Amalfi Coast – A motor-biker travel, street and portrait reportage
I was born in Avellino, a small town some thirty-minute drive from the Amalfi Coast. I moved back to Italy at the end of 2020, after twenty years spent abroad, to avoid being stuck into my flat in a dark British winter during the second lockdown. I had a chapter to close back home, and that was the right moment to leave London.
Leaving London – a city that I enjoyed so much – for a small town like Avellino was a trauma at first, but as the days got longer and the sun got warmer, I purchased a motorbike, a passion of mine since teenage years. That bike lifted my mood so much that I started to appreciate how lucky I was to live near one of the most amazing places on earth: The Amalfi Coast. I was there in 2005 for the last time, definitely too long ago, and a refresh of my memory was long overdue. So, I started to spend my free time riding around the coast, getting so passionate about this wonderful place, and I was not surprised when I realized that the road I was riding almost every weekend was among the top itineraries for motorbikers around the world.
As I was enjoying every turn of my ride along the coast, my photographic passion was trying to claim back the top spot among my favourite hobbies, while my imagination was adding pressure to my mind to find a creative way to combine all the information that I was receiving. Suddenly, the solution was before my eyes: portray the Amalfi Coast from a travel, street and portrait photographer perspective, enjoying, at the same time, my motorbike rides.
Vietri sul Mare is the first town on the coast, starting from Salerno and riding towards the Sorrento Peninsula. That town is a jewel, famous for being a UNESCO Human Patrimony and for the excellence of its artisan pottery, among many things. It’s a town that one can enjoy on the beach, at lunch, dinner, for a walk or a drink, without the hassle of driving along the coast during the weekend and being trapped into long lines of cars. To me, Vietri is the town where my day ride ends, enjoying an ice cream at the Eco del Mare, down at the Marina, before driving back to Avellino.
Cetara comes next, and it is one of the three towns I fell in love with, because it remained traditional, drowned in a stunning contrast among the blue of its water, the green of the mountain and the yellow of the façade of its buildings. Beyond its spectacular setting, Cetara has the best pizza along the coast (Il Piennolo, run by Gianluca) and one of the most chilled restaurants (MarePizza, owned by Cecilia), where I enjoy eating the Cuoppo (cup of fried calamari, shrimps and anchovies).
Erchie is located a couple of kilometres away, but the town it’s beneath the road line and hence a bit hidden and off the coast, but nevertheless charming, with a wonderful beach that I only portrayed towards the end of winter.
Maiori is the fourth town, riding towards Sorrento. The point of view of a motorbiker approaching it starts with the Norman Tower – now a restaurant – which was built as a defensive system against the Saracen bloody raids – there are some 30 towers along the coast – and part of a story of incursions on the coast from the IX until the XVII century.
Minori is just a couple of turns farther on the road. It is a very picturesque town and the second place I fell in love with. To some extent, and with a stretch of imagination, it may look like a smaller and quieter version of Positano. Beyond beauty and cozyness, Minori is where Café Europa (my favourite coffee place along the coast) and Sal De Riso (best Delizia al Limone along the coast) are located.
Minori also played an important role in my photo reportage, in that the casual encounter with a beautiful-looking American girl further contributed to enhancing the “portrait photographer point of view” of my Amalfi Coast project: Sheel, a Silicon Valley tech engineer who decided to launch her own clothing brand “Svarini” (Instagram: @svarini.shop) that I enjoyed portraying.
Ravello, the cliffside town on the Amalfi Coast, is a must-visit for a coffee and a few shots from Villa Cimbrone – its very edge – for the most spectacular aerial view of the coast.
Atrani comes next on the coast, and it’s a jewel that I only recently explored after driving across its bridge so many times: it’s stunning, like a raw diamond that will never glow in the eyes of those who are not keen to spend more than the few moments that it takes to cross its bridge. It’s the place where my love for photography and writing coincided, giving me the most beautiful experience in my creative life: meeting Bob Richardson (3x Oscar-winning photographer), bumping fists with Denzel Washington (2x Oscar-winning actor), acting as CIA agent in a walk-on role in the movie “The Equalizer 3” and, finally, pitching my novels for a movie project to Antoine Fuqua’s (1x Oscar-winning art direct) CEO directly on set after filming.
While there, I bumped into Maryam, who came to visit the Amalfi Coast from Kazakhstan, and I took the opportunity to convince her to pose for me for a couple of shots.
Amalfi, one of the four Maritime Republics of Italy (Italian city-states) in the Middle Age, comes soon after Atrani: absolutely spectacular town with the most amazing visual impact for a motor biker, but also a traffic hub due to the incessant flow of tourists throughout the year.
Furore Fjord sits on the road from Amalfi to Positano, the most beautiful to ride along the Amalfi Coast if you love motorbikes as I do. Just before Praiano, you can admire the spectacular view from the top of the bridge, but this is nothing compared to that from the little beach underneath.
Praiano, just before Positano, is a place that I very much enjoyed: it’s quiet, with an absolutely stunning view of the church of San Gennaro with its reddish colour on a blue and green background of the sea and the mountain that Positano seems willing to climb.
A few kilometres before entering Positano, I stopped to admire the beauty of the Il San Pietro di Positano, the most spectacular hotel on the Coast and among the finest in the world, considering its location, its service, its view from its legendary terrace and the class of the Cinque family which owns it (a special thanks to Vito and his mother Mrs Virginia, in the image below).
Positano is the last stop and the town where I spent most of my late spring/early summer weekends when I was a student and a place that Denzel Washington likes very much, especially during dinner at Chez Black, the restaurant owned by Gianfranco and his family.
While part of the Sorrento Peninsula, the Positano-Sorrento road images are the closing chapter of my Amalfi Coast reportage. That road is, undoubtedly, the most amazing part of this spectacular place on earth to drive I hope to have portrayed it well enough for you to enjoy my travel reportage. This is where my words end. Now, I rather let a few images do the final talking.
“I am a working professional, but I am fundamentally a creative soul, expressing myself through photography and writing.
My love for photography started when I was only seventeen, thanks to a gift I received from my father, a Canon T70.
“Photography is my perception: it is what my soul can feel, what my eyes can see, but my words can’t tell. Writing is my imagination: it is what my soul can feel, what my words can tell, but my eyes can’t see.””