Campania

The Magnificent Views of Italy

It doesn’t matter where you are in Italy. There are views and eye-catching sights everywhere. You can be in a big city looking at a famous monument, on a small street, looking at a small city high up on a mountain, at the beach, climbing stairs or sitting at a small trattoria. Italy is all about its architecture. It has a personality all to itself. Here you stand on ancient roads, some dating pre-Roman. You feel and see its history. At the same time there is a modern culture all around you. iPhones, iPad and computers are everywhere. Most bars have free wi-fi service.

We come to Italy for the food, the people and these views. I love the feeling of being in an ancient place. Thinking about those ancient people and what they did, what they felt. Was their life that different from ours? These views can talk to you! Just listen and hear what they are saying. This is not a country to be rushed. Stop, relax and take in these views. Listen to them. Imaging yourself back in those times. Soon your modern problems give way to an appreciation of this great history.

My wish to all my readers is to be able to travel. experience another culture. Enjoy life more. There is so much to experience and learn. Pick a place you are passionate about and visit it. Put it on your bucket list. life is short but memories are forever.

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My passion is Italy, what is yours?

George

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Ascea, Beaches, Campania, Capri, Casal Velino Marina, Coliseum, Driving in Italy, Duomo, Europe, Florence, General Travel, Greek Ruins, Italy, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Perugia, Planning a vacation, Ravello, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Siena, Small Towns, Smart Phones, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Spanish Steps, Stairs, Traveling without a tour, Tulli, Tuscany, Umbria, Velina, Venice, Villa Brunella, WiFi | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Churches of Italy

Italy is famous for many things but its churches are old and magnificent. They are not just churches but art galleries, studies in architecture and beautiful places to visit. They provide a cool atmosphere from the hot sun. The frescoes are wonderful to study, telling of story of days long gone. Every city has at least one church. They may be called Chiesa, Catterdrale, Basilica or Duomo.

Do not pass up a chance to visit one of these marvels. Look at the floors, the splendor of its height, the walls and stained glass windows. Look for frescoes and tapestries. The alters are magnificent. The organs are fantastic and even the pulpits can be ornate.

Below is just a sampling of churches from some big and small cities around Italy:

 

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Duomo Florence

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Duomo Cortona

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Duomo Siena

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Assisi Cathedral (in Assisi)

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Church in Assisi

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Saint Francis (Outside Assisi)

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Pantheon Rome

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Church in Castelnuovo Cilento (Campania)

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Saint Peter’s Basillica – Vatican City

Post your pictures of your favorite Italian churches in the comments below.

George

Categories: Assisi, Campania, Castelnuovo Cilento, Church, Cilento, Cortona, Duomo, Europe, Florence, General Travel, Italy, Pantheon, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Small Towns, Vatican City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 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

Is it Time for you to Take a Trip to Italy?

Have you longed for a trip to romantic Italy? Have you dreamed about eating real Italian food? Do you long to see the museums or architecture? Maybe you have relatives there and just want to reunite old ties. What ever your reasons are, Italy is a great place to spend a vacation. After a week you are feeling relaxed and enjoying life. After two weeks you are totally relaxed, speaking some Italian words and loving the food. Longer periods in Italy will make you an Italian for life!

The northern lake Area offers beautiful scenery overlooking the Alps or maybe Tuscany with its wines and romantic scenery. The large cities of Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome or Naples are great places to see Italians being themselves. They also are great for seeing living history. Look at the buildings the architecture and envision the people that built these great cities. Maybe southern Italy with its Amalfi coast and Capri or farther south into the Cilento National Park. Beauty unspoiled by man and pristine beaches. What is stopping you?

If it’s being afraid of big tours or doing it on your own, we offer an alternative for the selective traveler to see what they want to see and spend as much time as the want. If you find a great Italian spot, the last thing you want is to be taken away by a tour bus. It would be wonderful to change your plans and just stay in your new found location. Italy is all about love, romance, beauty and spontanaeity.

Italy creates many wonderful memories and experiences but you have to touch it! Get away from the crowded tourists areas and meet real Italians. See places that will change you forever. Don’t eat in tourists restaurants. These will be memories you will never forget.

George

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Anacapri, Architecture, Beaches, Benvenuto al Sud, Blue Flag Beaches, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Capri, Casal Velino, Casal Velino Marina, Castellabate, Cortona, Eating, Eating Italian, Fish, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Maratea, Matera, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Naples, Paestum, Pantheon, Pasta, Pastry, Perugia, Pizza, Pompeii, Positano, Romance, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Tuscany, Umbria, Vatican City, Venice, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why you really want to spend a night in Capri

Most tourists take a ferry from Naples, Sorrento or Positano to the Isle of Capri. They spend a day mostly waiting to get into the Blue Grotto and then return by ferry in the evening. This is a big mistake! After all these tourists leave, the natives of Capri come out. The streets of Capri City are much less crowded. You can enjoy your stroll without being knocked about by tourists. The island and the city become magical. The lighting is perfect for photographers. Restaurants gear up for the evening meal. Bars await customers looking for a drink.

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We had found a few small (alley like) streets off the main piazza. They had stores and restaurants. One store made custom sandals. You are measured one day and can pick up your shoes the next day. There were also small grocery stores. We decided to spend one evening eating at our hotel. We were able to get a bottle of wine, cheese, bread, olives and chocolate at one such shop. Our hotel with the fabulous view became a romantic restaurant for the evening. We dined on our private balcony overlooking Capri and the sea.

We tend not to like places were a lot of tourists gather. But these small streets were a real find. They are cooler in the summer, have fewer people on them and offer small cheaper shops that normally do not cater to the tourists. It would seem that tourists like to stick to the main piazza and streets. They shy away from small streets. Their loss!

Go to Capri and be romantic. Stay an evening or more. Make the island your island. If it is a special occasion, spend the extra money and stay at Villa Brunella. You pay once but will remember it for the rest of your life.

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George

 

Categories: Bars, Blue Grotto, Bread, Campania, Capri, Cheese, Chocolate, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Ferries, Food, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Naples, Positano, Romance, Sorrento, Traveling without a tour, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Isle of Capri’s Anacapri

Anacapri is the other city on Capri Isle. It is smaller, quieter and less hustle bustle. You can drive, hire a car or taxi or take the bus from Capri. We chose the bus. Near the top of the funicular is a bus station with busses to various attractions on the isle. The bus to Anacapri leaves from here and winds up a mountain to reach this city. Along the way are many wonderful vistas. You can sea the sea, the large marina far below and in the distant Mount Vesuvious. You get off in the center where you can catch a bus back to Capri.

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Anacapri

Walk the small streets and look at the restaurants and bars. Try to decide what to have for lunch in an hour or two. Look into the ceramic shops. We bought a very large spaghetti dish and they packed it for travel. We placed it in our suitcase and hoped for the best. It survived perfectly. The ceramics are made in this town and hand painted. They are all unique and beautiful.

One of the streets from the center leads down through these stores and restaurants to a small piazza with a church. Walking here is like mediating. It is quiet and peaceful. Enjoy this time before returning to the hustle bustle of massive tourists in Capri. This street has many tourists but beyond the piazza with the church are mostly locals.

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Someone house and the center of town at bus stop

On the way back to the center, we decided to eat lunch. We had seen a small restaurant/bar on the way that served food out a window to you on the street. We got two panini, a drink and a fabulous desert. The owners talk with you at the window. Everything is made in front of you and is very delicious.

Finally we were on the bus back to Capri with our dish in hand. The ride down is less dramatic as you are mostly on the mountain side of the road and not the cliff side. We arrived back at the bus station and began our stroll through the beautiful city of Capri once again. You could hear many different languages being spoken, Music, laughter and the clang of dishes at the restaurants and bars. This is what I love about Italy. It is always alive and full of life and fun. All you have to do is place yourself in it and enjoy it.

This is an Isle that is easy to be romantic. You feel it everywhere. You see couples in love all around you. Hold hands with your partner and enjoy your life.

Next BLOG will talk about why you want to spend the night in Capri.

George

 

Categories: Anacapri, Bars, Cafè, Campania, Capri, Ceramics, Eating, Eating Italian, Food, Funicular, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Panini, Romance, Shopping, Small Towns, Traveling without a tour, Walking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why I love the Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is a cliff side road that winds from Sorrento on the western side to Salerno on the eastern side. It is located in southern Italy in Campania south of Naples. As you drive this ancient Greet horse road, you feel exhilarated. Some places you are high up overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea and other places you are close to the sea. The road is never empty but in the summer it can be a parking lot. Busses have a hard time navigating its tight curves. If you encounter a bus coming towards you on a turn, you must back up giving the bus room to make the turn. Busses always have the right of way.

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As you leave Sorrento you travel over the cliffs heading south and then east. as you turn east you can look out to your right a clear day and see the beautiful Island of Capri. As you head east you will twist and turn in and out of coves until you arrive high above the wonderful town of Positano. It is said this is a town of one road and a million steps. Bring comfortable shoes and be prepared to climb. The one road winds from the Amalfi Coast Highway (one way) down to the town and beach of Positano. It then climbs slightly and ends up again at the Amalfi Coast Highway.

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Positano is very romantic. Enjoy a week here if you can. There are wonderful restaurants and two beaches. At the large beach you can catch ferries to Amalfi, Salerno, Capri, Sorrento, Naples and many small towns. You can arrive by ferry but you will have missed that wonderful road. Parking can be a problem but there are two large parking garages on the one way road. Most hotels will take your car to one of these. Once you rid yourself of the car, you will not need it until you leave. Positano is a city you walk in or take the Ferry to nearby towns.

D-Positano ai D-Positano aea D-Positano drD-Positano hnAs you leave Positano you head farther east on the Amalfi Coast Highway through tunnels and many small coves. You can see many lemon groves and wine bushes high on the hills. Try the famous limoncello in this area. You will pass many small fishing towns that are worth a stop. Eventually you arrive in the town of Amalfi. There is parking at the port and you walk into the town arriving at the main piazza. Here you can have lunch or a drink and view the magnificent cathedral in front of you.

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Now we head farther east on the highway (not really a highway but a small two lane road) to Salerno. You will pass ceramic stores worth a stop. They can wrap things well for travel or ship them for you. Salerno is a major shipping port with cruise ships. High above the city is an ancient castle. Salerno is a large major city. Here you can find great high-speed trains with service back to Naples or Rome. You can also head south to Sicily.

This is a road trip you will never forget. Enjoy the many cities it has to offer and the people, food and wine. Be romantic and spontaneous. You are an adventurer in Italy.

 

George

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Beaches, Campania, Ceramics, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Ferries, General Travel, Italy, Lemoncello, Mountain Towns, Naples, Parking Garage, Positano, Romance, Rome, Salerno, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Trains, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fish in Southern Italy

Southern Italy is known for its fish. Where we are in Campania there is always great fish. Off the coast and to the south is a major swordfish area. The fish is always fresh. You can get many kinds of fish plus shellfish. Shrimp, calamari and octopus is great. We eat fresh fish in the local restaurants or buy it in a fish market to prepare at home. As we shop for fish, we often see a local fisherman with his catch in the store.

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Fresh Fish

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Local Fisherman with his catch

It is so different eating fish caught that day for dinner. The taste is fresh and delicious. Italians don’t even have a word for fishy. Often the fish is over pasta but you can also have it on a plate as a steak.

One difference is the fish all have heads on when served. The Italians look at the eyes to determine freshness of the fish. They are experts at cleaning the fish with a fork and knife. The clams are tiny and so tasty. If you don’t like clams because they are chewy, you will like these because they taste so good. Fish is never over cooked. It is never covered in sauces. It is served with a little salt and you taste the freshness of the fish.

When in southern Italy, try the local fish. Enjoy fish at its very best. Life here is rally Dolce far ninete!

George

 

Categories: Campania, Dolce far niente, Eating Italian, Europe, Fish, Food, General Travel, Italy, Pasta, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pizza … Pizza

There is no denying it … Pizza is BIG in Italy! In the north you get different cheeses and prosciutto, in the south you have Naples style Margarita pizza. New York style thin crust is really Naples style pizza. Where we live in Campania, it is all about Naples style pizza. It is very thin, very tasty and they use buffalo mozzarella for the cheese. It is very delicious. They don’t usually sell it by the slice but in pies that are designed to be a large personal pizza.

Naples Pizza pizza

Neapolitan Pizza

Pizza in a real Italian restaurant is not sliced for you. You eat it with a fork (forchetta) and knife (coltello). Of course in Italy, you have your pizza with a good glass of red wine. Pizzas are typically done in fired ovens to make them crispy.

Jo Anne and I make pizza at home. It is the Neapolitan style of pizza but sometimes with different toppings. We use a pizza stone and an oven at 525 degrees F. The pizza crust gets crisper than in Italy but we like it that way. Pizza shouldn’t be loaded with cheese! I think we do that in America because the tastes are bland and cheese is a comfort food. In Italy you can actually taste the sauce and basil. You can even smell it as it is presented to you. It tastes so good you don’t want to over ride the flavors with too much cheese.

Mangia mangia…

George

 

Categories: Campania, Cooking, Europe, Food, Italy, Naples, Pizza, Southern Italy, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Buying and retiring in Southern Italy

As my readers know, we bought a condo in southern Campania (southern Italy) in 2013. It is about 1.5 hours south of the Amalfi Coast and 2 hours south of Naples. Maybe closer if I drive really really fast. We had no intention to buy a home but while looking for a vacation villa, we came across our new home. The taxes are much lower than in the states, food (outside the big cities) is cheaper and the beaches and mountains are beautiful. The people are friendly and endearing.

We plan to retire there about half time when my wife retires and spend the other half time at our condo in Florida north of Tampa. Both places are cheaper to live and have a good tax structure. Both have great beaches (Clearwater Beach was voted America’s best beach). Italy has better views of both mountains and the sea and has better ancient cities to visit. Life is what you make it. Retirement, in my opinion, should be fun, stimulating and interesting.

This BLOG explores how we bought that condo in Italy, nearby cities as well as Italy’s big major cities. My wife writes a BLOG specifically on Southern Campania. Explore Italy on your vacations and decide if this is a place for you to retire.

Kathleen Peddicord wrote an article on retiring to an affordable Italy for Money.

George

 

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Beaches, Campania, Closing a property in Italy, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Naples, Owning a home in Italy, Xpats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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