Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Books to read to prepare for a trip to the Amalfi Coast (Italy)

As usual I get home from a much anticipated trip, which was preceded by nonstop reading and daydreaming and questions here, there and everywhere… and then a few months go by and I still haven't gotten my act together on everything I saw and did!  Here are a few books I read to prepare for my trip to Capri and the Amalfi Coast as well as a few choice photos.  Enjoy!

Above are some ceramics in Positano.

Greene on Capri by Shirley Hazzard. This is a book about Graham Greene's seasons on Capri (he owned a home there for something like 40 years) and it was written by his friend Shirley Hazzard. I read this before I left, in one weekend, and I wish I had read it after I got back instead. I would have liked a frame of reference for Capri before reading it. It's the kind of book that would benefit from a bit of a background ahead of time, I think. I'll re-read it again at some point once I get through my mountain of other books. I noticed that there are a variety of villas owned (or formerly owned) by famous writers on Capri. I guess being an author used to pay better than it does now!

Above is the view from Villa San Michele on Capri.

Rick Steves Naples and the Amalfi Coast. I will buy his books before I visit a brand-new place, usually, since he gives good basic information. I didn't take it with me, and the only use I would have gotten out of it anyway was the chapter on Pompeii. I should have photocopied that chapter for my luggage.  I would have benefited from a guide for my too-short visit to Pompeii.

Above is the view above Positano, looking down as well as along the whole coastline.  You can see the Faraglioni in the distance.

Two small compact hiking books: Walking on the Amalfi Coast by Gillian Price and Sorrento/Amalfi/Capri by Sunflower Guides. This last has a website which offers updates to its book in between editions: http://www.sunflowerbooks.co.uk/product/walking-in-sorrento-the-amalfi-coast-and-capri/

I will say that for the hikes I did end up doing this time, and the fact that I looked up a local guide for the Pathway of the Gods, I actually did not need either book although they will be useful on the next trip when I go more afield. My hotel on Capri gave great advice on my walks on Capri and the eastern side of the island is so easy to navigate. If I had to choose only one I'd probably pick the Sunflower Guide but they were both interesting to read and were good for some daydreams.

Above:  more coastline, this time from the Sentieri degli Dei.

My Amalfi Coast by Amanda Tabberer with photos by Carla Coulson. Amanda Tabberer is a famous Australian actress who moved to Italy in her 20s and met and fell in love with the son of the owner of Da Adolfo, a restaurant in Positano. This book is eye candy extraordinaire for the Amalfi Coast - Carla Coulson is my favorite photographer and I could easily recommend this book just for the photos alone. While it's mostly a love letter written by Amanda Tabberer to her much adored Amalfi Coast (including the story of her life there including marrying an Italian hunk and having a son), you could also call it a guide book in that she describes several of the towns along the coast including her favorite places in each as well as her favorites places to eat. She talks about some of the history of the area, some of the festivals and churches, and in addition to contemporary photos she has included some older photos of her family and friends enjoying themselves whether boating or hiking. What a life.

Above is the main beach (Spiaggia Grande) in Positano.

Fodors Amalfi Coast, Capri and Naples (borrowed). This was a really useful guidebook and I probably should not admit this here (!!) but it might be the only time I've used a Fodors guidebook. Based on this experience I will have to change that - it was well written and had a lot of useful and interesting information.

Above is the pier in Positano.  Sitting by the dock of the bay, or something.

The Story of San Michele by Axel Munthe, which I bought from Amazon when I got home. Not yet read.
Below is his villa and you can see the mysterious Sphinx.



MJ said...

What a beautiful part of the world. When I see pictures like this, I feel bad for travelling back to the same places over and over again...but I just can't seem to help it! :-)

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for stopping by. It really it pretty there...

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