The perfect Italian summer vacation!
Where to go in this Italian seaside paradise
In the summer of 2022, I was lucky enough to travel with my middle son Jack on a two week trip to Italy and London. It makes me teary thinking of all the special memories we made! Jack had just graduated from college, and we had the perfect window of time to travel together … it was truly the trip of a lifetime! We decided on Positano, a special place that’s in one of the prettiest parts of the world. This Instagram post captures the trip perfectly!
After weeks of hotel research, and booking in the middle of the busiest month of the year (August), we landed on Hotel Villa Franca. If you ever see a view of Positano from the famous Spiaggia Grande Beach, look up and to the left and you’ll see the stunning white hotel at the very top of the hill, looking. out over the Mediterranean. The views were spectacular, but the stairs up to the hotel — well — not so much!
This was my second visit to Positano, and I was worried that a repeat trip to the same destination wouldn’t have the same charm as the first time … but it did! The first time I brought my youngest son, and I definitely learned a few things along the way. Like, is it best to stay at the top of Positano or in the middle? And, how do you feel like a movie star while spending a day at an Amalfi Coast beach club? And then there was the cooking class, which was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had. Keep reading, and maybe it’ll inspire you to go as well!
Favorite travel posts on So Susie
3 perfect days in Positano
Hotel Villa Franca, Positano, Italy | Images via Pinterest
The hotel perched at the very top of the hill
Hotel Villa Franca is a lovely five-star hotel that sits on a cliff at the very top of Positano. Needless to say, the views are spectacular, and it has a very Italian vibe. While I enjoyed our hotel, it’s not one that I would recommend, and I’m not sure I’ll be going back. The crazy amount of stairs were certainly good exercise, but after the first day in the hot and humid August weather, I was over it! 😂
In the summer of 2019, I stayed at Hotel Poseidon (located more in the middle), and I absolutely loved it. I wrote about it in this post. I would maybe consider staying down lower by the beach for a little more excitement (and fewer stairs), or more in the middle if you want a more quiet experience. One thing to remember is that in the evening, after the last ferry, all the tourists go home, and the town is quiet (ish) and even more magical!
La Scogliera beach club
We happened to be in Positano over my birthday (so much fun!), and my birthday wish was to spend the whole day at the beach. I mean, how often does one get to do that? It was extra special since my cousin took the ferry in from Salerno and hung out with us the entire day. We lunched, sipped limoncello spritzs, and swam in the Meditteranean. We finished the day with a delicious meal at Rada Beach, just around the corner. The beach chairs were empty, and we dined under the rocks and watched the sun go down. It was the perfect day!
Positano Home Cooking
Our cooking class at Positano home cooking was a highlight of the trip. We were told to eat lightly the day of the class, and by the time we arrived at the 12th century property located just above the main beach in Positano, we were ready to eat! It was an intimate evening with Peter (the owner), the staff, and three other couples who were all lovely. After the initial introduction (which included an overview of the high quality foods we would be using), a glass of wine, and an appetizer (which we made), we quickly began bonding with the other couples. They happened to be young 30-somethings, and they loved Jack 😌 We left with a plastic cup of wine to go, and we carefully walked up 300+ stairs home to our room. It was an amazing, perfect evening, and we still talk about Peter and the food and what a fun time it was. I can’t wait to go back!
Day trip to Pompeii
I’ve visited Pompeii twice, both times in the crazy hot month of August. And both times I did it wrong! So learn from me and plan ahead 😉 It’s such an interesting place to visit, and I highly recommend it — with a plan. Since the grounds are huge, with very little shade, it’s best to have an idea of what you want to see. We did have a map, but it was difficult to navigate on our own. To better understand Pompeii and hear the story behind the archaeological wonder, next time I’ll either join a tour or listen to the audio guide.
Day trip to Ravello: bus or taxi?
A day in Ravello, Italy
This was my second visit to the charming village of Ravello, which is perched high above the Mediterranean ocean. My first visit was in 2019 with my cousin Pepi, who carefully and slowly drove us there from Salerno. He told me his friends would laugh at how slow he was driving! I much prefer to travel around the Amalfi Coast by ferry, except you can’t if you want to visit beautiful places like Ravello.
This past summer, Jack and I ventured out by ferry from Positano to Amalfi, which is a quick and beautiful 30 minute ferry ride. When we arrived in Amalfi, our choices were a 16 minute taxi or bus ride. Jack won, and I had to take the bus BOTH WAYS!! Jack told me it was part of the experience – hah! We lucked out and sat directly behind the bus driver, which allowed Jack to video the SCARIEST bus ride of our lives. I heard later that the bus drivers have to get special licenses to operate the busses — no idea if that’s true or not? Anyway, once you’re there it’s lovely, and the famous Villa Cimbrone Gardens are the main reason to visit. We lunched at Villa Maria, and it was truly a magical day we’ll never forget.
Thank you for reading xx