Letter from Ravello

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AgentPete

Capo Famiglia
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DSC_0055~2.JPGBeen in Italy a week now, so high time to give you an update!
As you may know, I love Naples and the Campania region. Have never explored the Amalfi coast, which is a major Italian destination. Flew into Naples last Monday, booked one (cheap) night in a palazzo originally built by the Medici. It felt solid, secure, fortified - more like a Scottish broch than anything more fancy / ornate. The owner picked us up from the airport, which was very nice of him, saving the usual haggle with Neapolitan taxi drivers.
Next morning off to Amalfi (coffee first in Gambrinus) via two ferries, first one to Sorrento for for lunch, then round the Sorrentine peninsula to Amalfi.
I'm searching for something nice to say about Amalfi, but in truth it's been subject to the same plague of tourists (I'm one) that is ripping the lungs out of Venice. It's hot, humid, claustrophobically overcrowded. Even getting a local bus out of the town is a major challenge.
Finally arriving at Ravello, the village where the Bloomsbury set came to party, and wrote a bit too, Lady Chatterley's Lover included. Thankfully less of a scrum than Amalfi, it too faces a quandary - how to survive as a tourist destination without killing the thing that brings people here.
Explosions have been going off all weekend. Military grade shells that detonate midair and reverberate round the valley. Very scary. I have no idea why.
With a cheap-ish apartment here, you have the best of both worlds - eat out when you want, cook at home other times. Mostly, we cook here. Local produce is simple but spectacular. A particular highlight is finding friarielli, an ancient precursor of broccoli - leafier, more bitter, more flavorsome. Olive oil, garlic, pasta and friarielli - stupendous!
Lots of walking. Uphill or downhill, the choice is yours. As you go, admire the painstaking way the land here has been cultivated into narrow terraces, much of the soil backbreakingly transported from the alluvial deposit a thousand feet below. The work of generations.
Will report more when Ischia attained.
:)
 
Letter from Ravello? Or did you mean to type LETTUCE from Ravello? I'm just going by my first impression of the pic, of course. :)

Broccoli. Hmmm. I've never associated Italy with broccoli. Either way it sounds a good trip. Enjoy the rest of it, and remember to duck when you hear incoming military shells.
 
Love young broccoli, use it a lot in stir fries. Never had friarielli. Did the Amalfi drive a long time ago and we were mighty glad not to be on a coach, watching how the drivers flung them so fast round those sheer rocky bends. Sailed on the ferry to Ischia (green) and Capri (blue) But didn't really get to know Naples, only Herculaneum. It was this same time of year and pleasantly hot. Hope you're having a lovely time.
 
It sounds wonderful (except for the surfeit of tourists).
Explosions have been going off all weekend. Military grade shells that detonate midair and reverberate round the valley. Very scary. I have no idea why.
They do this on Gozo (Malta) as well – scared the stuffing out of me every morning. It's a Catholic festival thing. Perhaps it's the same in Ravello?

Enjoy the rest of your holiday. I hope you're recharging the batteries. :)
 
Ha, sounds like we're in a war zone here on the Costa Blanca. Yes, Catholic Saints' festivals tend to be celebrated with lots of loud pyrotechnics.
Enjoy the rest of your holiday!
 
They do this on Gozo (Malta) as well – scared the stuffing out of me every morning. It's a Catholic festival thing. Perhaps it's the same in Ravello?/

I tthink it must be. Next village in the valley has started doing it now! So peaceful here - except for the explosions!
 
Always wanted to go to Naples although I am a rather odd one in that I rather enjoy the 'dark' side cities and have always had a grim fascination for the 'La Vela di Scampia' (I hope I spelt it right).
 
Always wanted to go to Naples although I am a rather odd one in that I rather enjoy the 'dark' side cities and have always had a grim fascination for the 'La Vela di Scampia' (I hope I spelt it right).
Naples definitely has its dark side, no denying it. Encounters with the city are a continual negotiation, don't expect to win all the time or even at all. She will be good to you if you appreciate her :)
 
Fireworks on the Amalfitana coast... memories of Sorrento when I was ten. Fireworks on New Year's Even in Naples... terrifying. Home made and launched from balconies. Car owners park outside the city that night, tourists don't. They come down in the morning, still quivering from the terror of the night, to the burnt-out husks of their hire-cars. Washing machines and other appliances are thrown off terraces onto the streets below as part of the 'out with the old, in with the new' tradition. Young men injured by their homemade 'maradonna's balls' (a parcel of gunpowder the size of a football)... Old family feuds resolved on New Year's Even (San Silvestro) the gun shots cannot be heard over the cacophany of fireworks.

Ah Naples, I remember it well.

As for any other times of the year.... there are certain areas where you should not venture after 5pm. Christmas is wonderful, especially the build up, when all the sellers of presepi line the streets (presepi are the cribs/nativity scenes)
 
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