Archive for May, 2013

Positano’s Budget Luxury: The Spiaggia Grande Beach Club

Positano’s Spiaggia Grande Beach

Editor’s Note: This is the second in my series of posts about Amalfi Coast Beach Clubs. The first post focused on La Fontelina Beach Club on Capri and can be read here.

After checking out La Fontelina Beach Club on Capri, I knew I had to try out the beach club on Positano’s Spiaggia Grande. The Spiaggia Grande Beach Club is located down past the restaurants and public part of the beach and easy to spot by the rows of yellow and orange striped umbrellas.

It’s a budget luxury for upscale Positano– € 10 buys you a chaise lounge and umbrella for the day, and in my case, a cabana boy who looked like a very tan, Italian version of Gérard Depardieu.

I made this cool time lapse using the TimeLapse app my iPhone 5 to give you a better feel for the early-in-the-season vibe.


 

A panorama of  the view from under my umbrella

My overall impression of the Spiaggia Grande Beach Club was that it was not as swanky as La Fontelina, and it lacks the fantastic restaurant experience, but for 10 Euros it was a real bargain and not without it’s own charms. You can order drinks a la carte.

Early in the season at Positano’s Spiaggia Grande Beach Club

If you’re planning a visit to Positano, remember to leave your high heels at home– Positano is notoriously steep and filled with thousands and thousands of stairs.

Like most of the beaches along the Amalfi Coast, Spiaggia Grande is more rocky than sandy

I visited Positano early in the season, so the beach wasn’t much of a scene. But rumor has it this place gets packed at the peak of summer.

Bikini clad girls playing in the blue water of the bay of Positano

I loved these face shades that came with the beach chairs. I’d like those to catch on.

Spiaggia Grande’s Beach Club is easy to access by foot from Positano, so it’s less of a hassle than the beach club options on Capri. And if you get bored staring at the bay of Positano, you can take in views of the stunning architecture right from your beach chair.

I enjoyed my time at the Spiaggia Grande Beach Club and while the scene wasn’t quite as glamorous as Capri’s La Fontelena, I thought it was € 10 well spent and would recommend checking it out.

Spiaggia Grande Beach Club (look for the orange striped umbrellas)

Piazza Flavio Gioia, Positano, Italy


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Living La Dolce Vita at Le Sirenuse in Positano, Italy

Flower-filled terraces and glamorous people in the pool- that’s Le Sirenuse

Housed in what was once the Sersale family’s summer villa in Positano, Le Sirenuse is now one of the Amalfi Coast’s five star hotels and fab place to live large La Dolce Vita style, even if only for a few days.

Guests are given a guide to the property’s antique furniture- much of it with a colorful history

With only 59 rooms and suites, Le Sirenuse is intimate in size and atmosphere, and has an exceptional level of attention to detail. The staff is friendly and warm, and you know you are going to be well looked after from the moment they greet you at reception.

Bold color choices that wouldn’t work anywhere else are some of the details that make this hotel special

My biggest disappointment? The mermaid key fob wasn’t for sale in the hotel’s Emporio Le Sirenuse.

Just one of the hotel’s stunning views

Thoughtful details define the hotel; guests get area guides upon check-in

Le Sirenuse marries old world charm and modern convenience: the outlets are where they need to be, the wifi is easy to use and works by the pool.

Room 54 was large for Positano, with a white living area

Room 54 had vaulted ceilings and a painted tile floor and a flat screen television I never bothered to turn on.

The king size bed was comfy at turndown a delightful additional pillow arrived

John Steinbeck stayed at the hotel in 1954. His article on Positano sits on the nightstand for guests.

I stayed in room 54, which had a small terrace that overlooked the pool and the blue bay of Positano. While the shower was not particularly photogenic, it had some of the best water pressure I’ve ever experienced in Europe.

Double sinks and a shower with some of the best water pressure in Europe

Le Sirenuse smells divine. The bathroom amenities are their own brand of L’Eau d’Italie products which are available for purchase both at the hotel’s on-property boutique or online if you’d like to take a bit of Positano back home with you.

Left: towels with the mermaid motif   Right: Eau d’Italie Bath products

The hotel’s Aveda Concept Spa is unexpectedly sleek and modern, with a sauna and cold plunge pool. The light-filled gym will please the seriously fit– it’s outfitted with the latest equipment and complementary earbuds, should guests forget their own. Hitting the gym helped combat the indulgent meals the Amalfi Coast is famous for.

The plunge pool at the hotel’s gorgeously modern Aveda Concept Spa

Lemon trees by the perfectly heated pool

A view of Postiano from one of the terraces at Le Sirenuse

Room rates include an off-the-hook reakfast buffet, complete with wow factor, that merits it’s own post (stay tuned). Like Positano’s landscape, room rates can be steep, starting at  € 350,00/$452.62 during the low season – € 500,00/$646.60 during the high season.

Le Sirenuse

Via Cristoforo Colombo, 30

84017 Positano

Province of Salerno, Italy

Phone:+39 089 875066
***Much thanks to Antonio Sersale for generously hosting me during my stay Le Sirenuse.***

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You Can Skip It: Capri’s Feast of San Costanzo Parade

The Feast of San Costanzo is celebrated on May 14th

When I found out my recent trip to Capri coincided with the celebration of the feast of San Costanzo (the patron saint of the Italian Island)- the photographer in me got uber-excited. I’ve been to a few San Gennaro festivals and it’s always been a blast, and this time I’d have my cameras!

I shot this Vine video during the San Costanzo Parade

Considering the passionate way Italians live their lives, I thought the parade would have been off-the-hook fun and was prepared for it to be the photographic highlight of my trip to the Amalfi Coast. I was shocked that parade for the feast of San Costanzo turned out be the most depressing parade I’ve ever witnessed.

Celebrate Good Times… uh, not so much!

I understand that this parade is focused on something religious, but I’ve found most religious festivals to be, well, festive.

“girlfriend… this parade sucks!”

Usually little girls love dressing up, so to see this group of them in first communion garb failing to crack so much as a smile was a not only a letdown, but just confusing to my inner child.

This marching band could learn a few things by watching Drumline.

Perhaps I was let down is because I had high expectations. I went to USC, and the USC marching band has been known to perform with Fleetwood Mac from time to time. There did not seem to be a lot of joy involved.

Saxophone Girls on Capri

The parade started at Capri’s Marina Grande and proceeded up a steep hill to the church dedicated to the saint, so there was a bit of exertion involved. But no one seemed to be having much fun.

Clergy that looked like they were extras in The Borgias.

And then there was the clergy.  They looked like they were from central casting from The Borgias or something.

Clergy on Parade

The parade starts at Capri’s Marina Grande

The firecrackers on the beach sounded like gunfire

While I haven’t given up hope on one day attending an authentic Italian festival and taking amazing pictures, the Feast of San Costanzo parade on Capri was not. My advice: you can skip it– or at least you don’t need to go out of your way to attend it.

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A Photo Essay of The Church of Santa Maria Assunta Positano, Italy

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Positano, Italy

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta  has a colorful majolica-tiled dome that is easy visible anywhere in Positano. Known as Chiesa de Santa Maria Assunta in Italian, the church seems to have been originally built the 13th century in the Moorish style of architecture.

The church’s interior is white and gold and rather dark. There is a nave and two side aisles.

The church’s high alter  has a rare Byzantine Black Madonna icon above it dating from the 13th century

A side view of the Church as seen from one of Positano’s many staircases

A view of the The church’s iconic domed roof as seen from the pool patio of Positano’s  Le Sirenuse hotel

The church’s colorful tiled roof provides a nice visual contrast to the cliffside architecture so typical of Positano.

Evening view of the church of Santa Maria Assunta

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta

Address:
Piazza Flavio Gioi
Hours:
8am-noon &3.30-7pm

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La Fontelina Beach Club & Restaurant Capri, Italy

Arriving at  La Fontelina Beach Club by Water Taxi

Of all the things to do in Capri, spending a day (or at least a few hours for lunch) at La Fontelina Beach Club & Restaurant is one that I would strongly recommend to anyone visiting the island. Located on a rocky shore opposite the Faraglioni, the beach is rocky but offers a fun in the sun scene for Italians and visitors during the season.

The Rocky Shores of La Fontelina Beach Club

Like almost everything on Capri that caters to guests, La Fontelina is open only during the season from mid-April to Mid-October.

Umbrellas and Chairs on the Beach

Beach goers pay 20 Euros for access to the changing facilities and use of the shower and striped deck chair. For 10 more Euros you can get an umbrella and a towel will set you back 6 Euros. But once you’re there you can kick back and enjoy the gorgeous rocky scenery and Capri’s beach scene. This being Italy, many beachgoers  choose to go topless.

Water Taxis Come and Go at the Dock

You can reach the beach club via a long and rocky staircase that starts from the Tragara viewing point before descending 900 rocky feet. Or you can arrive by water taxi, as I did, taking a few minutes to tour Capri’s nearby white grotto and green grotto along the way.

In addition to the beach, La Fontelina Restaurant is one of the best on Capri

While La Fontelina is a no-brainer for those who love to hang out in the sun, having lunch at the La Fontelina restaurant was one of the culinary highlights of my trip.

Left: Grilled Octopus with lemon Right: Caprese Salad

The restaurant serves the freshest fish and seafood in town under the shade of a thatched roof above the rocky shores filled with sunbathers.

The catch of the day at La Fontelina was fresh grilled and delicious

Service was great and it’s all about the fresh seafood here. The grilled octopus was delicious and the spaghetti pomodoro was simple and perfect. The restaurant is known for their white sangria, but I passed stuck to Coke Light, which for some reason paired wonderfully with the sea air and sunshine.

Left: Simple and delicious spaghetti pomodoro Right: Coke Light tasted good with the beach cuisine

Anchor Ink on the beach

La Fontelina Beach Club & Restaurant is a great place to spend an unforgettable day and have a great meal on the island of Capri. Be sure to bring your own sunscreen, I did not see any for sale. The restaurant and beach club accept credit cards and is open from 9 am to 7 pm (weather permitting).

La Fontelina Beach Club & Restaurant

Località Faraglioni 80073 Capri (NA) ITALY

Tel. +39 081 8370845 +39 081 837 4642

info@fontelina-capri.com

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