Ribbons of soft light kissed my naked skin. Dust motes swirled. Sunday morning on the Amalfi Coast. Stretching, I snuggle a little deeper into soft pillows. The sun tickled my bare leg a little more insistently. A long lazy day hover on the horizon.
Stepping in my lime green bikini I padded up the companionway steps. A majestic backdrop echoed the sunshine, draping deep valleys in verdant shadows. Milky cliffs kiss a crystalline sea.I dive overboard, scattering a million fallen stars.
The Amalfi Coast is Europe’s most beautiful coastline. It’s corniche road winding around and through towering milky cliffs. Slipping vertically into azure water. You’ve seen James Bond car chases and countless other movie scenes shot on this road. We opted for a safe bus ride. Although I can imagine driving along the coast road in a lipstick red Maserati, a skilled and sexy Italian at the wheel. Nothing quite prepares you for reality however. Rocky outcrops topped by Saracen Towers. Impossibly balanced umbrella pines clinging to sheer cliff faces. Tunnels cut through rock. Emerald peninsulas stretching like lizards, tails twitching, as far as you can see. A shimmering sea glitter invitingly far below. Gleaming yachts. Narrow ribbons of grey pebble beaches topped with bright orange umbrellas.
Settlements on the Amalfi Coast are triumphs of faith over reason. That is why you really need to see the Amalfi Coast from the ocean. You don’t see much, if anything from the road. Villages cling, barnacle like to the milky cliff faces. Hundreds of hidden steps, the only way to get to them.
The Amalfi Coast is not only about the lovely road and ocean. It’s about lemons and paper. Gelato and pastries. Candied lemon and orange peel. Narrow terraces planted with lemon trees climb to dizzy heights between wild chestnut forests. Salvatore Aceto invited my husband and me to see his lemon orchids, La Valle Dei Mulini. Five minutes walk along a narrow cobble stone street through the heart of Amalfi village and you’re in the country.
Salvatore is the seventh generation Aceto living and working the land and orchids that has been in his family for 1 700 years. Some trees are more than five hundred years old and his love for the land and his lemons shine in his tale as he tells us about his lemons. He picks a lemon, breaks it in half and we eat, the first bite a little reluctant. After all who eats whole lemons. Skin sweet, the sharp smell of lemon jest permeate the still air. His mom makes the most delicious lemon cake.
The farm produce limoncello – a lemon liqueur. Lemon peel soaked in 96% alcohol for 3 days, strained and mixed with sugar and water. Distilled by forcing the liquid through 15 layers of pure linen paper. Paper made in Amalfi. He exports lemons to New York. World famous chefs cook with his lemons. After tasting one and drinking their juice I can understand why.
The Amalfi coast is not a dream. It’s somewhere between the sky and the earth. Warm azure water. Fragrant lemon scented air. Verdant valleys. Milky mountains. Long lazy days soaked in mellow moments.