Casal Velino

Southern Campania’s Beach Resorts

Everyone knows about the Amalfi Coast. Positano, Sorrento and Capri are world-famous. The beaches at Positano are lava rock not sand. The beaches farther south in Campania are pure sand. The sea is very calm and gentle in the summer but violent with large waves in the winter. Jo Anne and I chose a second home in this area for both the beautiful beaches and high gorgeous mountains. Imagine laying on the beach feeling the sand, sun and water as you look at the mountains around you. There are four branches near us.

Marina di Casalvelino

This is a beach resort in every sense of the word. There are plenty of restaurants in walking distances as well as some great bars. There is a supermercato across from the sea. The main road at the beach has restaurants and stores on one side and the beach with palm trees on the other.

 

YouTube VLOG on Marina Casalvelino

The beach is large and beautiful. You can choose free beaches and take your own chairs and umbrella or a club that charges a fee, around 20 Euros/day (Discounts for larger time periods), for two chairs, and umbrella with a small table, free WiFi and music. These clubs also have restaurants that serve wine, prosecco, beer and food. We love this option as it is relaxing with no worries or hassles. There is a great market just off the beach each Friday.

There is a large marina here where you can rent boats or hire someone to take you out, There is a good train with connections to Salerno, Naples and the rest of Europe.

Ascea

Ascea is just south of Marina di Casalvelino and is another great beach. It has less foreign tourists and more Italians on vacation than does Marina di Casalvelino. This beach has similar free beaches and club options. There is a great market by the beach each Thursday.

This city is larger than Marina di Casalvelino and has many interesting small shops. We have not yet done a YouTube VLOG on this beach resort but it is coming soon. There is a good train with connections to Salerno, Naples and the rest of Europe.

Marina di Camerota

Marina di Camerota is a small beautiful city. This beach town is about a half hour drive south of Marina di Casalvelino. The beach areas are very small but the water is crystal clear with tints of green and blue colors. There is a large marina here where you can rent boats or hire someone to take you out, Take time to walk around this small town.

YouTube VLOG on Marina di Camerota

Palinuro

Palinuro is another small beach town just north of Marina di Camerota. You can easily walk this town. There are good restaurants, bars and gelaterias. The beaches are small like in Marina di Camerota but worth a visit. Our VLOG on this town will be published Monday January 9th.

Italy has some of the greatest beaches in the world and the water at these beaches consistently win a Blue Flag Award for cleanliness.

Be romantic at the beach …

– George

 

Categories: Ascea, Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, BLOG, Blue Flag Beaches, Campania, Capri, Casal Velino, Casal Velino Marina, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Marina Casal Velino, Marina di Camerota, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Naples, Palinuro, Positano, Prosecco, Romance, Salerno, Small Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, VLOG, WiFi, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Buying a Place in Italy

We decided to do a series of BLOGs on our experience in buying a house in Italy. We are not saying that the way we did it, will be for everyone. It did work for us and we are very happy with the decision. Many books talk about the horrible red tape in dealing with Italy but we had a very smooth ride through the whole process. Things do go slower in Italy which is really good for your health and blood pressure. The main advice is to remember things are done differently there than here. So relax and enjoy the experience …

We started looking in Tuscany (as all Americans do) but the prices are just too high. We wanted it all, a Seaview, a mountain view, a nice place with modern conveniences, a real Italian city void of tourists and the right price. Impossible right? Well we got it all and at our budget. We saw a place that was in a newly constructed building (a rarity in Italy) and it had fantastic mountain and a Seaview. It was a few kilometers from the beach. When we saw the price we thought it must be a time share but it was to purchase. It is a building with 4 units per floor and two main floors. There was a penthouse occupied by one of the owners children and two more units in the basement opening out onto the yard.

We actually put a non refundable down-payment on it without seeing it in person. We walked the city it is in on Google Earth and the beach towns near by but never went to see it first hand. Finally iin May of 2013 we were on the Amalfi coast on our honeymoon and met the realtor and made the 1.5 hour trip south to the small town of Velina. We saw it for the first time. It is VERY small but the views are to die for. No kitchen or closets which are normal in Europe. We loved it.

Over the next 6 months we had a kitchen installed, a bed and a table with chairs. We then went to stay in our place for the first time over Thanksgiving. We bought a love seat and wo chairs which can be used inside or taken out on to our deck to enjoy the views. Having wine and cheese out on the deck was what it was all about. We couldn’t wait to explore the area.

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Our beautiful new home

We had to get closing money from dollars to Euros and from our American bank account to an Italian one. At closing you need the equivalent here of a certified check (actually two – one to the people you are buying from and one to the person doing the closing and covering taxes etc.). This was quite a chore! First, as I have said in this BLOG, exchange rates were high when we bought. Banks tack on 4-10% extra on a transaction. If you are getting $1,000 to $2,000 for vacation it is bad but too bad. If you are moving $100,000 plus it really hurts. I investigated how to get around this. I found a company in the UK that lets you wire dollars to them (no bank fees at this end) and buys Euros for you. They deal in billions of Euros so they give you the World Bank Rates (no extra fees added on) for large sums of money. We did not yet have an Italian bank account because our country requires foreign banks to only open accounts for Americans if they are present. The UK firm held the money and we departed on our honeymoon to Italy.

We were scheduled to open an Italian bank account in Positano the second week of our trip. Then I would text the account number to the UK and our money (in Euros now) would be transferred. After meeting with the bank manager in Positano, he informed us that we can not open an account at his branch because we did not live in Positano. He suggested going to the branch near our new home in Agropoli (1.5 hours away). We were scheduled to go and see the new place on that Wednesday but closing was Saturday in Rome. Not much time for error. We went to Agropoli and had no problems opening an account. I wired the UK the account number and they transferred the money instantly. The catch is Italian banks don’t always deposit wired monies instantly. Thursday came and no money yet. Friday showed our money. So we did it with no room for error.

Now we had to go back to the branch in Positano (where we were staying) to the manager that had rejected us and get the required certified checks. To our amazement he did it quickly and with no problems. The next day Saturday we drove to Rome (about 3.5 hours). We checked into a hotel for one night (we had a morning flight back to the states on Sunday). At closing we met the owner and his family and the man doing the closing. Our realtor was our translator. All documents were in both Italian and English. The family we bought from was Gina Lollobrigida’s family (her cousin). The closing went well. We were asked questions and owner stipulated our parking spot and the fact that we could use the common property. Everything was written in the official document describing the property. Monies were paid and we were given a set of keys. After closing we all went to a bar for a coffee. È normale!

The saddest thing for us was getting on a plane back to the States with a set of keys to an Italian house we had never used.

There is no kitchen or furniture in our new place. It would be like camping out with a bathroom to stay like this (Jo is not a camper – She has always told be camping is staying in a Hilton with only one bathroom). So we look for a kitchen. Kitchens come in modular form with cabinets, sink, refrigerator, stove and cook top. You can also get a dish washer at the expense of cabinets. We decide on not getting a dishwasher. We did not like the kitchens in the other units of our place. Our condo manager (the owner’s daughter) helps us remotely. We look at kitchen places in Rome but delivery is way too expensive. Maria manages to find a wood cabinet (dark stain) kitchen with everything we want.

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We have a new kitchen

She negotiates a kitchen with a table and 6 chairs for the price of the kitchen. We then decide to get a bed (mattress and frame – Italians do not use a box spring) from the same place. They come and install the kitchen and setup our bed. We are not ready to come back to Velina without camping out.

We find online that our Home Land Security requires a form documenting any foreign deposits over $50,000. If your account had $50,000 or more, even for a day, you must declare it. This is NOT an IRS form. So I download the form and fill it out. The fines are huge if you are caught without doing this. We are now ready for our Thanksgiving in Velina Italy.

As we get familiar with our town, we keep staring at the views all around us. We look like tourists that have never seen a beach or mountains. The views are so spectacular here. The weather is tropical and always great. Some mornings we wake to see snow on the mountains around us. We are interested in buying some furniture to sit on in our unit. We want some that can be taken out on the deck as well as be inside. There are many furniture stores around us (called Mobili in Italian which literally means furnishings). We find a store with very interesting furniture next to our supermercato. It is closed but we window shop and make a note to return after 4 pm when everything reopens. This store has everything. In Italy they don’t like to turn the heat on in the winter. The manager of the store greets us (Buon Giorno) with a heavy coat on. It is actually much colder inside these thick walls than outside where it is mild. We look at bedroom sets as well but decide to buy these at a later time. We do find a wicker set that has two chairs, a table and a love seat. It’s a perfect size for our small apartment.

I ask the man if they take credit cards (carte di credito). But he says only cash (solo contanti). We have an Italian ATM card for our Italian Bank Account and we know there is an ATM in town. He loads the furniture onto his truck without any payment and follows us into town. We stop to get the cash and he continues to follow us up the hill to our place. He unloads all the furniture and carries it up to our unit refuting any help. He waits for us to arrange it and sit on it and smile. He then accepts the payment. Why are we so shocked when people act so kind?

After taking all the wrappings off the pillows and seat cushions, we arrange the furniture about 5 times. It fits perfect and looks great.

The Condo and the Mountain beyond

It provides us with ample seating inside to relax and when we take it outside we can have some wine and cheese while we take in the views. This is Italy! Life moves at a slower more enjoyable rate. We can feel the tensions drain off after a few days. We are Italians while we are here. We shop only for today and maybe tomorrow morning. We buy only what is grown or made fresh. Italians take a lot of pride in their food and will only buy what is made in Italy. This very small place seems adequate and almost spacious as we settle into Italian life. Life is good.

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The New Furniture

The furniture is portable so we can move it out onto our deck to enjoy the views.

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Categories: Amalfi Coast, Banking, Beaches, Campania, Casal Velino, Cash, Cilento, Closing a property in Italy, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italian Banks, Italy, Mountains, Owning a home in Italy, Shopping, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Velina, World Bank Rates | Tags: , | 6 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

Casal Velino Pictorial

Casual Velino has two parts:

  1. Casel Velino – the mountain city
  2. Casal Velino Marina – the beach town

Today we will look at the small mountain town. It’s in the province of Salerno, region of Campania. It is in the Client National Park. It has a population of only 5,000. Small roads lead up to this town. In the center is an old church a few bars and restaurants. Stairways lead up the mountain side almost hidden. They take you past the homes of Casel Velino. The people are friendly and the homes are very old.

In the center is a bar where you can eat outside with a million dollar view of the sea and beaches of Casel Velino Marina below. Have a coffee and sweet roll and then start your trek up the stairs. One of the areas most expensive restaurants is here, Locanda le Tre Sorrelle (three sisters). It is a restaurant and hotel with a beautiful pool.

The streets of Casel Velino:

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View of beach below

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Breakfast with a view

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Driving very narrow streets

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And some that can not be driven

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A local fixer upper

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Homes with gardens abound

Casal Velino is small and life is slow here. Come and enter this world, be part of it. Enjoy!

George & Jo Anne

 

 

Categories: Campania, Casal Velino, Cilento, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Mountain Towns, Ristorante, Salerno, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Thinking of Better Weather

As we deal with heat waves all around the world, my thoughts are of Spring or Fall. Here in the North-East we have had very hot and muggy temperatures. In Velina, southern Italy, it has been hotter than anyone remembers. We were in Paris last Spring and at our house in Velina Italy in late August and early September. I can feel the sun and smell the beach at Casal Velino Marina, Italy. I am tired of the high heat! Bring on Europe in the Spring and fall.

Where do you want to be now? We all survive by thinking of those happy moments in our lives. They energize us. Go out, plan and take a trip to someplace new. Create some new moments for yourself. You deserve it! Wherever you go, take time to relax, watch the locals, be romantic. Life is short. Enjoy it!

Eifell Tower Basecilento

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Campania, Casal Velino, Casal Velino Marina, Europe, France, Italy, Paris, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Velina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

At the Beach in Scario Italy

Scario is south of us in Italy. There is a good highway (SP430) the meanders south through the mountains (tunnels) to the beach area of Scario, Sapri and Villamare. Sapri is a major stop on the railroad. A new high-speed train runs from Naples to Sapri. Scario is a beach town that looks south to Sapri and the mountains that contain Maratea. Maratea has the 5th largest cross on the mountain top. It can be seen from Scario on a clear day. You can drive up to this cross.

Scario is on the side of a hill leading down to the sea and docks. Follow signs to parking, docks and boat loading areas. You will come to a street that runs from the parking area along the sea. There are restaurants and docks with boats and fisherman everywhere.

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At the far end of this road is an old church which is now a private home.

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From this old church go down the steps toward the sea to a path that runs back along the church. The views are great. There are streets that are narrow, some turn into stairs, others are a steep climb up the hill.

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One restaurant right on the beach is Tipiteca. You can sit outside near the water and eat wonderful Sicilian dishes. The owners mother cooks them from old Sicilian recipes. We had a fish encrusted with pistachios and of course some pasta.

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The owner is very friendly and speaks English.

Nearby, a sign on the wall says Adesso ci siam noi (Now we are there).

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As you walk this small seaside town, you know you are there!

Tomorrow we travel back up to our area to a small mountain town called Casal Velino. A town forgotten by time.

George & Jo Anne

 

 

Categories: Campania, Casal Velino, Driving in Italy, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Maratea, Mountain Towns, Naples, Romance, Sapri, Scario, Sicily, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Trains, Villamare | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Casal Velina Marina in Campania

I have written about this wonderful seaport before but it needs new mention as we start to think Spring and Summer and maybe a trip to Italy. This small city is the sea port side of a town that has another side high in the mountains. The sea port is beautiful. Palm tree-lined walks, white sand beaches, gentile rolling waves and the warm Tyrrhenian Sea (Mediterranean Sea separated by islands).  This wonderful town has many boat docks with beautiful boats, a tower that used to watch for pirates. The bars along the sea are wonderful. Have your coffee and sweet roll in the morning or a Panini for lunch. Try the local mozzarella (Mozzarella di Bufalo).

There are wonderful open markets each Friday on the street. Here you can browse local vendors to see their products. Clothing, food and small home appliances are some of the things sold here. There are many restaurants that serve wonderful food. On the beach are clubs that rent you  chairs, umbrellas and table on the beach. They include music and free WiFi. This is life the way it should be. Picture yourself on the sand looking out at the sea, listening to some music while sipping a prosecco (Italian champagne). And no trip here is complete without a stop at Franco’s Bakery. Here you can taste wonderful Italian pastries fresh made. Take some back with you to your hotel. Gaetano, the owner, will help you select the best he has.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Bars, Beaches, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Casal Velino, Champagne, Cooking, Eating Italian, Europe, Italy, Marina Casal Velino, Mountain Towns | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Small Towns in Southern Italy Pictorial

Our pictorial continues with small beach and mountain towns of southern Campania, Italy.

Vallo della Lucania

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Castelnuovo Cilento

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Marina Casal Velino

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Paestum

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Salento

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Acciaro

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Santa Maria di Castellabate

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Maratea

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Old Town Agropoli

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Pisciotta

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Wherever you go in Italy, you see old beautiful towns. Each make their own foods, wines and olive oils. Give yourself and your tastebuds a vacation … go to Italy and experience the real people and places. Don’t settle for a tour with bad food. Enjoy life and be romantic!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Agropoli, Beaches, Campania, Casal Velino, Castelnuovo Cilento, Cilento, Eating Italian, Europe, Italy, Maratea, Marina Casal Velino, Mountain Towns, Paestum, Pisciotta, Small Towns, Tour Groups, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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