the Splenderosa Summer Box of Style is being packed right now, we're waiting on ONE item because I rejected the original one I chose. hopefully, they will all go out by Monday next. *************************************************************************
This beautiful old piece is 25" long,
so will fit over anyone's head easily.
turquoise rondelles with old silver & antique wood beads
The Amalfi coast is a frustratingly mixed-bag experience: both dreamy coastline and commercialised, tourist-riddled nightmare.
I have the same response to it as to (for example)
Venice and Cinque Terre:
if only one could magically vacuum-suck out the massed crowds (along with the tacky industries that support them) and make them vanish, leaving the unadulterated experience (in my head at least) of 1960s dolce vita glamour and drop-dead views. But that would include me!
Nonetheless, I discovered some perfectly lovely, less frequented places on my last trip there.
After a short walk around the Pompeii ruins in the rain (the site underwhelming even if it was the worst weather in which to see it: not well maintained, its historic educational potential sadly underused) ...
Pompeii city walls
This specialist guide was patiently explaining some historical facts to a lucky private group
Hazy view of mount Vesuvius from the Pompeii ruins ... and having braved some hectic traffic around Naples, we crossed from Sorrento to the other side of the peninsula, the Amalfi coastline, along a winding cliff-top road with fantastic views, and dipped down into Nerano, where the sun was shining in this little sea-side village on the tip of the peninsula nearest Capri.
View from Taverna del Capitano, Nerano
The destination was the Taverna del Capitano in the middle of the village on the sea-front. The taverna is basically a handful of rooms attached to a restaurant of the same name with a great local reputation.
The rooms are very small and basic, but totally comfortable and clean, and best of all, have windows and doors opening directly onto the sea, with these views ...
... and a night-long sea breeze and gentle lapping of waves - after discovering that the restaurant's reputation is fully deserved - the work of chef Alfonso Caputo, who owns and runs the tavern with his wife, mother and a handful of staff who give attentive and genuinely warm personal service.
Early next morning - before coffee on the little balcony terrace of the friendly Capitano - I watched the beach being prepared for the day
and boatmen getting ready for the day-trippers who would soon be flocking down the path for boat rides to Capri, Positano, Amalfi and Li Galli
Capri had been a tempting, possible plan for the morning, but quickly lost its attraction after seeing the coach-loads being disgorged to queue in massively long lines for the boats.
We decided to drive on instead along the scenic corniche towards Positano and Amalfi ...
... only to encounter wall-to-wall (or cliffside to mountainside) traffic: a painfully slow congestion along the narrow roads (constructed in a time when these were fishing villages with no tourism!), which were also lined with parked cars wedged up (illegally) against the sides as people parked and walked many many kilometres into these popular towns.
Added to the melée were oversized tour buses, suicidal Vespas, pedestrians braving their lives, plenty of tempers fraying, and much pointless, frustrated hooting
Even out of season, parking in or anywhere near either Positano or Amalfi was impossible, and - considering the crowds and tatty souvenir shops - not even desirable.
(no wonder the Italians invented the Vespa and tiny (stylish of course, that comes with the territory) cars!) ...
On the other hand, past Ravello, the little seaside towns of Minori and Maiori, lacking the celebrity status of Positano and Amalfi, were amazingly crowd-free - just locals enjoying their beaches (of which there are many more, and larger).
I loved watching families enjoying the beach - here a grandfather with grown children and grand-children
here two stylishly dressed women chatting barefoot in the sea
and here an elderly man who'd parked his chair in the lapping waves!
The same is true of Praiano, less congested, and perhaps less picturesque but more authentic in my view, than its better known neighbours
Tucked away in the cliff face below Praiano is the entrance to Casa Angelina. Its access is via an alarming series of unimaginably narrow hairpin bends, at the end of which you're rewarded with a fantastic modern design. The all-white interior is a deliberate neutral backdrop to a collection of artwork, sculptures and Murano glass creations ...
... and to the main event - huge picture windows with views to die for of the Amalfi coast, all the way from Capri in one direction to the toe of Italy in the other.
Casa Angelina is a little gem of understated luxury, whether to stay or just drop by for a drink or lunch on the terrace. I took the opportunity to work off lunch by walking down a very very long cliff-face path to the sea below
Boy, did I regret it walking back up ...
But regret seeing this part of the world? Not a bit.
note: merchandise may be found by clicking the "Pages" just above goodness, seems EVERYONE is talking about ITALY
on their blogs, even Vicki Archer today.
but, you guys KNOW I LOVE ITALY more than anyone else
& I'm going to post about it as long as I live,
I've made the photos as large as possible so just move the screen left to right & vice versa to see the entire view.
the world famous "faraglione" (sea stack) viewed from Capri
you see, Capri is a world unto itself...
the jeunesse doree' decorating the cafe tables and dressing the narrow lanes of Capri.
the young & the restless, the rich & the almost famous, Americans, Italians, Europeans
and the ubiquitous Asians.
those who tender in from their mega-yachts or those who ferry in from Sorrento (which is what we did, of course). the summer tableau of Italy's sublime island pulsates in a kaleidoscope of high fashion, high style and astronomical wealth.
the scene at Il Riccio Ristorante where the noonday lunch could easily reach $300 a person below a Methuselah of Rose' for 10 people the main thing I see is that EVERYTHING, and I mean everything is ITALIAN. there are no French designer shops anywhere in sight, everyone wears or carries ONLY ITALIAN. where else, in such a diminutive hamlet, are $45,000 handbags sold alongside $40,000 whimsical rhino sculptures, and the fine jewelry can easily reach into the 6 & 7 figures? where else does the town square, the Piazza Umberto, become the social vortex ? the cognoscenti understand that reservations are a must, especially at the terribly chic Gran Caffe'
handmade shoe shops are a favorite stop for those who can wait for luxury, and for those who cannot, directly across the way is the Gucci shop, carrying all the men's & women's designs they make. I bought my son a pair of shoes there, as he's very small, like an Italian, and I knew he would love them. He, of course, was out climbing around on some rock to get the best view for his next photo image. what I've discovered is that people who come to Capri LOVE the crowded spaces, they love the see and be seen vibe, which I long ago outgrew martinis being made table-side at the amazing Punta Tragara ummmmmm lemon drop, lemon drop, lemon drop poolside at the 5-Star Punta Tragara all of this action is mid-way up the island, you can go up the funicular or be driven from the dock. the relaxation of AnaCapri, the next level up the island is totally different, much more casual, much less crowded, more what I would like. however, scattered among all the craziness are beautiful homes, behind tall hedges, and it's delightful to try to seek them out from the little lanes throughout the island. and the hotel of particular importance is the Hotel Quisisana where hanging out by the front door is super smart. other than the proper clothes, the only thing you must have is a GREAT TAN