Italy’s Amalfi Coast: Cruising with Enzo
Leah Walker November 28, 2012

It’s rare that you meet someone that makes you pull out a pen and paper in order to document the things he or she is saying. On my recent trip to the Amalfi Coast such a thing happened.

I was eager to leave Rome for the famed Amalfi Coast. Drinking limonello there was on my to-do list, and I couldn’t wait to mark it off. Rome is a nice city for holidays, but I was ready to escape the hustle and bustle and take life a little more slowly. Some spectacular sea air would reinvigorate my body and soul.

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Enzo was my Walks of Italy guide and driver for touring the Amalfi Coast. I always expect my guide to be full of knowledge and willing to teach me about the place I’m visiting, but I don’t expect my guide to be a modern-day Aristotle full of profound {and sometimes comical} thoughts. From the time that Enzo picked me up at the Bellevue Syrene in Sorrento, my pen furiously wrote his words in my red notepad. By the end of the eight-our tour, I’d filled five pages, both front and back, with my middle-aged driver’s thoughts.

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An Italian with blondish hair and blue eyes, Enzo explained in the first five minutes that his grandmother was German and that’s why he doesn’t look Italian. She was a nurse in WWII and spotted his grandfather, an Italian soldier, with a bullet in his arm laying on the side of the road. She rushed to his side and took him to the hospital where they eventually fell in love. Upon hearing that story, I knew the day with Enzo would be interesting.

In his white taxi van, Enzo deftly snaked through the windy, narrow roads that hug the coast. From Sorrento we headed to the picture-perfect town Positano. In between navigating and pointing out places of interest, Enzo spewed deep thought after deep thought. What I thought would be a light-hearted afternoon filled with beautiful scenery and some limoncello, turned into a lesson in philosophy.

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“It isn’t just enough to be good looking. You have to be good inside. Intelligent people know this.”

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“Love is like a mouse trap. You go in but don’t come out.”

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“My brain is full of colors.”

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“Love is a chemical in your heart, not in your head. The brain gives interest, but your heart gives love.”

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“I know I have to die, but I’d like to do it when I’m older.”

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“We are Italian. We are lazy. We like good food, wine, and conversation.”

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“Brain, heart, and sexy–these are the three things man wants from woman.”

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“Sometimes I like to say stupid things. It makes me feel younger.”

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“When in doubt say ‘no’ because ‘yes’ can’t be returned if you don’t like it.”

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“Every time you touch this land you are in your second home. Since 1944, Italy owes its freedom to America.”

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“Go beyond. Don’t be scared. It doesn’t matter the eye color. It’s the expression. If you see someone that you like their eyes then it is special.”

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“What you feel in the first ten seconds of meeting someone is the truth.”

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“I think it is necessary to believe in something you don’t touch.”

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“If you want to live long then make love all the time.”

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“Don’t think about what you will do in ten years. Think about today and then tomorrow.”

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Once we reached the town of Amalfi, Enzo became all business. He had to deliver me to Mt. Vesuvius and a volcano expert by 2:00 pm. The stories and wise words continued to resonate within me. I got a huge kick out of this man I’d met a mere five hours before. A genuine invitation to return was extended by Enzo.

Life is long, Leah. You’ll come back here.” 

Although his statement is in direct contrast with my tag line,“Life is short and the road is long,” I agreed with him. I would be back. I want to see the Amalfi Coast alive with giant lemons, colorful flowers, boats cruising, and restaurants full of people who also love this little slice of heaven as much as I do. Despite the less-than-glorious weather, I decided that it was the second most beautiful place I’d seen behind New Zealand. Perhaps the yellow sun and turquoise waters during a June visit would change my mind.

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Enzo dropped me off at my Naples hotel. My time in Italy was almost done, which saddened me immensely. I had one more night and would spend it eating pizza in the place of its origin. My blonde-hair, blue-eyed Italian guide/philosopher left me with one final thought:

“Napoli is a beautiful woman in a dirty dress.”

The moment I stepped out of the safety of my hotel I knew exactly what he was talking about. What a perfect metaphor.

Thanks to Walks of Italy for providing Enzo and his services. I was a guest of Walks of Italy, but as always, the opinions are true and my own. A special thank you goes to Enzo who allowed me to write down his words and making me laugh when he said,

“I hope that when you make love to someone you don’t write.”

Leah Walker

Leah’s a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that’s in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Bonjour Paris, France Today, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah’s thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don’t extend to speaking French. Yet.

48 Comments

  1. The Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. I love the way you incorporated Enzo’s ‘words of wisdom’ into the article … you truly captured the essence of Amalfi!

    1. I was fortunate to find such a character for a guide. Even his larger-than-life personality couldn’t overshadow the beauty of the Amalfi Coast though.

    1. I had one of the most brilliant days of my entire trip touring the Amalfi Coast, and that’s really saying something. Spectacular is the only word to come close to describing it.

  2. These pictures are incredible Leah and I am dreaming of the day I see Italy like you and Lola have! #Jealous to the max!!!

    1. I can’t wait to go back to Italy. I’d love to do it in the late spring when everything is blooming. It might be my favorite place in the world as a whole. Make a plan and get there ASAP!

  3. What a beautiful and moving post Leah!

    God bless Enzo the Italian philosopher & super guide.

    I love all the quotes and the gorgeous photos.

    I dream of going to the Amalfi Coast!

    Thanks for sharing

    Kay 😉

    1. Thank you so much, Karla. It’s really hard to take a bad photo of the Amalfi Coast. And Enzo? I think he speaks for himself. 🙂

    1. Oh, I have a million more of Enzo’s quotes. He is such a character. I’ll certainly ring him up when I visit Amalfi again.

    1. You must go, Pola. It doesn’t matter the time of year. If it’s this beautiful during the winter, I can only imagine the other three seasons.

  4. Haha that’s great. I collected quotes for each of the Countries I visited on my Eurotrip. “Quotables” have been great triggers to remember the moments and people of my travels. I’d like to think the quotes and Images I attached to them will endure the test of time.

    That’s great that you found a muse like that, I met a few prolific quote-gifters as well. I definitely think english being a second language contributes to the seeming wisdom as non-native speakers paint amazing word pictures as they take indirect approaches in making a point. Great stuff!

    1. I always think, “Oh, I’ll remember that!” In reality I never do. I have to start writing things down as they happen or at least at the end of the day. A muse…I never thought of Enzo as such, but you’re right, he was!

  5. Enzo sounds like a real character! I love it! I can’t agree with him more about Napoli being a beautiful woman in a dirty dress. It’s a perfect metaphor. And I’m glad to know I’m doing my heritage proud by being “lazy”, enjoying “good food, wine, and conversation” 🙂

  6. Leah,
    This is THE BEST blog post I have read in a long time! I loved it! I, too, have been to the Amalfi Coast., which reminds me about what..John Steinbeck wrote: “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone’. I loved Enzo and all his wisdom. I love Walks of Italy too! I also sum up people fast, but I have been wrong before (in fact, recently!) Thanks for wonderful storytelling!

    1. WOW! What a compliment. I feel like I didn’t actually write it. I just got the inspiration from Enzo. What a muse! I love the Steinbeck quote. I’d not heard it before, but it’s oh-so spot on.

  7. Amazing blog. I.loved Sorrento..I did throw the coins in Trevi Fountain so I will return and hike the vineyards at Piemont, walk The Cinque de Terre and live like a local in Tuscany thanks to you inspiring me . I found the language barrier a little hard tho so hope to learn some basic Italian before returning. Keep posting regards from down under Liz

    1. Thank you so much, Liz. That’s so kind of you to say. I threw those coins in the Trevi as will. I did return, so it must be true! I really want to get to Cinque de Terre the next time I’m in Italy. It is supposed to be as beautiful as Amalfi. Good luck on the Italian!

  8. I am so glad I found your amazing site!!! Leaving for Italy in four weeks and intend to use Walks of Italy in Rome, Venice, and now it looks like a great way to see the Amalfi Coast….thanks so much for all the wonderful pictures and words of wisdom!!…..keep enjoying your life!

    1. Thank you so much, Rick. I’m so jealous of your trip to Italy. I can’t wait to return. Walks of Italy is wonderful. I’m sure you’ll enjoy their tours.

  9. I am so glad I ran across your blog on Pinterest. My husband and I, along with 2 other couples went to Italy Sept. 2012. We stayed in a house in Cavi. Loved it so much!!!! We are returning to Italy in Sept 2014 and have decided to spend the first week touring the Amalfi Coast. I loved looking at your pictures and reading Enzo’s words of wisdom.

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