Castelnuovo Cilento

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

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

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

Castelnuovo Cilento Italy

Castelnuovo Cilento is another ancient mountain town for people to run to during pirate raids. Today it is another sleepy small town. GPS works well to here. We use the Tom-Tom app on an iPhone. It has a church and a castle. There are small streets where the residents live. There are two basic ways up to this mountain town. One is from the SP430 highway and the other is from Velina, very close to our home. Both roads are narrow and have switch-backs. The views are incredible.

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Once up in the town you proceed to the end and turn left. This road widens and takes you to a large parking lot at the castle.

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There is a good restaurant at the castle and next to the church. This town can be visited in an hour or two. Walk around the castle and look out at the views. You can sea mountains and the sea from up here. Then start at the church and walk through the narrow streets. There aren’t many so you won’t get lost. These little towns never see tourists but this is the real southern Italy. Enjoy it!

Tomorrow we will visit Casal Velino Marina, the seaside town that was part of Casal Velino (yesterday’s BLOG).

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Campania, Casal Velino Marina, Castelnuovo Cilento, Cilento, Driving in Italy, Europe, General Travel, GPS, Italy, Mountain Towns, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Velina | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

Castelnuovo Cilento, Italy

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that Castelnuovo Cilento is our sister town. It is where people would go when the pirates raided the beach towns below. It is located in Campania and in the Cilento National Park of Italy. It is high up on a mountain top and has ancient fortified castle walls around it. Inside its walls is a church and restaurant. Just outside is a small town. The road up is steep, winding and in need of some repairs. We had read about a festival featuring Cilento foods in this castle. We went up around 7:30 pm thinking it would be going on. It was just being setup. We learned it was going to start around 10 or 11.

We met a man setting up for the festival that owned the restaurant/bar within the castle walls. His restaurant was closed for the season (it closed September 1st). He actually opened his restaurant and gave us a tour. He had a wonderful bar and decks with magnificent views of the valley below. It totally amazes us the friendliness and warmth of these people. We vowed to return next trip for dinner.

All that was left was the steep downhill road home. At the bottom we relaxed a little and continued to our home.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Campania, Castelnuovo Cilento, Cilento, Eating Italian, Europe, Festivals, General Travel, Italy, Mountain Towns, Small Towns | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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