Sunday, July 19, 2015
Maiori, Vietri-sul-Mare, 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?

After that August interlude in France with our grandaughter, let’s return to Italy, picking up where we left off on the Amalfi Coast.
On this summer Sunday, a few of us want to fit in a morning hike07191501 am hike to the Castle of San Nicola de Thoro-Plano above Maiori. In reality the old ruins cannot be considered a castle in the literal sense, but a protected area consisting of a fortress built (beginning in the 800s!) as a bulwark and refuge for the population against the frequent attacks of the outlaws from Lombardy and later the Barbary pirates.07191501 am fortress 1

The three of us are joined by a couple of playful pups,07191501 dogs and as we pause for a look at the town and sea below,07191501 paused for view they rest for the final climb.07191501 took a break Inside the fortified perimeter there were once barracks and shelters able to house a large battalion and hundreds of citizens seeking shelter, but today just one man lives there  – here’s his mailbox. 07191502 castle ceramic and mailboxWe pass him on his way down for morning coffee and newspaper. Wow – he must stay in shape with this at-least-once-a-day trek up and down!
Kirk and Jenny go all the way up,07191502 two went all the way and walk around the fortress as far as there is a passable path. 07191502 walked around as far as possibleI chicken out on the last part of the hike, and enjoy the view, along with a cat taking a morning stretch. 07191502 catAs I sit, a young teen comes up, unlocks the storage shed under the stretching cat, and hefts out several jugs of red wine, then takes them down, two at a time, multiple flights to a car parked below. 07191502 wine under the catSoon Jenny and Kirk join me, and as we begin our descent, we’re stopped in our tracks as sunlight tinges the town below 07191503 bells and sun tingedand Sunday bells ring out over the valley.
The descent goes more quickly, of course, than the ascent, and soon we’re back in Maiori,07191503 flat ground maiori where it’s time to pile in the car for the winding drive to Vietri sul Mare,07191503 go to vietri famous for ceramics since Roman times. 07191504 ceramics since roman timesOne artisan has designed a wall of tiles telling of the history of the village, pirate attacks and all. 07191503 tale of the townA bit of shopping, a bit of posing,07191504 shopped and posed then back to Maiori for lunch by the sea.07191505 el dorado El Dorado has quickly become a favorite, and although I plan on a healthy salad for lunch, I can not resist the lemon ricotta ravioli. 07191505 el lemon ricotta ravioliWe’ll soon be leaving the coast, and where else would I find such luscious lemon pasta?!
The smoked swordfish and eggplant parmesan is also delicious – as is everything we order. 07191505 el smoked swordfish eggplant parmWe’re celebrating today – it’s Olga’s birthday, and her daughter has traveled long and far to join us for a few days. More festivities this evening…to be continued-