25 Aug 2020

Heaven Must Be Close To The Amalfi Coast

Heaven Must Be Close To The Amalfi Coast on vickiarcher.com

I’m no Slim Aarons but it’s easy to be inspired.

Glorious Amalfi is alive and well after months of closures and uncertainty. This glistening jewel is awake and treating her visitors with love and lavished attention. The narrow roads snaking around the hillsides are quieter and the cobalt seas free from lingering cruise ships. Visitors are in the majority Italian with an occasional smattering of French or German to be heard. We are so fortunate in Europe to be able to travel to various countries relatively easily and safely. We took advantage and spent a few precious days in Amalfi last week.

They have become treasured.

Those languid lazy days of sunshine and relaxation we once took so for granted; I did. Living with Europe on the doorstep made me like that – I can’t deny – travelling was easy and accessible. A long weekend or a mini-break here and there was the norm. Now, all that feels very different and I have never before appreciated a break in the same way.

There is something about Italy and the Italians that nurtures and welcomes like no other country. It can be shambolic and especially if we compare it to the formality and structure of France but that is really the charm. It’s different.

And isn’t that the beauty? And who needs to choose? There is certainly enough fabulousness to go around.

Let’s talk about the food?

I didn’t refrain and yet the freshness and simplicity of the summer cuisine didn’t feel heavy or over calorific. Juicy fat figs from the garden, the sweetest sun-ripened tomatoes, mozzarellas and fat-leaved arugula were in abundance. Not to mention the sweetness of the lemons. There is nothing quite like an Italian lemon granita. Yes, there were pastries – Sfogliatelle – being my absolute favourites and a symbol of the city of Naples. Note the plurals; I never stopped at one.

Since the lockdown earlier this year I have been cooking mainly Italian inspired cuisine. I find it the easiest and on a regular basis what we enjoy the most. Skye McAlpine’s, A Table In Venice has been one of my reference books since it was first published. Now she has a divine new offering, A Table For Friends, which is my brand new go-to. Her recipes are delicious and most importantly for me, I can follow them. The books are a gorgeous read and quite transporting so even if cooking is not your idea of a fun pastime, the escape through the pages is. I read yesterday (I can’t remember where) how cookbooks should be read like novels. Skye’s certainly could be.

The break, even a few days was so luxurious.

Not in the way we normally think of luxury but in simple ways. Swimming in the sea, laying in the sun and turning the pages of a best seller. The last few months have been so tough on all of us, some physically and all emotionally. Nobody can be exempt from the changing world events and having the privilege of taking a moment “out” – away from reality and my overactive mind – was truly heaven.

An escape can’t last forever but we can at the very least feast the imagination with armchair travel, a good cookbook, a beautiful table and a scrumptious meal. xv

Be Transported

cannaregio platter  ||  cannaregio pitcher ||  **desert plate ||  stemless wine glass  ||  leona placemats  ||  adia napkins

Be Inspired

a table for friends || a table in venice

Dress The Part

ruffle trim midi  ||  full sleeve pleated midi  ||  floral ruched neck  ||  smocked balloon sleeve  ||  vera floral print

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Vicki, I purchased a Table for Friends a while back and adore it and yes I read as a novel and have it at the side of the bed like a good romance or thriller book which of course turning the pages of Skye Mcalpine’s recipe books are!! We’ve just been out for a superb lunch in Mollégès (I’m sure you will have visited this place) and yes the simple things are luxurious – superb food, exquisite wine, relaxing atmosphere, cooling environment and the most wonderful company and it is only lunch! Now for something more luxurious a comfortable sun lounger, my excellent Carol Drinkwater novel, a quick change into my bikini and a gentle read until a drift off into a sleep for a while. Simple things are the most luxurious ever. Have a fabulous relaxing afternoon. x


I think I know exactly where you were and I am very happy with the picture you paint… Enjoy the afternoon … I hope to be there soon… :)

Linda B

What a lovely sounding holiday! I am so happy for you to have had that trip. Thanks for sharing.

Here in the States, travel is more up in the air, though people are doing it. A couple who are very close friends of ours are currently biking from Minneapolis to Maine, staying in hotels and sometimes with friends and family. That is working well for them, though to me it seems full of risk, given the less than contained pandemic in our country. My husband and I made a beeline drive from Arizona to Oregon at the end of July for a two month sojourn in just one spot– living in an apartment very near to to our sweet little granddaughter and her parents. We did this last summer too, but took many fun side trips around the state. Now those seem ill-advised, so we are staying put. I so want the United States to get its act together so we can, like you, resume more regular living! For now, we are getting vicarious pleasure from reading accounts of trips like yours, and reading cookbooks! And of course, playing with our lively little toddler!


Better to stay put when things are uncertain, Linda. And time with your little granddaugter…. heaven… that will be me, later this week and I can’t wait :)


Truly glorious Anne.. I am desperate to return and I just got back!! I mustn’t be greedy … :)

Michelle à Détroit

One of my favorite places in the world. I remember getting caught in a torrential, but mercifully quick downpour while hiking up through the lemon groves from Amalfi to Pogerola. Thoroughly drenched and shivering, I was met at the top by a goat and a very kind cafe owner who offered me my first taste of homemade Limoncello.

I wonder if La Fontelina in Capri is still thriving? It was heaven on Earth.


Very much so… we were there last year and it is still a fabulous place to go:) It’s open this year although like everywhere else, quieter.


although living in South of Spain, footsteps from the Mediterranean sea, it always attracts me to go to Italy. Be it the Piemont or the beautiful island of Capri or the cities
and not only because of the beautiful landscape, yes it is also the food. All so different to Spain, while I call latter a drum and Italy a cello. If I wouldn’t “walled in” with too
many cook books already, I would be buy “a table for friends”


I love that Rena… Italy a cello :0
I don’t know Spain well enough but when I can I want to explore..


“A Table for Friends” is a vacation in an of itself. Such a beautiful book. Delighted to hear you escaped for a few days to Amalfi. A friend and I were talking about what “the new luxuries” will be in this redefined world we find ourselves in, and for me it is anything that resembles a slice of normality. xoxo, Brenda


So true, Brenda.
I do hope you can come to London next year… so much to talk about… I don’t think I know what my “normal” is anymore! :)


Hi Vicki:-)
There is something sooo special about Italy and the Itialians.
This article brought back a wonderful memory of when my husband and I were traveling on a bus working our way down the Almafi coast heading to Sorrento. Next thing we knew we were in Naples circling a square in the middle of the city several times in stop and go traffic and did not understand what was going on. The bus driver played opera music to entertain us. Finally, we made a stop when a beautiful girl got on the bus (she had been sitting in the front). Did not know she got off. Later found out this was the bus drivers girlfriend and she had to go to the WC…haha…only in Italy. We got to see a little of Naples and did make it to Sorrento;)
I too like cookbooks that explain regional cooking, easy to follow recipes and fun stories. So glad you are able to travel and enjoy some time off Vicki.


Thank you Jeanne for this sweet, sweet anecdote… and as you say… only in Italy! :)


I thought that I recognized Amalfi. The color of the sea! I wish I could go back and just walk and look! Such good memories


The colours are absolutely incredible… everyday I just looked out at the view and tried to memorise so much so that now back home I can recall every beautiful second.


I think the French & Italian Rivieras are the most beautiful part of the world…so yes, heaven must be very close to this region! Thank you for the gorgeous photo so that we can share and pretend! Also for the hotel tip…always good to learn about a new one.
Hopefully a vaccine is not far off because I am desperate for my annual “French fix” …

roger clark

Want to spend two weeks amalfi coast like in hotels shown on your picture.
Want only these like of views going on Sept 2021 where to stay like hotel Porto roca in cinque Terre, maybe 3chotels on the water

Claudia Tong

we were in amalfi coast on 2019
I want to go back I’m looking forward to visit more places and drink great wines
and ofcourse amazing food


Amazing food!! I wake up every morning and imagine those pastries… ha ha.. not helping ;)


Good morning Vicki! I am late to all the blog posts on my list but I am here and enjoying every description of this glorious place. I’ve never been to this region but I did have the opportunity to stay in Cinque Terra and that for me was a luxury. The food, the pace, the beauty of the sea – everything felt centuries slower when we boarded our train from Nice, France and the closer we got to Italy, even the train slowed down.

How lovely that you get to travel still under the circumstances. We are still at home, dreaming of the day we can fly across the pond once again.

Karina Ibrahi

So so lovely! I just moved near Naples and being so close to this paradise is almost surreal. I really love what you said about luxury not necessarily being in the sense that we usually think of: its the simpler pleasures where we can enjoy a good meal with friends, beautiful views, even how the breeze feels on a hot day! Everything about this area just makes you appreciate and value things that you take for granted and Italians really do understand it best. You dont need the fanciest swimsuit or the coolest sunglasses – we are all there to just simply “be”.

Deborah Peterson Milne

When I close my eyes, this is where I dream of. For someone who is all about a ‘visual’ & culinary experience, this truly is my heaven. Thank you for sharing Vicki!! xx


No travel possible yet – couldn’t even get home to Devon as planned this year – but have made reservations for next year so things had better be up and running by then!!!
Italy is awesome – hope to return again some day.
Stay safe and be well dear Vicki.


I am sure they will Mary … fingers crossed. Devon is one of my favourite, favourite places in England :)

Jacki F.

OMG. So envious but so grateful you shared your travels with us. Italy has been a second home for us for the last 20 years of so. I was heartbroken this past spring as I had to cancel my trip for Easter to Basilicata. And no telling when I will be able to travel again to Europe at this rate. The Amalfi coast is truly a slice of heaven on earth, rivaled only by the lake region up north. I am surrounded by memories of our trips there, since we had plenty of beautiful ceramiche shipped–dishes, outdoor table & bench, wall plaque and a large framed mirror. All of these I cherish and have lived with me in 3 different houses. They all make me smile daily. I had to laugh when you mentioned sfogliatelle! Since we can’t go to Italy we are doing the next best thing this Saturday–going to dinner at one of Fabio Trabocchi’s restaurants—Sfoglina, here in DC! I look forward to better times.


Enjoy your dinner .. and collections from our travels are such wonderful memory makers… I am sure your restaurant is the next best thing:)


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