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Explosion of Flavor: Where To Find The Real Amalfi Coast

(Image courtesy of me)

South of Mount Vesuvius, the Amalfi Coast explodes with flavor, history, and travel articles. In almost every Amalfi Coast travel piece, writers discuss how the Italian light filters through speeding cars. In the sea of Instagram posts, tourists show their social media followers seaside villages and Italian food. Is the actual Amalfi Coast dormant in this constant lava of the same words and pictures? I want to tell you about my experience in Amalfi and try to answer this question.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock. Image depicts Napoli (Naples) and mount Vesuvius in the background at sunset in a summer day, Italy, Campania)

On the last day of my trip, my family and I drove three hours from Rome south to the Amalfi area. The drive reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief when Frances Stevens (Grace Kelly) drives on the winding roads (even though she is France, and I was in Italy). While looking at the sea sides vistas, I thought I knew Amalfi. But, I had a lot to learn.

(Image courtesy of Paramount Picture's 1955 film To Catch A Thief staring Grace Kelly and Cary Grant directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Image was found on

We first stopped in the Town of Amalfi. There was no cloud in the sky. People, carts, scooters, and cars tread on the cobblestone streets. In the Piazza Flavio Gioia, the church towers over the town. After walking on the sun-soaked stairs, I saw the most beautiful patinaed door. The door's lion handles, faded mosaics, and rusted metal work open to a lively church. The ceiling has Baroque or Rococo frescos surrounded by gold-plated frames.

(Images courtesy of me)

After church, we got lemon sorbet at an ice cream shot. The lemon resembled a citron and had a more mild flavor. We shared this delicious street as we strolled through the souvenir shops. As we left Amalfi town, I wondered if the Amalfi Coast hides buried in a volcano of lemons and teeshirts.

(Images courtesy of me)

Before going to Italy, I repeatedly watch Stanley Tucci's Searching for Italy to uncover why Italian food is universally loved. I discovered the authentic Amalfi in a restaurant overlooking the sea. At the Da Costantino Ristorante Bar Pizzeria, I immersed myself with the soul of Amalfi: its food. I learned how Amalfi's volcanic soil is the root of the product's flavor. While eating with my family, I finally understood what every great chef means when they say the ingredients matter. The best dish was the pasta with tomatoes. I was floored by how tomatoes, garlic, and pasta could leave a nuanced flavor. We finished our meal with a light lemon cake, which continues to occupy my dreams.

(Images courtesy of me)

As we drove back to Rome and its wildfires, I learned that the Amalfi Coast is not dormant. If you want to savor this coastline, you need to rely less on your eyes and more on your taste buds.

(Images courtesy of me)


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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