Dalla Carta alla Cartolina – A Unique Paper Experience in Amalfi

There’s one thing I remember loving for as long as I can remember. Surely you have something like that, right? For me it’s paper. There was magic held in the pages of my favorite picture books I read as a little girl. Hours spend folding colorful pieces of paper into impossible origami shapes (with varied success). Cracking open a brand new textbook on the first day of school and taking a good long whiff of that new book smell. In later years my love of paper led to a passion for printing, the history of typography, and words in art. This fire was later fueled by jobs working at small paper stores while in college and grad school. So file it under “funny how life works out sometimes” that I would end up living in town that is famous for — yes you guessed it — paper!

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La Selva Handmade Soap from Positano

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A gift box of 4 soaps from La Selva (Photo courtesy La Selva)

High in the mountains above Positano there is an enchanting place where you can experience the natural beauty, sights and scents of the Amalfi Coast in an untouched setting. That special place is called La Selva, and I’ve shared about it here before since it’s setting for Sole Yoga Holiday’s annual Positano Yoga Retreat. La Selva is the creation of Martha and Cristiano, who have worked hard to make a place that respects nature – and highlights it at the same time. This is perfectly encapsulated in Martha’s new line of handmade soaps. And, yes, you can order them online!

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Handmade soap from Amalfi Coast grown lemons and olives (Photo courtesy La Selva)

I’m always on the lookout for locally produced crafts that capture essence of the Amalfi Coast. I’m also dedicated to living as natural as possible on a daily basis, which is a continual evolution and wonderful journey. This summer while at La Selva for the Positano Yoga Retreat, I was excited to learn that Martha had created her own line of soaps. I had the pleasure to sit down with her and learn more about the process while I was there. The soaps are made with local olive oil from the first cold press along with other natural oils. Walking around La Selva, a meandering pathway leads through a beautiful terraced olive grove. Everywhere you look are the beautiful natural plants and herbs that Martha uses to make her soaps.

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La Selva’s olive grove overlooking Positano with the Li Galli islands in the distance

In fact, the soaps are all natural and include traditional Mediterranean scents like lemon, orange, mint and rosemary. Ingredients are all sustainably sourced and the soaps are produced in small batches completely by hand using a “cold process” technique before being air cured and hand cut.

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Hand cut soap drying (Photo courtesy La Selva)

There are a variety of scents to choose from: Limone e Oliva (Lemon and Olive), Agrumi (Citrus), Menta e Rosemarino (Mint and Rosemary), Propoli e Miele (Propolis and Honey), Iperico e Tea Tree (St. John’s Wort and Tea Tree) and Mirto e Arancia (Blueberry and Orange). I’ve tried out three of the soaps above and love them all. I’m excited to try out the new Lemon and Olive oil soap this winter!

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Lemon and Olive oil handmade and all natural soap (Photo courtesy La Selva)

If you love the Amalfi Coast and natural products, this is the soap for you! You can find out more and order directly online from Martha at the La Selva Positano Cosmetici Naturali Facebook page.

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Dadini – Jewelry Inspired by the Amalfi Coast

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The Amalfi Coast is endlessly inspiring to me. Whether I’m writing or out taking photographs, there’s always something that I’m trying to capture to share or remember. I love seeing how this beautiful landscape inspires so many different types of artists. When I spotted Dadini, a local jewelry company started by Salerno native Alessandra Sessa, the influence of the Amalfi Coast in her lovely designs made me smile. What a beautiful idea! Dadini was inspired by the colors and emotions of the Amalfi Coast and, of course, the strong tradition of ceramics in the area. Each majolica cube has a design that reflects the Amalfi Coast – the blue of the sea, multi-colored homes, yellow lemons and the intricate tiles you’ll find all up and down the coast.

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Many of the colorful designs in their Amalfi Coast Collection are even named after towns along the Amalfi Coast, like the Positano, Ravello or Conca dei Marini. All the designs are charming, but it will come as no surprise that my favorite is the Amalfi! I have my eye on a few other designs to add to my collection, which I know will grow. How can you resist these colorful little designs?

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I love the joy and color captured in Dadini’s designs and in everything they do. Just look at this video, which tells a charming story. On their website it says, “Once upon a time, there was a Dadini that traveled along the Amalfi Coast from Vietri sul Mare to Positano, along the way meeting other Dadini to create a colorful bracelet.” What a fun little visual story!

 

 

Curious to find out more? Visit Dadini.com to see all their designs. You can order from the website and get free shipping in Italy, but they also ship worldwide. Add a touch of Amalfi Coast charm to your look this summer with the colors and design of Dadini!

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Disclosure: Dadini very kindly sent me the necklace featured in this blog post, which was a lovely surprise! However, the opinions in this blog post are entirely my own. I love supporting and sharing about local companies and small businesses. Shop local and support artists whenever you can!

Criscuolo Arte e Bijoux in Amalfi

Over the quiet winter months many shopowners take advantage of the down time to rearrange, redecorate or repaint their shops to have them looking great when the spring season begins. I was very excited to see the work that my friend Michelangelo and his family had done in their lovely shop called Criscuolo Arte e Bijoux. For weeks the windows were covered on the inside with paper, and peeking inside I saw some major redesigning going on. When they reopened this spring, I was thrilled to see that they had created a beautiful gallery space highlighting the work of the artist Luca Mancini and with beautiful jewelry and ceramics dotted throughout the store. On a sunny day recently, I stopped by and snapped a few photos to share.

Luca Mancini is an artist from the province of Asti in northwest Italy who has lived and worked extensively on the Amalfi Coast. With fine detail and intense colors, his paintings really do capture the beauty of the Amalfi Coast. His stylistic range is quite varied, from a dreamy and hazy feel to paintings so finely detailed I had to look closely to make sure they weren’t phtoographs.

I found the jewelry displays quite beautiful and effective in their simplicity. I loved how the vibrant coral picked up the colors of Mancini’s paintings on display around.

The shop displays paintings by Luca Mancini and reproductions of his work carried out under his careful control. There is also a selection of jewelry and ceramics on display throughout the shop and in the window displays.

I love how memorabilia of Amalfi has been incorporated into the displays, including historic photos, cameras, postcards and some early printed publications about Amalfi.

You’ll find Criscuolo Arte e Bijoux on the main road as it goes through Amalfi in the pretty little Largo Scario with a fountain.

Warm wishes to Michelangelo and his lovely family for success in their new endeavor!

Market in Amalfi

When I first started spending time on the Amalfi Coast years ago, I wondered often about where the locals bought certain things, such as plants or any number of household items from sheets to slippers. All those questions were answered the first time I visited the mercato, or market, in Amalfi. Every Wednesday morning trucks arrive in town and set up stalls selling just about everything you can imagine – shoes, clothing, kitchen supplies, fabrics, fish, fruits and vegetables, olives and, yes, even slippers!

Market Day in Amalfi

Anyone who has ever hiked up to the market in Amalfi, which was located way at the top of the town, will remember the walk. Just when you thought you’d never get there, you’d see a truck selling mozzarella cheese and then the first stalls set up around the next curve in the road. While I was in America last month, an old building near the market area collapsed, and the market was temporarily moved to the long parking area behind Amalfi’s port where it was located many years ago. The area at the top of town has yet to be cleared for the market again, so for the time being it will be held in the parking area in Amalfi.

Market Stalls in Amalfi

For visitors to the market, this is a nice change! Before the stalls were located in a narrow road where cars and scooters had to squeeze past shoppers. I’ve been bumped by a car before when I couldn’t move out of the way in the tight space fast enough. Now you can walk along the stalls peacefully, without having to worry about being run over. Always nice!

Market in Amalfi

The market is now located in the part of town that the Amalfitans refer to as “dietro al porto,” which means “behind the port.” This large pier is what defines the harbor of Amalfi, and it’s also one of the favorite spots for a passeggiata, or walk, in Amalfi. So now on Wednesday mornings you can enjoy a stroll along the port while doing your weekly shopping!

Market at the Port of Amalfi

Weekly markets like the one in Amalfi take place in different towns along the Amalfi Coast. On Tuesday mornings you’ll find the mercato in Ravello located in the two level parking area below Piazza Duomo. On Thursday mornings the market in Minori is set up along the waterfront. The largest weekly market on the Amalfi Coast takes place in Maiori on Friday mornings, and can be found by following the main road called the Corso Regina toward the top of town. The markets are generally set up by 8am and close down by 1pm. Even if you don’t find anything you need to take home with you, visiting the mercato is a great way to experience a bit of daily life on the Amalfi Coast.