Minori is a small, picturesque village situated in the heart of the beautiful Amalfi Coast in between the popular resorts of Maiori and Amalfi. It also happens to be the village where I was born and brought up and I probably love it more now than when I lived there all those years ago and can’t think of a better place to spend a holiday. Less crowded than many of the resorts along the Amalfi Coast, it has a particular charm all of its own and because there are fewer tourists, you really get a feel for local life here.
On a recent trip to Minori with Liz and the girls, we stayed at the newly opened Hotel Minori Palace perfectly located in the centre of town within easy reach of shops, cafes and restaurants, and just metres from the seafront. The hotel has recently been totally renovated in a stylish, modern way yet retains all the old period features. Our rooms were large and comfortable with balconies overlooking the quaint streets from where you can people watch and observe the locals going about their daily business. The hotel owners and staff were friendly and welcoming and we were immediately made to feel very much at home.
As well as lazy days on the beach, Minori is a great place to explore. Just a stone’s throw from the seafront is the main church with a surprisingly large and beautiful ornate interior for such a small village. It is dedicated to the patron saint Trofimena whose relics can be found in the crypt down a narrow staircase. You can often witness local and not so local weddings and christenings taking place, with the church having recently become popular with Japanese couples getting married. Another must-see, not far away, is the small but well-preserved archaeological ruins of Villa Romana. Free to enter, it is a fine example of a 1st century Roman villa.
If you enjoy walking and want to explore more of Minori’s past, follow the road uphill to the tiny rural hamlet of Villamena peacefully tucked away from the modern world amongst sweet-smelling lemon groves. A few of the old stone houses are still inhabited and it’s where people have plots of land to grow produce and keep chickens. If open, pop into the churches of San Gennaro and Santa Maria delle Grazie. If you are still feeling energetic, continue the uphill path to the beautiful village of Ravello. This is a walk I have always enjoyed and although a bit of a trek, you can look forward to a welcome break in one of the many cafés in Ravello’s town square before admiring the breathtaking views of sea and mountains.
Day trips to other places along the Amalfi Coast are easily arranged – you can use the local bus service or the boat, both with frequent services to Amalfi and Salerno. From Amalfi take the ferry to sophisticated Capri or Positano. If you prefer to be driven, Antonio’s taxi service is second to none. Born and bred in Minori and fluent in English, he will guide you to some of the best places along the Amalfi Coast, or wherever you like, in his comfortable eight-seater.
When it comes to lunch or dinner, I recommend the lovely family-run Giardiniello, for excellent fish and seafood, pasta, fresh buffalo mozzarella and other local specialities. For delicious homemade pastries and cakes, go to Gambardella, conveniently situated opposite the Minori Palace Hotel where my girls could often be found enjoying pizzette and sweet treats! For an evening aperitivo or ice cream, head to De Riso near the seafront where you can sit and watch the world go by.
For a relaxing treat, pamper yourself at the nearby spa or, during the summer season, at the new open-air spa along the seafront. The hotel will only be too glad to arrange your reservation.
Bigger and busier is the popular resort of Sorrento which has for decades been one of Italy’s top holiday destinations. Perched atop cliffs with sweeping views across the Bay of Naples along with its old-fashioned charm and pretty winding streets, it is no wonder holidaymakers return year after year. The popularity of this resort does mean it makes sense to book well in advance especially at peak times.
The main hub of Sorrento is around Piazza Tasso, a grand old square with cafés, restaurants and shops. From there, wander into the old town where you can easily get lost in its quaint alleyways, packed with souvenir shops selling local lemon products and pretty ceramics. As with the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento is also famous for its lemons and lemon liqueur.
The town’s cathedral with its ornate bell tower is worth a visit, as is the Basilica di San Antonio with its impressive interior.
Take a walk down to the pretty fishing bay of Marina Grande where you can stop for a drink and bite to eat in one of the numerous cafés and seafood restaurants.
Sorrento’s proximity to Naples airport makes it a convenient destination but also one worth visiting for a day trip as well. Also close by are the historic sites of Pompeii and Heraculum as well as Mount Vesuvius. And a drive along the spectacular winding road along the Amalfi Coast with a stop at nearby chic Positano is a must.
With Citalia’s expertise in the area, why not combine Sorrento and Minori for a truly unforgettable holiday?