Our Trip to Italy

I just have to deeply apologize {and eye roll for you} at the number of photos on this post. I promise I narrowed them down! Earlier this month, my husband and I were able to travel to the Amalfi Coast for our friend, Laura’s, wedding. Both of us had never been, and when I tell you I’m ruined for life, I mean it. The pasta. The coffee. The gelato. The fact they give you bread with EVERYTHING. Each meal I ate, I just looked at Paul and told him I was ruined, nothing will ever taste quite as amazing.

I had some requests to break down our trip and where we stayed, played, and dined. I’m very thankful that one of my best friends is a travel writer and so I just followed her lead.

If you’d like to hire her to plan your itinerary, her e-mail is DIANAOATESY@GMAIL.COM. Our friends joke, we don’t go to a restaurant unless Mama D says to. She is the best. She plans both domestic and international with other popular destinations- think Paris, Charleson, Austin, and Aspen. She’s a mother of 3, so I appreciate her realistic approach if you also choose to travel with children.

And I also have to thank so many of you all who generously shared tips, itineraries, and tricks! This blog post truly doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the amazing recommendations. I could have stayed there all summer and still not made a dent.

Before we get into it, please forgive my descriptions or comparisons, it’s no secret I’m not a travel blogger. But honestly, I find localized comparisons to be realistic and helpful. I kept telling friends Capri felt like Highland Park Village had a baby with Santa Barbara and placed on a beach club. And while I don’t mean to minimize the absolute enthrall of what these places are is with an American comparison, sometimes it helps me best to hear those- so I hope it helps you!

 

Where We Visited.

Ravello

The wedding was in Ravello, so we started our trip there! This was actually my favorite place we visited. Ravello is situated in the mountains and so as you sip your coffee or grab a bite to eat, you’re seeing the mountains and coast all in one view. It’s charming, romantic, and you feel a bit like you’re a character in your child’s bedtime story as you wander the gardens. It’s less crowded and just gives an overwhelming sense of calm. It’s a different atmosphere than Positano, but equally as wonderful. If we were to go back, I told Paul I could happily just stay there an entire week! I had to have read 20+ reviews of towns along the Tyrrhenian Sea and all said that Ravello was the most beautiful, and I have to agree. What you may miss in a beach, you make up for in views. It rained a few days we were there, and we just wandered the town in the drizzle. Paul said that was the most beautiful moment of the trip, and I’d have to agree. You know you are in such a surreal place when the weather doesn’t even phase you.

STAY- We stayed at the Belmond Caruso and it was my favorite hotel of the trip! It’s an 11th-century palace and feels like an absolute fairytale to stay there. The infinity pool might have been the most “pinch me” moment of my life {it’s touted as one of the most beautiful pools in the world} and the service is unmatched. And can I gush on the decor? I have about 72 photos on my phone discreetly trying to take photos of the architecture and trim work- while still being a bit shy to just be so casually in awe. There is traditional Italian charm, but with vignettes that leave you with wonder if Aerin Lauder just styled the space. We are already wondering {if at all} we could go for Paul’s 40th in a few years because it was truly heaven on earth. You can stay at Palazzo Avino, and they do have a beach club, but we didn’t think we needed to do that because we had the beach in Capri and Positano.

EAT- With the wedding in Ravello, most of our meals were at the hotel or connected with wedding events. We enjoyed breakfast at our hotel each morning, the crepes were everything. The hotel also offers a complimentary brunch served each morning, get the sugared donuts to dip in their lemon yogurt. As I microwave my coffee while typing this and eat my children’s cold scrambled egg leftovers, I can taste that breakfast. We had dinner at Belvedere at Caruso, which is a must, pizza by the pool grill, and the Caruso Gimlet at Bar Caruso is delightful! Diana told us it was a must and then Paul went on to introduce the wedding party to it. haha. In the afternoons go to Piazza Duomo and grab sandwiches, pistachio gelato, and pizza. It’s quite affordable, and you can overlook little kids playing soccer in the square and it’s picturesque! Many of you recommended Figli de Papi for dinner, but with wedding festivities, we didn’t make it there.

DO- Ravello has music festivals in the summer, but we were a little early for that. Tour Villa Cimbrone {where the bride and groom got married} & Villa Rufolo gardens. The Terrace of Infinity at Villa Cimbrone makes you think you are at the edge of the world. Their wedding cocktail hour was there and I can’t think of a view more romantic. You can wander Piazza Duomo each afternoon and walk through the Ravello Cathedral. Shop for ceramics {they ship, so don’t worry about navigating that} and shoes. I bought a wonderful pair of sandals from a shop called Clover, and they are 100x more comfortable than my Hermes Oran sandals.

FAVORITE- We asked our hotel to set up a picnic for us for lunch on the day of the wedding and it was one of my favorite thing we have ever done! If you stay there, it is a must.

A NOTE- People really had me worried about the drive to Ravello, as it’s no secret I get car sick. I can hardly handle driving along the coast in Malibu. I kid you not, I packed a barf bag in my purse as I was so nervous. But truthfully, it wasn’t that bad. I took some over-the-counter motion sickness medicine, closed my eyes, and the drivers are very understanding that most tourists aren’t used to it. The driving in Positano actually felt worse than the drive to Ravello, so don’t be as worried as I was!

Capri

Ahh Capri! When you tell people you are going to this party of Italy, there can seem to be a bit of a fan club in Capri vs. Positano. I jokingly said that Ravello felt like Alys Beach, Capri felt like Rosemary Beach, and Positano felt like Seaside- if you are familiar with 30A. Capri is the area I think you’d want to research the most with planning as there are two harbours and a separate municipal area of Anacapri. Make sure your dinner reservations are in the area you will be in- as I did not. 😉 One night I had to cancel because jet lag had caught up with us both and we were too tired to go back down the cable car and walk. It runs all day from 6:30 am to 11 pm {I believe!} so it’s not a big deal, but just something to consider when planning your itinerary.

If you get into your port at Marina Grande, you’ll immediately be met with someone from your hotel to take your luggage. They don’t have cars on the roads of Piazza Umberto I in the center, so you will then walk to the funicular and take that cable car up. It’s very quick! Then you’ll walk about 15 minutes to your hotel, so make sure to have comfortable shoes, I wore my Rothy’s.

STAY- We stayed at Punta Tragara, if you book there ask for room 51! It was pure luck we got this, but we had people in the hotel coming up to us saying they were jealous and that was the room they wanted due to the view. I had to pass that on to you if you are staying there for your honeymoon or anniversary. 😉 Now I will say, in Capri we felt very busy, and like we were in our hotel the least amount of time of all the hotels. It almost made the hotel price not worth it simply because we didn’t stay in it long enough to enjoy it. I mean this is called Chronicles of Frivolity, but go ahead and drop your jaw because I’m telling you this is something you could potentially skip and save money on. That’s why I think many people day trip to Capri {you’re hardly in your room}- which is very doable on a ferry. Punta Tragara is a more modern style, that in a weird way reminded me of Hotel Zaza on Capri. I know those well-traveled are cringing at my descriptions right now, but hey, this is what I’d tell you if we were on the phone chit-chatting!

EAT- My favorite restaurant of the entire trip was Villa Brunella in Capri! It’s this all-white restaurant with incredible views but has these gorgeous hand-painted tiles, wicker chairs, and warmth. It’s rare I’m at a restaurant where I think a bachelorette party would love it as much as a family at brunch, but it’s true here. It’s modern meets traditional in the very best way. It’s on Via Tragara which is such a charming street. I had Frosé with Spaghetti ai Tre Pomodorini and it was the best pasta of my entire life. It was like butter married salt. Paul’s favorite restaurant was Ristorante il Geranio where we enjoyed lobster pasta and what ended up being our favorite wine on the trip- Guado Al Tasso 2018. We ate at La Fontelina Beach Club, but another spot on our list for next time is Le Camerelle Ristorante. We enjoyed happy hour at Quisisana Capri and a little tip, ask them to make you their ham and cheese sandwich. They don’t have a menu for happy hour, but they will bring you olives and chips like most places, and if you know to ask, the most amazing grilled cheese with ham. It’s dripping in butter and the perfect spot to refuel before you explore more shops.

DO- Capri does have a lot of amazing shopping, but truthfully there was a fire one day we were there, so a major street with shops was blocked off. There is this precious baby shop in Capri “Harmont & Blaine Junior” and we got the kids many summer linen pieces there. You must do an afternoon at La Fontelina Beach Club and book for lunch. That was the best fish I had in all of Italy and we sat by some of the sweetest people- funny enough the table next to us was all from Texas and ALL went to Texas Tech- which made Paul quite happy. I also bought perfume at Carthusia, which has shops all over the island. I got the fragrance Gelsomini Di Capri- it’s floral, but still warm. It has jasmine, orange, geranium, and clove. It stays ALL day, even after the beach club I could smell it.

FAVORITE- My favorite has to be La Fontelina. The people you meet are wonderful, the views are wonderful, and you feel like you’re off in a movie set.

Positano

STAY. We stayed at Il San Pietro. After going through Diana’s recommendations, we were between this and Le Sirenuse. It’s probably very telling with Ravello being our favorite, Paul and I prefer quiet spots over busy. But Le Sirenuse is so much fun to explore, we agreed we would do a night there if we go back! San Pietro is about 8 minutes from the main area of Positano, and it’s a little haven in such a bustling area. It’s carved in cliffside, and each view and room is so unique. Their espresso martinis are the best I’ve ever had and the spa was the best massage of my life. I will tell you {and this seems to be the same experience at these hotels along the coast} the spas are smaller. It’s not a “spend all day enjoying the amenities” experience, but to be honest, I wouldn’t do that on vacation anyways. You are walking along the cliff and walk into the spa and it’s just unreal how they have built these. We both agreed we could have done a day trip to Capri and stayed at San Pietro a day longer. Is it wrong to say the rooms felt like a touch of Nancy Meyers in Italy? {Again with my Americanized comparisons} I’m sure, but that’s how magical they were. Stay in room 23 or 24! The hotel manager told us that originally these were apartments and they centered the hotel around those views.

EAT. You know your hotel is fantastic when you cancel dinner reservations to keep eating there. HA! We canceled a reservation at Chez Black {I know, I know- my mom was mad at me too!} so we could eat again at Zass at San Pietro. But we just couldn’t get over the romantic view and food. Everyone also says to eat at La Sponda, but truthfully, we tried for 3 months to make reservations and couldn’t. {Most of these spots close for the winter and open back up to make reservations end of March, or the beginning of April.} When we got back to Texas, their Instagram said, “We are now open!” so I’m unsure if they were closed, or simply didn’t get our 189 e-mails. You can also have your concierge make your reservations, but we didn’t worry as much with that. The best part about being in Italy, is no matter where you eat you’re going to have a fantastic meal and view. But if you go, and can, make a reservation at La Sponda. We also had lunch at Ristorante l’Ancora which had the best lemon sorbet! You must go just for that! Then pop over to Franco’s Bar next door when they open at 4. I’d get there around 3:30 because a line starts and then people wait an hour + to get in, plus the earlier in the line the better the view you get. I had the Watermelon Paloma and Paul had the Amigos Spritz. We also had lunch at our hotel at Carlino Restaurant. It’s beachside and sadly, I can’t find the menu online, but they have a spicy lemon pasta I got, Paul was jealous and kept eating off my plate. It’s incredible.

DO. A big reason we chose Il San Pietro is that it is the only hotel in Positano with direct access to a private beach club. It’s in a cove and doesn’t even feel real. I told my sister when she gets married she has to honeymoon here. We stayed out there for hours eating olives, reading books, and just watching the boats. While shopping in Positano, go to Nana’s for shoes! My mom and her best friend love the sandals, so we went back there to get them a pair.

FAVORITE. Paul’s favorite in Positano was Franco’s Bar, which truly was so much fun. I think I loved our hotel’s beach club the best. Next to Missoni, by Franco’s Bar, they have a little quilt shop. I got makeup bags for my friends, a robe, and some things for Maxi. That might have been my favorite little store find in all of the trip.

Travel.

I had Paul write this portion as he planned the travel. Excuse the lack of flower-y language. 🙂 We started to plan this in September of 2021, with meal reservations made in March.

Ravello – Flying to London Heathrow for a connecting flight to Naples was definitely a one-time deal due to connecting flight logistics. It would have been better to take a direct flight to Rome and then drive to Ravello. Most of the wedding guests had issues in London with their layover, so many changed their flight coming back for a direct Rome flight. We would do that next time. The drive from Rome International Airport to Belmond Hotel Caruso is only 3 hours. To not have to deal with taking buses and trains just to make a connecting flight is well worth it, even if you get car sick. Katey took motion sickness medicine and was fine. However, once we did arrive in Naples we had a private car waiting for us. Ask your hotel for recommendations as they are very affordable in Italy, at times cheaper than an Uber, and they remove any doubt of not making it to your next destination. Our drivers actually told us which ports to go to to make it easier. We arrived at Belmond Hotel Caruso at night so we were not aware of the hillside roads and just how windy it really is. We finally experienced this when we left for the Amalfi Coast port to head to take the ferry to Capri.

Capri – The drive from Belmond Hotel Caruso to the Amalfi Coast port is a quick 15-minute ride. This is where we took a ferry (Hydrofoil) to Capri. The ferry runs every 15 minutes and the boats are pretty large so there was never a fear of not getting a ticket. There are a number of websites where you can pay for them online and then just show your tickets to the boat attendant when boarding. We also booked our return trip to Positano at the same time so all ferry rides were covered. It’s worth noting that if you are traveling with a good bit of luggage, it will make this part of the trip a little more difficult. Because we were there for a Black-Tie wedding, we both had 2 suitcases, but there weren’t any moments we regretted packing that way. The ferry ride took about 1.5 hours since we also stopped at another port to pick up day travelers, unbeknownst to us. If you are wanting to go to Capri I think you could easily just stay on the mainland and then just do a day trip and come back. Once we arrived at the Capri ports our hotel attendant was waiting for us where he took our bags and gave us two tickets for the Funicular (chairlift). We were staying on the west side of the island and the only way to get there was by taking the Funicular up to the Piazza (Capri town center) and then walking about 15 minutes to our hotel. It’s worth noting to give yourself about an hour to spare when you’re leaving the island. Just so you can get back down to the port with your luggage and ferry ticket. A hotel attendant handled our luggage for us when we headed to Positano which was much appreciated.

Positano – Now, this part can probably do some research but our private car service told us to dock at Sorrento instead of Positano since the port is at the bottom of a cliff line, and virtually impossible to get up to the top with 4 bags of luggage which when we were there did seem true. However, the drive from Sorrento to Positano was extremely congested, windy, and took about 1.5 hours. A great logistical move was staying in a hotel outside of the town square given how busy it is with foot traffic and cars. Our hotel ran shuttles anytime you wanted and it was a quick 8-minute ride to town. We did this 3 or 4 times with ease. For our flight out of Naples, we had our driver pick us up at 6 am. The drive was about an hour and was pretty windy but beautiful for a portion of it. Departing Naples was an interesting experience. We were told by a local that it generally takes a while to go through customs which contributes to delays. We got through very easily, however, our flight was delayed by an hour on the tarmac which then contributed to a frantic dash through London Heathrow to make our connecting flight to DFW by about 10 minutes! That’s why we will fly straight to Rome should we have the pleasure of revisiting the Amalfi Coast.

Hotel Rooms We Loved– Belmond Caruso 32, Punta Tragara 51, Il San Pietro 23

Top 5 Favorite Things.

  1. Belmond Caruso Picnic
  2. La Fontelina Beach Club
  3. Dinner at Zass
  4. Franco’s Bar
  5. Exploring Ravello

Regrets.

  1. Cooking Class– Everyone says to Mama Agata {and early!} in Ravello for a cooking class. Being there for a wedding, we didn’t fit it in our schedule, I have heard how amazing it is and would definitely do that next time!
  2. Wine Tasting– A few of our friends did a wine tasting at Palazzo Confalone in Ravello, this was where the rehearsal dinner was. They raved about it!
  3. Rome– I do wish we would have done a direct flight to Rome and seen that area while we were there.

*Boat Tour*

You’ll probably notice we didn’t do a boat tour, which feels a bit sinful to do while visiting this part of Italy. To be honest, I was just nervous about getting sick. Paul said we saw so many wonderful views, why risk ruining an afternoon- and I agreed! I will say San Pietro takes their guests on a larger boat, so after seeing that, I’d do that next time. If you’re a bit nervous like I am, that’s a great option.

What I Wore.

You can shop all my looks {with look-for-less options} at the links below!

Look 1 | Look 2 | Look 3 | Look 4 | Look 5 | Look 6 | Look 7 | Look 8

Favorite Things I Packed:

  • Rothy’s– Paul and I wore our Rothy’s 90% of the trip as we walked miles. These are Paul’s Rothy’s. The great thing is they are machine washable, so you can clean them well when you get home from your travels.
  • Adriana Papell S’HUG– The Amalfi Coast gets chilly in the evening, so I brought 2 wraps with me. The S’HUG can be worn multiple ways so it is perfect for travel.
  • Sissy Light Hat– This is the hat I wore every day there! This poor thing has been through the travel ringer, but she still looks brand new!
  • Free People Camisoles– These camisoles are $20 and I packed two different colors. They worked out so well for travel because I could tuck them in shorts or wear them under sweaters, depending on the weather. In the mornings it would be chilly and then in the afternoons with the sun, it felt so warm. I was nervous while packing but think coastal California weather. You will have a sweater in the morning, but you’ll be warm enough for a tank and shorts in the afternoon. These camis were perfect to pack!
  • Bum Bag– I carried my LV Bum Bag during the day, which was perfect for exploring. If you want a better price point option, this one looks wonderful.
  • Hill House Set– One of my favorite looks was my Hill House set. It’s linen, so you don’t have to worry about wrinkles and was perfect for the weather there.

  • Liner– I use Chanel 05, but that’s an older shade and discontinued. 164 is the perfect dupe!
  • Lipstick– For lipstick, I fill in with Laura Mercier Ruthless. It’s a bit lighter than the liner, but I promise the gloss brings it together.
  • Gloss– My favorite gloss is Too Faced Bossy & Glossy. It brings everything together and stays put even drinking and eating.

Going through each photo and memory, it truly doesn’t seem real we were able to visit such a breathtaking place. At the pool one day a guest said, “Isn’t it just amazing that God gave us the Amalfi Coast?” I couldn’t agree more! We are so thrilled our friends Matt and Laura chose to share such a romantic spot with their wedding with us.

 

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7 Comments

  1. Rhonda Carter wrote:

    Thanks for such a complete review Katey. I am currently planning a trip next year to these places and appreciate all the recommendations. It looks breathtaking! These tips were just what I was hoping for.

    Published 29 May 22Reply
  2. Poonam wrote:

    Your post was filled with so much thought and dreaminess per usual 🙂 I’m excited to hopefully include some of these gems during our trip in a month! xx

    Published 29 May 22Reply
  3. Jovonna Torres wrote:

    Can’t wait to plan our trip! This is so helpful ❤️

    Published 29 May 22Reply
  4. We were supposed to go to Italy for our honeymoon, but the big C nixed that! Now we’re planning for our 5 year anniversary and your post has me dreaming of it even more!

    Published 30 May 22Reply
  5. Lindsey wrote:

    Wow! Looks like a trip of a lifetime. Thank you for all the details and recommendations. This is one part of Italy that I haven’t visited before and dying to go with my husband and two teenage daughters. What length of time were you there overall?

    Published 30 May 22Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Lindsey! We were there 9 days total, with about 2-3 being travel days. xx, Katey

      Published 20 Jun 22Reply
  6. Annaliese wrote:

    Oh my gosh this post was so fun to read! I loved seeing all of your Instagram photos from the trip. What a dream location for your friends to get married in!!
    My mom and I did Italy a few years ago, but we didn’t get to hit any of the spots you did. We were in Rome, Florence and Venice!!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    Published 31 May 22Reply