I love taking day trips out of the city. Especially when the weather starts getting warmer, the change of scenery is always welcome. I go as far as embarking on one-day excursions even while I’m on vacation. Whether lounging on a beach chair with a book, hiking in the Dolomites, or canning pommarola in a Tuscan farm, there’s that one day when I need to leave the delightful holiday routine behind and go on an adventure. Packing a hamper and being on the road is my idea of an exciting experience that allows to discover new locations, or return to loved places in the great outdoors.
Now imagine the road being the crystal Mediterranean Sea, and the vehicle of choice a 30-foot fishing powerboat captained by a local fisherman who loves to sing.
Picture yourself in said boat traveling slowly along the Amalfi Coast and stopping at attractive bays and secret inlets for a swim. The engine is turned off, cicadas lazily buzz and small waves lap at the sides of the wooden hull of the boat. See yourself swimming in coves and grottos some of which can only be accessed by boat…
During the journey, while passengers sip on chilled prosecco or beers, the barca passes in front of quaint fishing villages clutched to the side of a verdant precipice, emerald fiords that snake inland from the sea, secret fresh spring waterfalls, natural stone arch formations, and undiscovered caves. This is the average itinerary of my ideal day trip along the coast leading to the ancient maritime republic of Amalfi.
By this time appetites have sharpened to wolf-like manner. The singing captain leads the boat to a small seaside restaurant built on stilts over its own private beach for a memorable 3-course meal with lots of local wine.
Seated at tables in still damp bathing suits, with beach towels hung on the patio balustrade in the sun to dry, the first platter of prosciutto, figs and cantaloupe melon are passed around.
The antipasti continue with eggplant sauteéd in tomato and basil, large braided mozzarella, crispy bruschetta, “tortano” bread, octopus salad, lemony anchovies, assorted charcuterie and copious amounts of vino sfuso (house wine) served in large jugs with sliced peaches bobbing in them. And this is only the opener!
If the capitain has not caught a wild branzino, john dory or other local fish while we were frolicking in the sea, you can rest assured that the one served by the cook is equally fresh. If pasta is more your thing, you could opt for a plate of scialatielli (homemade water and flour pasta) with shellfish, or paccheri pasta with seafood, spaghetti with clams and mussels, pasta with clams and shrimp, and so on.
The meal ends with sliced watermelon and other seasonal fruit, and frosted shot glasses of homemade limoncello.
Satiated and tipsy, we wobble back to the boat waiting for us on the gangway. The sun is dipping towards the horizon, and a light afternoon breeze has picked up, which ruffles the surface of the cobalt blue water. The capitan undoes the moorings. As his voice serenades a ballad, we nap, sweetly lullabyed by the slow swaying return to dry land.
Would you like to be a part of similar day trips along the Amalfi Coast? Inquire on our Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Peninsula tours page!
Eleonora Baldwin is a TV host, freelance food and travel writer, and culinary connoisseur based in Rome, Italy. Her writing appears in several food and travel publications. Her shows “ABCheese” and “Uazz’america” are broadcast on Italian food network Gambero Rosso Channel. Her podcast “iCheese” is recorded live on the Radio Food Live network.