Just let that sink in. Amalfi; the word itself evokes an excitement that comes only with the anticipation of a glamorous, coastal holiday. Close your eyes and imagine the expanse of blue ocean, sparkling under craggy cliffs that act as ancient diving boards. You can practically feel the breeze caress the back of your neck, sending tremours through your body until the tiny, sea-salt crusted hairs on your arms raise in salute.
Yes, it truly is the most magical place in the world. No wonder so many people speak of it as the perfect honeymoon destination – and for us, it quite literally was. We spent four days on the Amalfi Coast during our honeymoon in September 2012. Smack bang in the middle of shoulder season, we enjoyed cheaper prices while the Mediterranean sun was still sultry enough to wear little summer dresses and big holiday sunglasses.
What I’ve described below are the places and experiences that made it so special for us – as well as our top tips to ensure you create your own, perfect Amalfi story. Enjoy!
Rome has long been the center of the Christian church, but before that, it was a pulsating hub of pagan worship. The few temples and relics that were spared from Christian marauders were must-visits for our trip to Rome: the Temple of Vesta, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon.
The ancient, pagan Roman deity “Ocean” is the centerpiece for the Trevi Fountain.
I’m not a deeply religious person. I know that there is definitely something out there, but I don’t have a name for it. At the very least, I celebrate the Hindu festivals that my parents taught me as a child, and will pass on the traditions and legends to my children, but I don’t feel any inherent fear of an invisible deity, nor do I believe in any Christian denomination mythology.
All the same, I found myself at the center of Christian Religion, at the Vatican City in Rome. My husband and I were dubious about going at first – with only two days in Rome we were strapped for time (we had originally planned for three days, but after giving Florence a second chance, and then an extended adventure through Tuscany, we sadly ended up losing a day in Rome). But I’m glad we spared a morning for the Vatican. If you – as an Agnostic, Athiest, or Non-Christian – can ignore the mundane collection of repetitive Christian art, there is enough on offer to intrigue even the most staunch of heathens!
We hadn’t planned on visiting the Keats-Shelley Memorial House. In fact, it was a complete accident that we stumbled upon it as we approached the Spanish Steps (where every other tourist in Rome seemed to be going that day!). Housing a treasure greater than a pile of old stones, I couldn’t believe my luck when I first saw the sign hanging next to the great steps. Even my husband, dubious at this underwhelming entrance I was pulling him towards, squealing and smiling like I’d found the holy grail – yes, even he emerged from the building afterwards thankful and happy that we’d found this unassuming little gem.
The crowded Spanish Steps (left) may overshadow the Keats-Shelley Memorial (right) in physical presence, but I know which will stay with me for longer. It was also great being able to have the whole place to ourselves – a nice change from the throng of tourists.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Rome when my husband suggested we visit as part of our honeymoon. Italy had evaded me in all my years of travel, and though I did desperately want to visit, I thought to myself, “how could anything possibly compare to my beloved Paris?” The other big international cities had long buried themselves into my heart – Tokyo, Berlin, London – was there space for another? Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that anything historical or cultural will grab me, hook line and sinker. So you’ll understand why spending our first day in the ancient ruins of such a magnificent civilisation helped Rome land a cosy spot right under Paris’ wing. I suggest you start your visit here as well.