After 44 days in Sicily, sadly we decided to move north and continue our journey to discover other Italian regions and follow our plan. We truly loved the time spent in Sicily and are already envisioning our next trip back to this wonderful island. Next, we explore Maratea, Cilento and then we continue sailing north to the Costiera Amalfitana!
June 21st – 5:00 am: the alarm rings, our legs are still sore from the long walk we had the night before. We brush our teeth and start up the engine; VHF and navigation instruments ON, we can free up Bolero from the buoy and set our course to Sapri, a town on the south coast of Campania, 80 nautical miles far from Stromboli. We’ll have time for breakfast later during the navigation. We want to get to our destination when it’s not dark.
We had a good and uneventful sailing day, when we got to Sapri, the conditions were calm, we dropped the anchor in front of the town, had a fresh beer, and relaxed. Actually, we had some excellent conditions (humid though) for the following days in Sapri, where we decided to stay as we were working from the boat. I only paddled once to land to throw the garbage, Amaia didn’t even bother. Sometimes home is where the anchor drops, indeed.
Maratea: aka the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian
From Sapri we went to the nearby well-known town of Maratea, in the province of Potenza, also known as “the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian”. Owing to the considerable number of its churches and chapels it has also been described as “the town with 44 churches”. We wanted to check it out and see if it was as good as the other “pearl” we have visited (Ustica is called “the black pearl of the Mediterranean”).
It was hot, I mean really hot. Still, we wanted to get a flavor of the old town. After having lunch nearby the port, we waited for the bus for 45 minutes, then we gave up and decided to walk. After a one-hour uphill walk, we got to the old town and of course, we were really sweaty…still, we managed to get around, taste some of the local products, had some wine to finally go back to the old port to recharge our batteries.
Policastro, Palinuro and the Costiera Amalfitana
We didn’t have a very detailed plan for the coming weeks. The main goal was to sail north and get closer to the many Italian islands we would have encountered on the way up. With the idea to get to the Costiera Amalfitana, we decided to stop along the way: so after spending some hours at the Baia degli Infreschi, we decided to spend the night at the buoy in the beautiful Cala Bianca, just a few miles off Marina di Camarota.
The day after, we sailed by Capo di Palinuro and its lighthouse (the highest Italian lighthouse, lying at 206 meters above sea level) and then continued sailing north to reach Cetara, a lovely small village in the Costiera Amalfitana. We moored in the small and busy harbor and we immediately went for a walk to discover around.
The first impression of the Costiera was positive: Cetara is characterized to be a village of fishermen (especially of tuna) and it still preserves the ancient tradition, with most restaurants using anchovies and tunes as the main ingredients of their recipes. We had a quick dinner and then spent the night watching Italy playing against Austria (a Euro 2020 match): no doubt that Campania’s citizens are among the loudest and most amusing folks you can find in Italy!
We were planning to spend a whole week discovering the surrounding area, but quickly we changed our plan. To be honest, we didn’t enjoy too much the time spent in the Costiera Amalfitana, there were way too many boats moving always at high speed, resulting in any anchorage to be extremely unpleasant and uncomfortable: apart from the fact that Bolero was rolling all the time, we never had that feeling of being surrounded by the nature, rather we felt we had to try to escape from people.
We then decided to visit the main villages and then continue our trip north to some more isolated islands. We only spent 4 days in the area, still we managed to see some of its main villages such as Amalfi, Minori, and Positano (apart from Cetara). I have to say that we were truly amazed by the beauty of Amalfi. The experience was also unique in a way: despite having a decent size port, we preferred to get the most of the public quay, so we asked for permission to the local Capitania di Porto who let us tie up from 7 pm till 7 am. We were the only boat in the public quay which was only a few meters from the magnificent city center (and we had quite a lof people looking at us while we were dropping the anchor and reversing towards the designed landing area).
The town was the capital of the maritime republic known as the Duchy of Amalfi, an important trading power in the Mediterranean between 839 and around 1200. Saint Andrew’s Cathedral (Duomo) is the heart of Amalfi and represents an architectural masterpiece. The cathedral dates back to the 11th century; its interior is adorned in the late Baroque style with a nave and two aisles divided by 20 columns. The façade of the cathedral is Byzantine in style and is adorned with various paintings of saints, including a large fresco of Saint Andrew.
Would we recommend visiting the Amalfi Coast? We really don’t think it’s a good sailing destination for all the reasons explained before but also because of the lack of any sheltered bay: the whole area is exposed to the south, west, and even northerly winds. But what makes the Coast little attractive is the fact that it’s constantly overcrowded and a bit too much tourist focus.