Home to the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy, the Amalfi Coast is the perfect place to indulge in La Dolce Vita
The natural beauty of the Amalfi Coast, a small strip of land that sits on the shin of Italy’s boot and reaches from Naples in the north to Ravello in the south, encompassing several treasured islands, has long entranced travellers. Homer was so taken with the island of Capri that it was where he almost made his protagonist Odysseus succumb to the temptations of the Sirens, while rich Romans later built vast sea-view villas here, so it’s little wonder it’s still a popular yacht charter destination today.
With no road connecting it to the rest of Italy, for a long time Amalfi was very much a world onto its own, declaring itself a republic in 839, and going on to become a major port. Traders set sail from here to places as far afield as Egypt, and Constantinople in the Byzantine Empire. Indeed, the famous Amalfi lemons played an important part in preventing scurvy in sailors.
In 1073 Amalfi fell under Norman control, but despite this setback it continued to thrive creatively and intellectually throughout the 12th and 13th centuries, with many innovations of the time coming from here, but the devastation caused by two plagues and a major storm in the 14th century ended its time as a major maritime power. Defeated and depleted it fell to the Kingdom of Naples, and over the next few centuries, life slowed down.
But Amalfi was awoken from its slumber when 19th-century travellers began including it on their Grand Tour of Europe and spoke of its many merits – the wild, untouched beauty, the hilltop towns and villages with their pretty pastel-coloured houses that stepped down the rock face, and some remarkable architecture. Soon, a road – the road (where there is nothing to separate you from the sapphire sea below but a sliver of rock) – was commissioned and over subsequent decades it became increasingly popular with the A-list.
By the 1960s the Amalfi coast was the place to be. John Steinbeck must take some of the credit, writing of the town of Positano that “it bites deep”, but so too should Sophia Loren and Humphrey Bogart who drew the gaze here through their Hollywood films.
The glamorous side of the Amalfi Coast is well documented, but did you know that it is also home to some of the best food and drink in all of Italy?
Highlights of a culinary tour of the Amalfi Coast include eating pizza in the place it was created, Naples; tasting the Amalfi lemons the way locals want you to with a few shots of Limoncello; and paying pilgrimage to the first Michelin-starred restaurant in southern Italy, La Caravella del 1959. La Caravella still retains its Michelin star but it’s far from the only one – today there are more Michelin starred restaurants along the Amalfi Coast than in any other part of Italy.
Italian food is all about taking fresh ingredients grown by enthusiastic producers and letting the flavours speak for themselves. As Simon Tavernini, head chef on charter yacht VENTUM MARIS, says: “It’s all about taste, not about making tasteless pictures on a plate!”
So next time you charter a yacht along the Amalfi Coast, ask your captain to schedule some of the following restaurants and food experiences into your itinerary.
All food tours of the Amalfi Coast should by right include a stop-off here, the family-run restaurant that was granted southern Italy’s first Michelin Star in the 1960s. Set in a 12th-century palace, complete with frescoes, ceramics, and silk furnishings, it’s changed very little since opening and serves up the best lemon souffle you will ever try while it’s rare wines list is the stuff of legend
Though there are several Michelin star restaurants to choose from in Naples, for a true taste of the region you must go to a pizzeria, and this is one of the best (it even gets a mention in the Michelin Guide).
According to the legend, it was while preparing for a visit for King Umberto I and Queen Margherita in the late 19th century that chef Raffaele Esposito first used the Neapolitan method of throwing the dough into the air before putting it in the oven, hence it was named pizza Margherita.
Run by the Oliva family for more than 60 years, this restaurant manages to maintain a traditional pizzeria atmosphere while serving an inventive menu of pizzas.
With a lift built into the cliff that takes guests down to a private beach and a dining room with sea-view terrace just a few hairpin turns down the road from Positano, it’s no wonder that big stars like Julia Roberts and George Clooney have come to this hotel resort to see if it lives up to the hype, which it absolutely does.
Aside from the spectacular setting, the kitchen, headed up by Michelin-starred chef Alois Vanlangenaeker, turns out the kinds of dishes where you’ll want to try every one you see. The buffalo mozzarella for which Campania is renowned features regularly in dishes as do the lemons and a wide variety of freshly caught seafood. Many of the ingredients come from the hotel’s kitchen garden and you can really tell.
Against the backdrop of Capri Palace, away from the crowded alleyways of the main tourist hub is this two-star Michelin restaurant, where guests sit down in an elegant dining room to feast on a menu that pays homage to Campania to enjoy dishes that are “truly exploding with flavour”, according to the Michelin Guide.
L’Olivo’s executive chef, Andrea Migliaccio, grew up on the island of Ischia, where food is woven into the local culture. Seafood is naturally a speciality, but the island is also famed for its rabbit, which is bred on farms inland. Another speciality is rucolino, a green, liquorice-flavoured liqueur made from rocket leaves. You can try all of these and more at the laid-back Da Maria restaurant, where you can arrive by tender and soak up the view of Aragonese Castle opposite.
For a more in-depth taste of Amalfi, add one of these experiences to your Amalfi Coast yacht charter itinerary.
When life gives you lemons (especially Amalfi ones) cook with them.
Our crews can also organise a visit to Paestrum where you can see the Greek Temples and then go to this Buffalo farm to try some of this delicious local cheese.
In the beautiful hillside town of Ravello you can enjoy cookery classes with Mamma Agata, who will not only teach you how to cook the Amalfi way but will also regale you with stories of some of the celebrities she’s cooked for over the years, from Fred Astaire to Humphrey Bogart.
With a wine cellar dug into a rock and grapes that benefit from the Mediterranean’s abundance of sea and sun but cling to the cliffs, the wines here are quite unlike any you’ve tried before.
Discover the Amalfi Coast on an Edmiston charter this summer. Contact us.
20 July 2023
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