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The Beaches of Campania, Italy

Everyone loves a good beach and Campania (southern Italy) has some of the best beaches in Italy. From Naples through the Amalfi Coast to the Cilento National Park in Southern Campania are great beaches. The Amalfi Coast is world renowned but the beaches are black lava stone. The Cilento National Park in cities like Marina Casal Velino and Ascea (both of these we have done YouTube VLOGs on) have white soft sand beaches.

These beaches have clubs and public beaches. The public beaches are free and you can bring a blanket or lounge chair and umbrella. The clubs give you two beach chairs and a table and umbrella for a fee. Some clubs provide music and free WiFi. They also usually have a restaurant that serves good food. You can order a wine, beer or prosecco in a glass on the beach.

The beaches of the Amalfi Coast are very touristy and people from all over the world go there. The beaches of the Cilento National Park are touristy for Germans and Italians. These are major summer beach resorts especially in August when most Europeans are off from work.

Come see these beaches with us in the YouTube video below:

– George Febish

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Ascea, Beach Resorts, Beer, Bike Races, Blue Flag Beaches, Casal Velino Marina, Champagne, Eating, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Marina Casal Velino, Naples, Prosecco, resorts, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Tyrrhenian Sea, VLOG, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Reasons I Love Italy

Italy has a special place in my heart. I am not Italian but I did a lot of work there. I gained a respect and a love for the country, the people, the food and the wine. Italians seem happy with there life. They know what is important. Their families, their life , their food & wine are all very important to them. They have to work but it is not a important part of their lives. Walk any Italian city (big or small) and you will see the elderly and the young walking. They enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables. They love their cooking especially mamma’s cooking. Their coffee, wine, gelato and bread are a tradition to them. You can here them argue about how good or bad the pasta is at a restaurant. It will never be mamma’s pasta.IMG_3189
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As I walk through a city, I smell the cooking. I see the people outside all around me. I hear the language and the passion with which it is spoken. This is the Italy I so love. People are very friendly here. Just say Buon Giorno to a stranger and watch the smile appear and you will get a Buon Giorno back. If you are trying to speak the language remember there are informal and polite forms of speaking. The young are becoming less formal but the elderly still require a stranger to speak formally.

  • Come Sta – How are you (formal)
  • Come Stai – How are you (informal)
  • Ciao – Hello (informal)
  • Buon Giorno – Hello (Literally Good Morning – Formal)

Be respectful, smile and enjoy all that your senses are experiencing. I even enjoy seeing Italian laundry out to dry. No I don’t have a laundry fetish! I enjoy the colors and shapes against a backdrop of old buildings. It is one of my favorite photo op. In Italy you can buy a dryer but most people prefer the clean scent of drying their clothes outside.

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In the morning I enjoy being in the local bar for coffee and a cornetto. You are submerged in a group of Italians, all talking and quickly drinking their coffee and eating a small cake or cornetto.

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Cornetto

As you leave after breakfast, you are again engulfed in Italian life on the streets. Listen and watch how they talk and communicate with each other. Enjoy the scooters speeding by you. Take in the smells as you pass a restaurant. Later stop in a bar, pizzeria or trattoria for lunch. Bars are famous for eating standing up. It costs more to take a table. You will see Italians eating Panini (sandwiches) and drinking a beer or glass of wine. Between about 2 pm and 4 pm watch the Italian Passeggiata (walk). Families and friends stroll together to enjoy each others company.

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After your afternoon walking or visiting museums, look for a large piazza. Life really explodes in the Italian piazzas. You will find lots of bars and restaurants here as well. Pick a non touristy place for dinner. I always look for one with mostly Italians and few or no foreigners. You will have to eat late to see Italians as no one eats dinner early in Italy.

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Evening is my favorite time to walk, watch and have a gelato.

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Life here is much less stressful. Enjoy what you have and what you are. Be Italian for a short while.

George

 

Categories: Bars, Beer, Bread, Coffee, Cooking, cornetto, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Fish, Fruit, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italian language, Italy, Pizza, Trottoria, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Tour of Rome Day 1

Here is our tour of the eternal city of Roma (Rome). Our first day tour starts at the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain).  Facing the fountain to your 5 o’clock is an old church worth a stop. It is called Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio.

Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio

Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio Church

This is a classic Baroque church built around 1650. It is known because it contains the embalmed hearts of 25 popes.

From here head north on Via della Stamperia to the end and cross via del Tritone and turn left a short distance to Via del Nazarene and turn left. Turn left on Via del due Macelli. Continue into Piazza di Spagna. The famous Spanish Steps will be on your right. Rome’s best shopping is on your left in the many streets leading out of the Piazza.

Climb the Spanish Steps to Trenità del Monti (church at the top).

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Trinità del Monti

Enjoy the views of Rome. You can see as far as the Vatican and Saint Peters Basilica. Behind this church are the extensive Villa Borghese Gardens. Visit the gardens and go to the museum, Borghese Gallery, but you will need a reservation. There you can see:

  • Apollo and Daphne
  • David
  • The Deposition
  • and so much more …

The great shopping is along:

  • Via della Croce
  • Via della Carrozze
  • Via dei Condotti (Louis Vuitton
  • Via Borgognona (Gucci)

Stop at a bar for a coffee or wine or beer and maybe a snack. Eat lunch in a Roman Trattoria. On a hot day (or a cold one) stop for a gelato.

This tour will take you from the Trevi Fountain to the Spanish Steps. It is a good walk and you will pass many places to have gelato, a drink or something to eat. In the shopping area just look at each store window you pass. The Italians are masters of design. One of my favorites was for gloves. A group of different colored gloves were displayed against a white background. It was not just gloves but art!

Enjoy Rome and be romantic! Tomorrow we will do Day 2.

George

Categories: Bars, Beer, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Food, Gelato, Italy, Romance, Rome, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Villa Borghese, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Typical Day in Italy

We typically get up and spend time on our balcony looking at the sea and mountains. Monte Stella is a beautiful cone-shaped mountain that protrudes through the clouds. Some days it is hidden by clouds and others it is right there. Our little town is below us on the hill. A train runs by often taking people from Naples to Sicily and back. Jo Anne takes a hundred pictures of this exquisite beauty.

We eventually get ourselves out and drive down to Casal Velino Marina for Breakfast. We have two favorite places: 1) Franco’s and 2) Isola Verde. Isola Verde has free WiFi so we can connect to the world and see what is happening. I order a Cafè (espresso) and Cornetto and Jo Anne orders a Cafè Americano and a piece of Torta (cake) for a few Euros.

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Cornetto

At Franco’s the selection is more exquisite. One of our favorite is sfogliatella.

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sfogliatella

As we sit and finish up with the internet, we plan our day. What city will we visit today? We then drive to our destination and start our tour/walk. At lunchtime we look for a small restaurant or a bar. Bars have great sandwiches and you can have a beer or wine. Small restaurants let you order a local dish and local wine.

After lunch we are back to touring, walking and climbing steps (lots of steps). We typically walk 5 to 8 miles a day and can climb as many flights of steps as 50. This helps work off lunch and maybe that afternoon gelato we can’t resist.

Sometimes we eat dinner locally or we may head back home and eat in one of our favorite local restaurants. Pasta, fish, pizza and other specialties are all prepared fresh and wonderfully. We get to talk with local people and maybe have dinner with friends.

Finally we head home to sit on our balcony with a glass of wine and reflect on Italy’s beauty and prepare for another day of the same encantment. We are blessed and lucky to have such a romantic place to call home!

George

 

Categories: Bars, Beer, Cafè, Casal Velino Marina, Coffee, cornetto, Dolce, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Exercise, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Pasta, Pastry, Pizza, Ristorante, Romance, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Trains, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

How to Stay in Shape in Italy

So you are traveling to Italy. You will be eating a lot of good food, drinking wine or beer. How can you stop gaining weight?

Sure in Italy it is all good, the wine, gelato, pastries, pizza and great Italian food. How do we enjoy all of these and not put on weight? It’s easy! First Italian wheat has no GMOs. GMOs are associated with weight gain. Their food is still pure and fresh. Second you exercise a lot when you travel in Italy, or you should. I am not talking about a gym. You don’t need a gym. Just walk and take the stairs.

  • Hotels – have very small elevators. Use the stairs to your room and to breakfast.
  • Around Town – Walk to the tourist sites and restaurants you want to visit. There are great Metros (subways) in Italy but most cities have a small old city areas and it can be walked.
  • Steep Cities on Mountains – Cities like Positano are full of stairs and a steep road. Take stairs and if you tired take the road (it is still exercise since it is so steep). We stayed at a place in Positano that was 104 steps above the nearest road.
  • Monuments – Museums, churches and galleries have steps. Some do have elevators but take the stairs.
  • After Lunch Walk – Italians close businesses after lunch so they can be with family and walk together. Enjoy a slow walk around town. Meet people and greet them.

You will find you can eat like the Italians and keep a trim waist like them as well. You are in Italy so be Italian!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Beer, Eating Italian, Europe, Exercise, Food, Gelato, Italy, Pastry, Pizza, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In the Mountains at Casal Velino Italy

Casal Velino is the old fortified mountain town for Casal Velino Marina (the beach town). When pirates came the residents would light fires on towers along the shoreline to warn the next town. Very quickly a hundred miles could be warned. Residents of the marina would then flee with their possessions to their mountain town.

Today Casal Velino Marina is a summer resort with great beaches but Casal Velino is a sleepy mountain town. This town is worth a stop and can easily be reached by car. There is parking in the town. In the parking lot is a bar. You can relax here inside or outside with a coffee, wine or beer and something to eat. From the main road, Via Roma which turns into Via Lippi, you can walk to an old church on off a small piazza. from here you can walk down into a residential area with gardens. You can go all the way down to Via Circumvallazione. Turn left and it will bring you back up to Via Lippi.

From the corner of Via Lippi and Piazza 23 Luglio there is a small street up a set of stairs called Via Giordano. This leads you into an old area of this city. It is residential. The roads are very narrow. Some are pedestrian only and others can be driven on by small cars.

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You can follow this all the way to the end of town. We met older lady that lived here all her life. She was concerned that so many of her neighbors were selling their homes.

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As we walked along this ancient road, we thought about the old times and the current times. We met several residents. We saw an old structure with an old set of stairs that were overgrown with weeds and grass.

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This city will take you back in time.

From the main road and parking area, there are wonderful views down to the sea and Casal Velino Marina.

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Tomorrow we will visit Castelnuovo Cilento, another small mountain town with its castle.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Bars, Beer, Campania, Casal Velino, Casal Velino Marina, Cilento, Driving in Italy, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Mountain Towns, Romance, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Ireland

The green isle is beautiful even in the rain. We went and had rain many days but the sun would always pop out for a while. We had to carry sweaters because at times it was cool and at other times of the day it was warm. We decided to stay in Dublin and use it as our base of operations. From Dublin you can get fast efficient trains anywhere on the Island. The island is divided into two countries: The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (part of the UK).

Dublin is more than just pubs. Don’t get me wrong the pubs are great. The music in the pubs are great and you can almost see Keats writing in a corner with a glass of Guinness. You can eat in the pubs as well. Dublin has good public transportation consisting of buses and trams. They are easy to ride and efficient. Dublin also has a local railroad (DART) that goes from Dublin to many outlining cities around Dublin.

We stayed at a real castle, Clontarf Castle, that had a modern hotel attached to it. It was outside of Dublin but a nearby bus took us into Dublin and ran often. We took trains to Cliffs of Moore to see the mighty Atlantic. This is an unforgettable spot. Don’t use an umbrella or you might become a real Mary Poppins. The winds here are very strong.

Cliffs of Mohr

We also took a train to Cork where the Titanic made its last stop before its faithful journey over the Atlantic. It is also where the Lusitania was sunk. There is a square with a black angel (the angel of death) where all the dead bodies were stacked up. Not far from Cork is the Blarney Stone. This is very touristy but a most for all to see. The castle is old and the stairs are steep.

Ireland is green, friendly and a fun place to visit. Don’t forget to visit the Guinness factory in Dublin even if you don’t like beer.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Bars, Beer, Europe, Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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