Agropoli

Agropoli, Italy

Agropoli is a large town in Campania, south of Naples, south of the Amalfi Coast and south of Salerno. From Salerno you drive south past the ancient Greek ruins at Paestum to Agropoli.

Paestum

Agropoli, like many Italian cities has a modern part and an old city. The old city is high on a hill overlooking the sea. It has a wonderful castle with a moat (without water) and a drawbridge (no longer functional). We enjoy walking around the old city. As you approach you find yourself on a street of interesting shops leading up the hill. The street soon turns into a set of stairs leading into the old section. There is a wonderful church at the top. Turn right and follow the signs to the castle and views of the beach and sea.

This is the beautiful and romantic land of Benvenuto al Sud! What a wonderful place for a passegiata. The beautiful mountain city of Castellabate is just a little farther south.

Come walk with us in the old city of Agropoli. Click on the video below …

– George

Categories: Agropoli, Amalfi Coast, Beach Resorts, Beaches, Benvenuto al Sud, Campania, Castellabate, Church, Driving in Italy, Europe, General Travel, Greek Ruins, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Naples, Paestum, Passegiata, Romance, Salerno, Shopping, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Tyrrhenian Sea, VLOG, Walking, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pioppi, Italy

Pioppi is a very small town in southern Campania, Italy. Pioppi is south of Salerno and south of Agropoli in the Cilento National Park. It is a seaside town on the Tyrrhenian Sea. You can walk this town in under an hour. The sea views are fantastic. As you look out to sea and to the left, you can see Marina Casalvelino. There is a fantastic restaurant here called Suscettibile. The owner is Antonio and you can sit outside on a deck overlooking the sea.

Come and see Pioppi with us in the video below.

 

– George

Categories: Agropoli, Beaches, Campania, Casal Velino Marina, Cilento, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Marina Casal Velino, Pioppi, Ristorante, sea, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Towns, Tyrrhenian Sea, Walking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Castellabate, Italy

Castellabate is a wondrous place to visit. It is a mountain town south of Salerno and just south of Agropoli. It is not far from the Greek ruins at Paestum. It is in the Campania region south of the world-famous Amalfi Coast. Here you really step back in time. As you drive up narrow hairpin curves to this mountain town, the sea drops farther and farther below you. Once you arrive you have airplane type views of the sea and the sea town of Santa Maria Castellabate far below you. You have stepped back in time. As you park and walk into this city, your adventure begins.

Your first view is the vista far below you and the old castle. Then you enter a maze of streets that turn into steps and old buildings. Finally you emerge at the Piazzella, the center of this city. Here life is a celebration. You have restaurants, tourists and a bar. There are also views off the back side away from the sea. Sit at a restaurant and enjoy a meal al-fresco. Here you watch and enjoy life Italian style.

The Italian movie Benvenutu al Sud was filmed here. This is a very funny comedy about a postal worker that wants to work in Milan but is punished and sent to the south in Castellabate. The movie exaggerates the biases about how the north feels about the south and how the south feels about the north. This is good fun but also an education in the different Italian life styles.

Tavel well, be romantic and have fun!

-George

Categories: Agropoli, Bars, Benvenuto al Sud, Campania, Castellabate, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, General Travel, Greek Ruins, Italian, Italy, Milan, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Paestum, Romance, Salerno, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Walking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Bufala Mozzarella

Bufala Mozzarella is a cheese made from the milk of the Italian water buffalo. It is a product of Italy, in the region of Campania and mainly from the provinces of Caserta and Salerno. It is a fresh delicious cheese that is soft and milky. It is typically stored in water to keep it fresh. It is never refrigerated. We have a home in the province of Salerno so there is a lot of Bufala Mozzarella around us. Along the road from the A3 Autostrada to Agropoli there are many places that make it. In every town there is someone who sells it.

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This is the way mozzarella cheese was meant to be. If you are in Campania, try it. Feel the softness of its texture, taste the flavor and enjoy a really great cheese. We love it with fresh picked tomatoes and a little olive oil but on a panini (sandwich) it is also great. It is one of the many things we look forward to when we arrive back in this region of Italy. It is the main these of Naples in Campania and is used on pizza in this region.

George

 

Categories: Agropoli, Campania, Caserta, Cheese, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Naples, Salerno, Southern Italy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Castellabate Pictorial

Castellabate is a small mountain town with a sister beach resort town, Castellabate Santa Maria. It is located in the Province of Salerno, Region of Campania. There are only about 8,000 people in this small mountain town. The sister beach town has about 4,000 residents but it gets many tourists during the summer. Roads leading up are small with many hair-pin curves.

You can drive south from Salerno to Agropoli or take the train. Castellabate is just south of Agropoli. Having a car makes it easier to see this town.

This town was made famous in Italy by the Movie Benvenuto al Sud. It was first released on Oct 1, 2010 in Italy. It is a very funny movie about the perceived differences in people from the north of Italy and the south. It is only available on DVD in PAL format (European format).

Benvenuti al Sud

One of the signs in town reads:

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Here one does not die!

In the movie they changed this sign to read Here everyone dies.

You are high up on a mountain with views down to the beach town.

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Views down to Castellabate Santa Maria

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Part of original castle wall

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Small streets and stairs everywhere

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Beautiful small streets

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Piazza from movie – The post office in the movie is really a bar

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More streets to explore

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Poster from the movie – the biggest thing that ever happened here

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So many stairs

This is a wonderful mountain town to explore especially if you have seen the movie. There are great views and good restaurants here. It is very romantic to stroll along the small streets and climb the many stairs. Enjoy!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Agropoli, Beaches, Benvenuto al Sud, Campania, Castellabate, Cilento, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Mountain Towns, Salerno, Small Towns, Trains | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Agropoli Pictorial

Agropoli is in the province of Salerno, region of Campania. It is about a half hour drive south of Salerno. It has a population of about 20,000. Agropoli is a busy modern city with a beautiful old town. The old town has limited cars. There are stairs but not that many. There is a beautiful old church and a castle with a moat. The moat is grassed now and used for parking.

You can get to Agropoli by driving or a train from Salerno (Naples or Rome).

Agropoli

View from the sea

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Seaport

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View up to old town from seaport

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Stairs to old town

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View from old town down to seaport

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Ancient Church

Views of the castle:

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Agropoli has everything you would need in a large city. Shopping areas, stores, banks but it also has a seaport for boating and beautiful beaches. From Agropoli it is a short drive north to Paestum with its beautiful Greek ruins.

The old town is where you stop at  bar for a drink or lunch. You stroll the narrow streets and enjoy the life. You explore the ancient castle and take in the magnificent views. Parking is limited but we have found around the seaport to have meters that are usually available. There are restaurants here with a sea view. From the seaport it is a short walk to old town. Enjoy!

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Agropoli, Bars, Beaches, Campania, Europe, Italy, Paestum, Salerno, Southern Italy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Buying a Home in Italy

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We have posted this before but so many people ask about buying in Europe that We are reposting it.

It has recently occurred to us that we may be a bit crazy.  After all, We don’t personally know anyone who has purchased a home or condo in Italy, sight unseen and several hours from any major airport in parts unheard of in Southern Campania.  Yup, we did that . . .and we weren’t on a lot of wine.

It all began with innocent web browsing of rental villas, which led to innocent web browsing of villas for sale which led to the “find”, which led to our decision to pursue until we hit a road-block.  No, we were not currently “on the market” to buy an Italian villa, apartment or piccola villa when this began.  We were simply looking for some villas to rent while in Italy.  We have always had a latent interest in real estate;  you could say our hobby was browsing properties anywhere that may currently intrigue us in the interest of understanding what you can get for your money.  This hobby turned international as we traveled to Italy (first time for Jo Anne) over New Years in 2011/2012 and fell completely in love with Roma, Pompeii and Orvieto and continued as we planned our honeymoon in Southern Italy to Capri, Sorrento and Positano.  One day, as we were reviewing options for rental villas, we thought ” We wonder how much it would cost to buy these villas?”  It never occurred to us that we could or would actually buy one, this was just pure curiosity.

Initially, We located some properties that Americanos would call “fixers” in the region of Abruzzo.  The Italians would refer to such properties as “storico” or “historic” and the properties would basically be noted as in need of full renovation, BUT, one could purchase a free-standing small house with a beautiful view in this condition in this beautiful but somewhat isolated area for as little as $35,000 to $50,000 euros.  Wow, our minds took quite a detour thinking of all the possibilities and how romantic that would be.  This incredible find encouraged us to continue exploring options all over Italy.  We found something in a city called Agropoli (which neither of us had ever heard of) with a beautiful crescent-shaped view of a curved bay along the Mediterranean ($165,000 euros) and no mention of renovations needed.  Now, We was really hooked.

As our searching continued, we located a stunning NEW property in an area called Casal Velino, that was beautiful.  Although we had no intent of buying a property in Italia, when we saw the price, we could not stop ourselves from inquiring with the realtor about it – surely at this price, it must be a time-share property, we thought, not even knowing if that concept existed in Italy.  The realtor from Property Organisers, promptly replied that no, there was no time-share involved, but rather that price included outright ownership of this condo which was located high on a hill about 2 kilometers from the Mediterranean (actually the Tyrrhenian Sea there) with panoramic view of both the sea and layers of nearby mountains.  WOW!

We decided to continue this remote (both in distance and in possibility) dialogue with the realtor and received additional information including floor plans, interior pictures and GPS coordinates.  We “Google Earthed” the general vicinity, and virtually traveled the nearby roads down to the ocean, but were unable to actually “find” the building through Google Earth and the view in the pictures we received did not seem to match the location of the coordinates.  It seems that Casal Velino actually includes several nearby areas, some of which are interchangeably called other names, such as Velina, Castelnuovo Cilento and others including the original centro storico.  This entire area is located between the town of Marina di Casal Velino, a designated Blue Flag beach on the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Cilento National Park (the largest national park in Italy and a UNESCO World Heritage Site).  Additionally, the street on which the building was located, Contrada San Nicola, popped up in multiple nearby locations with at least two different roads in the area using this name.  After receiving a new set of GPS coordinates, we were able to locate the exact building.  During this time, we were also able to determine which condos were still available and which of these had the best view.  Our favorite was the highest floor available that faced the sea.

By now, our wedding and honeymoon were two months away.   Our “innocent” inquiries took a sudden turn in the direction of seriousness when we decided to place a non-refundable deposit on this property that we did not intend to buy and scheduled settlement for two months later on the last day of our honeymoon.  At 4:00 pm on that day (the day before we were to return to the States) we received the keys to our condo.  The next morning we were on a plane back to the U.S. Our honeymoon might technically be over, but our apartment is the insurance policy that will provide many return adventures “happily ever after”!

We were about to live our own Under the Tuscan Sun experience in Southern Italy.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Agropoli, Beaches, Campania, Casal Velino, Casal Velino Marina, Castelnuovo Cilento, Closing a property in Italy, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Marina Casal Velino, Owning a home in Italy, Romance, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Under the Tuscan Sun, Velina | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Campania, Italy

(English version) Category:Maps of Campania Ca...

(English version) Category:Maps of Campania Campania Campania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Campania, Italy is a beautiful area including Naples, Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi. It also includes so much more. You know how much we love this area of Italy. We bought a house there.

The Province of Campania includes the regions of:

  1. Caserta
  2. Benevento
  3. Naples
  4. Avellino
  5. Salerno

Cilento is in the Salerno region.

It has some of the most beautiful mountains and some of the best beaches in all of Europe. Cilento is one of the largest national parks in Italy. It has a building code to prevent new building of condos, hotels, etc that will ruin the sea views and beaches. If this type of living interests you, visit Campania.

You can visit ancient Greek ruins in Paestum, large cities like Salerno and Agropoli and visit the famous Amalfi Coast. All of southern Italy is within a several hour drive. Sicily is just a ferry ride across the boot from mainland Italy.

 

There is a rainy season in November and December that can have rain almost every day or mild sunny days. The rain can be heavy and have strong thunder storms. This too is a beautiful side of nature but can ruin a trip if you are unaware. Choose your season and enjoy Italy. I would also avoid August as all of Europe is in vacation and beaches and towns are very crowded.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Agropoli, Amalfi Coast, Campania, Cilento, Europe, Ferries, Greek Ruins, Italy, Paestum, Salerno, Sicily, Southern Italy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Drive to Rome and Home

At the end of each of our trips to Italy, we drive to Rome Fiumicino Airport the day before our flight. This allows us to get rid of the car and have a good night sleep in a hotel at the airport. The drive from Velina to Rome is about 4 hours.

As we leave Velina, we drive north past the train station to the entrance of the SP 430 highway. This takes us north-west to Agropoli and then onto the A 3 Autostrada at Battipaglia. There is a spot on the SP 430 that is damaged and we have to detour onto a mountain road. It is just past one of the tunnels.

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This rout passes Paestum and follows the Mediterranean coast. Once on the A 3 we head north-west to Salerno. At this point we leave the sea behind and head inland to the mountains. Soon we are passing Vesuvius. This is a very daunting volcano. You feel small and helpless near this huge volcano. Soon we are at the A 1 Autostrada (Italy’s main Highway). We are just north of Naples heading North-West to Rome. Along this stretch we usually stop at one of the many Auto Grills. They have bathrooms, gas, food and tourist items. As in most bars in Italy, you pay first and then with your ticket in hand get your food.

At Rome we head West around the loop on the A 90 that circles Rome and onto the A 91 to the airport. Fiumicino is near the sea again. We typically stay at the Hilton Garden Inn near the airport. You can drop your luggage at the hotel, check-in and gas up the car. Then drop it off at the airport and catch a shuttle bus to long-term parking and the Hilton Garden Inn. Now we relax with a drink and wait for dinner at 7:30 pm.

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Soon it’s dinner time and the food is pretty good here. The free WiFi allows you to catch up with your Facebook and emails. The next morning we have breakfast and take the shuttle back to the airport.  Soon we are onboard and leaving our beloved Italy behind.

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Nine and a half hours later we are landing in Philadelphia. The trip was awesome, the people friendly and warm and the food & wine the best. Until our next trip!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Agropoli, Auto Grills, Autostrada, Bars, Driving in Italy, Europe, Flights, General Travel, Italy, Naples, Paestum, Rome, Velina, Vesuvius, WiFi, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Our Home in Velina Italy

Velina is a very small hamlet that is part of Castelnuovo Cilento. It is close to the highway (SP430) that goes north toward Salerno to the A3 Autostrada). It has many shops for pasta, chocolate, pastry, bread, wine, Bufala Mozzarella, Vegetables and clothes. It even has a supermarket (Supermarcato). From our condo we have wonderful views of Stella mountain.

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We also have views of the sea.

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The food here is the best with emphasis on fruits, vegetables, pasta and of course fish.

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The local church is small but old and beautiful. It has very special doors.

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It is perfectly situated near two beaches (Ascea & Casal Velino Marina), many mountain towns and the larger towns of Agropoli and Salerno. Life here is slower. Go to a bar for breakfast and enjoy the local people, After lunch take a walk at the beach or in town. Remember the locals are doing the same so shops close up tight between 2 pm and 4 pm. Dinner is late. Most restaurants don’t open until 7:30 pm. Go to a bar for happy hour.

Tomorrow we talk about the trip north to Rome to catch our flight home to the USA.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Agropoli, Ascea, Autostrada, Bars, Beaches, Bread, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Casal Velino Marina, Castelnuovo Cilento, Cilento, Eating Italian, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Marina Casal Velino, Mountain Towns, Romance, Salerno, Small Towns, Velina, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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