Carnival Mask and Confetti

February on the Amalfi Coast: Local Tips for What to See & Do

February is a quiet month on the Amalfi Coast, with the exception of the very loud celebrations for carnevale. Yes, it’s carnival time again. Around the Amalfi Coast it’s a festive celebration that includes parades with large floats, kids with entirely too much confetti, and, my favorite part, lasagna. (I’ll share more about that below.) The carnival events add a burst of color to what is traditionally a peaceful time of year. This is the month that many restaurants and stores close for annual holiday time or for maintenance work. Soon things will slowly start coming back to life as preparations begin for another busy season ahead. In the meantime, I love these quiet days, especially when the sun shines.
 
Here’s a look at a few things going on this month, along with some tips for enjoying the Amalfi Coast in February!

 

Carnevale

When most people thing carnival and Italy they imagine all those gorgeous masks and costumes in Venice. That’s not at all what the celebrations look like in much of Italy. If you’re at all familiar with what carnevale looks like in the Italian city of Viareggio, with its massive floats and parade, that’s much more along the lines of how it’s celebrated in this part of Italy – naturally just on a much smaller scale. While there are parades and celebrations, often geared toward kids, in many of the towns along the Amalfi Coast, Maiori is the center of carnevale events. (In large part because they actually have space to make floats and have a parade!) With their Gran Carnevale di Maiori, they have a series of events from February 10th to the 18th. The parade with the floats will take place on Tuesday, February 13th at 3pm. You can see the full events for the Carnevale di Maiori here (Italian only).

Carnival Desserts

Of course you can’t have a holiday without good food! As it was traditionally considered the last big hurrah before the period of Lent leading up to Easter, the customary meal for carnevale is quite lavish. Along the Amalfi Coast that means cheese, salami, cured meats, rich pasta dishes, more meat, (usually more cheese) and lots of sweets. Many families prepare an incredibly rich and delicious lasagna enriched with sausage, little meatballs, spicy salami, hard boiled eggs and mozzarella. It is divine. I look forward to it all year. (Think Garfield and his love of lasagna.) Since my husband has two sisters and they are both marvelous cooks, it means we usually get to enjoy a double dose of lasagna each year.
 
When it’s time for dessert, usually a large tray of chiacchiere will arrive on the table. These are thin strips of fried dough topped with powdered sugar. This is a traditional carnival dessert all over Italy and it has many different names depending on where you’re at. While there are countless recipes, the dough sometimes includes a bit of lemon rind or even a splash of limoncello. They make the most delightful tasting mess you’ve ever eaten!

 

The Amalfi Coast in February

As it’s the quietest month of the year, if you’ve been dreaming of driving the Amalfi Coast Road it’s a good time of year to set off by car and explore the coastline. With less traffic it’s a little easier to stop in scenic spots and enjoy the views. The best part are the colors. If you get a sunny and clear day, the colors of February are vivid and crisp. Just keep in mind that most places are closed this time of year. So don’t expect to rock up to Positano and find all the boutiques open and restaurants to choose from along the beach. But if you’re coming to the Amalfi Coast to enjoy the views and meander around the quiet streets, it’s a wonderful time of year!
 
While you’re exploring the Amalfi Coast, don’t forget that sites like the Villa Romana ruins in Minori are open year round and are free to visit. Take note that the Museo della Carta (Paper Museum) in Amalfi is closed in February for maintenance.
 
Ah … the month of love begins in the place I love the most – the Amalfi Coast! Of course February means San Valentino, or Valentine’s Day. If the weather is nice, our favorite way to celebrate is to head out on a drive along the coastline or simply stroll along the port in Amalfi. No better way to celebrate than just enjoying the place I love most of all.

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Ravello Festival 2017 Schedule and Tickets

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Photo by Roberto Vuilleumier and used courtesy of the Ravello Festival

 

Every year I eagerly await the announcement of the Ravello Festival program, which runs from July to September in the City of Music. The Ravello Festival 2017 schedule has finally been announced! This year’s program kicks off on July 1st with Adam Fischer conducting the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in a performance of works by Wagner – representing the roots of the Ravello Festival and Wagner’s connection with Ravello.

On July 2nd the festival changes gears dramatically from the historic inspiration of the festival to a night of contemporary dance, music and performance with noted Italian artist Francesco Clemente. This is sure to be an intriguing artistic evening in Ravello! There will also be an exhibit of Clemente’s work on display at the Villa Rufolo from July 2nd – September 30th.

Keeping with tradition, this year’s Ravello Festival presents a mix of performances in genres ranging from classical to opera, jazz and contemporary Italian and international musicians. Dance lovers will find some excellent shows to choose from, including the Stars of the American Ballet and Les Italiens de l’Opéra de Paris.

Highlights of this year’s program are Dianne Reeves on July 5th, Philip Glass on July 14th, the Wayne Shorter Quartet on July 16th, Antonello Venditti on August 4th and the traditional Concert at Dawn on August 11th.

You can book your tickets for the Ravello Festival 2017 at the online Box Office. If there’s a concert that catches your eye, it’s a good idea to book well in advance. Also,  a ticket buying tip: For inclement weather, the concerts can be moved from the Villa Rufolo gardens to the nearby Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer. However, since the space is more limited, only people with tickets in rows A, B, C, D, E, F e G will be allowed in. All other tickets are reimbursed. So if there’s a show you absolutely don’t want to miss, make sure to get a ticket in rows A to G.

Will you be seeing a show at the Ravello Festival this year? I’d love to hear which one!

Get Your Move On in Positano with a Yoga Retreat!

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(Photo courtesy Sole Yoga Holidays)

Winter has settled in on the Amalfi Coast, which means we’re in the height of the bundled up inside dreaming of summer season. As much as my body tells me to get outside and MOVE after the holidays, which are celebrated here in southern Italy with a lot of food, the cold wind and snow-capped mountains remind me that it’s might be a less than pleasurable experience. While I wait for the first signs of spring to arrive, there’s only one place my mind wanders if I let it float off down the Amalfi coastline for awhile. It ends up high above Positano doing yoga with a wonderful group of people in the most breathtaking of places. This place:

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Snap snap … come back mind! Last year I shared about my time at this incredible Amalfi Coast Yoga Retreat in Paradise, and it was absolutely one of my top experiences of 2016 and one of my favorite in my 10 years living on the Amalfi Coast. This retreat has been lovingly created by yoga teacher and Amalfi Coast enthusiast Shari Hochberg, who owns Sole Yoga Holidays. Shari adores Positano and this shines through in her entire retreat, which is situated in the rustic eco-resort La Selva that is set in the mountains above town surrounded by peaceful terraced gardens. If you want to get away from it all while still being a short hike from Positano – this is your heaven!

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Imagine joining a group of fun-loving yogis for daily Ashtanga flow yoga on that outdoor platform or in a beautiful room surrounded by nature, all with the Amalfi Coast as the backdrop. Then there’s the beautiful organic meals prepared from locally grown products. We couldn’t wait to see what was on the menu each day! Everything was so fresh and rejuvinating – full of the Amalfi Coast sunshine.

For the group, Shari also organizes a boat trip around Capri, a relaxing day at the beach in Positano and includes extras like handmade sandals in Positano. At La Selva and in the mountains surrounding the eco-resort there are also options for hiking and rock climbing for the more adventurous. The peaceful setting above Positano is absolutely idyllic –  perfect for a yoga retreat to recharge and reinvigorate the soul while surrounded by the beauty of the Amalfi Coast!

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(Photo courtesy Sole Yoga Holidays)

After the fun I had last year joining the retreat for a couple of days (which weren’t enough!), I knew I had to share more about this unique experience that Shari has created. Because I know that if you love the Amalfi Coast and love yoga – this is something you won’t want to miss!

This was the inspiration behind my new Amalfi Coast Experiences page on Ciao Amalfi. This Positano Yoga Retreat is the first of many wonderful local experiences that I look forward to sharing with you this year!

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If you’ve been thinking of a summer holiday this year on the Amalfi Coast, mark your calendars for July 30th – August 5th, 2017 for an incredible week of yoga in Positano. BONUS! Shari is offering a special gift for Ciao Amalfi readers, too! Just enter my code “CIAOAMALFI” when you BOOK your Positano yoga retreat to receive a special €100 euro discount + a natural cosmetic gift made right at La Selva!*

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I couldn’t imagine a more stunning way to expand your yoga practice, get moving in 2017, make new friends, enjoy fabulous organic meals and, of course, those panoramic views of the Amalfi Coast. I hope I’ll see you in Positano this year for the Sole Yoga Holidays Positano Retreat!

 

 

Italy Blogging Roundtable

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This blog post is part of a series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Every month our group of Italy based writers takes on a new theme, and you can read the contributions for this month’s topic – Move – at the links below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please share the stores if you’ve enjoyed them!

ArtTravThe Cost of Living in Italy: My Annual Budget

Bleeding Espresso10 Dos & Don’ts of Moving to Calabria

Girl in FlorenceWhy Moving To Florence Might Not Be The Best Idea For You

ItalofileBefore Considering a Move to Italy, Consult This Quality of Life Index

Italy ExplainedMoving Lets the Light Get In

 

 

*Not to be used with any other offer or discount. Please review the Sole Yoga Holidays policy for information.

Ravello Festival Program for 2016

Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Festival Pino Izzo

One of the signs that summer is arriving is the announcement of the program for the Ravello Festival. Earlier this week at a press conference in Rome, the full program for the 64th edition of the Ravello Festival was announced. It’s time to get out your calendars and start planning that summer trip to the Amalfi Coast!

The Ravello Festival 2016 promises to be another great event from beginning to end, with concerts covering a vast range of musical genres from classical to folk music by Tim Robbins. There’s also theater performances celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare and ballet from noted companies around the world. I’m looking forward to seeing the exhibit by Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto. Looking for some inspiration? This video will transport you there!

Tickets will be on sale online shortly. In the meantime, browse the Ravello Festival 2016 program and have fun picking out what you’ll see this year!

(Photo courtesy the Ravello Festival, Photographer Pino Izzo)

Ravello Festival Photo by Pino Izzo

The Ravello Festival 2015

Ravello Festival 2015 Photo by Roberto Vuilleumier

The stunning stage set up for the Ravello Festival at the Villa Rufolo  (Credits: Roberto Vuilleumier)

If you’re planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast, mark your calendars for June 20th to September 5th for the Ravello Festival. The 63rd edition of the popular festival dedicated to music, theater, opera, dance and the arts is set to be a blockbuster with an outstanding line up of performances. The Ravello Festival 2015 Program has been announced this week, and the selection is tempting. From world class ballet, classical performances and opera to the European exclusive concert by Philip Glass and Laurie Anderson or the lively Bobby McFerrin or Dee Dee Bridgewater, there’s a lot to choose from at this year’s Ravello Festival.

The season very appropriately begins and ends with the music of Wagner, who visited the Villa Rufolo in 1880. On June 20th there will be a ballet performance of Tristano e Isotta while the final concert of the season will be Parsifal, which is the opera Wagner was working on when he visited Ravello.

Ravello Festival 2015 Mimmo Paladino

Each year the Ravello Festival presents a theme, and this year’s is InCanto, a word play that highlights the various ways the human voice is used as expressive instrument (as “canto” means “song”) and the word “incanto” meaning “enchantment.” The Italian artist Mimmo Paladino has created a striking image to represent the Ravello Festival this year. Some of you reading may have seen the incredible installation of many of his sculptures on the terrace of the Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer in 2013. This year there will be an installation of work by the sculptor Augusto Perez throughout the Villa Rufolo and on the Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer terrace.

Ravello Festival Photo by Pino Izzo

Book your tickets soon for the Ravello Festival (Credits: Pino Izzo)

Keep an eye on the Ravello Festival website as online ticket booking via their Box Office should be available soon. If you know your travel dates then it’s a good idea to book in advance as many concerts sell out well in advance. Also, it’s noted on the website, but I’d highly recommend paying a little extra for seats in the Tribuna Centrale – the central seating area. What’s the difference? Well besides being great seats it also secures you a seat should the concert have to be moved to the Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer due to bad weather. While the weather is usually good, I experienced this just last year. If I hadn’t paid a little extra for tickets then I would have missed the concert with Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke, which had to be moved to the Auditorium. Although you’ll be reimbursed for tickets in the Tribuna Laterale in the case of bad weather, it’s a disappointment to miss a concert you’ve been looking forward to on holiday!

 

What concert would you like to see at the Ravello Festival this year?