We have been wining, beaching and hiking for the past five days in the old coastal town of Nerano, Italy. The town felt like we slipped back in time - wifi was only in select villas, there was barely any phone service, not a single atm/bank and everyone in the town worked as shop owners, fishermen, or in some sort of tourist-based profession. We bought tomatoes and mozzarella from Olga down the street, and picked basil from the planter box on our porch. A huge rocky mountain bordered the town, making it feel completely separated from the rest of Italy. Nerano was only accessible by one long and windy road.
We stayed in a house called "la casa sul sentiero di Ieranto" meaning "the house on the path of Ieranto". It was a tiny, dorm room sized stucco loft apartment that sat on the top of a hill in front of an old church and looked out over the entire town and ocean below. We slept in twin beds foot to foot. Our porch was located on the trailhead to a hiking path along cliffs on the coast. The first couple of days we were so excited by the views and the abundance of olive, lemon, fig and pomegranate trees that we felt no pain in our legs from the treacherous walks. A few days in we were finagling rides up the hill from the locals. The path in front of our place led hikers to Baia di Ieranto which was the most beautiful hidden beach on the mountain side with a platform to jump, coves to kayak and snorkel through and views of Capri. Every morning we sat and watched the sunrise from our porch. At dusk we watched all the hikers walk up the path, back to their scooters and cars. We were lucky to have our place and shower so close to the start of the path.
A 2hr bus ride or a 40 min water taxi brought us to Positano. Positano had a classic Italian villa feel but with swank restaurants, hotels and boutiques sprinkled in. The food was insanely delicious but everything was much more expensive and bustling with more energy (and Americans) than Nerano. We loved having experiences of both towns because we could escape to the energy of Positano and then we were able to return to our cozy quiet casa. Nerano was a true town of the past. Roosters would crow every morning, the church bells rang every half hour, and dogs and cats roamed the streets. It was an amazing experience and we will definitely be going back, hopefully via boat next time. Wink wink wink. Such a great time and now we are heading to Tuscany. Wine and vineyards on the horizon.
P.S. Santa Margherita costs only 9 Euro in Italy ($25 in the states)!