrace overlooks the sea. A truly magic place. well worth a visit.

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You like art, history and ceramics? Look here….

Go to http://amalfi.aurora-hotel.it/ have a look at the blogs, you must have the site in English…..and look at these wonderful ceramics, all from the local area around Amalfi…..the hotel has organized a display inside the hotel for the season as well as some events when artists will be invited to show their works and present them to the hotel guests and visitors. Truly wonderful even for a fellow like me with not such a deep knowledge of ceramics, to say the least….

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