Ancient History

Ancient History

Saturday, July 18, 2015
Pompeii, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

Well-fortified by the abundant breakfast at Hotel Reginna Palace, 07181501 breakfastKirk and two of our guests head for Pompeii, laden with plenty of water and umbrellas for shade.
From patrician homes,07181501 from patrician homesto spacious forums,07181501 vista pompeiito theaters echoing with voices from ages past, Pompeii is history unveiled.
We always schedule the summer visits as early as possible, since there’s very little shade. So the trio gets back in time to meet for lunch in Maiori, and a bit of free time in the afternoon.
Soon we’re under the wisteria for dinner,07181501 wisteria dinner prior to an evening concert of piano, again in the Palazzo Mezzacapo just down the street.

Seaside Beauties of the Amalfi Coast

Seaside Beauties of the Amalfi Coast

Friday, July 17, 2015
Amalfi and Positano, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

Our favorite aspect of the Hotel Reginna Palace, headquarters of the festival, is the beautiful pool area and garden, where we enjoy breakfast and dinner each day. Sheltered by lush wisteria vines and lemon trees, the terrace is such an inviting place to start each day. 07171501 breakfast garden under lemonsWe’re heading for Positano today, and to get there from Maiori, we take a small boat to Amalfi, 07171501 ferry to amalfitaking in the views of yesterday’s destination, Ravello, high on a rocky point (that white contemporary hanging on the side is Gore Vidal’s former home),07171501 ravello above passing adorable little Atrani – one of our favorite authentic Amalfi coast lovelies, 07171502 adorable atrani

and taking advantage of the hour before our next ferry to walk into Amalfi, bravely crossing the two lane Amalfi Coast Highway in between buses and cars. 07171502 awe inspiring amalfiAmalfi’s relatively quiet this early in the morning, and it’s fun to peek into whitewashed corridors (Arab baths from the 1300s) and note how stairs rise immediately on either side of the one street through town.07171502 awed by arab baths narrow lane and steps up on both sides Friends who’ve rented an apartment here talked of descending 80 plus steps each morning to the bakery, then UP again!
Filling our bottles with cold water from the hills above,07171502 bottles filled we board the larger ferry for the half hour cruise to Positano.07171502 ferry larger to posGorgeous sailboats are moored offshore- the eye-catching pastels of the town must be a lovely sight from there – 07171502 yachts offshoreand one yacht even has a water slide off the upper deck – looks like fun!07171502 slide on yachtWhile the ladies started shopping,07171503 as some shoppedKirk bought tart lemon granitas for all from our favorite lady-and-the-boat at the top of Positano’s winding lanes – 07171503 kirk bought lemon granitas from the girl and the boat at top of townthis is where the Amalfi Coast road comes through Positano, and where the only bus stop is-  quite a hike above the shore. 07171503 l by top of townThen Kirk doctored the icy treat with his little bottle of limoncello – wow what a taste! 07171503 then doctored them up with his stash of limoncelloCheers!07171504 cheersWe’ll consider that treat our aperitif – now on to lunch, along the cliffside path, past the Saracen tower that’s been nicely renovated into a vacation rental. 07171504 cliff path by saracen tower now rentalPerched on the cliffside, O Guaracino has our table ready, along with a chilled pitcher of crisp local white, and plenty of cold water (yes, it’s still HOT!)07171504 cold water and crisp white at guarWith views from one side to another,07171504 either side views friendly, welcoming staff, and the freshest of seafood cooked on an open fire, 07171504 feast with viewit’s our favorite Positano restaurant.
And a little more lemon is the perfect finish to our feast.07171504 refreshing sorbet perfect finishBack to Maiori on our two-ferry trip, and perhaps there’s time for a dip in the pool before dinner?07171505 fit in a swimThen a stroll down the Corso 07171505 walk to town hallto the town hall for tonight’s concert – 07171506 concertchamber music under the colorful frescoes.

 

From Ravello to Vesuvius – on High in Italy, continued

From Ravello to Vesuvius – on High in Italy, continued

Thursday, July 16, 2015, part two
Ravello, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

Our up in the air day continues with a bus ride, along with all of the Amalfi Coast Music Festival participants, along the infamous Amalfi Coast road, where we squeak by other buses, and then up ever higher on Mount Vesuvius. We’ve never been HERE before!!07161503 up vesuviusTonight’s concert is in the beautiful old Royal Observatory, built in the mid-1800s at the request of Ferdinand II, an intelligent king who realized the need for more advanced study of volcanic activity. Where better than on the slopes of an active volcano?!07161504 built in    royal observatoryAs we were winding up the volcano, eyeing scatterings of rough and ancient lava boulders between fields of tomato vines (the produce grown on this volcanic soil is legendary for its intense flavor), we listened to the festival staff fielding phone calls from the piano delivery company. The extensive radioactive signals from the array of seismic monitoring antennas kept signalling the antitheft device on the piano delivery truck, turning off the engine. They could NOT deliver the piano. So another truck, without the antitheft device, was called. The piano was transferred to the latter truck, and finally made it to the observatory.07161504 piano scheduled hours agoWhile we were inside, learning about the devices developed to study volcanoes over a century ago,07161504 tour inside looking at the maps and depictions of the massive crater, 07161504 tour inside 1the delivery men were now getting the piano into the building, after which they’d get it up ANOTHER flight or two of steps to the auditorium. 07161504 up two levelsSoon we hear the tuner, doing his much-needed job after all of the movement of the piano, preparing the instrument for the concert. I’m sure Maestro Pompa-Baldi, who’s been here for hours awaiting the piano, is itching to get his fingers on the keys!
The concert has been delayed by over an hour, and if you’ve ever performed, you know how waiting makes it ever more challenging to do your best! 07161505 dreamy to listen while on balcony video tooWell, Antonio enthralled us all with an evening of Debussy, Grieg, and Chopin, with a bit of his own improvisation tossed in for variety.
We found the best place to listen – in the evening cool of the balcony, 07161505 bay at sunset sorrento caprioverlooking the bay of Naples, the Sorrentine coast and Capri in the distance. The video is rather dark, but shares the beauty of the views and the music – an unforgettable evening on Mount Vesuvius!

 

 

From Ravello to Vesuvius – on High in Italy!

From Ravello to Vesuvius – on High in Italy!

Thursday, July 16, 2015, part one
Ravello, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

We start and end the day above it all…first, Ravello, the elegantly dazzling rather removed-from-it-all haunt of those who prefer their glamour subdued and quiet. We park, then continue climbing via steps and ramps to the beautiful old town. 07161501am ravelloAlong the clifftop a row of gorgeous old palazzos, homes of captains and merchants of old when Amalfi ruled the seas centuries ago, are now luxury hotels, 07161506 additionalwith one of the prettiest public gardens ever tucked along the cliff edge as well. 07161506 public gardenRising from the main piazza, stairs lead into the Duomo (dating from 1087!), cool and white, with a couple of spectacular pulpits. Twisted, gold-enhanced pillars atop lions support the Pulpit of the Evangels, 07161506 r churchand precious mosaics, depicting a cheery Jonah waving goodbye as he’s swallowed by the fish, decorate the lesser Pulpit of the Epistles. 07161506 pulpit jonahOn the opposite edge of town from the palazzos we visited first, Villa Cimbrone’s glorious gardens07161501beautiful cimbrone stretch to the Balcony of Infinity, high above the sea.07161501k and girlsA shady refuge on yet another blistering hot day, the cool paths lead to rose gardens,07161501lush gardens and private area for hotel greta garbo grottoes, pergolas and bloom-surrounded statues. The Villa itself is a prestigious hotel, so areas of the extensive gardens are private. 07161501 flowers and statuaryFar below we spy Maiori, the Reginna Palace Hotel, headquarters of the Amalfi Coast Music Festival, right in the center by the beach.07161501 hotel far belowThe views continue at lunch on the terrace of Villa Rufolo. 07161501 views at lunch tooAlthough it’s been a few years since we’ve been here, the long-time staff recognizes us and we them. Fresh from the waters far below, here are the catch of the day choices.07161502 catch of the dayFirst courses arrive with a flourish,07161502 presented with a flourish

and the salt-crusted seabass, which several of us share, is expertly filleted before our eyes.07161502 salt crusted fishWe’ve been “bragging” about the marvelous Delizia di Limone, a creamy, tart Amalfi Coast specialty,07161503 delizia and one is enough to share after this delicious lunch…it disappears quickly!
To be continued…

 

The Music Begins in Maiori

The Music Begins in Maiori

Tuesday-Wednesday, July 14-15, 2015
Maiori, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

Did I mention that we were celebrating a birthday? Kirk’s is actually today, the 14th, but we’ve just celebrated all weekend long! Now the work begins, so we wave goodbye to Capri (that wooded wilderness on the left is where we walked yesterday – the pinkish dot is the unusual home on a rocky point),07141501 Capri goodbye where we walked and head for Maiori, the headquarters of the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival
Our guests arrive tomorrow, and we’ve got a few things to do to get ready for them. After meeting with festival staff, we try out a recommended restaurant on the beach, El Dorado – yes, it’s now on our list too. Cheery professional service, a great view, and delicious food – Prosciutto and Melon, and Caprese with another one of those generous Buffalo Mozzarella balls we only find here, at the source, for the birthday boy,07141501 Dorado lunch for bday boy after meeting w festivaland a smoky grilled Scarmorza (cheese) in radicchio leaves for me.07141501 grilled scarmozaLeaving a suitcase at the Reginna Palace Hotel, where we’ll check in tomorrow with our guests, we take a couple of ferries back to Salerno, walk to old town for dinner,07141502 back to salerno by bus and boat fun dinner and rest well before picking up a car and heading to the Naples airport.
All three guests arrive safely, one from Vienna, and two connecting via Paris, and we drive to Maiori over the twisting road topping the Amalfi Coast peninsula, from the Naples Bay to the Salerno Bay.
It’s past lunch time in Italy, but we find a little deli still open after checking into the hotel, and two of our guests are introduced to the tastes of southern Italy by choosing their own panini fillings…some of the local mozzarella, of course, and some delicious tomatoes probably grown on the slopes of Vesuvius are just a couple of the ingredients they choose. 07151501 airport pickup late lunchA beachside bench makes a perfect picnic spot.07151501 beachsideAfter an introductory stroll around Maiori, 07151501 maiori walka lesser-known Amalfi Coast town that boasts the longest beach on the peninsula, we join the Amalfi Coast Festival participants for a poolside dinner, then walk to an evening concert in Palazzo Mezzocapo. 07151502 concert nancy s after dinnerNow the town hall, the beautifully frescoed upper salon is a perfect place for concerts.07151502 frescoes above Nancy Stagnitta delights us with her flute artistry, as a couple of us seek a cool breeze out on the balcony. 07151503 coolest placeWhat a pleasure it is to join friends at the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival again. Last time we brought guests here was five years ago, when the festival was still headquartered in Vietri sul Mare. Everyone seems quite happy with the new location, with easy beach access and plenty of room for performers, instructors and students, as well as guests.