We continued on. The constricted, serpentine road twisted and turned, curling back on itself in places.
The intense blue of the Mediterranean Sea sparkled to our right.
Positano came into view, its pastel-colored houses cascading down the hill like frosting on a cupcake.
Around another corner, just a few miles beyond, Praiano, our final destination, appeared.
Although we had the address of the villa that would become our home for the coming week, we still had to stop and ask locals where we could find the elusive Via Ruocco, where the villa was located. After learning that Via Ruocco was actually a street of stairs, Giuseppe pulled over and we got out.
The van was parked on a tiny road hemmed in by a rock wall on one side and stone buildings on the other; it was hard to imagine this was the main road of upper Praiano. Throughout the week to come, we would traverse it on foot many times.
Today, however, we were laden with our bags and, most importantly, Nichole’s wedding dress, and were only concerned with getting our gear up to the villa.
Glancing about, Nichole recognized a palm tree from one of the website photos. She and Allie walked up a steep pathway to the level above, appearing overhead a few minutes later to wave at us to come forth. The villa was up this way.
With bags in tow, we found ourselves on a small paved pathway that led to the foot of a very steep set of stone stairs. A ceramic sign affixed to a rock wall leading upwards confirmed Nichole’s findings: Via Ruocco. This was the “street” we had been looking for.
The owner, Paolo, appeared and unlocked a door cut into the stone wall that bordered the path. The door swung open to reveal a strange-looking platform connected to some sort of mechanized pulley system. This, we soon learned, was a luggage elevator. Very clever — our piles of bags rode up, a few at a time, to the lower level of the villa situated straight up from where we stood. Bodies, however, had to use their own steam.
Halfway up, a gaping green door marked the entrance to Villa Giampa, our temporary Amalfi Coast home. In awe, we stepped through the portal cut into the stone wall and found ourselves in a Mediterranean wonderland.