Ravello - Love in the Time of Amalfi
The namesake town of the famed coast, it’s the setting for love in the time of Amalfi. Surrounded by the elegant Ravello, popular Positano and the authentic fisherman village of Cetera Manori, Amalfi is the center of all the attention. Amalfi is a lively town where you’ll take your afternoon strolls, shop up a storm for signature Amalfi swag and gorge yourself on some of the best local restaurant dining in the area.
To make Amalfi your base, check into the Santa Catarina, an old-school hotel set directly on the Mediterranean Sea. Here, it’s all about location, location and location. The Santa Caterina is a short walk to the center of town, and an easy drive to explore the Amalfi Coast. The Santa Catarina is considered a grand hotel, but for those who enjoy their super premium hotels with modern baths, you may find the rooms a bit dated. It’s classic Amalfi though, with its swimming pool and a few select suites set right on the rocky coast of the Mediterranean Sea. For daytime drinks or nighttime romance, it’s terrace and restaurant are undoubtedly the setting for love in the time of Amalfi.
To step it up several notches, check into the Palazzo Sasso in Ravello, the authority on grandeur with top-notch rooms and in our humble opinion, the best views of the Amalfi Coast. Ravello is less than a 10-minute ride to Amalfi and every minute of this ride is well worth it to call Palazzo Sasso home. The Palazzo is a  century palazzo, where you feel like the big hitter you are rolling into this elegant abode. There’s no pretention here either, for how grand of a hotel it is. The service is not only flawless, but warm and welcoming.
The Palazzo Sasso does not disappoint in the restaurant department either. The food is exceptional – where even the basic artisanal pasta with walnuts and Amalfi herbs will be a gourmet meal. Other favorites are the fish in parchment and Mediterranean seafood pasta, with clams and fresh mussels. If you’re seeing a pattern of seafood, you are right. Seafood is the regional specialty of Amalfi.
The grounds of the Palazzo Sasso are pure glamour – with chaise lounges set throughout the backyard, you are invited to do nothing but relax. It’s like a front row seat to the hottest ticket in town. There’s a lot of hype that surrounds the Amalfi, and from this seat, there’s no question in your mind why.
This is a vacay where you are going to need your wheels, either self-chauffeured or someone to cart you around. A Galavante to the Amalfi is about exploring the towns and driving through the gorgeous coast. From Amalfi, you can spend a day in Ravello – if you’re not already staying at the Palazzo Sasso and do a day trip to the Amalfi Coast. Check out our Galavante issues on Ravello and Positano for the inside scoop on restaurants and shops. During your trip, an afternoon in the town of Amalfi will be in order, so you can wander through shops like La Bottega della Fruitta, which will inspire you to become a fruit smuggler, and Il Limoncello, for you guessed it¬ − the best limoncello on the coast. Bring an extra suitcase, as you’ll want to buy one of each at Sandales Typica, which has the gorgeous, handmade sandals which are a must-buy souvenir with every color, sparkle, bead and ribbon to rival the collection of Imelda Marcos. At La Picola Republic a quaint souvenir shop in town, pick up the best-priced lemon soaps in ceramic dishes and lovely sachets, which will become your signature hostess gift for the year. To purchase wine for both your trip and after your trip, head to Enoteca Masaniello, which has a wide selection for reasonable prices.
They’ll be no going hungry in this town either, with options from the sceney Da Gemma, to hidden, insider gems like Acqua Pazza and Lida Azurro. Whether you are spending the day in Amalfi, or coming back from a strenuous day of driving through scenic towns, these restaurants are where to decompress at the end of the day. Da Gemma has been around since the 1870s, but their chef is a spry young guy who has taken the culinary world by storm, cooking at the top restaurants in France, Switzerland and the famed Amalfi hotels of the Caruso and Le Sireneuse. The Amalfi lemon risotto with red prawns that are served crudo style and the tagliolini with clams and zucchini flowers are worth doing a double carb load. The meal is finished off with an unusual eggplant chocolate dish, a signature of the restaurant. It’s love it or leave it, but plenty of other dessert options to cap off this chic meal.
There are many chic places you will dine in the Amalfi, but if you want to mix it up with a real fisherman’s restaurant, head over to Acqua Pazza in neighboring Cetera Manori. Right on the seaport, this is a simple, rustic place, but there’s nothing mundane about the fresh fish crudo with a fresh egg on top, or the Amalfi lemon linguini with fresh herbs. The regional ingredients of tomatoes that are like candy are made into sauce you can eat for days on fresh tube pasta with gamberi rossi. With food this good, you will think that you are in a Michelin rated restaurant, which makes the simplicity of it all the more the perfect local experience.
The other standout to visit on your Amalfi adventure is Lida Azurro, you are practically eating in the water, at this port restaurant in Amalfi. As with the area, the specialty is the fresh caught seafood, though they put their gourmet spin on beautifully presented dishes. The menu changes with the ingredients of the moment, but order anything with razor clams or the casserole filled with steamed shellfish of jumbo prawns, calamari and other fresh catch of the day. While sitting at the outdoor terrace, hours will pass as they continue to fill your wineglass with the local Amalfi wine. From this vantage point, you’ll clearly see why it’s love in the time of Amalfi.