Monday, January 12, 2009

Nocelle - The Sounds of Silence.

Are you sick of the cold ? Let me heat you up a touch.

It's high summer. I decide to go for a late afternoon trip to the village of Nocelle in the mountains above Positano, to catch the last rays of sun long after Positano sits in the shade.

The bus from Positano to Nocelle quickly fills with sticky bodies scantily clad in after-beach wear and after the main Mulini bus stop it is impossible to fit anyone else on. The bus driver begs anyone not going as far as Montepertuso to wait for the next bus, but very few people condescend to his requests.

It sets off immediately, winding along the sinewy bends, windows thrown open to let a minimum of fresh air in.

A Spanish couple standing crushed above my seat ask if the bus is stopping at Montepertuso in broken Italian. They want to dine at Donna Rosa where Jamie Oliver gave rave reviews. I'm sitting on the mountain side as the curves sweep past, and cannot tell how far we've gone as the mass of people in the bus block my view. It's hard to tell how far up the mountain you are just by looking at the battered cars sitting snugly in their roadside spot against the cliff. Some have been there a long time, the fact that they are covered in brambles a testimony.

Positano nestled in the shade

Finally we arrive at the bifurcation at Montepertuso which I was looking for, and I tell the Spanish couple to get off. Fortunately more than three quarters of the passengers gets off with them and we are less than a dozen to continue on to Nocelle.

Many years ago, my first excursion to Nocelle was in September. We had caught the bus to Montepertuso but for the rest of the way we had had to walk as the road didn't yet reach the tiny mountain town. I had gone with my then -to -be -husband on the romantic path above the mountain gorge.
I remember the welcome we had got at the village on our arrival, as many recognized him and the fritatta con cipolle which we had had at the only trattoria in the place with an incredible view. 'Bellonia' now gone, was the buxom lady who prepared the meal and she had a fearsome deep voice. If you wanted to eat anything else you had to order it beforehand otherwise it was just make do with what was available from her garden. We had taken the stairs down the mountain all the way to Positano in the early evening and I had fallen in love with the place.
Praiano in the distance
This time I arrived with some of my children but no husband in tow as he was meeting us later.
The reception was all together different. As soon as the locals has disappeared into their homes a heavy silence befell the village. We entered almost as if we were trespassing. I felt as if we should be on tiptoe so as not to disturb.

There was an elderly lady who had come to her door to inspect the newcomers arriving with the bus and she gave us a buona sera. On our way back, she was seated on a kitchen chair outside her front door on the lane with two others chatting. The rest of the place was deserted. The tiny piazza with its breathtaking views to rival Ravello and its shade tree was all for us. Even a whisper sounded too loud.

Eventually modern technology caught up with the silence and a deafening mechanical contraption for bringing goods up stairs broke the peace. A wife and husband made several trips up stairs from the device to their car, both equally laden with heavy boxes on their heads carrying the freshest vegetables I have ever seen in Positano straight from their garden.

A cross on the tip of the mountain
The mountains seem to churn out hard working people. 'Angelo' was our postman from Nocelle for many years. He would walk down along the 1700 proclaimed steps to Positano everyday from the mountain; do the rounds of Positano delivering mail on the endless staircases with a towel draped around his neck with which to wipe the sweat in the heat, then return home in the late afternoon to tend his garden. This was in the days when the road didn't reach the village !
We take the easy way back and wait for the bus, the sun still lingering on the mountain top.


Chef Chuck said...

That was cool seeing and feeling Nocelle! When I visit maybe we will see this wonderful view.
Thanks again for sharing this great place you live in!!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

No joke being on a bus full of sweaty bodies...and that poor postman...I can feel the heat :-)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I ended up in Nocelle by accident when I went to Positano two years ago.

The views were amazing. I never found the square. I was freaked out by a donkey coming down the hill and went back to the main road.

The town is so small. I wonder how many people live there.

Anait said...

This post made me miss Positano SO much---seing Positano nestled between the mountains was almost heartbreaking!!

cheaptickets, here I come!! :)

Anonymous said...

Will be dreaming of Nocelle all day now... thanks!

Anonymous said...

beautiful description

Rosa said...

Chuck- Beautiful views abound here.

Anne- I used to feel so sorry for him !

Nyc/Caribbean Ragazza - The tiny piazza is on your first staircase on your right after you enter town.

Anait- If you find those tickets let me know!

Ms Gourmet- Thanks for visiting!

Diane- Thank you :-)

Anait said...

p.s. I love your new pictures at the top of your page...those apricots make my mouth water just looking at them!!

qualcosa di bello said...

i *want* to be there, right now, this very minute!!

your words are very wooing... your header!

Anonymous said...

I was cold. You've not only made me sweat, but also feel claustrophobic. Very evocative scene you paint there. (Love the new banner.) Sally

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Lovely post and also I like the new photo in the header! I have been along the Amalfi Coast and that horribly scary bus many times. At least I got a seat. I made sure I got a seat by pushing and shoving everyone out of the way as there was no way I was going to stand for that trip!

Anonymous said...

This post was so nice. Nocelle is a little gem.


Anonymous said...

great description! I needed a little warmth today as the high temp will only reach -10 C!! brrrrrrrr

Rosa said...

Anait- Those were the bruised ones which became jam. The ones hiding in the fridge I ate!

Qualcosa di bello - I think you're having Italy withdrawal symptoms ?

Sally- The ride was cramped but worth its purpose.

Leanne - When in Rome...

Cleopantha - Shh....

Joe- We had those temperatures for two weeks. It's the Ice Age !

South of Rome said...

Lovely! And I agree, you new header is beautiful!

Anonymous said...

lovely pictures...i wonder where you got them from..:P sei brava a scrivere..quasi quanto me!!no scherzo...tutti fanno troppi complimenti allora ho pensato che dovevo venire io a rovinare un po le cose..:P

Suzie said...

OK im offically jealous

Anonymous said...

Angelo was not from Nocelle, he was from Montepertuso, delivering to Positano and Nocelle.
I had Clarice, an elderly woman, same towel around the neck, same walking around town ALL DAY. Never faield to receive mail at those times. Now? I've had the phone cut because they don't deliver mail!

Chef Chuck said...

I like the new photo up top!
It is so soft!
Good job.

LaDue & Crew said...

Absolutely beautiful, and peaceful looking. I don't think I will ever be able to go, so, I will live through your photo's vicariously. Thanks for posting these!

Chrise said...

We have just booked to stay in the Villa Degli Dei in Nocelle without knowing too much about it. My wife stumbled across your detailed writing about the area and now cannot wait to experience the area for ourselves!!! It looks idyllic to say the least and any doubts we may have had are now allayed!
Thank you for your insight and wonderfully descriptive narrative.
Cannot wait to get there now and looking forward to the views and local cuisine!!
Chris & Tracy

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Port Douglas hotels said...

Those are really magnificent photos. The place is really beautiful. I can't stop myself looking the pics over and over again. That's was really lovely, I hope that I could visit the place in the near future.

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