Italy’s Amalfi coast is a stunning series of cliffside villages. When Nicole Cotroneo recently decided to spend a week there, she chose to rent a villa in the small town of Praiano. She did get more exercise than she bargained for, since the town has a vertical landscape connected by staircases, but she also felt more a part of the local village than she would have in the more touristed destinations of Amalfi and Positano. She wrote about her experiences for the Washington Post travel section.
I ended up in Praiano for two reasons. I wanted to be in a town away from tourists, where I could experience town life by living it instead of watching it; and I wanted to cook. I had been traveling through southern Italy for two months, a journey that was nearing its end, and I wanted a winding-down period after all the moving around — and a celebration of all the good food I’d eaten along the way…
My kitchen was small, with a gas stovetop, an electric-blue refrigerator with matching toaster oven and, happily, a dishwasher. The rest of the villa far exceeded my expectations…The bedroom’s French doors open to a flagstone patio, where we drank espresso in the morning under the shade of an olive tree.
Terra cotta stairs lead to the private terrace roof with its flowered pergola, chaise longues and an outdoor shower to cool our bronzing skin…The mountain sloped below us. We could see the cathedral and a stone watchtower where the land dropped off into the sea. Capri peeked out from behind the Sorrento peninsula. To our right, across the bay, was Positano’s picturesque jumble, changing color in the shifting light as the sun rose from behind Capo Sottile, arced across the sea and sank behind the bluffs.
Silence reigned, except for the sound of church bells or the slapping of a speedboat far below. Sometimes, around lunchtime, we could hear the clinking forks and muffled voices of a family in a house above us.
The Post’s Sunday travel section also includes a sidebar on how to rent an Amalfi coast villa.