Southern Italian Generosity

This morning while shaking a rug out the window (Yes, I actually do that.), our friendly neighbor called across the garden asking if we’d like some tomatoes. Of course! These neighbors have some terraces of land that they put to very good use and work hard every day tending all kinds of fruits and vegetables. It’s always a treat when they offer something fresh from their garden. When I went to pick up the tomatoes, I got a surprise dose of southern Italian generosity when I found the basket piled full of more than just tomatoes. She also shared some of their wonderful plums (better than any I’ve ever bought!) and the most delicious ripe figs. Oh my!

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Summer Fruits

 

This type of generosity is so common here in southern Italy. (And no doubt in the rest of the country as well, but this is only place in Italy I’ve lived.) Without any space for gardening, I often feel like I have so little to give in return for such generosity. So today, blessed with such abundance and kindness of neighbors, I want to share with everyone just how lovely, warm and generous the people of southern Italy are by their very nature. For many, something as simple as sharing an abundance of fruit is just as natural as saying buon giorno in the morning. It’s something that I learn from and love every day here on the Amalfi Coast.

Buona domenica a tutti! (Happy Sunday to everyone!)

Bleeding Espresso’s Gita Italiana 2010

Gita2010[1]

Have you all been following the Gita Italiana 2010 (Italy Tour 2010) over at Bleeding Espresso? If you love Italy, then this is the perfect chance to do some virtual traveling around the boot this month. Michelle has invited guest writers from all over Italy to write about where they live, and each day until the end of August you have the chance to read about another beautiful spot in Italy each day. Plus, she’s doing Italy themed book giveaways on Mondays until the end of the month! Really, does it get any better?

I am honored to have been included in Michelle’s Gita Italiana this year, and I wrote Mountains & Sea: Between Two Worlds on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Check out my article, and be sure to follow along on the Gita Italiana 2010!

Head Over Heels in Love with the Amalfi Coast

 

 

Recently, I was asked to write a guest post with the theme of “love” over at Andrea Perullo’s wonderful blog My Beautiful Adventures. The first thing that came to mind, of course, was the Amalfi Coast! Head over to Andi’s blog to read my guest post Love: Head Over Heels For the Amalfi Coast.

What do you love most about the Amalfi Coast?

Road Trip: An Afternoon in Nerano

On a beautiful summer day recently, we piled into the car and set off to toward the very tip of the Amalfi Coast. Past Positano the road widens slightly and begins to climb higher and higher. At Sant’ Agata sui due Golfi, where you can see both the Bay of Salerno and the Bay of Naples, we followed the narrow road that winds down through olive grows toward the village of Nerano. Our goal was even more specific, the beachside part of town called Marina del Cantone.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Marina del Cantone

 

Nerano was one of the few villages on the Amalfi Coast that I had only seen before passing by on the ferry to Capri. But it always looked so charming and quiet, and it turned out to be exactly that. Here is the small, colorful harbor of Marina del Cantone in Nerano.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Beach

 

The view the other direction shows the rock formation that is the distinctive marker of Nerano. Just beyond those mountains, it isn’t far at all to Capri.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Harbor

 

The beach was lined with these large terracotta vases full of beautiful red flowers. (Anyone know what kind they are?)

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Beach Flowers

 

We stopped for lunch first at one of the seaside restaurants to try pasta with zucchini, one of the traditional dishes of Nerano. They make it in a slightly different way there, heavier, more Parmigiano cheese and a touch of something extra. It was lovely – a beautiful lunch with a beautiful setting!

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Lunch in Nerano

 

After that it was time for some sun and a quick splash to cool off in the sea. This is the spot we picked out, although there are plenty of options for renting beach chairs and umbrellas.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Free Beach

 

With the beautiful surroundings (& big lunch!), I was more for exploring with my camera than swimming. This shot is truly Nerano to me:

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Flowers

 

Nerano still has the feel of a sleepy fishing village, with some beautiful buildings down by the sea. Here are some shots I took along the waterfront.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Architecture2

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano fishing boats

     

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Architecture

 

As the sun fell behind the mountains and the sky took on a soft pink hue, we packed up our bags and headed back toward the car.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Nerano Evening Light 

An afternoon in Nerano wasn’t enough. This was one of the most peaceful spots I’ve experienced on the Amalfi Coast, and I’d go back in a heartbeat. Next time we’ll leave early in the morning and plan an entire day here relaxing on the quiet harbor, watching the small boats come in and out, and trying out another one of the lovely restaurants. If you’re looking for a truly quiet spot on the Amalfi Coast, consider staying at one of the hotels or bed and breakfasts in the area. There’s even a small campground! Although it is possible to reach Nerano by bus, I’d plan on arriving either by car or boat as it’s quite far out of the way. That’s part of what adds to the lure of Nerano – peace and a chance to truly escape from it all on the Amalfi Coast.

Oleander blooms on the Amalfi Coast

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Oleander

I love it when the oleander comes into full bloom on the Amalfi Coast. Many towns have planted oleander (Oleandro in Italian) along the side of the road or around town, and it grows very happily in the Mediterranean sun. I noticed the other day this beautiful oleander just outside the gate where I live. It had just reached its peak, and I knew the pink petals would soon be falling and blowing into our garden creating a carpet of pink. It will be until early summer next year before we get to enjoy this bright burst of pink welcoming us home.