fbpx
In Love with the Amalfi Coast!

In Love with the Amalfi Coast!

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  How about an unforgettable holiday with us at  New Years’ Jazz in Italy?

What do we love about the Amalfi Coast? Well, there are the VIEWS – always astounding, always drawing oohs and aahs, whether we’re relaxing by the pool at our favorite Capri hotel, approaching iconic Positano from the water, gazing up at the majestic Duomo of Amalfi, posing before the Faraglioni rocks of Capri, watching Vesuvius fade into the distanceas we speed across the bay, pulling into Capri’s colorful Marina Grande before spiraling high above to Anacapri, or enjoying the vista from the Belvedere of Infinity in Ravello. We’ve taken in these views for nearly twenty years, and they still make us gasp anew each time!
Then there’s the food….a fritto misto fresh from the surrounding waters, a caprese salad created on the island for which it’s named,
pizza in the land of its birth, a lemon granita (a slushy) from our favorite cart up the hill in Positano,
fresh fish from the sea below us in Ravello, and that marvelous lemon-tinged lunch we learned how to make with our guests at Villa Maria Agriturismo, under the lemon groves above Minori, before enjoying it with yet another fabulous view.
We also love the history that surrounds us – that 13th century Moorish style cloister and loggia of the Duomo in Amalfi,the peaceful Villa San Michele, constructed in Anacapri for a Swedish doctor at the turn of the 19th century, incorporating relics from the ruins of a villa of Emperor Tiberius on which it was built,
the gardens and cloister of Villa Cimbrone, dating from the 11th century, and the mysterious 13th century passageways  in Atrani and Amalfi, even more enticing after dark.
Is it any surprise that we chose this fabulous part of Italy to premier our Wonder Tours last spring?!
We’ll be back in April 2020  – why not join us and experience these wonders for yourself?

Amalfi Revels

Amalfi Revels

Sunday, July 19, 2015, continued
Amalfi, 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?

What better place to celebrate a significant birthday than the gorgeous Amalfi Coast? We’ve all been enjoying getting to know Maria, Olga’s lovely daughter – what a treat that she could join Olga here for this milestone birthday! The celebrating continues in Amalfi,07191505 ez back to amalfi first a shopping and sightseeing stroll, 07191505 first some shoppingthen dinner, where we’re seated with the directors of the festival, and the music begins,07191506 evening amalfi dinner video of musicians and the dinner proceeds, with a grand finale of a a birthday cake for Olga!07191506 happy birthdayA night-time stroll through those vaulted Arab Bath corridors is fun, 07191506 streets arab baths before concertthen we return to the similarly Arab-influenced Duomo for the evening concert.07191507 amazing cathedralLeslie gives us a tour of the highlights of the museum 07191507 amazing museum leslie points out masterpiecesbefore we’re astounded with the mastery of young Chinese students from the Shanghai International Piano Institute  – 07191507 amazing young pianist China video too4 of whom present a program including Bach, Beethoven, Ravel and Chopin in the intimate surroundings of the museum. 07191507 as we are surrounded byStill in awe, we slowly walk through the cloister, 07191507 cloisterand gather on the Duomo steps before returning to Maiori. 07191507 goodnightWhat a birthday to remember!

 

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!

 

 

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.

 

The Sparkling Sea of the Amalfi Coast

The Sparkling Sea of the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast
Thursday, July 19, 2012

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Join us on our featured (and expanded!) summer Amsterdam/Belgium tour!

Threatened thunderstorms delayed our departure from Dulles, but we were able to just make our connection in Frankfurt, and arrived in Naples as planned, shortly after noon. And this time our luggage arrived with us – always a welcome event:)
In a short time we’re all packed into our little Fiat Panda, and on the road. Exiting at Vietri-sul-Mare, we slope down towards the town, the former headquarters of the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival. The ceramic- topped dome gleams over the ancient rooftops stacked around it like blocks, with the gorgeous Mediterranean glittering beyond.

This is where the famed Amalfi Coast Road begins its snaking cliffside journey, and Kirk, fortified with two cups of espresso from a roadside café, is in his element, loving the curves, the challenge, and the views.
The new festival location is the beachside town of Maori, which we’ve often passed through on previous festival tours, but have never stayed in. One year we enjoyed a Fine Arts Quartet concert in the pretty gardens of the town.

The festival directors have booked us into the Sole Splendid, and first thing we do is check out the balcony view – love it!

Now to get our bearings – we find the partner hotel where we’ll meet the rest of the festival participants for dinner, and the little chapel where tonight’s concert will take place, do a few errands and grab a gelato, then back to the room for a quick nap so we can stay awake for the evening events!

The hotel’s set into a curve of the Amalfi Coast Road, with an ancient Norman tower, defense against marauding Saracen pirates, just beyond on the point before town.

We join Leslie and Sasha, directors of the Amalfi Coast festival, now in its 17th year, for dinner,

beginning with a primi of scrump- tious gnocchi, roasted cherry tomatoes, and smoked Scarmoza cheese.
“Did you see the pool?” Leslie asks – and we walk beyond the dining terrace to check it out – wow! Winding among gardens

and trees heavy with big Amalfi lemons, it’s an inviting beauty!

This evening’s concert, Canzone d’Amore (love songs) is presented in Maiori’s San Giacomo church by nineteen talented soloists, all of whom are here to polish their technique and learn from master teachers. Thanks to that nap we can enjoy the whole concert, and finish our long day with a walk home along the beach.