Amalfi attractions found in 5 minor flaws
Amalfi stands out as one of the most magnificent tourist destinations in Italy. Here’s a presentations of 5 minor flaws that represent the real Amalfi attractions to me.
– Amalfi is sooo beautiful, they say and sigh longingly, and I don’t disagree. Some places in Italy are postcard perfect with terraced vineyards, fragrant orange and lemon groves, long windy roads, snug harbours, nice cafes behind the old city gates, rugged coastlines with secret sandy coves, a magnificent crystalline sea and a profusion of exuberantly coloured flowers. You almost have to avert you eyes not to get blinded by so much beauty. So that’s what I do, while I try to find five differences that confirm I have not been swallowed by a coffee table book.
A cacophony of languages
The first one is easy: brochures promise room for contemplation, tranquillity and peace of mind, but the reality of Amalfi in the height of the summer season is loud and boisterous.
Like all truly great tourist sites, Amalfi attracts crowds of visitors, and as the old town is hemmed in by mountains and sea all the people are crammed into a limited space, making the cafés around the fountain of Sant’Andrea sound like Babylon with whispered conversations and orders being placed in a cacophony of languages.
Imperfect colour schemes
Splashes of colour disturb the visual zen. If you sit down on the steps in front of the cathedral for 10 minutes, you’ll see the latest fashion in shorts, legs and sandals from Russia, USA, Japan, Poland and Australia walk by.
A fascinating sight that sometimes clashes with white washed walls and the pink and purple flowers of the bougainvillea.
When you get bored with the view
Sipping limoncello and enjoying the view seem to be the main attractions of Amalfi, but just when you start to look for the coin slot that will shake up the place a bit, you’ll find a number of modest but appealing entertainment offers.
I’m thinking of the relics of Saint Andrew from whose bones manna has been said to ooze. The ancient paper mill that according to the Museo della Carte was among the first in Europe. The magnificent Chiostro del Paradiso with white columns and pointed arches that look like a whale skeleton. A picturesque walk through the Valley of Mills. And the vaulted arsenal hosting a variety of changing exhibitions
The shops are not the streamlined exclusive brand stores I’d expect to find at a high society holiday spot. This is not the place to stock up on or drool over Armani, Versace or Dolce & Gabbana. In fact, the best bargains are for ceramic lemon fridge magnets, key rings, baseball caps, dish towels, printed t-shirts made in China, and thick homemade limoncello.
This may be one of Europe’s most breathtaking tourist destinations, but it is still south Italy.
There will be cloudy days
I have lived with the delusion that the Sorrento peninsula was bathed in eternal sunshine, but sometimes, especially in spring and autumn, the magnificent views are hidden below dark, misty clouds and it may even rain.
To me this is not a spoil joy – though it has ruined some nice photos – but part of the dichotomy that makes a ray of sunshine breaking through and lightening up the deep blue sky and aquamarine sea all the more magnificent.
After all, too much perfection can get pretty boring, so I’m glad Amalfi has got a few minor flaws. Or what do you think?