Cilento

Campania, Italy

Campania is in southern Italy below Rome. It includes famous areas like Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Campania has wonderful Blue Flag Beaches and some very interesting mountain towns. You have everything thing here including: museums, beaches, mountains, great food & wine and friendly people.

We chose this area to have a second home and have fallen in love with it. Come walk with us through several towns in the great region.

– George

Categories: Agropoli, Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Anacapri, Ascea, Beach Resorts, Beaches, Benvenuto al Sud, BLOG, Blue Flag Beaches, Blue Grotto, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Capri, Casal Velino, Casal Velino Marina, Castellabate, Cilento, Cooking, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Ferries, Food, Funicular, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Lemoncello, Marina Casal Velino, Marina di Camerota, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Museums, Naples, Palinuro, Pioppi, Pizza, Positano, Regions of Italy, Romance, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Stairs, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Tyrrhenian Sea, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

Marina di Camerota, Italy

Marina di Camerota is a beautiful seaside resort with crystal clear waters. The sea is green close to shore and deep blue farther out. This is a very small seaside town built up on a seawall to protect it from the sea. The marina is home to many boats. People come to southern Campania from Marina Casalvelino to Marina di Camerota for the Blue Flag beaches. You come here to enjoy the sea and to slow down life’s pace. Slowing down and enjoying ones life is an important part of Italian life.

Come walk with us through Marina di Camerota. See the water, the marina and the small town. The beaches are not huge commercial beaches but small isolated beaches. Most are at the bottom of stairs leading down to the sea. Click on the video below to watch. This is a very romantic part of Italy that moves at a slow pace and enjoys life.

– George

Categories: Beaches, Blue Flag Beaches, Campania, Casal Velino Marina, Cilento, Europe, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Marina Casal Velino, Marina di Camerota, Romance, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Walking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 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.

IMG_2668

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.

IMG_4769

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.

mr-img_4731

The New Furniture

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

mp-img_4710

Continue reading

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

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:

 

IMG_2640 IMG_1935

Duomo Florence

IMG_2614

Duomo Cortona

IMG_1877 IMG_1860 IMG_1841

Duomo Siena

IMG_1659

Assisi Cathedral (in Assisi)

IMG_1618

Church in Assisi

IMG_1598

Saint Francis (Outside Assisi)

IMG_5022a

Pantheon Rome

IMG_2183

Church in Castelnuovo Cilento (Campania)

IMG_3026

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

Some of Our Best Memories

We have assembled pictures of some of our best memories in Italy. Italy is always romantic and it is always memorable. There are so many special little moments. The architecture, the sites, the history, the people, the food, the wine, … and so much more.

Enjoy your trip to see relatives, sites, museums or to just be Italian for a short while.

Dolce far niente!

George & Jo

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Assisi, Beaches, Blue Flag Beaches, Casal Velino Marina, Cilento, Coliseum, cornetto, Dolce, Dolce far niente, Duomo, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Greek Ruins, Italy, Marina Casal Velino, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Owning a home in Italy, Paestum, Panini, Pantheon, Pastry, Pizza, Planning a vacation, Positano, Ravello, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Siena, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Spanish Steps, Stairs, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Trottoria, Tuscany, Wine | 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:

IMG_2110

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.

IMG_2008 IMG_2010

Views down to Castellabate Santa Maria

IMG_2017

Part of original castle wall

IMG_2018

Small streets and stairs everywhere

IMG_2019

Beautiful small streets

IMG_2021

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

IMG_2022

More streets to explore

IMG_2036

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

IMG_2041 IMG_2042

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

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:

IMG_2163 IMG_2165 IMG_2166 IMG_2167 IMG_2168 IMG_2169 IMG_2170 IMG_2171 IMG_2172 IMG_2173 IMG_2174

IMG_3202

View of beach below

IMG_3208

Breakfast with a view

IMG_3210

Driving very narrow streets

IMG_3211

And some that can not be driven

IMG_3218

A local fixer upper

IMG_3232

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

Paestum Pictorial

From the Amalfi Coast Drive’s end point at Salerno you take the A3 Autostrada south to Battipaglia and exit into the SS18 south. Follow the signs to Paestum. It is in the Province of Salerno, Campania. It is also in the Client National forrest.This was founded about 600 BC but had a bad malaria out break that preserved the site. It is the best Greece ruins in Italy’s mainland. Sicily has great ruins as well.

IMG_2081

Great restaurant on southern edge of ruins

IMG_2087

Ruins

IMG_2088

Ruins

IMG_2089

Ruins

IMG_2101

Many of the ruins are leveled

IMG_2094

Temple of Hera I

IMG_2095

Theater

IMG_2096

Entrance to Theater

IMG_2114

Temple of Neptune

You will need to purchase a pass to enter this historic site. They are sold at the museum outside the sacred grounds. These ruins are  not to be missed.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Campania, Cilento, Europe, General Travel, Greek Ruins, Italy, Paestum, Salerno | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Positano Ceramics

Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast (Photo credit: The Consortium)

We took a two week trip to the our home in southern Italy a few years ago. We decided to take a detour to Positano for ceramics. Many tourists around the world travel to these rocky cliffs. Tourist stops like Sorrento, Capri, Positano and Amalfi are here. This is a place to enjoy good food, great wine, nice people and as we said yesterday, Good Lemoncello.

We flew into Rome because we can get direct flights on US Air (now becoming American) from Philly to Rome. We rented a car and drove down the autostrada (A-1) towards Naples. We drove past Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii toward Sorrento. From Sorrento we drove over the mountain and took the Amalfi Coast Highway to Positano We spent a night in this wonderful city on the hill. We had a room at Hotel Villa delle Palme on Via Pasitea, number 252. This is the city of a million steps and one road. Of course we had lunch (pizza) at our favorite place, Lo Guarracino in Positano on the walkway between the big and small beaches. We stopped here to buy ceramic plates for our new home in Italy. The ceramics here is unique and colorful.

Positano Dishes

The next day we went on the Amalfi Coast Highway past many small wonderful Italian towns including Amalfi itself. Finally reaching Salerno where we stopped at the IKEA and then got on the Autostrada south again. Exiting the autostrada and going to the larger city of Agropoli and then onto Velina. Getting there takes us right through Italy’s largest national park, Cilento.

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Ceramics, Cilento, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Positano, Sorrento, Velina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: