As the snow is falling in Rome and much of northern Italy, we woke up to few traces of snow around the garden and white tops on the mountain peaks along the Amalfi Coast. If it had been just a few degrees colder, we would have woken up to discover a winter wonderland outside!
Last week on a day that it didn’t rain (remarkable!), I went out for a nice walk to enjoy the sun and the blue skies. The ancient stone paths connecting Pontone and Amalfi take you through steeply terraced lemon groves. This time of year you’ll find the lemon trees covered in black mesh covers. I like to think of them as the lemon blankets. It’s as if the lemons have been covered up and are resting during the cold and damp winter months. But one peek underneath and you’ll see that they’re not really sleeping after all. Bright yellow lemons poke out from under the covers here and there, providing a welcome reminder of the warm sun and summer days ahead.
I asked some locals recently about the covers. They are used to protect the leaves and fruit on the tree from the freezing rain that we sometimes get on the Amalfi Coast. But it was also interesting to learn that they are primarily used to protect the roots of the lemon trees. The roots are not very deep, making the trees perfect for growing on the rocky terrain and small terraces on the Amalfi Coast, and they are particularly susceptible to freezing. So those “blankets” do keep the lemons nice and protected during the winter. Shhh . . . keep on sleeping lemons. The weather this morning was a reminder that it’s not quite time to wake up!
Scintilla over at Bell’Avventura picked up on color themed posts around the blogosphere and had a great idea to Think Pink! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to bring attention to this important cause Scintilla has shared some lovely pink things from her life in Positano. She has encouraged others to do the same, and I thought it was a great idea! So after the Summer Reds on the Amalfi Coast last week, let’s lighten up a shade for a good cause. This week let’s think pink!
Pink touches at the Certosa di San Giacomo in Capri
The pink and white of Il Faro (lighthouse), Capri
Baby Pink (and Baby Blue) Baroque at the Church of San Giovanni Battista in Pontone.
I’m pretty sure Curzio Malaparte wouldn’t like me calling his house pink, but the Casa Malaparte on Capri certainly looks pink to me!
Hot pink bougainvillea on Capri
Rose colored glass: View from the window of the Church of San Giovanni dell’ Acqua in the Campidoglio area of Scala. What a view of Ravello and the Amalfi Coast!
This year I trimmed the hydrangea in my garden too much, and the only bloom that came out was . . . pink!
The best way to fight breast cancer is to have a plan that helps you detect the disease in its early stages. According to the National Cancer Institute:
The moon, accompanied by her bright friend Venus, shone brightly over the Amalfi Coast a few nights ago. Along the moonlit and silent coastline, the ruins of the once magnificent Basilica di Sant’Eustachio tucked up high in the mountains about Amalfi were aglow. A magical night in Scala was about to begin. As I scurried down the steps to the ruins, I heard something familiar being recited. It was an excerpt of Homer’s Odyssey telling of the brave Odysseus and his voyage past the deadly sirens, long thought to have once inhabited the coastline along the Sorrento Penninsula. Thus began an enchanting evening!
The event was called Il Viaggio in Italia (The Journey in Italy) featuring solo performances by great Italian singer Lucio Dalla interspersed with readings by Marco Alemanno of writings by travelers to Italy. It was held at the ruins of the Basilica di Sant’Eustachio in Scala, which I’ve written about here on Ciao Amalfi. I couldn’t think of a more evocative setting on such a beautiful night on the Amalfi Coast. After squirming uncomfortably in the pews that had been carried down the steps and placed in the church (now I know why the church that got ride of them did so), we got up and started exploring the ruins. Seeing them inside for the first time on a moonlit night with the music and recitations in the background was truly magical!
It was amazing to stand right at the base of the church and see the details so closely. I was able to distinguish for the first time the original details and what was added during a restoration to stabilize the ruins in 2002. For those architecture fans, here is a video with more detail:
And for those fans of Lucio Dalla, here is a video of him singing one of my favorite songs called Caruso.
I apologize that the video is cut off, but I have a strange problem with my camera that prevents me from making videos much longer than two minutes (or they will be stuck forever on my camera). If you want to hear the entire song, here is a moving video of Lucio Dalla performing Caruso at Naples’ San Paolo stadium.
This concert was the opening event for a conference taking place in Scala today and tomorrow called Grand Tour: Viaggio in Italia. In an area of Italy famous for its many visitors today, it seems quite appropriate to go back to the origins of today’s tourism, the Grand Tour, which brought so many visitors from across Europe to Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries. While these original tourists brought canvases and sketchbooks rather than the digital cameras of today, they marked the trail down to Naples, further south to Calabria and onward to Sicily. These were the tourists who wrote home telling of the beauty of southern Italy, its impressive historic sites, its people, culture and traditions, and who knew they had found a place at once remarkable and unforgettable. Avanti viaggiatori! Onward travelers!
Two weeks ago I promised to show you what was around this beautiful little corner in Pontone. Surely one of the rarely visited cities on the Amalfi Coast, the little town of Pontone has some excellent restaurants, a peaceful little Piazzetta, and wonderful views. Just a few steps down and around the corner you see above, you pass by a little bar called Blu Bar before entering the Piazzetta di Pontone. In the picturesque little square you will find tables arranged for the Blu Bar where you can sit and enjoy a cool drink, the church of San Giovanni Battista, a little fountain, and a terrace with a spectacular vista. For this week’s Tempting Tuesday, I have a series of photos to show you one of my favorite stopping places on the walk from Scala to Amalfi.
There is so much to discover in each little town on the Amalfi Coast. For me, Pontone is a peaceful little respite from the crowds of the more popular cities during these busy summer months. It is a perfect spot to get away, have a nice lunch or dinner, and get a taste of the true peace and quiet of life up in the mountains on the Amalfi Coast. I hope you enjoyed this relaxing visit to Pontone for today’s Tempting Tuesday!
PS: The feast of San Giovanni Battista is coming up soon on June 24th!