My thick sweater and blue jeans reflected the London winter I left several hours before. Amalfi’s sun now broke through my warm clothes, bringing out a forgotten stickiness. After nearly twenty-seven hours of traveling with two buses, a plane, and a train ride, Amalfi’s glistening waters welcomed my travel companions and I, promising wonderful weather, a superb atmosphere, and small villages booming with life. Using my knowledge of Italy from my Sicilian-American grandparents, I anticipated eating delicious food, boating, and lounging around on hot beaches. However, I did not realize arriving during the coastal community’s off-season makes finding food and beautiful weather nearly impossible. Although the hours I arrived boasted heat and sun, it rained on and off my whole second day and flaunted cloudy skies the third, discouraging my beach plans. I also struggled to keep up with the locals’ eating schedule, finding many restaurants closed for another hour when hunger struck.
When I did find food, it was delectable. After my long journey, I marched up and down the mountains, finally landing at Gerry’s Pub. Hidden in a path offside of the narrow winding mountain roads, the restaurant exuded a buoyant atmosphere. Slight square tables lingered behind a miniature bar that stashed itself in a corner. Behind my table, as large flatscreen featuring a football game reminded me of a 99 Restaurant back home and made me feel welcome. Gerry himself, a jolly balding man, chatted with my friends and I along with the other customers, offered espressos on the house, and promised to help me find information about a boat. His Siciliano pasta was superb with its overlapping flavors of beef and tomato. The tiramisu tempted everyone around me to order seconds. I stayed at Gerry’s for several hours enjoying the chill atmosphere and characters around.
My other favorite while tasting around was a quaint Pizza Express too small to fit inside. My friends and I bought entire pizzas for less than five euros and found ourselves enjoying the thin dough and cheesy overlap with our chosen toppings. While eating my pizza, I stared in awe at the sparkling 12th century Amalfi Cathedral with its mix of Romanesque and gothic style, featuring striping patterns of black and yellow. I appreciated the glorious fountain hovering nearby with cherubs peeking out to welcome guests and eyed the colorful gelateria across the street. The woman working there was kind and willing to let me sample any flavor I wished before deciding on my treat. The dark chocolate was rich and tasty; however, looking back, I should have supplemented it with Amalfi’s famed limoncello flavor for depth.
While many shops in Amalfi were closed, I found a few hidden gems including Nino and Friends which makes its own delectable lemon olive oil and chocolates the employees offer as free samples to anyone walking by. The ceramics stores also tempt all tourists with hand-made miniature donkey carts and charming dishware. Most interesting, a small hidden gem replica of Amalfi can be found in front of a salmon house right before the shops. I also discovered a hidden scenic walk leading visitors throughout the mountains and past locals’ residences easily reached by a tall endless elevator. Though the climb back neared treacherous and exhausting, I took in a wonderful view of the coast and whimsical character houses painted in pinks, yellows, and blues. The sea slapped the cliffside as lemon and orange trees waved in the breeze and I noticed locals hanging laundry to dry off railed balconies.
Amalfi’s nightlife during the off-season mainly consists of temperate bars where people sit with cocktails. In fact, when my friends and I looked up night clubs, the most exciting one turned out to be Gerry’s. However, the bars serve a mean limoncello and delicious cocktails all year round. My cab driver bringing us to the train station at the end of the visit lamented my group not finding him earlier when we spoke with him as he supposedly makes his own limoncello to which the rest cannot compare.
Written by: Kaelie Piscitello
Kaelie is a college student pursuing bachelor’s degrees in elementary and special education at Salve Regina University (United States). She spent her spring semester studying abroad in Oxford, England. She traveled through several European countries while away and contributed two articles about her adventures to the Salve Regina study abroad blog page. In her spare time, Kaelie enjoys reading books, playing piano, and watching Gilmore Girls with her mom.
Contact Kaelie on: Linkedin
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