I am very pleased to be introducing my first guest writer here on Ciao Amalfi, and who better than my good friend and fellow travel writer Lisa Fantino from Wanderlust Women Travel. She has written for us a beautiful tale of love set in one of the loveliest places in the world. Her story resonates with me deeply, and I know you will enjoy it as much as me. Pour yourself a glass of wine, sit back, and dream!
An Amalfi Love Story
She had wandered to the land of her grandparents in search of relaxation and happy to be flying solo. The perfumed scent of jasmine, which filled the air, lingered from cliff-face to shoreline as Maria journeyed from Rome to Salerno. The open road before her morphed from the high-speed Autostrada to the meandering side-streets of villages like Meta, Castellamare D’Stabia and Piano d’Sorrento. The further she journeyed from Fiumicino Airport the more that knot in the back of her neck relaxed. This was not where she was born but she was certain she was home.
The beauty was overwhelming as an azure sea kissed a turquoise sky so that Maria could not distinguish where one ended and the other began. She was not looking for adventure on this trip but something in her soul knew that she would never be the same.
Maria immersed herself in the history of the Amalfi region. Visiting the ruins at Pompeii and Herculaneum where history came to life for her. The daytrips were the perfect buffer from the stress of the city she left behind in the States to the transition to Sorrento. This was not just a change in geography and time zones but more like a modulation from insanity to serenity.
Stress takes on a different face when you are surrounded by natural beauty. The people of this region struggle with the economic crisis on a daily basis but at their core, en loro cuori e anime, they truly let go and let God give them strength. Stress-relief comes in the form of three-hour lunch breaks, whether to eat or to make love; afterall, it is Italy.
Maria strolled through the villages, visiting the beach in Amalfi, the shops in Sant’Agnello, stopping in Sorrento’s Fauno Bar for an afternoon cafè. Time didn’t matter for her. The Rolex was left at home and the cell phone was turned off.
She walked the long cliff drop down to the Marina Piccola in Sorrento to catch the hydrofoil to Capri. There was no hurry, if she missed the first boat, another would be along in 30 minutes. Dozens of people came aboard – it was the first sunny day after what had seemed like weeks of rain. True, it was the calming effect of the sea that she had sought but when you are surrounded by loud tourists, screaming children and the constant drone of the boat’s engines, it’s hard to relax.
Yet one step off the funicolare and her blood pressure dropped – not in the bad, you’re going to die way, but in the fantasmic you have just come alive way. The heady scent of wisteria mixed with jasmine beckoned Maria to stroll along the coast toward the Faraglioni. A small sign grounded to a wall mentioned poet Pablo Neruda. Here it was easy for her to readily understand the inspiration for the poet’s verses of love. “. . . everything carries me to you, as if everything that exists: aromas, light, metals, were little boats that sail toward those isles of yours that wait for me.” Capri, this day, this moment, was heaven-sent and would come to an end all to quickly.
Maria made her way back to the dock for the short ferry ride back to Sorrento, not knowing that her life would change in an instant. She hadn’t noticed him before, maybe the crowd had obscured her view or perhaps she just wasn’t ready for him. Yet there he stood, like the sun-tanned descendant of Apollo himself, hotter than the white sands of an east coast beach and disarmingly appealing.
The smiles were brief, the greetings exchanged in two languages but it was the silent discourse that resonated between them and the ferry crowd melted away into the Bay of Naples. He asked her to dance and right there no one else mattered; no one else was there. They danced on deck as if no one was watching. She finally knew what that saying meant; she finally knew where she belonged.
Did it happen, she wondered? It could have – once upon a time.
Lisa Fantino is an award winning journalist and the author of Wanderlust Women’s travel blog: Wanderlust Women Travel, solo travel adventures for spirited women with wanderlust. Oh, and when she’s not wandering, she is a New York attorney with a solo practice in Mamaroneck, NY. You can visit her legal alter ego at http://ladylitigator.wordpress.com or http://www.lisafantino.com