Notes on driving on the Costiera d’Amalfi.
The roads are narrow but, in comparison to Irish roads, well-signposted. Many country roads have high stone kerbs, prone to scuff wheel trims if you get too close.
The Italians are brisk drivers and they have a low tolerance of bumbling tourists. That’s their problem and you should condition yourself to ignore the cacophany of horns behind you. It goes without saying that you should keep a sharp lookout through the driving mirror and both wing mirrors.
A single beep from astern is invariably a scooter rider warning that he (or she) is about to overtake.
If you have never owned an Italian car you may be surprised by the lack of flexibility in 2nd gear (2nd, 3rd and 4th are very close ratios). You will frequently find yourself having to select 1st on hills.
Finally, the world and his wife travels the hyper-crowded coast road on Sundays. Leave the car parked up and use the day to chill.
Ten things you should eat, drink or do
1.Drink local wine. It’s excellent, particularly the red, so why pay twice the price for Tuscan chianti? Reliable producers include Marisa Cuomo, Apicella, Reale and Sammarco.
2.Buy ceramics. Campania plates are a Mediterranean icon and their cheerful patterns will sustain your happy memories through next winter.
3.Sip limoncello, the local aperitivo, based on the aromatic sfusato lemons of the region. There is a small factory in Ravello where you can try before you buy.
4.Look out for Syrenum by Sorrentolio – a distinctive olive oil made from a single cultivar, very much ‘of the region’.
5.Eat pastries, granita or sweetmeats and drink the best cappuccino in town while people-gazing at Pasticerria Andrea Panzi 1830 in Amalfi.
6.Enjoy the classic simplicity of pizza Margherita in its homeland. Originally conceived for the Queen of Italy, in the colours of the Italian flag – tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
7.The clams of the Costiera are the sweetest and most flavoursome in the world.
8.If you see huge, winkly, cracked tomatoes for sale, buy them. They are a delicacy, prized for their exuberant flavour.
9.Fjords make you think of Norway. There’s one here too, at the small, scenic village of Furore, a ‘must visit’.
10.Visit Pompeii on the way down or back.
Hotel Poseidon, Positano Tel: +39 089 811111 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.hotelposeidonpositano.it
Hotel Villa Maria, Ravello Tel. +39 089 857255 Eemail@example.com Web: www.villamaria.it
Hotel Santa Caterina, Amalfi Tel: +39 089 871012 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.hotelsantacaterina.it