We three ladies took the train from Florence to Naples. The concierge had arranged for a car with a driver to take us from Naples to Hotel Onda Verde at 120 euros or 40 euros per person. The skilled driver who deftly maneuvered through the narrow mountainous roads, managed to point out in Italian some of the sites as we drove south. Eventually, we were the beneficiaries of gorgeous scenery of rocky mountain sides with stretches of calm, clear blue waters in the early evening glow.
I almost missed the hotel as all one can see from the road is an elevator, sign and parking places. This stunning hotel is built into the side of a mountain. We pushed the elevator button for the lobby, floor -6. As we stepped out of the elevator under a cavernous ceiling, we were ecstatically pleased with our breath taking surroundings with spectacular views from the lobby windows.
The gracious host, Francisco Milano assisted us with registering for room 110 and then directed us to the nearby dining room for an evening meal. The charming restaurant host found us a table where we could watch the sunset while we ate an unbelievably delicious dinner from the mussels, to the pasta, meat dish, dessert and wine as recommended by our waiter. This hotel is obviously blessed with a fabulously gifted chef. I felt as if I had won the lottery! And this hotel bears my name, Onda. The Gr for Gronda, my blog name, is what my grandchildren call me.
Our room had tile flooring, ornate furniture, and a balcony with a view of mountains, blue clear waters, boats, and cascading flowers . The next morning. we were amazed by their breakfast feast from various fruits, cakes, croissants, cheeses, meats, egg omelets, and other tasty dishes as we ate on their restaurant terrace.
I made a major mistake in the planning of this trip to Italy by reserving only 3 nights because there is so much to do from this from this gem of a hotel on the Amalfi Coast located between Positano and Amalfi, both can be reached by bus within 15 minutes. It is a one half hour short ride by boat to Capri; an hour’s bus ride to reach Sorrento. Still we made the most of our time at this haven of a home base. Many who stayed at this hotel mentioned a tour to Ravello and its countryside that they enjoyed and recommended.
Praiano is a town of the Salerno province in the Campania region of southwest Italy on the Amalfi Coast between the towns of Amalfi and Positano. The town’s name derives from the praia, or beach, meaning “open sea.” During the 10th-11th centuries, Praiano was once the summer residence of the doges of the Duchy of Amalfi.
During ancient times (12th and 13th centuries), the fortified tower, Assiola was built in defense of the town. It’s main industry was in the silk business which ended around the 19th century. Today, fishing and tourism are the main sources of revenues.
Wikipedia notes, “The town of Praiano has a number of beaches, including the only beach on the Amalfi Coast to enjoy the sun until it sets. The nearby village of Furore, famous for its fiord, hosts a spectacular diving competition, each summer.”
After our morning feast, two of us ladies decided to venture out to Capri while our other friend recuperated from all our travels. That first morning after we arrived, the seas were rough but we did NOT let this deter us. At the bottom level of Hotel Onda Verde, there is a pier where we were able purchase a ride to Positano in a dinghy. It was like riding on a roller coaster and I could hear myself screaming every inch of the way but we made it in one piece. Then we took the hydrofoil ferry from Positano to Capri.
After we arrived at Capri, we found a tourist office to obtain a map of the area before we boarded the nearby the cable cars (funicular)to go from the sea level of Capri to the top of the mountain. Upon exiting, we proceeded to the right behind a Prada store to buy tickets for the orange bus to transport us to Anacapri and beyond to the “blue Grotto.” There are several bus stops marked on streets so that you can exit and climb aboard at your whim. You can pay if necessary when you enter the bus.
We were thrilled that we decided to go to Anacapri right away. The streets were full of fantastic shops, a church, historic sites and restaurants but there were less tourists present. As we escaped the merchant area after some shopping and taking time for our daily gelato treat, we passed by enormous villas with lovely gardens.
We walked quite a distance gawking at all the villas and gardens imagining who lives in some of these estates. Finally, we decided to flag a bus.
We took the bus to the azure (blue) grotto. This is a cave that you have to see. You will be taken by a row boat with a guide who does the driving.
Then we took the bus back to the main part of Anacapri and then to Umberto Square in Capri. From there we took the cable cars (funicular) back to the sea level of Capri and then the ferry back to Positano. At this point, we took the opportunity to stroll through Positano while checking out all the shops as we climbed the steps from sea level to where the main street is so that we could take a taxi back to our hotel.
The next morning, three of us participated in a full day tour with a fantastic guide who took us to a cameo factory; the ancient Roman ruins of the city of Pompeii which had been buried by lava and ashes in 79 AD by Mt. Vesuvius which two of us did climb to the top to view the crater. This was no easy task but we were proud to have accomplished this feat. We returned back to our hotel to have another delicious dinner before going to sleep exhausted.
Then on the final day, we managed to take a last minute tour with Luigi in his boat to take us for a ride around the nearby coastline and the emerald grotto. Luigi ended up becoming our favorite guide because he was simply a lot of fun and he took his time to take us around the ins and outs of the local coastline. Finally, we had to sadly say good bye to those present at Hotel Onda and the charming host, Francisco Milano. We thanked him for his gracious hospitality in helping us with all our plans while promising him that we would return the following year. After taking last minute photos which included their fantastic chef, we were off in a car with the same competent driver who previously drove us. We were traveling to Rome for the last 9 nights of our stay in Italy.
The Hotel Onda hosts were very solicitous in helping us with our touring plans which were self directed. Some suggested guided tours which can be arranged by the Hotel Onda Verde’s hosts are as follows:
1.) Excursion at Emerald Grotto, swim at Island “Li Galli” and shopping at Positano. Departs from Praiano at 10.15 a.m. crusing down the beautiful bays of the Amalfi Coast including Furore. Arriving at the Grotto (the entrance is extra) the boat waits outside then leaves again for a wonderful swim in the chrystal sea of “Li Galli” Island, better known as Mermaids Island.
Return at Positano for shopping.
Ticket fee € 40.00 .
2.) Pick-up from the hotel at 7:30 AM with drop off at 6:30 PM – Monday – Wednesday – Friday –
Price per person: € 70.00 for Capri and AnaCapri tour
4.) Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius Tour and Cameo shopping– Pick-up from the hotel at 7:30 AM – Tuesday – Thursday – Saturday
Price per person: € 50,00 (There are tours to Pompeii only).
Whole day tour: escorted by guide and by deluxe motor coach.