Campania and the Amalfi Coast

Fifteen years ago, James and I stayed in Positano; we thought it was magical. However, trying to find rooms for eleven of us, the best value seemed to be in Minori or Maiori. We all found Minori to be less touristy and very friendly. Minori was more like the Amalfi and Positano we visited fifteen years ago. If I was going five-star, I would prefer Ravello but given our budget Minori was perfect.

Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast

Ravello is just an hour’s walk up the hill, but quite a steep lung buster according to Miriam, Ed and Frank. It is incredibly scenic as James, Barbara and I can attest to, as we walked down to Minori after a scrumptious lunch at Enotavola Wine Bar at Palazzo Della Marra in Ravello. Matt and Joseph ran up and ran down; steepness was no barrier for the incredibly fit twins.

View from the Villa Rudolfo
View from the Villa Rudolfo

Ravello was the site of several weddings and we saw bridal fashion from demure to haute couture. The heels were six inches high but the outfits were amazing.

Natalie Chapman, is this wedding wear?
Natalie Chapman, is this wedding wear?

The music festival had not quite started but the stage was set up at the Villa Rudolfo and there were several members of the Ravello Vista Social Club playing wonderful songs and singing. There was an amazing Sonica  gallery of photos of musicians by a musician, Guido Harari at Villa Rudolfo too. Villa Cimbrone was the site of lush gardens and pleasant walks.

Ravello muscian and singers
Ravello muscian and singers

There is plenty to do in Campania, a guided tour of Pompeii was educational and fast paced.  We could see Vesuvius in the background and we were happy to note there was no smoke or activity.

Side trip to Pompeii
Side trip to Pompeii
Walking down to Minori
View from Ravello

Everyday we fall a bit more in love with Campania.

It is easy to smile in Italy

Sailors might want to tune out now. We have photos of the marina at Capri but not today. Today it is about the people who make me smile and how Italy has touched all of us.

My paternal grandparents were born in the beautiful village town of Giffoni Valle Piana. In the early 20th Century, because there was not enough work in Italy to pay taxes, create a life and have a family. Four million Italians arrived in America from 1880-1920.  My grandparents were two of those immigrants.

D'Angelo's in Gaia
D’Angelo’s in Gaia

They came from a valley above Salerno and the Amalfi Coast. This coastline and coastlines further south are exquisite. Various shades of green on the stone hills speak of olives, grapes, lemons, chestnuts and hazelnuts. In this area, most mozzarella is made from buffalo milk. It is simply OMG delicious.

There was a thread of connection with Giffoni. My Aunt Louise gave me quite a bit of information and old family photos, which made the search for our Italian families possible. I have been pleading with my cousins to join me in returning to Giffoni for several years after my first trip in 1999. After all Giffoni is now famous because it hosts the Giffoni Film Festival. Even Meryl Streep has visited and she wasn’t a cousin. This year we have made headway. We are a party of eleven De Angelo’s, comprised of two generations.  We planned a day, with cousin Sebastiano’s assistance, for our family reunion in Giffoni. Allora, what a day! Here are the photos.

Cugini and Carmine, the paterfamilas in Giffoni.
Cugini and Carmine, the paterfamilas in Giffoni.
De Feo Cousins
De Feo Cousins
The joy of the day was almost overwhelming and the two groups has such a good time.
The joy of the day was almost overwhelming and the two groups had such a good time.
The Marrandino cousins, in my Nonna's neighbourhood, Vassi.
The Marrandino cousins, in my Nonna’s neighbourhood, Vassi.
La Dolca Vita
La Dolca Vita – family, laughter and the expresso on the way

Ci vuole tutta la vita per imparare a Vivere. Seneca

Another trip soon we hope!!!