La Dolce Vita, Nerano, The Amalfi Coast.

A couple of weeks ago we left behind the start of rainy September and headed for the Amalfi Coast for a taste of La Dolce Vita.  Five full days filled with pasta, wine, Aperol spritz, beautiful albeit a little crazy and unconventional coastal drives, A LOT of steps, granite de limon, lemon cake for breakfast, A LOT of very steep hills, limoncello, swimming in glistening, clear and warm waters, boat trips around the Sorrento peninsula, Fiat spotting, ungainly jumps out of boats into the Bay of Sorrento, beach days under an array of the best type of umbrellas, pizzas, afternoon snoozes in the breeze, gelato, and all under the basking hot sun of the Amalfi Coast.

We flew into Naples, picked up a car and bypassed the city.  Although I’d definitely love to spend some time in the city of Naples, this trip time wasn’t on our side so we headed straight to Nerano, just over an hour from the airport.  Nerano is most definitely a hidden gem of a sleepy hamlet and I could not recommend staying here enough.  Our budget this time didn’t quite reach the Positano/Amalfi prices so we decided to stay a little out of the tourist trap and drive in and out to where we wanted to go. To be honest I was a little concerned that we were going to be too far out but on arrival these concerns melted away.   In fact I would stay in Nerano again and again and again, so much so that I was going to keep this little hamlet to myself, but that would not be much fun would it?

Only hitting a little traffic around Sorrento, making the drive to Nerano pretty seamless, beautiful and certainly winding,  we arrived at the very lovely Casale Villerena,  sweet, charming and really friendly.  The restored 1700 building, is surrounded by lemon trees, with a gorgeous little swimming pool and festoon lights, quiet, peaceful, a hidden spot away from the tourists.  We had an apartment nearer the top of the building, tiled bathrooms and floors, with simple yet traditional features and with a little veranda with views out to sea.  It was pretty perfect for the first three days of our trip.

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Literally within 20 minutes of settling in to our new abode we found the long and rather steep, path and a fair few steps down to Marina del Cantone. I don’t know if you are like me and have real clear visions of what your holidays are going to be.   I know, far too much expectation and yes in all honesty that has led to the odd row more than once, the list of what to see, where to eat, what it will look like, etc…. But on that first glance and look at the Marina,  I knew this whole trip was going to be everything I thought it could be and then some, basically it  blew every Instagram picture out of the window.

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Marina del Cantone, really is a little slice of Italian heaven, perched near the tip of the Sorrentine peninsula.  It is hidden, a little off the beaten track, a very beautiful bay indeed. A pebbled beach with an array of yellow and blue striped sun beds and parasols, dotted along the beach, even the most chilled out and even shabby chic of places still have that strike of style on the Amalfi Coast.  The water is so beautifully clean, (thanks to the pebbles) it is warm, it is crystal clear, it glistens and is so inviting, you just drink it all in.  Marina del Cantone,  itself did remind me a lot of the Cinque Terre, with maybe a bit more chic to its shabby.  Washing hanging from every window, fishing boats on the water and on land, yellow striped, Granite Limon stands, and rustic bars and restaurants along the water.  Beautifully refreshing  and piquant.   This special spot was perfect for an Amalfi break or perhaps to stay forever.

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We headed straight to Maria Grazzia, which I had read about in Conde Nast Magazine,  I didn’t think we would have a hope in hell in getting in, seeing as the great and the good pull up on their yachts for a taste of heaven and we hadn’t booked, however the stars did align for us.   The small, slightly ramshackled, and very simple spot has roots from the middle ages but in 1901 the version there is today came to life and is still a big family venture generations down the line, they are skilled, passionate and so friendly.  Known for being the first to create the famous, Spaghetti and Zucchini,  before the rest of the coast recreated.   This little spot was really heaven, we sat at a blue and white printed table over looking the bay of Marina del Cantone, with the yachts, speed boats and little boats coming and going and we tucked into the absolutely delicious Spaghetti & Zucchini,  washed down with ice cold white wine poured from a jug. Oh and the bread, I have no idea what it was seasoned with but I demolished it in seconds and mopped up the remainder of the courgette sauce, (so good we went back for dinner a few days later, this time with added Limoncello).

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We were almost overwhelmed that within in an hour of arrival we were living our best life, it was truly an idyllic setting and a rather dreamy lunch spot; happiness is……..? Well, on this particular day, a belly full of Spaghetti and Zucchini,  dips  in and out of the sea and an afternoon snooze under the yellow striped parasols and all with your favourite person….Oh and of course not forgetting sipping Aperol Spritz whilst watching the sun go down…Bella!

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….Next time, a day in Positano.

We flew out of Luton to Naples with Easyjet.com.  We rested at Casale Villarena, which I booked through booking.com We ate at Grazia Maria and had drinks at Bar Titonno.

Bikini : Shein Official

Thank you for reading xx

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