The Amalfi Coast - Eat, Walk, Love

The old man’s eyes are honest as he whispers to me, “Here, in this region, we have everything you can possibly look for." This wizened face belongs to one of the family who own the Hotel Le Due Torri where we are staying, high in the hills near the Amalfi Coast of Italy. At first I assume this statement is part and parcel of the typical patriotism that characterizes many Italians – but soon, I am proved wrong.

Amalfi Amalfi

Seven days in Amalfi makes me realise the old man is right. This tiny stretch of coast linking  Amalfi and Naples has many treasures, both those of mother nature and those belonging to human history. All five senses are brought to life here, often in a blur of sensation – I find myself devouring my dinner with my eyes before a single morsel has passed my lips and smelling the sunshine on the air each morning as I awake. I spend my days wandering through a portrait of quintessential Italy I have seen represented in countless paintings, novels and photographs – slumbering volcanoes, ancient Roman ruins, culinary genius, long lazy afternoons under the sun.

As an Italian myself, I have an advantage here. I have the privilege of observing this place with both the critical look of an emigrated Italian citizen (who had had enough of Italy and Italian cliches) and the curious look of an external and impartial visitor. What surprises me is that Amalfi makes me fall in love all over again with a country I decided to leave years ago.

Amalfi Coast Amalfi Coast

Everything here feels like a pleasant surprise – day after day, step after step, bite after bite, I am falling deeper in love. The romance of this landscape is neverending, though it begins at the steep ascent to Monti tre Calli. Reaching the top feels like opening a door which to a new world I never knew existed, overlooking the Positano peninsula. I get a first taste for the dramatic coastline.

The Walk of the Gods The Walk of the Gods

The perspective changes again the following morning. Far from the clouds this time, and closer to the sea, we reach the elegant and charming Amalfi after descending 2662 steps. Nature blossoms in an abundance of emerald greenery melting into a vibrant seaside port lapped by the bright blue sea. It is a sequence of colours, smells and sights that leaves me mesmerised and wondering why I’d never been here before now. Even Pompeii catches me unawares – despite knowing all the basic facts, the dramatic stories of the eruption and following deaths take my breath and my imagination.

Pompeii Pompeii

Thanks to the knowledgeable local guide I see myself projected back to that age and the sleeping eerie town comes back to life in my mind, more vibrant than ever. I imagine the power of the volcano that once buried the town in lava and ash, and shiver at the thought I was walking up to its smoking crater just a few hours ago. The beautiful landscape that is now below, in front of my eyes, appears still very much under control and possession of the dominant sleeping beauty.

Pompeii Pompeii

A few hours later and I am in a restaurant, the sun sinking below the horizon. I’m relaxed, laughing, amidst our group tucking into pizza prepared and baked in front of our eyes. Our waiters smile as they serve us – I wonder if they too, know the secret the old man shared with me. I feel like I am on a continuous, almost mystical journey than charged my senses and made me feel more alive. The wise old man was right. I’d found everything I’d looked for.

You walk, you eat, you love!

Follow in Marta's footsteps - Walking the Amalfi Coast

Sunset over the peninsula Sunset over the peninsula

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