Italian Summer Part Two: The Amalfi Coast

I am well aware that the Amalfi Coast needs zero introduction, by virtue of the views and birds-eye pasta spreads that have almost certainly been dominating your Instagram feed (if your 'following' list resembles mine in any manner). After a, frankly, anxiety-maxing drive to our Airbnb in Ravello (click here for some money off your first stay if you're planning your next getaway), we were rewarded over the following couple of days with the best spaghetti vongole of our lives, a caprese salad overdose and postcard worthy townscapes that my photos below, nor even Emily Ratajkowski's vacation photos cannot fully do justice (it is really that beautiful over there). 

Driving from Puglia to Ravello. 

On our first night we dined at Hotel Villa Maria after seeing some great reviews online- the food ended up being disappointing but it was still a damn pretty place to eat at. 

Villa Cimbrone. 

Dress is from Bimba Y Lola. 

Mornings at our Airbnb. My favourite part of the listing, other than the host's cat who could come by, were the rows of lemon trees (amongst other fruits) out front that our host let us pick from at our leisure. Amalfi lemons are huge, and not actually very sour but aromatic in a lovely way- for breakfast I'd have toast with honey and lemon juice on top and it was delicious. 

I'm so glad we chose Ravello as our home base on the coast (as opposed to Positano or Amalfi), as it felt more quiet and less touristic. If you enjoy classical music, Ravello is famous for their concerts as the artistic hub of the Amalfi Coast (we heard orchestras practicing as we walked home in the moonlight (see below), which was almost too perfect given the rustic romanticism of the place.  I don't have any great photos of the meal, but Mimi's Pizzeria was an amazing dinner spot in the town. 

There was also the cool Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer around the corner from our place.

Sunseekers at Amalfi. 

An important note: If you're travelling to and around the coast, I'd recommend doing it on Vespa- some of the roads are very narrow and the experience is not for the faint of heart given you will be sharing them with some large (travel bus large, I kid you not) and fast vehicles. There's also a bus that stops at the various destinations but the trip back at the end of the day is a pain, when most people return back to their accommodation at around the same time and it took a few busses before we managed to squeeze on one.

For one of our lunches, we caught at boat at Amalfi and ate at Da Teresa, which hides in a secluded cove and has its own spread of umbrellas and deck chairs for you to better digest the aforementioned best spaghetti vongole ever post-meal. Try and eat earlier so you have a better chance of snagging a chair/umbrella afterwards. 

Positano. On our last day on the coast, I booked us spots on a shared boat tour to Capri via Positano Boats- I would highly recommend this for anyone looking to island hop/ hop in the ocean but sans private yacht at your disposal (a problem I share), and the group wasn't very large so we still had a bit of privacy. 

These steps were a pain to climb up at the end of the day, but beautiful nonetheless. 

We spent only a few hours on Capri, but had another amazing meal at Pullali wine bar, which sits in the clock tower thankfully secluded from the tourist-heavy Piazza Umberto I. Though Da Teresa's spaghetti vongole was amazing, we had the undisputed best pasta of the entire trip (!) here, and it was the zucchini spaghetti...just thinking about it is making me melt. If you're going solo/ in a pair, book ahead and request the balcony table. 

Suit from Her the Label

Next chapter will be on Naples. Thanks for tuning in xx


Don't Forget to Stretch

Before you go to the ball and dance the night away, don't forget to stretch. 

Shot at home by my dad, in a Chanel dress (thank you Olga!). 
Lipstick: Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur in No 5 Rouge


Italian Summer Part One: Puglia

My family and I ate/drank our way through the southern half of Italy for two weeks in July, and I've been so excited to share our photos from the trip. Over the course of 14 days, we (meaning my dad- I was in charge of the glamorous Google Maps navigation post) drove from Puglia (in the south of Italy) to the Amalfi Coast, up to Naples and eventually Tivoli before a final 6 day sojourn in Rome.  Every region we saw was magical in its own way, but Puglia will always occupy a special cubby-hole in my memory (which I will return to, most likely via the smell of good olive oil and/ or salty post-swim wet-bottomed car rides). The locals there were warm and charming, fellow-tourist-sightings sparse, and I can't wait to return. Some of you may recognise these photos from my Instagram feed- I couldn't stop myself from posting a few rather than waiting to compile them into a post. If you are planning to visit and have any questions about our trip I would be happy to answer them in the comments section. 

We rented a car from Hertz, which was picked up at Brindisi airport. We were warned about driving in Italy but welcomed the challenge- more will be said about this in upcoming posts (*coughs* Naples) but driving in Puglia was pretty manageable as it was freeway-heavy. 

We stayed at Masseria Valente- Puglia is littered with masserias, farm + guest houses that often make their own olive oil and/ or grow produce which you can then taste in the restaurant. I originally wanted to stay in either Masseria il Frontoio (where we dined one night, see below) or Masseria Moroseta (the dream) but both were fully booked for the appropriate rooms. We were still very happy with our stay and loved lounging at the pool, and the big breakfasts of ricotta on toast and excellent espresso. 

On our first night we had one of the most memorable meals at Il Principe del Mare Ristoro, and undoubtedly some of the best seafood of my life. Order everything- its not very glamorous with plastic plates and cups but we loved the mussels, tuna, sea urchin....the waiters didn't speak much english but we just pointed at what other people were eating and they got the picture. Most of the restaurants we went to either didn't have a menu, or it wasn't in English- this didn't matter as people were very friendly and happy to help/ recommend dishes. Also, the view didn't suck :-) 

We drove from the Masseria to Bagno Marino Archi for a day of swimming. You pay for a chair for the day and there's a restaurant with great pizzas, which we bought and shared with the locals lounging in front of us as they had treated us to cornettos and beers. The water was perfect and so, so clear. I would go back to Puglia just to swim here again. 

This bag from Abaca was my best friend during our southern adventures- it fits everything and looks cute. My bikini is COS, the bandeau is Nanushka and sandals are from Ancient Greek Sandals. 

After swimming, we explored the sleepy and charming Tricase before having our aperitivo at Farmacia Balboa- a great cocktail bar housed inside an old pharmacy. It was recommended by Ilona Hamer in an interview about her trip to Puglia and I'm so glad we went. 

Another amazing meal at Masseria Nonno Tore, which was very near Farmacia Balboa. Something we were pleasantly surprised by whilst dining at the masserias is that you don't receive a menu or choose your dishes a la carte- the staff bring out dishes made from the fresh produce to be shared, from the antipasti to the primi (pasta) and main courses plus dessert, so all the tables have the same plates (and often, the same wines). This masseria in particular grows most of its produce, including making their own bread and pasta. It was a lot of food but none of the meals we had in Puglia were particularly expensive, though it may be worth speaking to someone when you reserve a table if you have any allergies/ intolerances. 

We spent a day exploring Ostuni, a town near our masseria. It's very beautiful, and we had our first of many gelato breaks whilst taking a time-out from the heat. I don't usually buy a lot of souvenirs but some stores here sell leather sandals of a great quality and reasonable price, which we found were better made than those sold at our other stops in Italy and quite a bit cheaper. 

Another masseria meal at Masseria il Frontoio- a bit fancier than our other meals in Puglia but worth it even for the idyllic location alone. You also get a tour of the masseria and olive oil production in the basement before your meal. 

That's it for the first leg of our road trip- stay tuned for photos from the Amalfi Coast.