Toccata and Fugue

The best way to visit the Amalfi coast

( To see a photo summary click here )

Is this a musical visit? No -Toccata e fuga - “hit and run”, meaning see it and leave. We have had 2 visits in the space of a month, the first, at the end of March, a disaster in Sorrento, which we found to be so congested with traffic that we cannot conceive how tourists manage in high season. The accommodation, booked through a large and theoretically reputable firm, was a disgrace. The heating switched on as we arrived, failed miserably to make any impact on the dank humidity and there was no hot water. Paint and plaster peeling from the walls under the colonies of mould were a far cry from the delightful photos on the web site, taken, presumably, around 10 years ago for an interior design magazine. There were other major safety hazards (car access and unsafe stairs) but we found a much better way to visit the Amalfi coast. Stay in Cilento. Where?

The Cilento coast is south of the Amalfi coast, the strip that runs North - South. We stayed in Agropoli, in a delightful apartment run by Raffaele (formerly There is a choice of 6 apartments of various sizes, with the photographs of accommodation accurately reflecting a high standard of care and comfort. The hospitality that he provides is courteous, generous and efficient. Very highly recommended

From this base, we explored the area every day for a week and came home exhausted, ready for another holiday - in the same place! Next month! We’re booked.

There are beautiful harbours down the coast as far as Palinuro, San Marco, S. Maria Castellabate, Scario, to mention a few of many. Paestum, with 3 Greek temples dating back to 470BC-550BC is a joy, and the museum across the road from the excavation site, is incredible. Traveling inland through the mountain ranges of the Cilento and Diano national Park is spectacular.

So, what about the Amalfi coast? Yeah, it’s there. It’s gorgeous, but totally ruined by people. Hordes of them. Tiny towns perched precariously on cliff sides, stunning scenery. A photographer feels like Tantalus in Hades. Impossible to photograph without getting knocked over by the juggernaut tourist buses that thunder past. (Traffic is actually stopped by volunteer traffic supervisors using walkie talkies, as a bus on some of the roads blocks all traffic for about 20 minutes). Ross parked somewhere / wherever, I would run back, try to set up the tripod, so that one leg didn’t get carted off by the traffic, etc etc. Not a great way to enjoy the scenery or work at the photography. We emerged from our forays into the Amalfi area, feeling that we had survived a war zone. Again, note that this was in April. What can it be like in high season? But, if you want to do it, it’s there, and our preference is to stay in Raffaele’s charming apartment in Agropoli and drive an hour to the Amalfi coast, rather than sit for an hour in Sorrento traffic, going nowhere. It is also an hour and 15 minutes to Pompeii and Naples,

So, best visit to Amalfi? Toccata e fuga from Agropoli. Can’t wait to go back.

Toccata and Fugue - part 2

Yes, we did go back to Agropoli, and had another wonderful week: we drove along the Amalfi coast to admire the views and dodge the traffic -same comments as last time still apply, but maybe we are becoming hardened to the difficulties and certainly appreciated the beauty. However, there is a claustrophobic feeling -we drove all through Positano without finding a parking place, so it really was a Toccata and Fuga. The road across the Cilento region from Roccadaspide to Atena Lucana is absolutely stunning, devoid of traffic, and the icing on the cake is the Certosa of Padula at the end of it. A return visit to Paestum, plus discovering Herculaneum, Mount Vesuvius and Naples were also part of the week’s busy schedule. Naples is extraordinarily dirty, but the history and art make it well worth a visit. We were warned repeatedly about safety issues. Not sure whether removing all jewellery and valuables (except for the camera, which is simply an extension of me) kept us safe, or the escort of our Doberman was the answer…. Another wonderful visit to our “ home from home”, and now we are enjoying planning the next one.

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Recent Activities
Design work of Photoempt
Other Montecastello Activities

Related Links
Sagrantino Trail/La Strada di Sagrantino
Corpus Domini 2006 in Orvieto
Corsa dei Carretti
Dolce Gara 2006
Medieval Weddings in Monte
Castello di Vibeo / Matrimoni medievali a Monte Castello di Vibio

Related Websites
Capoccia this web site was done for the contractors who reconstructed our house in Umbria.

Questo sito web era fatto per l’Impresa Capoccia, che ha fatto il lavoro dell’ricostruzione della nostra casa in Umbria.

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