Nocelle - An Off-Beat Vacation in the Amalfi Coast

Tripoto

Nocelle is a lesser-known village, tucked securely in the mountains of the Amalfi Coast. We were tired of the typical, touristy, run-of-the-mill vacations in the Amalfi Coast. So we decided to check out Nocelle which is at an enchanting 20-minute drive away from the famous Positano.

At 1,700 feet above Positano's coastline, we were indeed far from the madding crowd! The winding route was scenic throughout except for the claustrophobic tunnels in between. A whirlwind drive along the mountain roads after, we were at an end of the road that resonated with the end of the world—Nocelle!

The village is connected with steps and despite the mode of your travel, the last stretch inside the village can only be reached by foot. The villagers still use ponies for carrying goods along the mountainous path.

There are a few B&Bs in Nocelle. One of them is Casa Cuccaro which is family owned, wallet-friendly and have a panoramic view over the coast. Casa Cuccaro, run by the warm Cuccaro couple, was a simple and elegant accommodation. All the rooms had modern facilities retaining their original charm with ceramic tiles and vaults. They used fresh produce from their garden; succulent figs, oranges, and warm bread were in store for us. They make their own wine too.

The next day we took the 1,500 steps to Positano for a travel along the less traveled road. This is a part of the aptly named 'Sentiero Degli Dei' ('Walk of the Gods'). This is definitely not for the faint at heart. That said, for a spooky adventure, this is a must-do. The rugged stairs, the eerie silence of the woods around, and the melancholic calls of cicadas were all a part of the unique journey for us—a splendid view over the coast and the mesmerizing sight of the flowers in full bloom were our rewards. No camera can do justice to the postcard view of the coast dotted with the villages on the cliffs...save it for your eyes.

The stairs end at the town of Arienzo, from here we had to walk for a kilometer along the road to reach Positano. We visited the coasts of Positano and Amalfi to enjoy some serious soak up in the Sun.

We returned early in the evening to spend some time in the village. We spent most of our time strolling the cobblestone streets and relaxing in the village square where bees and birds kept us company. The gardens were ripe with tomatoes, grapes, and aubergines. Life was at its pace in Nocelle: we took the time to smell the burgeoning flowers; sunk in the juxtaposed colors of the sea, sky, and gardens; and said hello to the occasional and unobtrusive lizards. There is a small church in the village; mornings and evenings were blessed with its celestial bells. The small square, the narrow streets, the lush greenery, the buzzing bees, the chirping birds—all added to the rural aura.

We had an ultimate gastronomic experience in Il Ristoro de. From the exquisite vegetable platter to the meltable gnocchi to the sumptuous pizza, their dishes were generous in quality as well as quantity. The restaurant, carved out of a rock, was a perfect setting for our romantic candle light dinner.

A day or two is recommended to relax in Nocelle. However, be warned, there are no activities or must-see places for an average tourist here. You are rather blessed with a view to die for and a time that stands still. Nocelle can also be a hub for your essential Amalfi Cost vacation, if you are enticed by the remoteness, that is. Nocelle is best visited during the summer or spring as the rains are known to cause frequent roadblocks.

In Nocelle, we were transported back to a time where everyone knew everyone in the tightly-knit community. The warmth and kindness of the villagers made the real difference to our vacation; not a single person passed us without uttering a friendly Buongiorno (good day!). We were welcomed as a guest, not as yet another tourist.

When the time came to bid adieu, the Cuccaros insisted that we come back for another long holiday. Mrs. Cuccaro even asked my husband to let me live there for a while. Four years later, when going gets tough in the monotony of life, I wonder if the offer may be still valid today! I would love to contemplate my life at that sunny balcony enjoying a generous serving of gelato.

'Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living', said the American historian Miriam Beard. Visit Nocelle—not for a rendezvous with nature or culture—but with your inner self.

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