Classic Cars in Amalfi

One thing many people don’t know about me is that I love classic cars. My first car was a 1966 Mustang coupe, and I just loved it. And, yes, I drove around listening to “Mustang Sally.” Unfortunately, I knew the snowy winters of Minnesota would do more than just slow that Mustang down, and I had to sell it for a more practical car. You know, one of those fancy cars with automatic windows and locks, a rear window defroster, and a heater that actually works. Gasp! It didn’t take long in Minnesota before I grew to love those new-fangled contraptions. But I still think fondly of my first car, especially when I watch “Un Homme et Une Femme.”

I was quite giddy last weekend when I stopped in Amalfi and found it full of beautiful classic cars! The Automotoclub Storico Italiano had stopped in Amalfi and took over the parking areas around Piazza Flavio Gioia during their Penninsula Sorrentina “Trofeo Marco Polo” from May 22-24th. So many beautiful cars! I wandered around in the hot sun trying to decide which one I would pick if I could. It is a fun game . . .

I have always been a fan of Jaguars, especially the wire wheels.

You can’t get more Italian than a Ferrari Testarossa,
but could you imagine driving this on the Amalfi Coast
road? Um, no, ma grazie lo stesso.

If you like quirky, then you would have to go for this
1984 Citroen Charleston.

In the end I settled on this beautiful Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider from the late 50’s. I decided it would be small and zippy enough for the Amalfi Coast road, and the convertible top was a must. Now that would be driving in style!

Be Italian!

A good friend who knows my love of films by Federico Fellini just sent me this trailer for the upcoming move called Nine directed by Rob Marshall (director of Chicago). What comes after Fellini’s 8 1/2? Nine! With a stellar cast, including Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, and the eternally beautiful Sophia Loren, this is certain to be an extravagantly good time. Here is the movie description:

“NINE” is a vibrant and provocative musical that follows the life of world famous film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he reaches a creative and personal crisis of epic proportion, while balancing the numerous women in his life including his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), his film star muse (Nicole Kidman), his confidant and costume designer (Judi Dench), an American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), the whore from his youth (Fergie) and his mother (Sophia Loren). The film is directed by Rob Marshall (CHICAGO). The original 1982 Broadway production of “NINE,” with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, won five Tony Awards including Best Musical.

Any man would go mad trying to balance those women! By the way, did you catch that glimpse of Positano at minute 1:33? Can’t wait to see this!

“Creepy Italian Trees”

A sure sign that spring is just around the corner here on the Amalfi Coast is when the tree trimming begins. As those of you who live here or have visited here may have noted, there are a lot of platano trees, or plane trees (known as sycamores in North America) along the Amalfi Coast. I love these trees in the summer, and I don’t even mind sweeping up their large leaves in the autumn, but this time of year I find them, well, kind of creepy. I am reminded of that scene from Under the Tuscan Sun where Patti, the character played by Sandra Oh, is admiring one of those characteristic tall and pointy cypress trees in Tuscany:

Patti: I don’t like these trees. They know things.
Frances: And they know that we know that they know.
Patti: Yeah. Creepy Italian trees.

While I am not sure I have ever found a cypress particularly creepy, I laugh at that scene every time. I would, however, like to nominate the platano for the creepy Italian tree award. Here’s why:

After the spring pruning, with their knobby and crooked branches reaching toward the sky, the platano trees make me think of one of those bad horror movie scenes where the scary hand reaches out of the dark or a grave. So they have become for me the creepy hands of spring.

Okay, enough with the dramatic photos. But you have to admit that even in the sun they are a bit strange. Here is a row of plane trees along the beach in Maiori two years ago:

Do you have a nomination for a creepy Italian tree?

Dancing in the Clouds

Outside my window everything is white. No, no, not more snow. During my first winter on the Amalfi Coast I was surprised by the amount of clouds that seem to just get stuck in the mountains along the coast. This happens other parts of the year, but it seems to happen most often in the winter. Day after day can go by when I look out the window and see nothing but white! You can see the low cloud cover today in the Amalfi webcam shot below:

This winter has been particularly rainy and overcast, and the clouds are unfortunately back today after a nice period of clear weather. Looking out the window just now, I was reminded of the scene from Federico Fellini’s Amarcord where the boys dance in the fog. As I tried to fix my eyes on the neighboring villa, with the clouds and mist literally blowing in the open window, the enchanting theme song from Amarcord starting going through my head. Winter on the Amalfi Coast, whether sunny or cloudy, still seems to be somehow magical.

Amalfi: Megami No 50-Byou

Aha! With some searching last night, I found the movie being filmed on the Amalfi Coast right now. It is called Amalfi: Megami No 50-Byou (Amalfi: 50 Seconds of a Goddess), and will be the first film shot entirely on location in Italy. Here is a great little article about the movie, which states that filming started mid December and will wrap up by the end of February. According to this site, it is expected to be one of the blockbuster hits for summer 2009 in Japan. Curious what it is about? It is a suspense movie starring Yuji Oda (“Japan’s answer to Tom Cruise…”) as “a foreign diplomat relegated to the coastal town of Amalfi who investigates the case of a young Japanese girl kidnapped off the streets of Rome at Christmas, eventually falling in love with the girl’s mother.” Relegated to the coastal town of Amalfi? Poor guy. Hah! I would like to see the movie someday just to see the local sites on film. Here is the official website, if you happen to read Japanese.

Have any of you local readers seen the movie being filmed?