Sorrento – A Favorite on the Amalfi Coast

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Sorrento is a lovely city on the Amalfi Coast and a great place to base yourself for day trips to Pompeii, Capri, Positano or other places along the beautiful Amalfi Coast.­­­ The first time I went to Italy I spent three days there and it was perfect. Aside from wandering through Sorrento's streets and enjoying the busy piazzas, there are two reasons I love Sorrento, limoncello and the craft known as intarsia.Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Italy


Specific to Sorrento and the surrounding area, a refreshing alcoholic drink called limoncello (pronounced lee-mohn-CHEH-loh) is produced here from locally grown Sorrento lemons. Limoncello shops abound in Sorrento and you can also buy bottles of it almost every gift shop, tabacchi and groceria here. Its strong lemony sour taste is refreshing on a hot afternoon.

Limoncello is a liqueur which is best served chilled. It is frequently served as a palate cleanser between meal courses and also as an after dinner alcoholic beverage. I even know some Italofiles who have learned the recipe and now make it at home. Its ingredients consist of lemons, vodka, sugar and water, and of course the right amount of lemon zest. Every restaurant in Sorrento and every Sorrento family has its own recipe for this favorite drink.Limoncello shop in Sorrento, Italy

I enjoyed tasting the limoncello while I was in Italy and naturally brought some home with me. It is a very popular liqueur throughout Italy, not just the Amalfi coast. On several different occasions Italians offered me some limoncello in their homes at various times of the day. It is so popular in Italy it is almost like stopping in to visit someone in America, and they automatically offer you a Coke.Sorrento wood shop, Italy


Wooden Music Box, Sorrento, ItalyWhat I really enjoy in Sorrento is the inlaid wood or intarsia. Skilled artisans have learned this craft from previous generations, and they create beautiful jewelry boxes, music boxes, statues and even furniture.

I was lucky enough to be able to observe first hand some of these artisans at work in their small shops. Each shop is filled with templates made from different types of wood that come from trees in the surrounding area. Olive wood was one of the most popular varieties here.

The music boxes were very reasonable priced and I was able to choose which music I liked to go inside the box mechanism. Naturally one of the favorites is the popular Italian song, "Take me back to Sorrento."

I am always ready to return to Sorrento and the Amalfi coast. Time for some limoncello!

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Follow Margie on her blog at


Monte Solaro – Highest Point on Capri

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Capri is one of the most beautiful islands in the world and its natural beauty of rock and panorama views are the primary reason.  The two towns of Capri and Anacapri make up this beautiful island, and each is town is beautiful in and of itself. Both have views that are amazing and yet the very best vistas on Capri are from the highest point on the island, Monte Solaro.

View from Monte Solaro, Capri, ItalyAt 1932 feet above sea level, reached either by walking or by taking the more convenient chairlift, Monte Solaro features stunning 360 degree panorama views of Capri and the Bay of Naples.

Known also as the Monte Solaro Seggiovia, the Monte Solaro chairlift station is located near Piazza Vittorio on via Caposcuro in Anacapri, near the center of town. For the modest price of ten euros roundtrip, I had the thrill of my vacation during the peaceful quiet 12 minute ascent to the peak, and afterwards the 12 minute descent back to Anacapri.

View from Anacapri Capri, ItalyThe views along the way are almost indescribable and the tranquility I felt was like none other. Although this two kilometer diagonal ride rises to over a third of a mile from sea level, the ground below is never that far away, so my original fear was washed away immediately.

There are 156 seats capable of holding one person each, with a single non-locking metal rod which fits across once you are seated. It is similar to a ski lift except that it is only one person to a seat.

The Monte Solaro chairlift was originally built by engineer Francesco Uliscia in 1952 and later modernized in 1998.

At the peak, there are multiple layers of terraces where I was able to wander around at my leisure and soak in the view, take photos to my heart’s content and enjoy a snack before the return trip down. It is nice not to be rushed since this is nature at its very best and why not enjoy it to its fullest?

The snack Bar at the peak is called “La Canzone del Cielo” and was originally built in the 1950’s and had a swimming pool and a solarium, as well as a restaurant and bar. Today only the bar remains with an outdoor seating area to enjoy a glass of wine, some gelato or a panini. Conveniently there are also restrooms located here.

This was by far the best part of visiting Capri for me and although there are many other attractions here, I recommend that you don’t miss Monte Solaro.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Follow Margie on her blog at


Capri – Amalfi Coast Island Destination

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

The small island of Capri is a must-see destination if you are traveling to the Amalfi Coast in Italy.  Some of the most expensive real estate in Italy, Capri has long been known as the luxury vacation destination for the rich and famous, because of its sheer natural beauty, shopping and tranquility.

Marina Piccolo on Capri, ItalyI have been fortunate enough to take a day trip to Capri on two different occasions, and to say that it did not disappoint is an understatement. Capri is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Its location on Italy's Amalfi Coast makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy,  attracting over two million visitors in 2011 Capri has become a popular stop for travelers on Med Cruises.

Most people hear about the Blue Grotto and want to make sure they see it, and truly it is one of the most amazing things to see on Capri. The island of Capri consists of two towns, Capri and Anacapri, both of which offer something for everyone. Here are a few of the other top attractions on the island.

Faraglioni rocks at Capri, ItalyBoat tour around Capri

This is one of the best ways to truly enjoy the natural beauty of the island and the surrounding Faraglioni giant rocks that seem to emerge out of the ocean from nowhere. In addition to the Blue Grotto, you will pass the Green Grotto, the White Grotto, and the Red Grotto and be able to enjoy Capri away from the tourist crowds ashore. These excursions can be booked from Marina Grande, the main port of Capri.

View from Anacapri Capri, ItalyTaxi tour on Capri

For 20 euros I had a wonderful tour of Capri and experienced a drive along the Mamma Mia road to the higher town of Anacapri. These taxi drivers and tour guides live in Capri and know the island well. I visited places that I would not have known on my own to see so I highly recommend this option. There was plenty of free time built in to shop and browse at my leisure.

Monte Solaro

Do not miss the opportunity to ride the chairlift to Monte Solaro for ten euros roundtrip. The station is easily located in Anacapri near the center of town and this was definitely the highlight of my visit to Capri. The panorama views from the highest point on Capri are unmatched in beauty and the sense of tranquility from that vantage point was wonderful.

Church of San Michele in Anacapri

This early 18th century church is one of the best examples of Neapolitan architecture and the floor of majolica tiles is truly a work of art. There is a nominal entrance fee which is totally worth it and a must-see when in Anacapri.

Blue Grotto, Capri, ItalyBlue Grotto

This is definitely the most famous and also the most touristy places on the island. This cave entered by small rowboat appears blue in color as the light refracts on the water. Entrance to the Blue Grotto is always iffy depending on weather so it is a good idea to have a back-up plan.

Marina Piccolo

This is the other port on Capri, on the opposite side of the island from Marina Grande. The smaller ferries from towns on the Amalfi Coast arrive here and the green color of the water along with a small rocky beach is like a postcard. This small fishing community has restaurants and bars and a lovely outdoor terrace for the perfect glass of wine.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

 Follow Margie on her blog at


Ravello, Italy – Off the Beaten Path on the Amalfi Coast

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Ravello, Italy is one of the smaller towns, less touristy towns on the Amalfi Coast perched high above the Gulf of Salerno and the towns of Amalfi and Maiori. On a driving tour along the Amalfi coast a wonderful English speaking guide named Stefano suggested going to Ravello and it was totally worthwhile.

Ravello, Amalfi Coast, ItalyWith a population of 2500 Ravello is suspended almost 1200 feet above sea level and from this vantage point I was treated to some of the most picturesque views of the coast.  It is beautiful town to wander around the tiny alleys and discover hidden doorways and small churches. It is a place where you can just enjoy the atmosphere of tranquility.

Much quieter than its neighboring tourist towns of Positano and Amalfi, Ravello has become a favorite destination for artists, writers and musicians. It has the distinction to having been home to Richard Wagner, M.C.Escher, Gore Vidal, Virginia Woolf, Sara Teasdale, Ibsen and Giovanni Boccaccio.

Wagner Summer Festival

Ravello is the place where the famous composer Richard Wagner found his inspiration in the late 19 th   century.  In fact each year between April and October the Wagner Summer Festival takes place at Villa Rufolo here in Ravello.

This has become a tradition since it began almost 60 years ago. Initially the music festival predominantly featured the works of Wagner, but today it offers music from a variety of classical composers as well as chamber and jazz selections.

Villa Rufolo Ravello, ItalyVilla Rufolo

Situated right next to the Cathedral in the main square is Villa Rufolo, a 13th   century building which today is a small museum with awesome gardens. Its main tower, Torre Maggiore, rises almost 100 feet high into the sky creating a wonderful opportunity for photographers like me. Its castle-like look is very appealing even though the luxury of what once inside is only a memory today.

Villa Cimbrone Ravello, ItalyVilla Cimbrone

This    historic building dates back to the 11th century although Villa Cimbrone was completely remodeled in the 20th century and is a hotel today with magnificent gardens that are open to the public.

A landmark of Ravello, Villa Cimbrone was made famous when the movie star Greta Garbo stayed here.

Rooms here are not cheap.  The lowest priced room is a single room in the off season priced at 320 euros, and a frescoed ceiling suite with a balcony and sea view suite can run 1200 euros a night in high season.

Many weddings are booked here because the views are unmatched. Probably what Villa Cimbrone is best known for is its “Belvedere of Infinity.” This is an outdoor terrace which is lined with Roman busts sculpted from marble. From the terrace the views of the coastline below and the Tyrrhenian Sea are incomparable.

Cathedral in Ravello, ItalyCathedral

The Cathedral of Saint Pantaleone  was built in 1087 and originally dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. One of its most interesting features is its 13th century bell tower along with its bronze doors made up of 54 rectangular panels depicting the life of Christ. The Cathedral is the heart of Ravello and can’t be missed in Piazza del Duomo. The Duomo was totally restored as recently as 1973.

La Vecchia Cantina

One of my favorite meals on the Amalfi Coast was in Ravello at La Vecchia Cantina.  This family run Ravello restaurant served excellent meals at reasonable prices. One of the specialties was pasta with marinara sauce and pumpkin, which was delicious according to one of my tablemates. I had pasta arrabbiato and a salad of tomatoes and arugula called “rocket,” which was heavenly.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Follow Margie on her blog at


Pompeii, Italy– Day Trip on the Amalfi Coast

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

As a UNESCO Word Heritage site, Pompeii is one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing two and a half million visitors a year. Pompeii is considered to be one of the world’s best archeological sites because it is so well preserved.

Pompeii , ItalyPompeii was originally damaged after an earthquake in A.D 62, and then after the devastating eruption of Mt Vesuvius in A.D 79, this ancient city was buried beneath 13-20 feet of lava and ash. It was not until 1749, almost 16 centuries later, that Pompeii was accidentally uncovered and excavated. Ongoing excavations and restorations continue today.

Pompeii ruins, ItalyLocated at the Bay of Naples in southwestern Italy, Pompeii is only 17 miles south of Naples.  A few years ago I went on a day trip from Sorrento which including a drive along the beautiful Amalfi coastline and a stop in Pompeii.

Ruins of Pompeii, ItalyArranged through the wonderful family operated tour company,  the experience was the highlight of my trip. The very knowledgeable English-speaking guide Stefano, along with the friendly and able driver Antonio, provided a fantastic personalized tour of the Amalfi Coast.

Pompeii Bakery, ItalyUsually I like to wander around in Italy on my own with no set agenda, but visiting Pompeii is an exception.  Pompeii is definitely one of those places where I highly recommend a tour guide.  Stefano explained that Italy has strict rules governing the official tour guides who are credentialed and have to be paid separately.

The two hour tour of Pompeii with Hector, who claims to be the “best” of the tour guides, was totally worth it, as he has been doing these guided walks through Pompeii for over 15 years. There is much to see and it was only enhanced by Hector’s explanations of what I was seeing. The weather left something to be desired as it poured most of the time I was there, but it still was an amazing experience.

What is so incredible about Pompeii is that it provides a clear picture of Roman life. There are homes, markets, villas, baths and even a 2-story brothel complete with frescoes depicting various activities. Almost 20,000 people lived here prior to it being buried.  The mosaics and intact pottery items are so awesome when you realize that these things date back almost 2000 years.

Pompeii Pottery, ItalyRecent collapses of some of the structures in Pompeii have brought to the forefront the need for ongoing restoration to this archeological site. Only one archeologist works full-time on this project but it was recently announced that the Italian government and the European Commission have agreed to fund 105 million euros to the Great Pompeii Project for the next four years. The funding will allow for more archeologists to work at the site and also for the important restoration to be achieved.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Follow Margie on her blog at


Travel Photo Of The Day- Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

Village of Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

Photo By Dan Breckwoldt

Village of Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

Riomaggiore, Italy is part of the area known as Cinque Terre. The area is part of the rustic Italian Riviera and is comprised of five cities: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. The history of Riomaggiore and the Cinque Terre area sounds as if it could have been ripped from a movie script. The area along the coast was dangerous and uninhabitable until around 1000 A.D. due to the large population of pirates, marauders and slave traders prone to frequenting the area.

For more information and destinations in Italy check out Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventures Italy



Positano –Beauty on the Amalfi Coast

Positano, Amalifi Coast, ItalyGuest Post By: Margie Miklas

Positano has to be one of my favorite places on the Amalfi Coast and I would enjoy returning there over and over again. There really is no other place as unique as this vertically built town in one of the most beautiful places of the world. Positano has the views, the shopping, the food and the beach. What more could I want in Italy?

Positano is a walking town and only small shuttle buses can navigate the streets here as they are so steep and have endless turns. To really explore Positano the experience begins at the top where the buses must drop everyone off and the rest of the way is on foot. The views from above the town looking down onto la spiaggia or the beach are awesome, especially on a sunny day. As a photographer I was in my glory here, shooting every angle possible.

On the walk down and through  the town  that was featured in the film Under the Tuscan Sun, I notice that the many of the hotels in this resort city are situated on these hills, and  I can’t help but think that if you stay here, you had better be prepared for a lot of walking. The views though are totally worth it.

Shopping, Positano, Amalifi Coast, ItalyPositano is a shopper’s paradise as there are many small boutique type shops and ceramics, clothing and artwork are the main attractions here. Since Positano is a resort, you can expect the prices to be higher than in Sorrento but I still found a print here that I thought was reasonable and brought it home with me.

Of course the food is incredible and both times I was here I was not disappointed. Lunch at the beachfront restaurant Buco di Bacco was outside as the breeze was blowing and the ocean waves were gently rolling.  Other restaurants along the winding road down gave me the opportunity to have a cappuccino and dolci and the cannoli were delicious. Are you hungry yet?

Positano’s beach is named Spiaggia Grande and like most beaches on the Amalfi Coast, it is not sandy but consists of small stones. Nevertheless it is a beach and the views are stunning. Boats are docked here and sometimes locals are painting or fishermen are mending their nets. Positano is a very impressive and relaxing place to enjoy the natural beauty on the Amalfi Coast and is a “must-see” destination.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas


Travel Tips for Visiting the Amalfi Coast in Italy

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful places in Italy, and although I have been there three times, it is a place that I would want to visit again. Situated along the southwestern coastline in the region of Campania, the Amalfi Coast offers beautiful views, relaxation, wonderful food and tempting shopping.Amalfi Coast, Italy

Map of Amalfi Coast ItalyBeginning at Sorrento and ending at Salerno, the Amalfi Coast offers some of the most beautiful scenes combining cliffs and the Mediterranean Sea below. It is truly a photographer’s dream. Here are some travel tips for experiencing the Amalfi Coast.

  • Take a bus ride along the Amalfi Coast from Sorrento to Amalfi. The SITA bus is accessible at the bus station next to the train station in Sorrento and makes a stop in Positano along the way to Amalfi. For the best views, sit on the right side of the bus for this hair-raising experience. You can board other buses from Amalfi if you choose to ride further along the coast to the towns of Minori, Maiori and Salerno.
  • Limoncello shop in Sorrento, ItalyBe sure and taste some limoncello in Sorrento as this liqueur is made from the very large fresh lemons grown in this area. It is very refreshing especially on a hot day.
  • Buy some hand-painted ceramics in the shops in either Sorrento or Amalfi. The prices are lower than what you will find in Positano.
  • Get off the bus in Positano and walk down the winding streets to the beach (la spiaggia) to get a real feel for the town and the people of Positano.Positano, Italy This was one of the filming locations for the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, and you can have lunch on the beach at the famous restaurant Buca di Bacco, just like Diane Lane did in the movie.
  • Take a day trip to the island of Capri on a hydrofoil or ferry boat from Amalfi. You will experience breathtaking views of Positano and Amalfi from another perspective. Capri can only be reached by boat and it is worth the trip. You can also get to Capri from Sorrento, Capri, ItalyPositano and Maiori as well.
  • Avoid visiting the Amalfi Coast in July and August as these months are the most crowded as well as having the hottest temperatures. Most Italians take a vacation in August and it is next to impossible to navigate the roads. As one guide told me, the buses cannot even stop sometimes at their destinations because of the congestion, and what takes an hour and a half normally would take twice as much time driving the coast.
  • Sorrento wood shop, Sorrento, ItalyFor a quieter experience, go to the hilltop town of Ravello which is situated five km above Amalfi. You can take a bus there from Amalfi, and you will experience a complete change of pace and sound from the busier more touristy towns of Positano and Amalfi. The views are spectacular from this high, as Ravello overlooks the Amalfi coast towns of Maiori and Amalfi.
  • Watch the experienced artisans in Sorrento as they create by hand the beautiful music boxes made of inlaid wood called Intarsia Sorrentina. You can purchase these at excellent prices in the shops here as well.
  • Maiori, ItalyConsider staying in one of the smaller towns of Minori or Maiori if you just want some relaxation. The pace is slow and the beach is inviting, not to mention the stunning views. Both towns are on the bus line for easy access to Positano, Amalfi or Sorrento.

The Amalfi Coast offers so much and is one of the most popular places in southern Italy. These travel tips just are a few suggestion based on my memorable experiences in this little piece of heaven called the Amalfi Coast.

Amalfi Coast, Italy




Naples Airport

Amalfi Coast












Other articles by

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Plugin from the creators of iPhone :: More at Plulz Wordpress Plugins