Positively Positano

by Bianca @ Italian Fix

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Take a walk on the Path of the Gods. I know it sounds like the sort of hike where you might happen upon Venus (radiating love from her giant scallop shell), or run into a flaming chariot. But in this case, Roman mythology takes a backseat to stunning overlooks of the Amalfi Coast. This is what the trail was named for… out-of-this-world, larger-than-life beauty. Start your day early, while it’s cool. Stop in at a panetteria in Bomerano for pastries. Bring your treats along for later. Begin your ramble at the high end of this 5.5 mile trail and wind your way down towards Positano. There are plenty of perfect places to picnic. As you near the bottom of this path— the sound of waves against the pebbled shore will get louder —you’re almost to the end. Why not strip down a few layers at Arienzo Beach and round out your adventure with a plunge… This is the sort of morning that will remind you that there is so much beauty in this world waiting for you.

Images: P. Kaczynskietzia, Letizia Agosta, Hotel Poseidon


MANGIAMO

Food and place are interconnected. When you travel anywhere, you can find clues about the culture embedded in food. A meal can tell a story about a village and what it means to exist there. What I love about Rada Beach Bistro is that it rises from an ancient fisherman’s cave. This tiny detail sparks the imagination, and the palette. It’s no longer just a deep rock opening that offers a safe place to mend and store nets. It’s more than protection from storms and a place to sort the ocean’s bounty. The original cave has extended to an elevated deck with striped table cloths, candlelight and delicious dishes. It’s still salty, and still fresh like the breeze rolling in off the bay (and for the late-nighters among us, it’s also a club). Celebration over the ages has morphed and changed (it’s hard to imagine a weathered fisherman busting a move to a B-side), but gratitude and joy often manifest in feasting, dancing, and togetherness. This is what I really love about ancient places. Connection to the past, to the demands of survival, and to celebrating the parts where we catch a breath and really enjoy life.

Image: Rada Beach Bistro


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Born in 1955 as a private villa, Hotel Poseidon has long been owned by the Aonzo family. The décor is accented with hand painted tiles, antique pieces, and Positano’s original elevator (which dates way back to 1965). A vintage wooden lift is pretty sweet, when you’re staying in a vertical village. I love that many of the rooms have private terraces with sea views. And— get this very groovy offering —you can even arrange for complimentary use of a Volkswagen Beetle. Take that baby out for a morning roar, then spend your afternoon at the hotel solarium. If Poseidon himself wanted to take a quick vacay away from his undersea kingdom, I have a hunch that he’d point his trident in the direction of this hotel.

Image: Hotel Poseidon

 


WISH YOU WERE HERE

At the loveliest table in Positano, here at La Sirenuse. It’s so pretty, with plants that climb across the ceiling towards the light. There’s a ridiculous view of the town and the ocean stretching to the great beyond. Foodies — this is a “must-do” in Positano. If you can’t get a table, do have an aperitivo at the bar next door called Franco’s — same view — less fancy.

We’ll take you to the Amalfi coast in 2023. More details about 2023 trips coming at the end of this month!

Image: La Sirenuse

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With Beetles + bougainvillea,

Bianca

 

 

 

 

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The most photographed beach in Italy? It’s where Clark Gable and Sophia Loren got sandy. La Fontelina on Capri has been entertaining guests for decades. And they’ve persisted, despite big storms with big waves. But with a spot this good? It gets rebuilt over and over. Because a day spent at La Fontelina is worth its weight in sapphires (which is the color of the rare lizard who hangs out on the outermost stack). This sand-and-umbrella oasis dates back to the 1940s and is still only accessible by foot or by sea. Arrive via boat (private rentals or boat shuttle) or you can ramble down through myrtles and broom. They say it’s for princes and gypsies … but I’ll wager that every lucky bather feels like royalty here at the Faraglioni sea stacks.

Image: La Fontelina


MANGIAMO

Fairytale dinners are the ones we remember for years after we enjoy them. At La Lampara,  reserve an outside table on the deck. It overlooks one of Italy’s prettiest harbors on the island of Procida. The restaurant is connected to Hotel Corricella and features fish dishes that are so fresh they’re practically swimming. You’ll have a stunning view of Castello Aragonese (which is the sort of vista that fantasies are made of) … I can’t promise you a knight in gleaming armor, but we can definitely shoot for a meal that’s happily ever after (especially if you save room for dessert — lemon tiramisu — yum)!

Image: La Lampara


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The sun is peeking into your room, and while it’s tempting to stay in your comfy nest a while longer… you hop out from under the covers to see the morning view. And oh yes, it’s worth it! There’s glittering water, bright Mediterranean light, and palm trees. This is how you start your day at San Montano Resort and Spa Ischia. You consider breakfast, but instead slip into your new polka-dotted bathing suit, grab your sunhat, and flip-flop your way to the thermal pools. Now for the hard part… should you soak in this pool, or that one, or that one?… With so many to choose from, and all the panoramic views, it’s tricky. But nothing’s stopping you from trying them all (after all, this is Ischia, and soaking is a thing). Maybe break up the day with a mud scrub, a barefoot stroll through the lemon grove, or a visit to the natural-grotto-sauna. If you decide to explore a little further, a shuttle will whisk you to the beach or into town … And when the evening comes, the fiery pink sky will reflect the joy that’s lighting up your heart. Spa hotels are just soooo nice! And so are spa parks. Ahhh…what? Here’s another fun part… If you don’t stay at a spa hotel, Negombo is a wonderful alternative, especially if you like the idea of hydrotherapy in a botanical garden. Mmm, remember that cute swimsuit? Better pack two.

Image: San Montano Resort and Spa

 


WISH YOU WERE HERE

In the Italian Cultural Capital of 2022! There’s something undeniably cozy about Procida. You might wonder why the homes in the harbor are so bright — historically it was a way for the fisherman to spot their way back from sea. They’re beacons calling home the catch, and the weathered fishers who haul it in. This snugly radiant waterfront is also a draw for anyone who longs to spend whimsical days on a colorful island… Perhaps it’s the energy of the ancient medieval castle perched 90 meters above the sea, or the rhythm of the waves … but there’s something about this sun-washed haven where time seems to slow down. When you hop onto the ferry from Naples to Procida, I dare you to leave your watch behind!  I’ve been hinting that we have new itineraries we’re revealing soon.  More details coming at the end of this month.

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With palms + polka-dots

Bianca

 

 

 

 

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The Layers of Naples

by Bianca @ Italian Fix

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Being in the center of the universe is dreamworthy, and Naples is a universe all of its own. There are plenty of things to keep you busy in the city for days. But within an hour you can access the catacombs beneath Naples, Pompeii, the islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida (which was deemed the Capital of Culture in 2022). Ups and downs are a part of life, and they’re certainly a part of Naples. Dating back to the 16th century, burial grounds were in short supply here… Which led to the birth of the catacombs and the myriad of rituals that emerged around them. Eerie, sacred, and dramatic; walking through a subterranean necropolis is otherworldly. And while you’re touching on the shadow side, pay a visit to Pompeii. You’ll leave these spaces with a renewed appreciation for this beautiful thing called life… Which is right about when you head for the islands — cuz yes, there’s a whole lot of vitality to be found out there. It doesn’t take long to reach the smallest island in the Bay of Naples, where vibrance waits around every twisty cobbled corner. Exploring like this is pretty epic, amiright?

Image: Catacombe di Napoli, Jfleszar, Archana Reddy


MANGIAMO

This pizza is all in. It reminds me of the layers of the city. Deep, complex, and full of wow factor. Not surprising, when you think about how generational instincts are poured into these pies like paint on canvas. It’s art, and it’s love on a plate. It’s the evolution of something great, made even tastier with each generation — pizza, after all, is nothing new. In fact, it’s a throwback to ancient times when the folks in Egypt, Greece, and Rome decorated flatbreads with toppings and gulped them down… But I’m guessing it was never quite like this ooey-gooey-business that will make you wonder if you can take down just one more sliver… Gino Sorbillo was founded way back in 1935, and almost a century later the ovens are still firing. It’s the kind of place that can make a grown man cry. Seriously, the family feel of this pizzeria brought my husband to tears. Maybe it was how Grandma Sorbillo took such care in the way she served our daughter, or the Italian version of a Mariachi band that showed up and played their hearts out, or the soul that is the zest of each bite. Whatever it was, one thing’s for sure… It was good.

Image: Phil Mallardo


SLEEP HERE

If we were to compare hotels and the classic 3 layered Neapolitan ice cream, the Grand Hotel Santa Lucia would be the flavor in the middle. Why? Because it’s located in the Centro Storico of Naples, within walking distance to all the sights. It’s also steps away from the Port and a 12 minute drive from the airport — which puts it into the running for “bookend” status — it’s a smart accommodation to start or finish your vacay from (especially if you’ve had your eye on the lower end of Italy’s boot). Naples is known as the gateway to Southern Italy, which makes it a great city to consider when choosing flights. (Oh, and if you were getting excited about the ice cream that hails from this region? Don’t worry, you’ll be steps away from that too.)

 


WHAT WE’RE LOVING RIGHT NOW

Cinephiles unite! The Napoli Film Festival is a thing! We love films as an art form and get super excited about festivals that showcase independent talent. Submissions for this event are locally specific as the film has to be set here in Campania, or produced/directed by someone from here. This year, it’s happening during the last week of September. The Napoli Film Festival has been running for 23 years, and yes, they have showings!

(and pssst… speaking of new releases)….

Hooray! We have brand new tours and locations coming up for 2023!!

Stay tuned as we’ll release all the details this month.

Images: Jakob Owens, Napoli Film Festival

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With movies + mozzarella

Bianca

 

 

 

 

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