Happy Blogiversary Ciao Amalfi!

 

Ciao_Amalfi 

Throw your dreams into space like a kite
and you do not know what it will bring back,
a new life, a new friend, a new love,
a new country. – Anais Nin

 

One year ago I started my blog with this hopeful and honest post featuring the above quotation by Anais Nin. After throwing my dreams way out there over and over again during the past year, I have indeed met many new friends, created a new life for myself as a freelance writer and fallen in love all over again with the Amalfi Coast. It has been quite a year! I want to express my gratitude to my dedicated readers, many of whom have become cherished friends, and to those who have helped me so much along the way. Every day I am reminded in one way or another just how happy I am that I started Ciao Amalfi!

 

To celebrate the one year blogiversary of Ciao Amalfi, I want to give you all a peek behind the scenes about some upcoming changes here. I am in the process of redesigning the blog with a new domain name, and I hope to launch the fun new layout later this month. Since I don’t know at all what I am doing (don’t worry… I’m an expert at not knowing what I’m doing…) there might be a few bumpy moments as things get transferred and redesigned. I will be expanding and reorganizing my links during this time as well. Please feel free to contact me at ciao.amalfi@gmail.com if you have any comments, suggestions or links you would like to share. During the redesign process my regular features like Tempting Tuesdays and Sunday Shout-outs will be on hold. But don’t you worry, regular posts will keep on coming!

 

Happy Blogiversary Ciao Amalfi!!

Tempting Tuesday: Christmas Presepe Traditions in Amalfi

 

Well, I was quite swept away by all of the Natale traditions and events for my first Christmas in Italy. With all the fish dishes on Christmas Eve, learning Neapolitan card games on Christmas day, walking through the whimsical Christmas lights in Salerno and the food food food food food. Oh, did I mention the food? Although I’m a bit late, I do hope all of you reading are enjoying a wonderful holiday time! To keep you dreaming of Amalfi into the new year, I’ll share with you my favorite nativity scene in Amalfi. 

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 7

 

This one is located in a little piazzetta called Largo Scario just opposite the beach along the main road in Amalfi.  During the year you’ll find a few turtles lounging in the Amalfi sun or taking a slow swim around the fountain with the resident goldfish. That is, unless you arrive when the fountain has been drained (don’t worry, the turtles and fish have a mini vacation in a nearby bathtub) to be decorated for the Christmas presepe (nativity).

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 1

 

Here is the nativity scene built into a grotto in the center of the fountain. I took these photos a few days before Christmas Eve, so you can see that the baby Jesus figure has not been added yet. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 2

 

This is my favorite nativity in Amalfi because it also represents the restaurants and shops right around the fountain. Here you can see a little sign for the Marina Grande restaurant, which is right across the street on the beach in Amalfi.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 3

 

Above you see the bar Gran Caffe, which is just around the corner from the fountain presepe. Do you think I could get an aperitivo?

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 4

 

Here you see one of the fish doing laps around the fountain, as well as the Lo Spuntino bar located in Largo Scario. (Thankfully, in reality there aren’t pigs munching away in the piazzetta today.)

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 5 

Where the turtles usually lounge there is now a rural scene of hunters. Watch your step when you get over that bridge!

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 6

 

Here you see a charming old style fishing boat moored next to the little representation of the ceramic and coral shop owned by a friend of mine named Michelangelo. He and his family put a lot of work into the creation and maintenance of this presepe every year. Tante grazie!!

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 8

 

On Christmas Eve there was a traditional celebration of the arrival of Jesus in this elaborate fountain nativity. First come the fireworks and the traditional music, and then the figure of baby Jesus is passed around the piazza for everyone to kiss or touch before it is placed in the nativity. After that there was panettone for everyone! 

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 9

 

Here is the nativity scene in the fountain after the arrival of baby Jesus. Did you see all those fireworks in the last photo? Stop back by tomorrow for some fun videos of the festivities once I get them uploaded. In the meantime, enjoy these last two days of 2009! Buone feste!!

 

 

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Tempting Tuesday: Fountain Nativity in Amalfi

Tempting Tuesday: Christmas Arrives in Amalfi

Tempting Tuesday: A Walk in Pogerola

Tempting Tuesday: Fountain Nativity in Amalfi

 

As promised, here I am with photos of the beautiful fountain presepi, or nativities, in Amalfi. Each December, two of the town’s fountains are drained and then carefully and lovingly decorated with elaborate presepe scenes by locals. These are  my favorite decorations of the Christmas season since they change ever so slightly each year and I enjoy seeing how they turn out! This week I’m sharing photos of the fountain presepe in the small Piazza dello Spirito Santo in Amalfi. 

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 1

 

Here is the nativity scene in the fountain, which is half underwater and half above water. The manger is empty now, because here in Italy baby Jesus is placed there on Christmas Eve.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 2

 

I love the interaction between the figures above the water and below the water.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 3

 

One of the tradition figures in any Neapolitan presepe  is the pastore dormiente, or the sleepy shepherd, who is always off taking a nap in the midst of the busy nativity scene. Can you find him?

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 5

 

Here’s a tip … look for a grotto or cave or someplace where a sleepy shepherd might be able to catch a few winks.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Fountain Presepe 4

 

There he is! I hope his flock doesn’t wander too far while he sleeps through yet another holiday season! You can see more photos of this presepe from last year by clicking here.

 

Do you have a pastore dormiente in your presepe?

 

 

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Tempting Tuesday: Christmas Arrives in Amalfi

Tempting Tuesday: A Walk in Pogerola

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Tempting Tuesday: Christmas Arrives in Amalfi

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Christmas Amalfi 1

 

The Christmas lights and decorations are up and Amalfi is covered with these beautiful signs of the city at night with fireworks above. I’m already looking forward to New Year’s Eve in Amalfi! But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. There is plenty to happen between now and then! 

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Christmas Amalfi 4

 

Christmas has certainly arrived in Amalfi! I like the stars leading up the staircase next to the Duomo. I will have to snap a photo at night the next time I can. In the meantime, here you can see the stars and the beautiful campanile, bell tower, of the Duomo:

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Christmas Amalfi 5

 

The Christmas tree has arrived (as well as the scuolabus and matching car) in the main piazza of Amalfi. It will have lights, but they usually don’t decorate it all that much. I guess they’re going for the au naturel look.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Christmas Amalfi 6

 

This is one of the many presepi, or nativities, that you will find in Amalfi during the Christmas season. It’s located all the way at the top of the city and is built into the rocky side of a building. It remains there throughout the year, so anytime you visit you can see it. I love all the little houses built into the rocks just like they are here on the Amalfi Coast!

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Christmas Amalfi 3

 

During Christmas the nativity figures are added. Here you see the grotto with Mary and Joseph and the empty manger waiting for when the Christ child will be placed inside on Christmas Eve.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Christmas Amalfi 2

 

There are two beautiful fountain presepi in Amalfi, and I’ll be sharing those here over the next two Tuesdays in December.

Buon natale!

 

 

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Tempting Tuesday: A Walk in Pogerola

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Pogerola 

Up in the mountains above Amalfi is a little town called Pogerola. Saying “town” actually makes it sound too big. This is more like a village or a hamlet. Although it is high above Amalfi, Pogerola is technically speaking a part of Amalfi. Some of our favorite restaurants are in Pogerola, and the views from up there are terrific. As chance it would have it, I hadn’t ever been to Pogerola during the daytime. Recently, an errand took us up to Pogerola on a nice sunny day, and we took a few minutes to enjoy a quick walk. Above is the main church of Pogerola, and nearby you’ll find steps leading up to a hill. Well, what are you waiting for? Climb those steps!

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog View from Pogerola 3

 

When you get toward the top there are beautiful views of the sea on one side and looking toward Ravello on the other side.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog View from Pogerola 4

 

A single cypress:

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog View from Pogerola 2

 

This month’s banner image shows the view from Pogerola looking toward Ravello. In the foreground you can see Pontone and above in the distance Ravello.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog View from Pogerola 1

 

If you find yourself in Pogerola, do stop at the fruit and vegetable shop next to the post office. They have a wonderful selection and sell homemade jars of sundried tomatoes, figs and olives, and freshly dried fruits. We brought home the best dried apricots I’ve ever tasted. A nice walk, gorgeous views and tasty fruit – the makings of a lovely day!

 

 

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