Two new electric-assisted bicycles for Hotel Aurora

We just supplied two lovely bicycles to the Hotel Aurora Amalfi, for use by their staff and clients. The bikes are made by Torpado, an Italian manufacturer, and they are very robust and well made. These E bikes have a large lithium ion battery on the rear carrier which give the bikes an autonomy of about 60 kilometers between charges, in normal or average use.

The hotel staff and management seem very pleased indeed with these bikes and they attract alot of looks and attention and questions, an added bonus. The idea is really to give an extra service to the hotel guests and we have not yet decided whether we will lend or rent the bikes to our clients. We are waiting for insurance cover and then we must write a disclaimer which the client will be asked to sign before using the bike.

What do you think??

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Tramonti, an amazing hidden jewel

Tramonti is only about 12km from Amalfi and it is on the mountain road connecting Amalfi to the motorway at Angri, so over recent years I have driven past Tramonti many times. My only visits have been with friends to an excellent pizzeria.

Well, recently we have had a much closer look and indeed exploration. I discovered for instance that Tramonti is actually made up of several small towns (13 I think) dotted around the hills of the main town. I know that whilst so far the area is very sleepy and many of the residents work on the land, it is likely to experience a property expansion in the near future for these reasons;

  1. There is a local government plan to construct a link using a cable car between the famous Amalfi coastline and the Naples -Salerno motorway, to make access to the coastal areas much easier, and
  2. The current land in the coastal areas (all the way from Salerno to Positano) is under massive pressure for new housing and/or hotels, so the Tramonti area is a likely candidate for development land at a reasonable cost.

So as we explored and eventually found our new property in Polvica, and just up the road we also found a fantastic restaurant called Trattoria San Francisco. A local friend introduced us to the young couple Pamela and Francesco who run the place and the food is fantastic. They are part of the Slow Food movement and most of the food they serve is locally produced. But the real discovery for me of this wonderful place is that they have a beer made for them locally and the beer is GREAT!!!!

We have eaten there twice already and we will visit again for sure!!!!

Some top places to visit in Amalfi

Bar Masaniello Simply the best bar in Amalfi if not the world (ok ok I am biased, I love the place). Indoor and outdoor seating, free wifi and the best selection of beer in the town without any doubt. Service is great and very friendly and the food is also really good, no rip offs here. Good music always to listen too and sometimes live music in the evenings

Boat Museum Situated right next to Masaniello, this place is quietly amazing. Few visitors will know the history, Amalfi was one of four Italian maritime States. The compass was (perhaps) invented here and the boat museum is located where they used to manufacture the boats! Well worth a 30 minute wander out of the sun

Hotel Aurora gardens You don’t need to be staying in the hotel to go and admire the wonderful terrace gardens and sit down for a happy hour or so looking out over the harbour. Good selection of beer and wine plus cocktails and tasty sandwiches. WHAT a view

Hotel Luna Convent Cloister. This hotel building dates from the 1200s (in parts) and has been managed by the Barbaro family for more than 200 years. The amazing cloister dates from the 1200s too and is well worth a visit and a gentle cup of tea. Living history

Paper Museum Amalfi still makes paper and this lovely Museum gives you a taste of the old times, methods and traditions. Lovely place

Panza Pasticceria The Panza family owns several activities in Amalfi and the most famous is this lovely old bar. You can sit outside right next to the cathedral steps and enjoy excellent coffee and home-made cakes in the sun

La Tonnarella If you wanna eat in this town then there are several excellent restaurants. But if you want a unique eating experience then try this place. You need to book (your hotel can do that for you) and the food price includes the water taxi to and from the beach eating place which is about a 15 minute ride from Amalfi centre. Stunning place and food and experience

Paper shop This shop sells all sorts of articles and is specialised in hand made paper, great for gifts to take home to friends and family

Lacoste and Colmar shop Wonderful shop in the main street with a good selection of branded clothes including these 2 great marques

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.

Service no limits

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………

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.

 

Amalfi out of season, and all of her traditions

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Amalfi is truly stunning. Historical and beautiful, it clings onto the amazing coastline and uses every square metre available. To park a car in Amalfi costs you about 30 euro per day, as the parking spaces are very limited and demand well exceeds the supply.

During the peak season which lasts from Easter or April through to October (as the weather is generally very mild), the town of 3000 residents becomes host to 20 or even 30,000 visitors per day. The crowds come by bus or coach or minibus, by ferry, by car and by any other means available. The 2 main car parks are full by about 10am. Massive cruise ferries unload  thousands of folks at a time, either into the port of Naples or by a fleet of small boats from the sea, anchored off Amalfi.

All of this in the summer heat is well, very tough.

I suggest to visit Amalfi out of season. You can appreciate all of its history and beauty and avoid the heat and the stress. Depending on the weather, but this year November was very warm and December still sees some folks swimming in the sea and enjoying the warm sea, 16 degrees and sunshine, some of the attractions are indoor (the cathedral, many churches, the ship museum and so on) whilst the rest of the attractions are al fresco.

Some of the hotels and restaurants close and some remain open so you can still eat and sleep well, and costs are also more reasonable. And the locals are much more friendly and have time to chat as they are less under pressure, of course.

See Amalfi out of season and enjoy.

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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