Last Updated on August 18, 2023
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
By Jim Ferri
Amalfi coast towns are beautiful and loved by many travelers to Italy. In fact, the Amalfi is one of the top places to visit in Italy, but it is costly and often insanely crowded.
There is, however, an almost secret village high above the coast, unknown to most travelers, where you’ll find B&Bs, restaurants, and serenity.
It’s Nocelle, a sleepy little village 1500+ feet (461m) above Positano. In addition to much-lower prices than in Positano and other Amalfi towns, it offers the most spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast all the way to Capri.
I found Nocelle quite by accident when I booked the B&B Casa Cuccaro online when planning a trip to Positano. Its cost was less than other B&Bs in Positano, so I grabbed it thinking it was down by the sea.
I was shocked when we arrived in Positano to find that it wasn’t in town but instead about way up the mountainside. But after only a short time there I was glad I had made the mistake.
It’s altitude keeps one cool even on the hottest days of summer. Better yet, the small village of Nocelle is far away from the traffic and noise down by the sea.
Nocelle Isn’t Always Easy to Find
If you don’t know where you’re going, Nocelle may not be easy to find.
At first I couldn’t find it and had to call the owner. His directions seemed straightforward – “drive from town up the hillside to the end where there’s a small parking lot.”
We did, although the road with its numerous twists and turns turned out to be an adventure in driving. Once we arrived we decided to leave the car in the lot until we were to depart.
Leaving the car, we set out on foot with our luggage for Casa Cuccaro. We had to walk down some steps from the parking lot, then across a small concrete bridge spanning a little ravine filled with lush vegetation.
Our Nocelle B&B: Wonderful
Casa Cuccaro was just another few minutes along the path and it turned out to be a wonderful place. It had seven rooms, each with a private terrace with potted plants and bougainvillea adding bold splashes of color everywhere.
Just minutes away were two little Nocelle ristorantes where we had delicious meals served along with beautiful views of the coast.
I’d view both the beautiful sea and the luscious little vegetable garden below, filled with tomatoes, zucchinis and other vegetables. Further off I could see the church whose bells woke me at seven o’clock each morning.
Pepe and Geraldina, the owners, were wonderful hosts. They were typical Italians, always smiling and friendly and asking if there was anything they can do for us.
One evening when we asked for a corkscrew Geraldina returned with one in less than a minute. In the morning she’d cook and Pepe would bring us our breakfasts out on the large communal terrace. It was a great way to start the day.
Bus to Positano
If you don’t want to drive, you can reach Positano from Nocelle (and vice versa) via a steep 1700-step staircase. Or you can take the bus.
Being sane, we chose the latter. The bus costs €1.75 and runs hourly down to Positano, and vice versa.
Our post-breakfast bus ride from Nocelle down to Positano was always an experience. All along the winding road the driver would blast his horn on every turn, clearing cars parked on the side by less than an inch or two, while deftly weaving around shops and little stands that had sprouted up along the side of the road.
Through it all we would all look down on the sight of beautiful Positano gradually looming closer, as the driver stopped at little bus stops only a local knew existed.
The Path of the Gods
One morning in Nocelle, as we made the walk up to the bus stop, I met eight people going in the same direction. We started chatting and found that several of them were from Northern Ireland and were staying in Sorrento.
They came back to Nocelle or one of the other mountainside villages every two years or so, they told me. They came to walk the Sentiero degli Dei, the Path of the Gods.
The footpath is considered southern Italy’s most spectacular hike. High in the hills, it links the tiny town of Agerola with Nocelle. It was while on a hike on the Path of the Gods, they discovered Nocelle.
I soon realized that the path ended right near Casa Cuccaro.
Restaurants in Nocelle
There are only a few restaurants in Nocelle and they all receive good reviews.
One evening we had pasta and pizza outside in a little grotto-like trattoria. Although it was August, we didn’t feel the heat at all because of the altitude. It was a nice little cozy place to relax with a glass of wine.
Another night we had dinner at the restaurant Santa Croce. Only 100 feet from our B&B, It has wonderful Italian food along with seafood and vegetarian options. Highly recommended.
There’s also a mini-market about a 3-minute walk further on (nothing is far away in little Nocelle) for those looking for restaurant alternatives.
If You Go:
B&B Casa Cuccaro
Via Nocelle, 28
Tel: +39 089 875 458
Italian Government Tourist Board
630 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1565
New York NY 10111
Tel: (212) 245-4822