The Amalfi Coast has been on my list of places to visit for many years. This has been especially true after seeing “Under the Tuscan Sun,” by the writer Francis Mayes. Diane lane, playing Francis, falls for the dashing Marcello in the picturesque seaside town of Positano. Who wouldn’t want to go to the seaside town on the side of a cliff? A few hours south of Rome, just outside of Naples, is the town of Vico Equense; situated above the bright blue sea. Our host met us at the train station, so we could follow her to our two bedroom apartment; booked for two nights. Villa Bebe was a short ride up from the center of town. Our host showed us the place, then gave details on how to get back into town, as well as pointing us in the direction of a short cut, on foot, to the little grocery store we passed on the way, without having to get back on the winding road. She showed us a brochure on cruises to Capri, or the towns of Amalfi, and Positano. She even called Palo to make the arrangements for us. http://www.sorrentorelaxcharter.com She left us all set to be picked up the next morning to be taken to the marina. The next morning our boat operator waited with a cooler filled with water, soda, and prosciutto, with mozzarella, sandwiches. For the next 8 hours we glided across the blue water of the Mediterranean Sea, past the island of Capri, with Mt Vesuvius in view behind us. On the beaches of Amalfi and Positano, sun worshipers took up real estate along the strand of sand, while others rented blue and white umbrellas to shield them from the hot sun. We ate a snack of fresh seafood served in a coned cup with a drizzle of lemon glace. Lemons, the size of small footballs, were arranged on a cart outside of one of the many stores. We of course had to have gelato. The sandwiches brought for us were delicious. Our driver dropped us off in the two towns to explore, and then later patiently waited his turn to pick us up at the dock. Pictures shared will not fully covey just how beautiful the day was. Since we had a kitchen, I offered to cook. With the grocery store being just a short walk from the apartment, we walked down in search of the ingredients for dinner. Finding the ingredients you need for a meal is a great way to experience life like a local. The first night I made Chicken Parmesan, a green salad with homemade white French dressing, and naan bread with garlic butter. Homemade sangria was made with red wine, lemon soda (an ingredient learned in Lisbon), and limoncello to sweeten the concoction just a little more. The next night we had mixed seafood with a white wine butter sauce, served over linguini, a salad and cannoli’s. Food in Europe is amazing, whether bought in a restaurant or made with fresh ingredients from the store. In the evening of our second night, the bells of the small chapel around the corner from Villa Bebe, as well as the ones from the larger church up the hill, chimed as the parishioners walked by carrying candles, paying homage to Jesus, on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Red rose petals had been placed in the shaped of a heart on the pavement, earlier in the evening outside the chapel. A picture of Jesus perched just over the heart, inside an alcove in the wall, had a candle illuminating His face, as He appeared to look down upon the worshipers. A small alter, just inside the open chapel doors, was adorned with candles and more rose petals. The parade of people, to include our host, solemnly walked in silence, with the exception of the ringing bells; some of which disappeared into a home to have a dinner of their own with friends and family, to celebrate the Holy day. Our host gave a kiss to both my cheeks; wishing us a good evening and it was!
Orvieto is situated on volcanic ground in the providence of Umbria, in Italy, north of Rome. Its history goes back to the Etruscans’, before the Romans. At the top of the town sits a cathedral, Santa Marie Assunta, dating back to the 14th century. https://www.orvietoviva.com/en/ Cars are not permitted in town, but you can drive up, then park just outside of the closed streets. If you choose to arrive by train, the town can be reached by a funicular at the bottom. Last year I learned of the mother of a friend who fell in love with this region. She decided, while on vacation here, to come back to America and retire. I visited the town with my friend last year, as we made our way through Italy. As we walked through the medieval streets, I realized just why someone would want to retire to this hill town. This year I had the opportunity to meet this adventurous, lovely lady. Visit the town and see for yourself just how wonderful it is. Little family owned restaurants are scattered throughout, offering good food. Friends sit in the piazza sharing good conversation. Life stands still, when most of the time it seems to move too fast. We all could use a little of life standing still.