VISITS AND EXCURSIONS from the Villa la Madonnina to the Amalfi coast and beyond (nur in Englisch)

Marina di Praia restaurant da Amadino
There are many excellent guides describing the attractions of the area, which are a good base for visits. Here I only describe some of our favorites, which are close by or in the case of the Capri give you a bid different perspective.
Beside that you find the web adresses for more information.
Close to the villa: Marina di Praia and Marina di Furore (Fiordo)

These two valleys in walking distance from the villa are among the most beautiful natural highlights of the whole Amalfi/Positano coast. Both are deep ravines in the rugged coastline which lead down to the sea. Both were fishing villages since early days. For Marina di Praia this is true also today. Both ravines are very romantic.
For Marina di Praia you head left and after passing the tunnel a road leads down to Marina di Praia. If you go by car there is a public (fee) parking down in the valley. Marina di Furore you turn right at the gate and walk about 20 minutes. If you drive there you must park the car close to the rock on the mountain side of the road. 

Marina di Praia

Marina di Praia
was the (fishing) port for the community of Praiano, which is positioned higher up on the mountain along the road. Today only few fishermen do it for their living, most for recreation. You see them in the morning with their rowing boats in front of the villa lowering their nets into the sea. Today Marina di Praia is mainly a place for swimming and dining and different seaside acitivities. There a number of good restaurants all run by families. See our favorite restaurants. There is a diving station, where you can rent equipment and book a diving lesson or excursion. You can rent boats, get a water taxi, or start in summertime excursions by boat to destinations along the coast and Capri. See more information in the activity section. 

Fiordo di Furore:

A bridge spans the fiordo, a narrow ravine with impressive steep walls on each side with pittoreske former fisher houses nestled to the rocks. 
To have a closer look walk into the valley using a path which starts on the right (eastern) side of the bridge and you can walk into the valley as far as you like. On the way back go down to the bottom of the valley and visit the interesting museum, featuring the interesting industrial and movie history of the valley, see below. There is also a restaurant down in the valley.

Originally the sea reached far further into the valley - it was a real fjord - and was therefore a save port - the only realy save one at the whole coast. Therefore it was early a shelter in case of in case of storms. But these characteristics made it also an ideal base for pirates. Later it was the port for Furore a hamlet 300 meter higher on the mountain.
In the 17th and 18th century the easy access from the sea in connection with the water coming down from the mountains made it an ideal place for a couple of industries: mills for wheat, a bakery, paper production and lime kiln. In the museum down in the ravine you can see how intelligently these industries worked together. In the same building the water was first used to produce paper - made of old cloths- then one floor lower the power of the water was used for milling grain. The flower was the base for baking bread in the bakery. The heat of the oven was used to dry the paper and to heat the rooms of the miller on the top of the building.
In the valley you can also see lime kilns using both the available lime and water. Wood for the fire was cut in the valley or brought by boat. Again the heat that is generated during the process was also used to dry the paper and the lime was also used to make the paper white. Today we would call this a vertically  integrated industry. The port allowed an easy transport of the grain and wood to the valley and of the end products to the markets. All buildings are nicely restored and due to the efforts of the commune di Furore and the initiative of Paolo well maintained.
In the last century this valley became part of the movie history when the film director Roberto Rosellini shot there the movie "Amore" - his masterpiece. At that time he was in love with Anna Magnani, who was also the chief character in the movie. They both bought one of the tiny monazzeni (fishermen's houses). One called the "casa del dottore" (the house of the doctor) and the other the "villa della storta" (the house of the sprain) which can be visited. But then letters from another actress, Ingrid Bergmann, arrived asking Roberto for a role in one of his films. When Anna learned this she got so upset that she threw a pot of spaghetti in Roberto's face. The sad end of the story was that Ingrid took Anna's place both in his movies and his heart. Anna then never visited her monazzeni again.
For more information see the excellent official web site of the Commune di Praiano: Praiano
When you click sites you find many very good photos from a local photographer showing different angles of Praino.

For more information see following web site: Amalfi

For more information see: following web site: Positano

For more information see following web site: Ravello
Capri is very worth while visiting for two reasons. One is that it has a beautiful shoreline, with wild, impressive cliffs, the famous Faraglioni islands and the blue grotto. The second one is the beauty of the inland, with spectacular views to the ocean, beautiful villas, spectacular rocks formations and remains from Roman empires. We like both.
To explore the 17 km shore of Capri you can either go around the island with your own boat or with an organized tour where you get everything explained. See the info/activity section of our web site for information how to book a boat or a trip.
Now, what is about the famous blue grotto? First it is really worthwhile to see - it is magic - if you are in the cave alone or with only few at the same time. This is possible if you go there after 4 pm. Then the boat people who row tourists into the cave are gone for their well deserved leisure time and counting their tips they got from the tourists. Now you can swim into the cave - if the waves are not too high. But you should know, that it is officially forbidden, though many do it. If you join an official visit, it is still magic, but be prepared that it will be very crowded, even noisy and the visit is short. First you crawl from a larger boat to a smaller boat, which brings you into the cave. The guide in the boat tries hard to find a reason to get a tip for the few minutes ride.
Capri arco naturale
Capri inland. When you arrive in Marina Grande you have two choices to get to Capri, the main town of the island. Either by cable car or bus. I would recommend this only if there are not too many people waiting at the ground/bus station. We prefer to take a taxi. The town of Capri itself is nice but I would not spend too much time in the center as it is very crowded in the in the season - unless you want to have a caffee on the famous Piazetta or invest your money in one of the numerous luxury shops in the streets leading to the Piazetta. The last one in my view a waste of time unless you have an unforseen, urgent need - like buying an engagement ring, calm the temper of your wife/husband with a nice gift. Not surprisingly there are luxury shops like Bulgari and others which you find in every metropolitan city.
But no need to worry about the crowds. The laziness or to be fair most often time constraints of the tourists help us. Only few people walk further than a couple of 100 m from the cable car station. Therefore, walking a bid further let you enter a calm world with natural beauty, nice villas and spectacular views. I recommend you discover this with a nice walk to the arco naturale - the naturla arch which you see above, combine it with lunch in the restaurant Le Grotelle (see the restaurant section). To go there takes you about 30 minutes of easy - not steep - walk. Afterwards visit the arco naturale and if you are fit for a very nice walk, return in the direction of the restaurant and the take the path going down. You pass the cave "Grotta di Matermania" with remains from the Romans, then walk around the slope of the hill, then pass the futuristic red villa Malaparte and the famous Faraglioni islands, which you can see from the Amalfi coast. Later the path leads along gardens and nice villas till you get back to the Piazetta of Capri. Total walking time is about 2 hour 10 minutes.

Also a nice walk leads you to the Villa Jovis built for a Roman emporer in a very exposed position on a rock. You start again the piazetta and follow the signs. Not so spectacular but very nice and you can visit the remains of the antique villa.
Another proposal is to take a taxi to Annacapri - the second town on Capri higher up in the mountains. There is the museum villa and gardens of San Michele, dreamed up and built in the first halve of the last century by a Swedish physician Axel Munthe. A remarkable personality with many outstanding skills. One of them which made him famous was that as a writer of a world bestseller "The book of San Michele". It is written as if it would be an autobiography, but as we know today a lot is fiction and describes how the author wanted that the world sees him. Nevertheless a book worth while to read. In any case I would visit his fabulous villa which is today a museum, built in a very, very panoramic position. Open all year and every day. See the opening hours in the link and see there the web site of San Michele.
When you have time left and weather is good, go to the ground station of the chair lift which takes you to the summit of the Monte Solaro within 12 minutes. The 360 degree view from the top is breathtaking. Below your feet you see Capri and the Faraglioni islands, further outside the Amalfi coast till Praiano on one side and Sorrento, Napoli and the Vesuvius on the other side and to the north the islands of Ischia and Procida. The lift is opererating all year.
For more information about Capri see following web site: Capri
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Amalfi coast Villa la Madonnina view to
Villa Madonnina -
Frank Lerchenmüller

© 2009