Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Positano tops it Twice!

Positano been twice honoured this week.
Thanks to Pat Eggleton from  Sicily Scene who also writes for Italy Magazine, I was interviewed in the new Blog of the Week  feature.
Italy  is an online magazine with top Italian News stories and feature articles on anything Italian.  It always makes a great read.
Subscribe on Facebook  for updates.

Yesterday Ali Filmer from Romesecret blog informed me that
Bell’Avventura made it to the list of
the Top 10 Secret Italy Blogs  in – the best in blogs .
Bell’Avventura comes into the category of Secret Amalfitana Coast blog.
You’ll find Secret Italy all the way from head to toe in a selection of blogs covering recipes, life and travel in Italy as the  Italians do it.
And do head over and read SuperAli’s  Romesecret. It’s witty, charming and full of hidden Rome!  Thank you Ali.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sorrento revisited – Where Tourists don’t dare to tread…

Sorrento. Chaotic, loud, irreverent, as a local I’d only visit with a purpose and fight my way back home.  The pretty alley ways were full of tacky souvenir shops with handwritten signs assuring buyers of cheap wares made in Italy.  An occasional local with bags of vegetables battled their way through English crowds dressed in shorts and flip flops,  past an art shop selling prints of the Coastline and a 3-d picture of a crucified Christ who opened and closed his eyes as we moved.
I had long decided that Sorrento was not for me.  I’d come only for clothes shopping and was most relieved to get back to Positano. Especially because the Sita buses heading towards the Amalfi Coast in summer were nigh impossible to board because of the tourists. The poor devils left on the pavement in the sweltering sun would have to wait for the next bus in two hours time or get a taxi.  It was a nightmare for me every time.
But when I accompanied my daughter to her driving lessons this April, it was the shoulder season in Sorrento. The Easter crowds had just died down and as I strolled along the streets I spied a treasure just off Piazza Tasso.
Through the curtains of wisteria (you’ll sense a recurring theme here) a garden of Eden beckoned me into its forbidden grounds. It was the  Hotel Vittoria Excelsior.  A Grand Hotel overlooking the Bay of Naples, the private gardens of which the Porter graciously gave us permission to visit.

The stately Hotel had wisteria clad arbors running the length of its grounds. Secluded niches  housed in rose arbors gave promise of a sweet May flowering. I was awestruck as this was exactly what my dream garden in Positano should look like.

Following the pergola to the seaside, we admired the view of the volcano looming over a very short expanse of water and averted our eyes as clients from the hotel emerged wearing only plushy bathrobes from the hotel’s Spa and pool service.
My husband then decided to show me something very special and we zigzagged our way along the little streets until we were almost at the Belvedere over the Port. He suddenly took a sharp right turn through a doorway and inside was the most exquisite cloister ever. The  Cloister of San Francesco, just oozing romance, was all for us and a handful of French tourists.
Of course, there was wisteria here too.

Making our way back past the tacky souvenir shops in the pretty little alleyways as the sun became lower in the sky, we bought up on the false-real Italian scarves and trinkets and breathed in the relaxed tourist spirit that Sorrento had offered.
Oh, and I made a note to myself to send my father here to play cards next time he visited !

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Desperate Housewives on Wisteria Lane – Eat your heart out!



In the impossibly bright days of early April, all superlatives felt meaningless against the glory of early Spring on the Coastline. Energizing and exhilarating,  the perfection and beauty of  the  Amalfi Coast  had me awestruck even after twenty four years here.


My days would begin drowsily, the shutters thrown open to the early morning so as to not miss one second of the sea view from my room. My husband would spoil me with breakfast in bed with  the orange marmalade I’d made in February and small delectable slices of homemade Easter Pastiera or pieces of chocolate egg.

Slowly I’d breathe in the drifting perfume from the wisteria over our pergola mixed with the sweet scent of orange and lemon blossom and listen to the gentle waves lapping the shore. 



I counted my blessing because not only was I lucky enough to be here in my favorite time of the year but strolling through town was an immense pleasure.  The weather was perfect, I didn’t risk being run over by a jettison of cars and buses, and the piazza at the base of town was still trickling tourists rather than pouring them.



But best of all, I’ d caught Positano at it’s height of the wisteria season.

P1020508   From top to toe, the town was festooned in swags of  purple blossom. The pastel, white and ochre buildings were draped elegantly across terraces and balustrades and their dripping blooms would pour enticingly through the rustic pergolas.



Ancient trunks wove from who–knows-where in the tiny alleyways, to creep across shop faces and apartments.


    All the way down to the beach, shaded walks would draw the eye skyward, and the colors would rival with the clear blue skies and the yellow of the lemons.



It felt like paradise.  It was paradise.  I could tell…