Tempting Tuesday: Church of Sant’Antonio in Conca dei Marini

 

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One cool and sunny February morning in 2008, we went for a drive as we often do in the winter. With no particular destination in mind, we go exploring up and down the Amalfi Coast, enjoying the warm winter sun, the roads free of buses and tourist traffic, and the beautiful views. During these busy summer months, I am reminded just how beautiful the Amalfi Coast is during the winter. Certainly I miss the beach days and the flowers everywhere, but life here off season has many charms. I was reminded of one of these winter days during the Festival of Sant’Antonio in Amalfi a couple of weeks ago. During the boat procession we went first toward Conca dei Marini, where high above the water you can see a church dedicated to Sant’Antonio. Suddenly I had a very clear image of a sunny winter day when I first saw the beautiful Church of Sant’Antonio in Conca dei Marini.

 

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This church has the most incredible location, with a terrace view open to the sea. As I peered through the gate, I imagined all of the community gatherings that must have taken place here on this beautiful terrace.

 

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The church bells rang 4:45 and interrupted my reverie. I know that even after I forget the day, the month or even the year I first saw the Church of Sant’Antonio in Conca dei Marini that I will remember I saw it at 4:45 on this beautiful day.

 

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Tempting Tuesday: My favorite beach on the Amalfi Coast

Tempting Tuesday: Piazzetta di Pontone

Tempting Tuesday: Regata Storica delle Repubbliche Marinare

Sunday Shout-out: WhyGo Italy

ITALY

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of meeting Jessica, the the extremely knowledgeable Italy expert from WhyGo Italy. She popped down to Naples during her recent trip to Italy, and we spent part of a very lovely day exploring the streets of Sorrento and enjoying lunch together. We chatted while walking up and down the lively streets, admiring the local Italian male fashion statements, the beautiful fruit stands, and the quiet streets. The day certainly went far too quickly for me!

3607949224_47a679e409 Sorrento street musicians – Photo by Jessica at WhyGo Italy

If you haven’t already discovered this great Italy website, be sure to head over to WhyGo Italy and peruse Jessica’s informative and fun articles and travel guides. For those of you planning a first trip to Naples, or anyone who loves the city, don’t miss Jessica’s recent articles on her trip to Naples, including:

2 Reasons I Liked Naples Instantly

How I Fell in Love with Naples

Things to Do in Naples

Weird & Wonderful Naples

How to Get from Naples to Sorrento

naples2 by  Jessica at WhyGo Italy Street in Naples – Photo by Jessica at WhyGo Italy

The photos in this post are all by Jessica, and as you can see she is a fabulous photographer with a great eye for catching very Italian moments of life. Be sure to check out the photo albums online while you are exploring WhyGo Italy. If you need an excuse for why to go to Italy, Jessica’s writing and beautiful photos will have you searching for plane tickets ASAP!

Related Posts

Sunday Shout-out: L’Italiano in Famiglia

Sunday Shout-out: BlogHer, The Blogger Guide & Bell’Avventura

Sunday Shout-out: Anne in Oxfordshire

Sunday Shout-out: Travel Dreams and Moonbeams

Boat Procession for the Festival of Sant’Antonio in Amalfi

 

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Just after the statue of Sant’Antonio was safely loaded on the boat and the priest and members of the religious procession had boarded, I heard a voice yell, “Dove le due ragazze?” My heart almost stopped. One of those two girls was me! A good friend had arranged for me and a younger friend of mine to ride on one of the boats during the procession. He knew that she is enamored with boats and that I am always interested in seeing and learning more about the religious processions here. But neither of us expected to ride on the first boat with the statue of Sant’Antonio! (Plus, 10 days before my 29th birthday I got a nice compliment by being called una ragazza.) So we ran up the dock and clamored on the boat with big smiles on our faces and feeling very special.

 

As we pulled out of the harbor of Atrani, I heard the marching band start up. “No, it couldn’t be!” I thought as I turned around. But, yes, the marching band was on another boat that followed our boat for the entire procession. I can’t explain why this made me so happy, but I still smile when I look at the pictures and watch the videos.

 

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This isn’t a great picture, but I just loved the tuba sticking out of the marching band boat. You can also see some of the other boats that were following the procession.

 

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The boat procession swooped into the harbor of Amalfi and then continued west toward Conca dei Marini, where there is a church dedicated to Sant’Antonio. Here we are looking back toward Amalfi. You can see the Church of Sant’Antonio in Amalfi on the right of the picture just up and to the left from the watchtower.

 

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After reaching Conca dei Marini, the boat procession turned around and returned to the port of Amalfi. Here you can see the campanile of the Church of Sant’Antonio on top of the hill.

 

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I really liked the jaunty song the marching band played on the way back to Amalfi.

 

 

I went up to the front of the boat to take a closer look at the statue and to see Amalfi as we sped back into harbor.

 

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The strange thing about being on the first boat is that everyone was looking at us and taking pictures of us! (Well, not us, but it felt like it!) Here is the welcome the boat procession had waiting for it in Amalfi.

 

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Taking the statue off the boat seemed even more difficult than getting in on. The crowd applauded the effort as soon as the statue arrived firmly on the ground in Amalfi.

 

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After arriving in Amalfi the procession continued through the streets of Amalfi and eventually Sant’Antonio returned safely to his home tucked up above the city. After dark, one of Amalfi’s best fireworks displays of the year takes place. I had a great view from the terrace of Lo Smeraldino, one of my favorite restaurants in Amalfi, where I was enjoying spaghetti with lobster. A lovely ending to an amazing day!

 

Marching Bands & Church Bells: The Festival of Sant’Antonio in Amalfi

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Nothing ever happens without a band. At least no religious event or important holiday goes by here without at least one marching band present to make things a bit more festive. And I love it! The other day I woke up with a smile on my face to the sounds of a marching band celebrating the birthday of San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist) in a nearby village. As promised, I have some fun photos and videos of the Festival of Sant’Antonio da Padova (St. Anthony of Padua) in Amalfi from June 13th. Being a part of this procession was a truly amazing experience, and I am very happy to be able to share it here with you. I arrived in Amalfi a bit early and followed the marching band up the steep steps to the Church of Sant’Antonio. After visiting the church, I went to walk around the beautiful cloisters that are now a part of the Hotel Luna, which is one of the most peaceful and beautiful spots in Amalfi. But I found where the marching band had gone!

 

 

 

The procession was a bit slow getting started, and getting the statue down the steps was challenging. First a group of men carried the base for the statue and the flowers down to the street:

 

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And then came the statue itself (and the marching band):

 

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The statue of Sant’Antonio was assembled on the street at the base of the steps, and then the procession started on its way toward Atrani. Here it is coming around the corner by the tower of the Hotel Luna:

 

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The procession went through the tunnel between Amalfi and Atrani and followed the road up and around the Collegiata di Santa Maria, which rises beautifully over the beach of Atrani.

 

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The marching bands are not the only festive sounds you hear during religious holidays in Italy. You also have the church bells! I made this video so you can see the procession and hear the church bells ringing like mad in Atrani:

 

 

 

After going past the Collegiata di Santa Maria in Atrani, the procession doubled back and descended to the beach where the statue was placed on a boat for the rest of the procession on the water. Here is Sant’Antonio on the beach:

 

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It was quite a sight to see the statue very carefully transferred to the boat:

 

 

 

And now I will leave you in suspense until tomorrow, when I will post my photos and videos from the rest of the procession on the sea and its arrival in Amalfi. This experience will always be in my top ten memories of life here on the Amalfi Coast, so be sure to stop by tomorrow to see!

Buon Compleanno!

 

28th Birthday Breakfast

 

Many thanks to everyone for the kind birthday wishes yesterday! Last year I started my birthday with a breakfast so lovely and memorable (above) that I decided it should be a tradition. On Monday I walked to the fruit & veggie shop and bought a watermelon and hauled it uphill for a half hour home. Phew! The lady in the shop picked out a special one for me since it was for my birthday, and she certainly picked a good one. Yum! I see now looking back at my photos from last year that the hydrangea bushes in the garden are blooming much later this year. Last year for my birthday there were so many I cut some for the table. But there are a few starting to look pretty this year:

 

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The bougainvillea in the garden is certainly lovely! We have one that is purple and looks so nice against the white wall:

 

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And my new bougainvillea has started to bloom! We have been waiting to see what color it would be since it didn’t have flowers on it when we bought it. We were hoping for the intense bright pink that you see on Capri, but  I am rather fond of the light red color we ended up with. I haven’t seen very many quite this color. I love surprises!

 

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Yesterday the weather couldn’t have been more opposite than a year ago. Last year I spent the day on the beach and I remember it being almost too hot to be in the sun. I thought of that yesterday while I spent the afternoon reading a new book (set on the Amalfi Coast in 1939 . . . more coming about that soon!) under a blanket and listening to the rain and the thunder rumbling up in the mountains. It was the perfect cool evening for going to one of my favorite restaurants called Le Querce  (The Oaks) up in the Valico di Chiunzi in Tramonti. After driving up into the mountains, and continuing along a tiny road up and up and up, you reach Le Querce, which is a rustic and warm spot that makes amazing steak. (If you go, definitely try their homemade salami!) When we arrived, the powers was out for the entire city of Tramonti, and we started our dinner by candle light while the storms continued outside. It was an wonderful and memorable (and not to mention tasty!) way to spend my birthday evening. Many thanks again for all the birthday wishes!