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!!!!

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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

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.

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.

 

 

A special dinner in a truly amazing place…

Have a glance at some of these pictures: http://www.ristorantelatonnarella.com/photo-gallery/

This restaurant is just fifteen minutes boat ride away from Amalfi, and the boat ride is included in the price of the meal. When you book a table they tell you where and at what time to meet the boat, and they were waiting for us at 20.30 prompt on the Amalfi quayside. We enjoyed a lovely boat ride of about 15 minutes up the coast from Amalfi to Conca dei Marini. This restaurant can be reached by foot from Conca dei Marini but it is some 400 steps down from the road and of course 400 steps back up again, so much nicer and easier to travel by boat!

The setting is wonderful and the tables are literally on the beach in what feels like a film set, with just a few surrounding houses. We were very warmly welcomed with a glass of cold wine and we decided to ditch the menus and take the suggested courses of spaghetti with courgettes (zucchini) followed by fresh fish and salad, plus some house white wine. This is what the locals do and the fish is always whatever they caught, so is guaranteed fresh.

Goodness, this was certainly an excellent idea as the food was out of this world good, as was the white wine, the service and the stunning atmoshere with just the sea to listen to.

DO NOT MISS THIS EXPERIENCE when you visit the Amalfi coast, I am sure that your hotel front desk can make the booking for you if your Italian is not so good.

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

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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Getting to know the beauty of Amalfi OUT of season, what a discovery…..

Everyone knows about Amalfi and the amazing Amalfi coast, even those who have never visited have surely read about it and dreamed of visiting. Words come to mind like the Cathedral, the island of Capri, great food and hospitality, limoncello, wonderful wine, olive oil, Ibsen (the Swedish writer) and Wagner, and stunning tiles and porcelain from nearby Vietri.

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But Amalfi also brings to mind expensive, very hot, crowded and heavy traffic (all true in June thro’ September, the main tourist season).

Well I have recently discovered a stunning compromise: Amalfi out of season.

I have visited Amalfi perhaps 30 times over the past 2 years, in general for a weekend but also for New Year and Easter and I am getting to know her better and better.DSCN1198 She reveals her beauty slowly and gradually but she also suprises you frequently. In the summer the sea and the sun are in charge, out of season when Amalfi has only its 3,000 ish residents it is much easier to explore her as during the season the population grows to more than 60,000 from all over the world.

The food is wonderful and the people very friendly, although the town gets a bit quiet as many businesses close down for some well earned rest and holiday. Many old and traditional businesses still survive in and around the town and many are passed down through the family. For instance you can find wine makers, lemon growers, olive growers and wine makers, bread makers and many many more activities and in general you can visit them easily out of season and even have a guided tour, the pictures below show a local bread “factory” run by a family and the 90 year old Gran is still in charge (not the one pictured here of course)!!.

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Would you like to see, taste and purchase some excellent wine??

This amazing and (relatively) unknown wine producer was founded in 1890 and the same family still makes the wine, the fourth generation are now in charge. Three brothers run the show and we recently visited and met with Raffaele, one of these three brothers. He showed us round their lovely winery and we tasted several of the wines while he described some of the  history (for more see http://www.iovine.eu/). Production now exceeds 1 million bottles of wine per year!

Wow such history..
Wow such history..
Iovine vini
Iovine vini

We purchased a few cases of wine at wonderful prices and this place is really well worth a visit. No appointment is required but would be sensible if the visitors need some help with translation. Great place and wines, lovely people, not to be missed.