Experiencing Italy: Windows on the Amalfi Coast, by Laura Thayer

Last week we heard all about an expat in Rome’s favorite Italian experience … meeting her neighbors. Today’s guest, Laura Thayer, author of Ciao Amalfi!, shares an Italy experience of her own. Like me, Laura has dedicated her travel writing career to promoting southern Italy and I’m happy to have her today. Please welcome her to My Bella Vita.


When Cherrye invited me to share with her readers my Favorite Italian Experience, my mind filled with all the incredible moments I’ve had in southern Italy and on the Amalfi Coast where I live. Some experiences I knew I couldn’t quite capture in words, while others I hope very much to be able to do someday.

And then it hit me as I was closing the window shutters one night, when I took in a deep breath of fresh air and leaned out to take in the dark scenery of the Amalfi Coast. It is a nightly ritual for me, this pause before closing the windows to see the moonlight on the Mediterranean Sea and to listen to the nighttime sounds. Often I hear owls calling back and forth to one another and I wonder what they’re saying.

This is it, these very windows and their daily part of my life closing them at night and opening them in the morning are my favorite Italian experience. Over the seasons the view out of my windows every morning changes and I wake up eager to find out each day. This time of year I’m beginning to catch the faint scent of flowers in the still cool spring morning sun. Yes, it’s true, the air here is scented with lemon blossoms and jasmine. Sometimes, in doubt, I close the window and open it again to just experience that heady rush of sweet scents.

Through the balmy summer heat I open the window to find the sea full of sailboats and ferries. Early in the morning I often spy a cruise boat off in the distance heading straight to the port of Amalfi. I like to imagine the people on board, still sleepy, catching their first glimpse of the Amalfi Coast.

Eventually, one morning I’m surprised by a crisp breeze. Soon a few leaves will be blowing across the terracotta terraces and autumn will have arrived. The nights are cold and the stars shine clear. In the winter there’s the cold burst of invigorating air and perhaps a dusting of snow on the distant mountains that sends me running to the kitchen to start the milk warming for cappuccino.

And this is my year. My year of opening and closing the windows. I love this daily ritual and the momentary pause it gives me, even if only for a few seconds at the start and end of my day. It’s a reminder to look closely at the ever changing beauty of the place I love.

And that place is Italy.

* All photos in this post are copyright, Laura Thayer, Ciao Amalfi!

Traveling to southern Italy? Click here to see how I can help you plan the trip of a lifetime.

8 Responses
  1. What an evocative description, and one that I really relate to. I like the idea that the small daily rituals – for you opening a window – capture the essence of life on the Amalfi Coast so much more than the well trodden paths and sights. And nothing draws out those emotions quite like smell… the sea air, the jamsine. Just great.
    .-= andrew´s last blog ..Give us this day our daily bread…only bigger =-.

Leave a Reply