The top places to visit in Amalfi

Bar Masaniello Simply the best bar in Amalfi if not the world (ok ok I am biased). Indoor and outdoor seating, free wifi and the best selection of beer in the area (including Leffe) 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 the 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

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 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

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

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

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. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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!!

New property comes closer

We have found and made an offer on a new property, as threatened!! This small property is fantastic and is perfect for what we need, a small working base in the Amalfi area. The property is a WONDERFUL double garage and is very recent indeed, it looks virtually new, and has all of the permissions and stuff in order too which is very unusual, so it can be used for storage, as a garage, for working or whatever. It has a small bathroom too plus water and electricity.

The location is almost ideal too as it is only 12km (about 15 minutes) from the centre of Amalfi and is in a small residential area with houses on each side. Photos and stuff to follow if our offer is accepted!!!!

Stop press: We have revisited the property today and it would appear that all is in order and we can go ahead. We aim to conclude at about the end of March. Watch this space.

Used spare parts for cars and scooters

Given that cars (and bikes) become ever more expensive and complex, and the spares follow, we see a fiendish idea to start a potentially-interesting business with used and regenerated spare parts. We therefore intend to purchase some cars and some scooters and strip them for spares, indeed we have already acquired a Honda SH125, the best selling scooter in Italy. The market for used spares is an interesting one and traditionally mainly in the hands of not totally honest suppiers. We want to start an honest business with spares and repairs, we already have a Roma base and we are now seeking another in the Amalfi region so that we can operate in both areas.

Photos to follow of our SH125 and then the cars too, as we start operations so watch this space.

 

I wanna show you the lovely Amalfi coast….by bike. Watch this video!!!

Ok here we go, I have the GoPro 5 and I intend to make some trips along this stunning coast and show you the beauty of this area……please let me know what you think.

Please enjoy the trips…..here is the first one, from Amalfi along the coast to Positano. The GoPro is mounted onto my Yamaha TMax 530, please let me know what you think.

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.

Discover Challenge: Animal

via Discover Challenge: Animal

I have loved animals ever since I was a kid, as I grew up with dogs plus 2 sisters and generally got on better with the mutts (sorry sis)!!. We had many dogs over the years but the three I remember best were William the boxer, Shambles the border collie mix and Joe the small black poodle who kind of ran the show, despite his size.

I did a paper-round in those days to raise some cash for my numerous motorcycle projects, so each morning they woke me up at 6am ready to head out into the cold and dark UK morning. William usually shared my bed and if he stretched during the night then one of us usually fell out of bed, such was his strength. He never really understood his size and he often tried to climb onto a lap which could never really work, once he leaned on our little Gran and pushed her onto the settee by mistake. What a guy.

Now I live in Italy and this year I spent my summer holiday in stunning Amalfi, on the wonderful Amalfi coast. I took my Yamaha Raptor 700R quad with me and used it to explore the area, almost every day. Well one day I was off road, just exploring an area above Scala when I met three lovely dogs, they kind of greeted me in a very friendly way and they seemed to be telling me that they were rather hungry. As I looked around I could see that they were indeed quite slim (2 out of 3) and they did not appear to have any form of food or water available.

So well I kind of “adopted” them. I guessed that they already had names as they were so friendly that they were not strays so I did not make up any names, but in the countryside the locals keep dogs but perhaps do not feed them every day. So having made friends with all 3 I headed off to the local shops to get some dog food and some aluminium dishes to feed and water them.

I decided that I should not feed them every day as that would perhaps ensure that they gave up any hunting activities as I guessed that they could perhaps catch some mice or other small snacks. So I started to visit them every second day and we became the best of friends. The largest and oldest of the three was obviously the boss but as he is almost blind the other two manage to grab some of his food. But when I gave them everything in a single bowl he would eat about 70%, the black and white guy might get 20% and the runt of the group managed to grab the remaining crumbs.

So I refined my feeding strategy and using 3 bowls placed a good distance apart I managed to get them to share the food rather more equally. And over the 3 weeks of our friendship the runt grew a little as the other guys allowed him to get a bit more of the food, so really it worked quite well. And then one day I met their owner and he proved to be a really nice guy called Antonio and he thanked me profusely for looking after them and he confessed that he sometimes did not come every day so yes, sometimes they got hungry BUT they had plenty of water.

Well that was August. Now I go most weekends to Amalfi and of course I go to see the guys. They are great!!!

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.

 

The ONLY sensible ways to travel around the Amalfi coast area……….

As a sort-of local (I have lived part time in central Amalfi now for 4 years) I travel here from Roma all year round and I really love to explore the local area. The locals out of season are very open and friendly (there are about 3,000 inhabitants) but during the summer peak season the population grows to over 30,000!! So of course nobody really has time to talk to you.

I generally use my motorbike and/or car or van to travel to Amalfi but in the summer I use either the motorbike or public transport as there is nowhere to park a car. Car parking is a major problem as the town’s 2 car parks fill up very early  and cost 30 Euro per car per day, and then visitors cannot stay as the fines for incorrect parking are terrible!!. Around 150 Euro tow fee plus 30 Euro fine.

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So during the peak season which is June to September you should use the EXCELLENT public transport. The main two are SITA buses (http://www.sitasudtrasporti.it/) and Alicost ferries (http://www.alicost.it/). Both work very well indeed and hey, let the bus and or the ferry take the strain and lean back and watch the scenery!!!

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

The woods around Amalfi are well worth exploring….walking, mountain bike, motorbike or quad, beautiful scenery

Of course the Amalfi coast is world famous and draws visitors from everywhere. But did you know that the mountains above Amalfi rise up to more than 1,000 metres?? Nor did I until recently. Look at the following pics to get an idea. I spent a whole day exploring and met only 3 people, 2 on horseback and 1 on a mountain bike.

Clean air, no traffic, beautiful countryside, beautiful views. Stunning.

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

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