Sometimes you need to get away — far away. For a vacation that truly achieves what it should (exploration, rest, indulgence), visit the Amalfi Coast — using the island of Capri as home base. We scoured Southern Italy for the best, newest offerings. Flush with food, beaches, boats, and vineyards (we could go on), it’s just what the doctor ordered.
For rooms with insane views of the Bay of Naples (not to mention impeccable, nautical-inspired design), shack up at J.K. Place Capri. The island’s newest five-star restoration is boutique beauty Villa Marina. Go all out and pick a ritzy yacht or helicopter to explore (ah, decisions, decisions). Or live like a local (and save a few euros) and rent a villa or an apartment at Holiday House in Italy.
Experiencing the coast by sea is a must — and hiring a boat for the day won’t break the bank. Amalfi Yachting Charter can customize your itinerary: Sip regional wines; swim in hidden grottoes; dine seaside in family restaurants accessible only by water.
Burn off your bucatini and hike the Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods) via the town of Nocelle. The serene, tourist-free route allows you to dip into villages along the way. Discover everything from phoneless restaurants with rare bottles of wine and hunks of homemade cheese to abandoned churches, vineyards, and lemon groves.
When night falls, head to the open-air auditorium in the gardens of medieval Villa Rufolo. Sit under the stars, listen to a famed symphony (part of the ongoing Ravello Concert Society), and breathe.
Think of gaining a few pounds as a victory — food this good is hard to pass up. Start with a poolside lunch of fresh oysters from the raw bar at Le Sirenuse (Via C. Colombo 30; +39-08-987-5066). At dinnertime, go big at Rendez-Vous, Capri’s new kid on the block. Located in the Grand Hotel Quisisana, the restaurant has a stellar wine list and seasonal fare like risotto with prawns and warm Catalan lobster. Capri’s (Via Roma 38; +39-081-837-7108), another newbie, is lower key but doesn’t skimp on views. Bask on the terrace overlooking the bay and nibble on wood-fired pizzas and fresh catch. Positano’s Next 2 has a modern, designy vibe and dishes using ingredients plucked straight from the chef’s garden.
Ditch the kitsch memorabilia; invest in a skill instead. Chef Mamma Agata has cooked for the likes of Jackie O. Today she teaches authentic Italian cooking in an outdoor kitchen at her charming hilltop home. Pick veggies from her garden and feast on meat from her own free-range chickens, turkeys, and rabbits.
If you must shop, visit Camo (Piazza Duomo 9; +39-08-985-7461), a coral and cameo boutique in Ravello where Mr. Camo himself does the carving. Ravello’s newest shop, Boutique Carla (Via Trinità 14), sells home accents like Missoni throws. Which should help make things cozier on the only downside of the trip: the flight home.
Photos: Sarah Purdue, Courtesy of J.K. Place Capri
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