Some towns are relegated to perennial “day trip” status — visitors always just zip in and zip out, rarely spending the night. On this trip, I made a point to spend a couple of nights in the town of Amalfi, the namesake of the famous Amalfi Coast and a fine little town in its own right. And sure enough, it’s an entirely different (and more appealing) place after all of the side-trippers have gone home. Below are some pictures showing this famous, yet underrated, town…after hours.
Amalfi’s main square — at the foot of its cathedral steps — is a pure delight, particularly in the twilight.
After all of the day-trippers have retreated to Sorrento and Naples, the town’s pulse slows. The most venerable pastry shop in town, Andrea Pansa, is a favorite sundown hangout.
Having a whole day in Amalfi gave me the chance to explore. Mid-day, when the town was jammed, I hiked across the hills to the next town over, tranquil Altrani — an undiscovered gem that most tourists only get an enticing, fleeting glimpse of from the bus up to Ravello.
I’ve stayed in probably hundreds of hotels in Europe. But my Amalfi hotel room may have been the smallest I’ve ever seen (pictured here full size). To get between the bed and the postage-stamp bathroom, I had to shimmy around the desk (which was effectively just a big shelf…there’s no way you could fit a chair in front of it). But you know what? It was a great stay: comfortable bed, strong Wi-Fi, and a huge window that let in the sounds of neighborhood Amalfi…until I wanted to shut them out.
In Italian churches, you see a lot of “please cover your shoulders and knees” signs. But I’ve never seen one quite as weirdly moralistic (or as passive-aggressive) as this one, at Amalfi’s cathedral. For God’s sake, have some dignity!