Private Tour of Amalfi Coast by Boat

IMG_6574The Amalfi Coast in the summer is a favorite escape from the heat of the cities in Italy. It’s where the Lattari Mountains dotted with colorful villages with pebbled beaches meet the cool, clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea at the Gulf of Salerno. Italians and tourists from around the world come to bask in the sun on the small beaches crowded with sun beds and colorful umbrellas.

To reach the villages one usually arrives by car or a crowded bus on narrow winding roads. This is great if you enjoy driving and don’t mind traffic. Personally I love doing it in the off-season as the drive is absolutely breathtaking.

Another option is to take a ferry from Salerno or Napoli to one of the various villages which has a dock for this service. This can be a pleasant ride despite the mass transit, but there are limitations…

Our Private Boat tour

IMG_6722To truly enjoy the beauty of the coast from a different perspective with less stress and no traffic or crowds is to hire a private boat for the day. Our excursion starts from Vietri sul Mare or Salerno and we have a few different boat options depending on the size of your group.

So pack your swimsuit and sunscreen and be prepared to take a dip and swim to a private beach or soak in the sun in front of the homes of a couple of Italy’s most famous celebrities. We’ll enter sea caves and stop for lunch at a beach restaurant where you can only reach it by boat and we’ll spend a little time together exploring Amalfi and Positano, two of the most famous of the Italian seaside villages of the coast.


This activity includes me or one of my beautiful friends as your English “translator” and tour leader of the coast while my Italian friend drives the boat. Weather and seas permitting, we’ll show you some of our favorite places along the coast. This excursion can be booked from May through September or maybe even early October if the weather is nice.

Book your tour or activity

Contact us to get pricing, check on availability for your travel dates, and to book your reservation. We handle most of our communication via email as it’s easier to track and more convenient across the various time zones. Our office is located on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, just a few hours south of Rome. If you prefer to have contact with a live person over the phone or a video chat, send us a message with your time zone and the best times we can reach you to schedule a convenient time for us both to discuss your trip. We can be available by either Skype or Facetime (or Google Hangouts too).

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Hiking excursion from Amalfi to Ravello

img_5532.jpgMany who are into hiking and have checked out famous trails in Italy have learned about the Path of the Gods (Sentiero degli Dei) that crosses the top of the Amalfi Coast with spectacular views. However, there is another trail that’s worth checking out – the Valle delle Ferriere.

The start of the hiking trail is in Amalfi and it climbs up the mountain along the Rio Canneto where the negative ion energy in the air is doubly amplified by the rushing waterfalls under a lush canopy of trees dotted with ruins of the old paper mills which once produced the famous Amalfi paper. This kind of energy is healthy for you and helps to counter the negative effects that positive ions generated by our modern lifestyle have on our bodies. It’s almost impossible to not feel good on this hike. Come with us and feel the stress of a busy life in the city melt away.

img_9917Our VIP Hiking excursion combines an informative tour of Amalfi, 3 hours of hiking in the valley with the waterfalls and connects to a second trail with panoramic views over the coast, lunch at a delicious restaurant which serves fresh pasta and pizza, and a visit to Villa Rufolo in Ravello. Our private driver will provide transfers to Amalfi and from the end of the hiking trail through the remainder of our day together. One of your hiking guides might even include the famous German Shepherd, Lulu.


This tour is available from April to October. Inquire for your travel dates when it is possible to arrange a day. If you want to consider this as an excursion from Rome you’d need to plan an early train to arrive in Napoli by 7am or Salerno by 8am. Our local driver can meet you at either location before you come to Vietri where you will meet the guide for the hiking tour.

Book your tour or activity

img_9934Contact us to get pricing, check on availability for your travel dates, and to book your reservation. We handle most of our communication via email as it’s easier to track and more convenient across the various time zones. Our office is located on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, just a few hours south of Rome. If you prefer to have contact with a live person over the phone or a video chat, send us a message with your time zone and the best times we can reach you to schedule a convenient time for us both to discuss your trip. We can be available by either Skype or Facetime (or Google Hangouts too).

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If you are planning a trip to Italy, be sure to follow us on  Facebook and/or Twitter to see the latest tour offerings. Please share this post or website with anyone you know planning a trip to Italy that you believe would be interested in our services or information.


The Lemon Tour

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful scenic coastlines in all of Italy. The colorful homes and terraced gardens of the villages perched on cliffs over the blue waters reflecting the sunny skies above is even more amazing in person than it is in photos. The product mostly grown on those terraced gardens is the famous Sfusato Lemons otherwise known as the Amalfi Coast Lemons.

The cultivation of these uniquely sweet lemons best known in the production of limoncello*, a sweet lemon liquor, plays a very important part in the preservation of the picturesque coastline. Cultivating the lemons on the small family-owned farms involves a lot of work and is generally passed down through the generations. However, the work of the “flying farmers” is at risk as most of the younger generations no longer stay in the villages or carry on with the family tradition of farming. *see recipe at the end of this post

About the tour

The Amalfi Coast Lemon Tour de Riso is an interesting and delicious experience to learn about the history, cultivation, and traditions of the Amalfi Coast Lemons. On this tour, you will follow the lemon trail between neighboring farms overlooking the sea. You’ll learn about how the lemons are grown, what makes them so unique, who are the “flying farmers,” and why the farms are so important to the preservation of the beautiful coastline that so many tourists visit every year.

After the walk, you will visit the processing center where you can see how the lemons arrive from the farm and are prepared for the markets. You will also see the limoncello laboratory and learn how to make the sweet drink where you can have a tasting of the different flavors which are produced there.

Look at the size of those… umm, lemons! 😉
Actually this is one of the workers demonstrating how the crated lemons are carried down from the farms to the small trucks which bring the lemons to the processing plant.

Details of the tour for booking

Half-day and full-day tours are available starting in the morning. A full day tour includes a longer walk through the farms, a break for refreshments, and a multi-course lunch at a wonderful restaurant overlooking the sea where you will be served a variety of delicious dishes using the famed lemons of the region. Small private tours of up to 3 people will ride in a vintage open-air Citron, which is similar to an old Jeep. Larger groups will take a small bus between the meeting point, farm, factory, and restaurant.

Contact us to inquire about available dates for a private tour during your visit, pricing, and to book your tour. Group tours are also offered at a lower cost, but are announced when organized within days of the tour. Watch our Twitter feed daily to see when the latest group tour is announced.

Homemade Limoncello – ready to drink!

Includes a limoncello tasting

On the Lemon Tour you have the opportunity to taste several varieties of limoncello. I was able to make notes for the standard recipe of the classic flavor and made some to enjoy at home.  It’s delicious and one of the best I have tasted with a perfect balance of being not too sweet with sugar or too strong with alcohol.

These bottles are ready for a personal label I’ve designed for my new production. The smaller bottles here are gifts I’m shipping to some special people. I can already see that I’ll be making much more for more gifts in the future. Now I want to experiment and try making some other flavors too.

For the recipe below, it’s helpful to have a very large jar to mix everything into. I used two wide mouth wine bottles for the extraction process, but then had more difficulty later when there wasn’t quite enough space left to mix in the sugar water after I removed the rinds and filtered the alcohol.

Part 1 of preparing limoncello – extraction of the flavor from the lemon peels in pure alcohol

Many recipes I have seen on the internet says to wait 30 days or so for the extraction process with the lemon rind in the alcohol. Perhaps this is because of the lemon variety being used in other places where Amalfi Coast lemons are not available do not have the same sort of flavorful rind or because they are using vodka as a base instead of a pure grain alcohol. I’m not sure of the reason for this.

I was told only 3 days are required, but I waited 7 days for mine as I started it on a Saturday when I had a day off and then completed it the following Saturday. If you are uncertain when you try your own for the first time, perhaps make two or more smaller batches and test the best option for yourself. But be sure to carefully label them so you’ll remember which one you like the best!

In the second step of preparing the limoncello you need to add sugar water, otherwise known as simple syrup. If you’re not a professional bartender like I have been at times, you can easily do this by adding the sugar to water. I used bottled water to insure it was of a good quality and not from the tap where our water is clean, but full of calcium. To help the sugar dissolve in the water, I heated the water and sugar on the stove over a low heat until the sugar grains completely disappeared. There’s no need to boil the water or else you may end up making some sort of sticky confection instead of a plain simple syrup.

Limoncello extraction – after the rinds are removed and before the sugar water is added the color is an amber that changes to brighter yellow once the simple syrup is added.

In the final step you add the simple syrup to the alcohol extraction, give it a mix, and chill it. That’s it! Your limoncello is ready to drink.

Traditionally, limoncello is enjoyed as an after dinner drink. You can sip it slowly, down it quickly, or even use it as a mixer with other cocktails or in desserts. I sometimes enjoy adding a little to my prosecco.


1.5 kg Amalfi Coast lemons

1 ltr pure alcohol

1.5 ltr water + 1 kg sugar = simple syrup

Peel lemons and put the rinds in alcohol, wait 3 days.

Remove the rinds after 3 days. Use a cheesecloth to filter any impurities.

Add simple syrup. Bottle & chill. Ready to drink.

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Wine Tour on the Amalfi Coast

Perched on the cliffs throughout the Amalfi Coast you can find the lemon farms of the famed sweet Amalfi lemons used to make limoncello and many wonderful local pastries and delicious dishes. The terrain and abundance of sunshine in the region is not only wonderful for postcard perfect photos and growing our sweet lemons, it’s excellent for cultivating grapes that produce wine!

In Vietri sul Mare where we live, there’s a beautiful vineyard overlooking the center of the village and the sea. Our friends there produce a limited amount of organic wine that is mostly sold in fine restaurants in the USA. Though the production is limited, the wine is delicious.

They have a fantastic guide who speaks great English (as well as some other languages) to give a tour of the vineyard. He’s also available to us as a guide of the village in case you would like to know more about its history in an additional or separate tour. In fact, he’s my co-star in the episode of HGTV’s House Hunters International that we filmed together in 2016 which features my move from Rome to Vietri sul Mare called “Amalfi Coast Reboot.”

A tour of the vineyard includes a walk through the property, an interesting lesson on the winemaking process in the vineyard’s cellar, and a tasting of the wines produced there. The tasting is complete with the addition of local homemade dishes you can enjoy relaxing on the terrace overlooking the sea. Bottles of wine are available for purchase at the vineyard and they can arrange shipping to your home if needed.

Scenes of the vineyard (and of course throughout the village) can be seen on the above mentioned TV episode. Contact us to discuss available times to book your tour with our TV Star tour guide, Alfonso, and if you’d like to combine it as a full-day excursion with other activities in the area.


Friends, Family, and Recommendations

Friends and family often are our greatest source of support. We’re certainly no exception when it comes to having plenty who will provide assistance or cheer us on as we tackle any new adventure we dare to venture into. As a way of saying thank you and giving mutual support to those who have a business service or product which is travel related we would like to share their info with our visitors who may find their service useful.

Most of the links below are useful for those looking for recommended accommodations and other general travel resources. Some of the links are places we have personally stayed and can recommend and others are helping out a friend we feel offers something related to travel worth promoting.

inspiration: Everywhere!

If you’d like to have a professional travel agent assist you with planning the flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and all-inclusive packages for your chosen destination around the world, my good friend Allison at Travel + Sage can help. She doesn’t charge a consulting fee for her service and she’ll help you find quality deals that won’t leave you stranded at an airport because you found some DIY low-cost, overbooked flight that may leave you guessing if you will arrive when you planned. She also specializes in locations in South Africa and Japan, so if these are dream destinations for you, then you should definitely contact her for help.

inspiration: Italy

While I’m happy to assist you with planning activities in Italy, you may want to check out a few of these locations for accommodations.

Aberobello (Puglia) – B&B Trulli Caroli This unique AirBnB listing (in the featured photo) can also be found on Booking.com if you prefer that reservation site instead. If you’ve not yet discovered what a trullo is, then be sure to check out this fairytale-like ancient dwelling located in the countryside of the Puglia region. This trullo is actually located between the towns of Aberobello and Locorotondo in the Valle d’Itria and is a perfect getaway to relax. In Aberobello you can see an entire historic village clustered together of these charming Trulli homes. The young host of his family’s restored home nestled in the middle of a fruit orchard is quite wonderful and offers an optional breakfast picnic basket for an additional fee. Get it! It’s more than worth the small price he charges for the wonderful assortment fresh-baked goods and miscellaneous breakfast needs for your room.

Arezzo (Tuscany) – Fattoria La Striscia This beautiful agriturismo is located on the outside edge of the town of Arezzo in Tuscany. It was a perfect location for a base camp during our daily excursions to several hillside towns of the Tuscany region such as Cortona and Montepulciano.

Matera (Basilicata) – Casa del Sole This unusual B&B is located in the Sassi Caveoso of Matera, one of our favorite places in Italy to visit. Matera is one of the oldest, still inhabited cities of the world and is famous for being used as a filming location whenever Hollywood wants to depict ancient Jerusalem. By staying here, you are located in the heart of the historic area and you get to have the unusual experience of staying in a renovated cave home.

Molazzana, Lucca province (Tuscany) B&B Rustico Sara Located in northwestern Tuscany, this old stone house converted into a B&B is perched on the hillside with panoramic views of the Garfagnana mountains in a small village located in the Lucca provincia.

Salerno (Campania) – Giardino dei Sogni This private cottage sleeps 2 (or 4 with rollaway beds can work well if you have kids) and is located in a quiet neighborhood in the southern part of the city near a metro line with nearby free parking. The huge garden is private with tall hedges and a beautiful swimming pool – a rare oasis to be found in the city.

Salerno (Campania) – Bruman Hotel The small boutique hotel is conveniently located in the center of Salerno adjacent to the train station that easily connects you to Naples, Pompei, Paestum, and other nearby regions. Beautifully renovated, this is the perfect location for a business traveler or tourist who doesn’t plan to spend much time at the hotel, but still wants a nice, comfortable, and secure place to rest after exploring the Campania region. Continental breakfast is included and you are within walking distance to the beach and plenty of locations within the city’s historic center.

Rome Crib Rentals Rome  Looking for a place to stay in Rome? This is a great alternative to AirBnB to find short-term to long-term rentals. They have some beautiful listings and with a mother-tongue English manager operating this site you’ll be able to book your rental without any language complications between you and the properties owners.

Todi (Umbria) – La Casella Agriturismo A beautiful agriturismo located in the countryside of Umbria. There are several room combinations possible for accommodating small and larger families traveling together or a group who would like to organize special events for a retreat. This location has a fantastic Sunday brunch if you just want to go enjoy a nice local meal and see the views from this hillside location in the peaceful countryside.

inspiration: France

Another top European destination we love is France. Home of the Louvre – the largest and most visited art museum in the world, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and so many more places including those outside of Paris. We’ve considered venturing our services there one day, but it’s enough for us now to focus on Italy.

However, we do recommend a friend of ours who specializes in vacation packages for small groups of women to the famous City of Light, Paris. If you are planning a trip to France, check out Paris by Paige and tell her that Inspiration Trips referred you. She has several years of experience in the travel industry, has spent time living in France, teaches French, and also does consulting if you’re interested in planning your own special itinerary.

inspiration: Spain

We haven’t been to Spain yet. Barcelona is at the top of our list for the next European city to visit to see the amazing architecture there. When we go, we also hope to visit an old friend running a B&B in the seaside town noted below.

Costa del Sol – Casa del Sol B&B This boutique B&B is run by a colleague of ours from when we used to work in the yachting industry.

inspiration: USA

Hawaii Save-A-Lot A low-cost travel directory written by a dear friend who’s a local that will give you lots of knowledge on island activities and ways to save money when planning your Hawaii vacation.

Friends, if we left any of you out and you’d like your travel-related business to be featured here please leave a comment below. We may not have known the info previously or did not realize your info was still current. Comments are moderated, so keep it simple and no spamming.


Amalfi Coast Cooking Class in a Restaurant

Located in Vietri sul Mare, next to the city of Salerno, we have teamed up with our favorite restaurant in the village to provide a delightful gastronomic experience you’ll not soon forget. The chef here speaks great English from his years of traveling the world and providing fine dining experiences aboard cruise ships. After returning to his home village, he and his family run a beautiful restaurant with a large kitchen where they prepare delicious local dishes served in the dining room overlooking the Gulf of Salerno.

Available for lunch or dinner, your cooking lesson will last about 1.5-2 hours. Meat, seafood, and vegetarian options are available. This restaurant can also provide gluten-free dishes when dining during a regular meal. Inquire for available options if you have this special need during the cooking class. Groups of up to 12 people are possible and the restaurant is open year-round. Advanced notice is required for preparation and availability (usually 3 days is sufficient).

During the cooking class you will learn how to prepare a complete 4-course meal using fresh, local products to impress your friends after you return home. Afterwards you will sit down to enjoy your meal in the dining area complete with a house selection of house wine or beer. A full bar is also available if you wish to purchase additional beverages along with your meal.

Contact us for more information or to book your reservation. Additionally, if you simply want to book dinner reservations or need catering for your special event or a large group while traveling we can assist with this too.


Hiking on the Path of the Gods

Do you feel drained and the need to get away from everything? To let go of the demands of busy schedules, paying bills, and worrying about the government? Maybe you need a vacation to someplace magical, romantic, and inspiring.

If you thought of Italy and the sights of the country’s natural beauty, then a hike along the famous Path of the Gods on the Amalfi Coast might be the recharging your soul needs.

One of the best ways for me to connect to my creative energy is to get out in nature, away from the demands of everyday life. It’s where I can listen to the voice that speaks to me from within and sparks ideas.

When one is able to soak in this kind of divine energy without other distractions it is possible to receive great inspirations, resolve conflicts in their mind or heart, and find peace.

On the Amalfi Coast of Italy, between the cities of Naples and Salerno, there is a nature hike called Il Sentiero degli Dei or the Path of the Gods. The views are breathtaking and if you have the time and physical capacity when you visit Campania, you should certainly include this hike in your travel itinerary. The Gods made this a very special place and when you go you will see why.

Book a VIP excursion with us

Lulu and I will lead you on a morning hike that will take about 2.5-3 hours to hike across the one direction. I’ll make it easy by organizing a private driver to transfer you from your accommodation (or cruise ship) in the Amalfi Coast/Napoli/Salerno areas to meet us so that we save the difficult journey to the top of the mountain and we arrive right to the beginning of the trail.

Once we reach the end of the trail, the driver will be waiting to take us to a delicious lunch with panoramic views featuring local products and dishes. With full bellies, we’ll go down the mountain to explore Positano afterwards.

Trying to do this hike on your own is possible, but difficult using public transportation or exhausting if you hike from sea level all the way up and back down again at the end. If you’re interested in the outdoors and don’t want to overdo it so that you can save some energy for the other days of your trip, let us organize an unforgettable outing that will include me as your hiking guide and Lulu as our assistant (if you’re okay with dogs) to keep the group together as we hike along the path. I’ll be able to identify the villages you see along the path and provide some local knowledge that I’ve gathered since moving to the region.

If you prefer to go on your own, I’ve made plenty of notes on the next page so you can know what to expect. However, if you prefer to be treated like a VIP, contact us to schedule a date during your trip. My dates available are limited, so book in advance.

VIP Path of the Gods Hike availability

This VIP hike is limited from April to June during the weekends or long holiday breaks. From July through September you can schedule throughout the week or weekend according to availability.

Vietri Ceramics

Vietri sul Mare is a village located at the start of the Amalfi Coast on the southern end by the city of Salerno. It’s known around the world for its hand-painted Italian ceramics tradition and everywhere you go in the village you can see evidence of its importance in the community. It is because of this widespread creativity that I chose this village as the place to live on the Amalfi Coast.

Everyday items for the home can be found in most shops, as well as custom designed tiles can be made to order for your home or business. The tradition of the Vietri Naive style is still practiced alongside very modern designs by contemporary ceramic artists, each with their own unique style. There’s something for everyone here!

Vietri tours

Two different tours of Vietri are available – a historic tour and a ceramics shopping tour. Both tours are approximately 2-3 hours long and are typically scheduled in the morning starting at 9 or 10am. “Riposo” (like siesta in Spanish) is still practiced in southern Italy (more so than in the bigger cities such as Rome) and it’s not unusual to see the shops close at midday for a few hours. For this reason we prefer to schedule a morning tour so that we finish before this break.

Solimene buildingThe Historic tour will focus on the history of Vietri’s buildings, traditions, and the evolution and influences of particular ceramic artists who resided here. During this tour you may see a demonstration of ceramics artists at work, but we will not visit any shops for ceramics shopping. Save time in your day when planning your visit to Vietri to do this after a nice lunch so that you can return to any shops you liked along the walk during the tour.

On the tour you’ll see the Duomo, historic buildings including one with a link to the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, wind through the alleyways and neighborhoods of the historic center of the village, and, of course, lots of ceramics.

The shopping tour will explain about the tradition of the Vietri ceramics while focusing more on showing you artisans at work and assisting you in finding the ceramics you are wanting to purchase. We can visit a variety of shops and help you with finding a style that suites your particular tastes. Most shop owners speak very little English here, if at all. Our guide will help with translations so that you are able to get or order exactly what you want.

Tour add-ons

A visit to the Ceramics Museum at Villa Guariglia in Raito can be included if you are visiting Vietri with a car or driver. The entrance is free, but we’ll need to add a little extra time at the beginning of the tour to start in the picturesque cliffside village of Raito, a frazione (suburb) of Vietri that overlooks the coast of Salerno and the historic center of Vietri where the tours are located. We’ll need a car to drive down to the village’s historic center after the museum visit.

Also by car (unless you don’t mind some extra walking), we can also visit one of the ceramics factories where you can see the process of creating the ceramic forms, both stamped designs (like for bowls and plates) and hand shaped forms thrown on the pottery wheel (like vases). You’ll see the giant kilns that fire the forms after they have dried and then are later painted and fired again before they are ready for purchase.

For those who want to be creative, you can also schedule time to paint ceramics at the factory or in a cultural center in the village center depending on which is available. Your piece(s) will be fired during the next availability and can be shipped to your home or if you are spending enough time in the area we can make arrangements for you to collect your piece to take back home with you.


Contact us to get pricing, check on availability for your travel dates, and to book your reservation. We handle most of our communication via email as it’s easier to track and more convenient across the various time zones. Our office is located on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, just a few hours south of Rome. If you prefer to have contact with a live person over the phone or a video chat, send us a message with your time zone and the best times we can reach you to schedule a convenient time for us both to discuss your trip. We can be available by either Skype or Facetime (or Google Hangouts too).


If you are planning a trip to Italy, be sure to follow us on  Facebook and/or Twitter to see the latest tour offerings. Please share this post or website with anyone you know planning a trip to Italy that you believe would be interested in our services or information.


The Amalfi Coast villages and how to travel around them

Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful natural areas of Italy with several small villages perched on cliffs and hillsides of the rocky coastline along a winding coastal road between Salerno and Sorrento, south of Napoli. The coastal region takes it name from one of the most famous of the top four villages (listed below), Amalfi. Amalfi is situated in the center of the region and in medieval times it was one of the four major ports of Italy. Today, Amalfi and the other villages of the coast are famous tourist destinations during the spring and summer months (high season starts at Easter and runs until the end of September).

With small rocky beaches (some accessible only by boat), hiking paths, stunning views over the gulf, delicious food from the famed mozzarella di bufala to the Amalfi lemons, and picturesque villages it’s no wonder that people flock to the seaside here during the summer. However, the narrow winding roads can be problematic with traffic during the high season to get around. So if you prefer the quiet and want to avoid the crowds, plan a trip during the off season and you’ll enjoy walks on the beach in relative solitude. Though, be prepared that many shops, restaurants, and locations are seasonal so there may not be much to do for nightlife during the winter months without driving to a bigger city such as Salerno (from Positano it’s at least 1.5 hours driving time during the off season) or Sorrento (at least 50 minutes by car from Positano with light traffic).



Located in approximately the center of the coast between Vietri sul Mare and Positano this historic village gives its name to the 50-km coast stretching from Salerno to Sorrento on the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula. Once an important shipping port of the middle ages, there you can visit the maritime museum, the beautiful cathedral with a nice display of artifacts, a museum of the traditional papermill where they still produce the high quality paper that was once famous here, and reach some beautiful hiking trails. Tourism is an important industry in the village now and there are many shops for souvenirs, clothing, ceramics, jewelry, etc. along the main streets.

There is a regular ferry boat schedule throughout the year to reach the village from Salerno. The SITA Sud bus line travels through the village and it is here that you will switch buses if you are traveling further along the coast to/from other villages. Public parking is limited and expensive (5€/hour is expected) if you go by your own car.



Perhaps the most picturesque of all of the Amalfi Coast villages, Positano is highly frequented during the high season by travelers from around the world, many of them English speakers. The colorful buildings of the resort village, which stretch from the beach all the way up the steep hillside, are connected by a loop road around the two sides of the village and by many alleyways and stairs. There you can enjoy plenty of shopping for the high-end resort style fashions that are typical of the region along with souvenirs, local products, ceramics, art galleries, jewelry, etc.

If you choose to stay in this village, be warned that you’ll likely climb a lot of stairs each time you want to head to the beach. The views are magnificent, but it’s the kind of place where you stay to relax and enjoy one spot rather than making it a base point for daily excursions around the region as the commuting can be difficult. Similar to Amalfi, the SITA service stops here as well as the ferry boats. Parking is also limited and expensive. There are several private lots which vary the rates depending on the season and availability. If you use one of these lots, you’ll be expected to leave your keys with the attendants who will move your car into place as needed.



Ravello is a resort village perched high on a cliff above Amalfi. The village has many similar shops as those that you can find in Positano. There are two famous villas with beautiful gardens and view over the coast that you can visit and there is a modern theater for live concert performances such as those during the summertime Ravello Music Festival which honors Richard Wagner who used to frequent this village. It was here that he was inspired by its beauty to write a scene to include it in his last completed opera, Parsifal, based on an Arthurian legend.

In this village, much like the others, parking is limited and expensive. The best place I have discovered is a park yourself lot located under the theater where you will pay by the hour ahead of time and place the ticket on your dashboard. There is a coin changer in case you come with only bills and want something smaller.

It is beyond this village, higher up on the mountain where you must go to reach the start of the famous hike called the Sentiero degli Dei (Paths of the Gods), one of our VIP hiking services. You can do this hike on your own, but without a car reaching the starting point by bus is very difficult or you will add lot of extra time hiking up to the start of the trailhead from the main coastal road.

Vietri sul Mare


Vietri sul Mare is best known for their ceramics craft and being the first village on the southern end of the Amalfi Coast highway. It’s the only village of the Amalfi Coast that you can reach by train. This creative village is also where I call home.

Perched on the mountainside of Mt. San Liberatore, the village overlooks the city of Salerno to the southeast with views of Raito and Cetara towards the west. At Marina di Vietri there are two beaches comprised of black sand mixed with pebbles and clear water. Here you will find many beach services during the summer months and a quiet, nearly private beach during the off season.

The village is easy to explore and is, in our opinion, the best place to purchase ceramics to bring back home. Artisan ceramics made in our village are certified MADE IN VIETRI and the prices here are far better than you will find elsewhere along the scenic coast. The artisans of the many shops here all have distinctive and varying styles. Some feature the traditional Vietri naive style which depicts daily life and is often whimsical. The traditional colors of Vietri are bright and the motifs are meant to evoke happiness. Other artists in the area also explore more contemporary scenes and explore very creative approaches that mix the traditional with modern ideas.

At Raito, a borgo of Vietri, you will find the Museum of Ceramics at Villa Guariglia. Entrance is free at the museum where during the summer they also host some free concerts for the community in the evenings. The museum is closed on Mondays.

For a private guided tour of the village in English please contact me for prices and availability.

Other villages along the coastal drive


On the southern end of the Amalfi Coast along the seaside you will find Cetara, Maiori, Minori, and Atrani situated between Vietri sul Mare and Amalfi. Cetara is known as a fishing village and it is here that they still produce an ancient Greek recipe called Colatura di Alici, which is an extracted sauce made from the anchovies which are caught in the local waters. Maiori and Minori are rival neighboring villages. Maiori (the larger one) has one of the largest beaches of the Amalfi Coast. Minori (the smaller one) is a bit more artistic and is one of the only places along the coast where you can see some ancient Roman ruins. Both of these villages are the perfect location for joining the famous Lemon Tour which hikes through several of the lemon farms of the area. Atrani is perhaps the smallest village in all of Italy and is basically next-door to Amalfi. Although small, it certainly has an interesting history and architecture from a haunted tower to landscapes that inspired M.C. Escher.


From Amalfi to Positano you will find Conca dei Marini, Furore, and Praiano as other notable villages along the Amalfi Coast highway. Conca dei Marini is famous for the Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Cave). Furore boasts the only “fjord” found on the Italian coastline which is, in fact, technically not a fjord, but rather a ria. A “ria” is a very similar sort of geological effect not formed by a glacier, but instead was created from a flooded river valley. Praiano is more of a cliffside village, much like Sorrento, in that it doesn’t really have sandy beaches to walk down to except for a small one at either at the far ends on either side of the village.

More notes on getting around the coast

There are many other small villages dotted along the coast, but are situated higher up on the mountains than the ones mentioned here. Public transportation to these other villages is even more limited than the ones which are accessible by the SITA Sud service along the main coastal highway.

Hiring a private driver is really the best way to get around on the Amalfi Coast. Renting a car is also good if you want your own freedom to come and go when you want, but trying to find parking is often very difficult and expensive as I’ve mentioned a few times already. Taxi services are limited and expensive too.

Public buses are usually crowded and don’t run very late into the night. During the summer you could get stuck waiting for a bus that won’t stop because they are too full by the time they reach your stop. If you are the type to become car sick easily, don’t take the bus, seriously. If you must, bring motion sickness medication. The roads are very windy and the traffic backs up often so there is a lot of stop-and-go momentum happening throughout the drive. If you have a tendency for bad road rage or are a nervous driver, don’t drive yourself – hire a private driver and just enjoy the views instead.

During the summer you can find more ferry services and boat shuttles between some of various villages, but not all and the services usually stop by sunset. The seas during the low season limit these services, as well as the lack of tourism to support the smaller operations.

Planning your trip

The nearest major airport to the Amalfi Coast is in Naples (NAP). Many travelers also arrive by train if they are already in Italy before coming to the area. From Rome, you can reach Naples or Salerno within 2-3 hours by a high-speed train. Travel tip: booking train tickets 3-weeks or more advance will have lower prices much like booking your airfares. Depending on the dates, some train schedules do sell out in advance and may not be available at the last moment.

Hopefully you’ve found some value in the information here to help you decide where to go or stay along the coast. For help with accommodations I recommend checking out AirBnB.com or Booking.com if you want to find a private room or apartment to feel more autonomous and at home where you can select the features you need in their search options. Many B&Bs also list their availability on these sites.

If you prefer to find a hotel or resort, then TripAdvisor could be a good place to start your search or by consulting with a travel agent to narrow down the best choices for you within your budget. A travel agent (like my friend in this link) usually works with a host network which has access to many perks or specials you can’t find on your own. They also act as an advocate for you if something should go wrong during your trip and you need to make a change or cancellation due to unforeseen events.

Go to my Recommendations post to find some of these links and other useful info for traveling around Italy and beyond.

To book a private driver in Campania (or Rome) and guides for tours or to schedule other activities we offer, contact me for information and availability.

Classic Walking Tours

There’s no argument that Italy is full of history and culture. Some historians dedicate their careers just in specific areas of Roman and Italian history. Italy is also one of the few countries where being a legal tour guide requires that you have a license just as many other professions like a doctor or attorney. A vast majority of the licensed guides are highly educated in the areas of history, art history, or archeology and they must pass a very difficult exam in at least 2 languages to receive their license.

Not all tours require such strict regulations, such as a wine tour for example. However, at historic and archeological venues such as the Vatican or the Colosseum it is absolutely required. In these cases we always book licensed guides for your tour, otherwise we use tour accompanists who can lead tours outside of these sorts of venues.

Going on a classic city walking tour is not just an interesting way to spend a few hours, it’s a great way to save time during your trip to see the most important and historically important sites with a professional who can explain it all to you. You’ll feel like a VIP being lead expertly through the sometimes confusing streets where you might otherwise get lost. Trust me, having a map and a GPS is not extremely helpful if you have never spent any time in a place like Venice before. Having a guide can show you the shortcuts or avoid any areas that have congestion or are impossible to realize are impassable on a map.

Some of the places where I or my colleagues can book your VIP private city walking tour includes the following:

Contact us or follow the links above if you are planning a trip to any of these venues and are interested to book a tour with one of our professional guides to learn about the history of these places.

Creative Activities

Being a creative and huge supporter of other artists who are living their passions, one of my primary objectives of starting my own tour operation in Italy was to feature not just tours of art museums and the like, but also collaborating with working artists who offer opportunities to learn in their creative spaces in Italy. After all, it was studying the art and architecture of Italy that created my first love of the country and inspired me to initially study architecture in college.

Although I first moved to Rome where there is so much culture and art to see, it’s also a big city full of chaos that is fun for me in doses. It’s where I got my foot in the door for Italian tourism and after some time I left to start my own operation combining it with my past tourism and traveling experiences. Now I feel fortunate to have selected a beautiful and creative area to call home on the Amalfi Coast.

What’s available

Classes and workshops are offered throughout the year by various artists and creatives we have met either locally or during our travels. Most are one-day options that can be ordered throughout the year. We also feature links to multi-day workshops offered by artists throughout Italy in their studio or as retreats from visiting artists or those working on location.

Options may include painting, ceramics, fibers, and cooking. More activities will be added as they become available.

If you are planning a trip to Italy and want to participate in doing something creative here you will find opportunities taught by others that we have researched or offer in collaboration with local creative friends.


Amalfi Coast Ceramics class

Here in Vietri sul Mare we are famously known around the world for our particular style of maiolica ceramic tiles and pottery. The vivid colors on the ceramics are due to a 2-part painting process whereby an undercoat of “smalto” is first applied to give a gessoed-like surface to apply the colors for your design. There are some different types of smalto that you can choose as a base to achieve different finishes such as a clean bright white or a more antiqued and crackled look.

In the historic center of the village we have available a small working studio/gallery space where we can arrange a morning or afternoon for painting a small object that can be fired in the days after your visit and could be available to take home with you or shipped depending on your travel schedule. This activity can also be combined with a historic tour of the village so that you can have a more thorough understanding of the ancient ceramics tradition of the village.

Salerno Ceramics class

Stepping away from the maiolica style of ceramics there are many artists who also paint directly on the surface of the terracotta or clay works. Available to us in Salerno is a working artist’s laboratory where we can see a demonstration of how he forms the raw clay on the pottery wheel and examples of his more sculptural works. After the demonstration you can select from a variety of small objects available for you to paint. Later he’ll fire your object in the next burning of the kiln and we’ll arrange with you the shipping to your home if you are no longer traveling in the area. This activity is offered in the morning, but may be flexible depending on the artist’s schedule.

octopus tileBooking a ceramics class

From the options above, I’ll work with you to arrange a date where you can spend a few hours painting a unique treasure to take home from your Italian vacation. It’s likely that I’ll also attend to paint alongside you and help with translations since the artists at both venues speak only a little English.


Florence Ceramics Course

In Florence we have visited the workshop of the ceramics artist, Enzo, who gives individual classes or courses depending on your interest level and time available in Florence. In his laboratory he will teach and assist you to design something traditional or create your own modern style for you to paint. Pieces are fired in his laboratory so that you can take your work home after the following firing. Plan your schedule to include this class or workshop series at the beginning of your visit so that there is time to collect your work before departing Florence. A minimum of 24 hours is required after completion of your class in order to have your works fired in the kiln and ready for pickup. Enzo is fluent in English and as he offers longer workshops outside of my area I have provided a link where you can contact him directly to book his classes.

Creative level required: Beginner to Advanced. Classes can be taught in English. Contact the artist directly at his site for more information and scheduling. Officina Labortorio Ceramica


A Taste of the Amalfi Coast

A typical cuisine style of the Amalfi Coast is locally known as “mare e monti” (sea and mountains). As the name suggests, this cooking class is held at a beautiful restaurant in the coastal village of Vietri sul Mare, located next to Salerno and the beginning of the famous Amalfi Coast drive of the Monti Lattari. For your class, you will select different seafood dishes combined with local products of the mountainous region and prepare them as a four-course meal. The husband (who speaks English) and wife chef team of the restaurant are a delightful and friendly couple who will teach your their recipes which are served in the restaurant.

The teaching and preparation of your antipasta, first, second, and dessert dishes lesson in the large kitchen will last approximately 1.5-2 hours. Afterwards, you’ll sit down at a linen covered table in the restaurant decorated with local ceramics, enjoy some house wine with your meal, and stay to taste your creations. This class is offered year-round and can be scheduled at lunch or dinnertime. Contact us for more details and to check on the available schedule.

Cooking classes in an Italian home

If your idea of being creative is to spend an afternoon or evening with an Italian family learning how to make the homemade recipes they cook using fresh local produce from the market or cultivated from their garden, then look no further and contact us to find out more details about our cooking and dining experiences available. We have a few to choose from, in Rome on a rooftop terrace overlooking the Pantheon, another is on a fattoria (farm) located in the mountains of the Amalfi Coast with a panoramic view of the mountains and sea, and finally in Salerno we also have a home overlooking the city and sea where we enjoy an evening making wood-fired pizzas.

Booking a cooking class

From the options above, I’ll work with you to arrange a date with the restaurant or family according to what schedule is available. Depending on the venue, you can pay a deposit to reserve your time and then pay the balance at the venue or I can prepare an invoice online for the full amount to pay in advance.  At the Pizza Night class, I’ll attend to help with translations and co-host the event.


Textiles and Weaving in Florence

LB-loomLaura Biagini is a Fibers artist with a working studio and shop space in Florence for her handmade works. In the center of the space she has a beautiful wooden loom from Sardegna where she experiments with different weaving techniques. She teaches a variety of classes where it is possible to make clothing, accessories, items for the home, or fabrics on her loom. As with Enzo teaching ceramics in Florence, I’ve offered below a direct link to her site so that you can schedule a class or even just find her to shop for some unique fashions when you are in Florence.

Creative level required: Beginner to Advanced. Classes can be taught in English. Contact the artist directly at her site for more information and scheduling. Laura Biagini


Plein Air Painting in Tuscany

TB-Plein-AirIrish artist, Tom Byrne, was a long-time resident in Paris before moving to Florence. In Florence he leads regular live drawing events weekly and hosts plein-air painting events. Follow his Facebook profile to see when public events are posted that you can join.

Tom, along with two of his painting colleagues, frequently leads plein-air painting retreats at a villa in the Tuscan countryside just outside of Florence. Tuscany Plein Air

Decorating Masks

Venetian Carnevale Mask Decoration

When traveling to Venice you’ll see plenty of shops selling the traditional masks used for Carnevale. They can range from very simple to ornate in a variety of styles and shapes and at a range of prices. Some are full face masks and others are half-masks covering the eye area. Venetians following the old tradition may wear their masks much longer throughout the season and not just during the days of the Carnevale celebration. Creating your very own authentic Venetian mask is a great way to bring home a special memento from your visit to this romantic city. Contact us if you are interested to arrange a time to participate in a workshop where you can paint your own mask to take home.

Working Artists Wanted!

If you are an artist residing in a prime tourist destination or offer something unique as a special retreat and are interested in collaborating with us, please send us a message on our contact page.




Adventure Activities

Besides spending days doing something creative or cultural, my other passion is to spend time out in nature having adventures. On the Amalfi Coast it’s possible to enjoy hiking on a variety of mountain trails or exploring the coast by boat. There’s so much natural beauty here it’s no wonder so many are attracted to the area during the summer months to spend their vacation by the sea. Combine that with amazing food and romantic, picturesque hillside villages, when you come you can see why I’ve chosen to stay.

During the summer or on weekends when the weather is nice in the low season I enjoy leading private groups in my friend’s boat where we can enjoy swimming, exploring sea caves, and dining at a seaside restaurant or I can bring Lulu to accompany us on a hike in the mountains. There are a couple of amazing paths to choose from – The Path of the Gods (scenic panoramic views finishes at Positano) or the Valle delle Ferriere (lots of waterfalls stays central near Amalfi).

For more details, availability, and pricing on these full day excursions when you are staying on the coast, contact me to arrange your adventure.


Food & Wine Activities

At Inspiration Trips I wanted to do something different than the regular walking tours I once managed in Rome working for another tour operator when I first moved to Italy. Besides the classic venues I wanted to do something creative and fun and in my own way.

Having worked for several years in the food and beverage industry I’ve always appreciated having good food and enjoying fun venues. Over the past years establishing this operation we’ve perhaps become more well-known for our cooking classes and wine tour activities. Some activities I haven’t even posted info about on the site yet, but may be available if you ask for them. Below is a list of our different food & wine related activities sorted by location.

Rome: Eternal City Progressive Dinner Tour

Siena: A Taste of Siena Walking Tour

Campania Region: Cooking Classes on the Amalfi Coast – with Nonna in an Italian Family Home or in an Italian Restaurant, Wine Tours on the Amalfi Coast or Mt. Vesuvius, Pizza Class with Panoramic Sea View in Salerno, Mozzarella di Bufala tour of farm & tasting, and The Lemon Tour

Some of these activities can be booked as group tours. Often the group tours are formed at the last minute so check with us if you are interested to join one. I often post available dates in our Twitter feed. If you are wanting to book a private event, contact us as soon as possible as some activities have limited dates or require advanced notice by a few days to prepare for the activity.

Colosseum & Ancient Rome tour

The Colosseum is the most iconic symbol of Rome. It’s a site that you don’t want miss checking off your bucket list if you are traveling through the Eternal City. If you are thinking to take a private tour in Rome, plan ahead! The really great guides in Rome book their calendars as early as 2 months or more ahead of time, especially during high seasons. Even so, we can usually find someone for you if you are booking in the next couple of weeks, but the availability can be more difficult to schedule your preferred day or time.

Our classic tour of the Colosseum & Ancient Rome is a 3-hour walking tour with a private guide through the amphitheater and the ancient Roman Forum. The tour is offered throughout the year with the exception of a few holidays when the venue is closed. Tours generally begin in the morning at 9am or in the afternoon at 2pm. Occasionally, I can locate a guide who is available at midday if you prefer a later start.

This tour is booked as a private tour at the same flat-rate offered only by Inspiration Trips for 1-6 people. The only variation in price will be the amount of tickets required to purchase for your group which is not included in the tour fee. Upon booking, you will pay for the tour in advance via an invoice sent through Paypal.

Regular admission tickets are required and we will order them in advance for you saving you any confusion and making things easier overall. These allow us to “skip the line” which means we will bypass those who just show up at the main entrance to purchase their tickets. Everyone, even those with a reservation, must pass through a security check which at times can be as much as 30 minutes long (don’t say I didn’t warn you if you think someone else can get you in without seeing security first).

Regular admission tickets do not include the Underground or Belvedere sections of the amphitheater. For an extra ticket fee we can usually arrange the add-on tickets for the Belvedere viewing that includes a group tour given by the Colosseum staff. When we arrange this tour our guide will not take you to the amphitheater during our scheduled 3 hours. Instead, you will visit other surrounding areas to extend your time to learn about Ancient Rome. The tour of the amphitheater and Belvedere with the Colosseum staff takes 1 hour, 15 minutes at prescheduled times I will coordinate with you according to availability. The maximum amount of participants in their groups is limited to 25 people.

Book your tour

Contact us to get pricing, check on availability for your travel dates, and to book your reservation. We handle most of our communication via email as it’s easier to track and more convenient across the various time zones. Our office is located on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, just a few hours south of Rome. If you prefer to have contact with a live person over the phone or a video chat, send us a message with your time zone and the best times we can reach you to schedule a convenient time for us both to discuss your trip. We can be available by either Skype or Facetime (or Google Hangouts too).

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