We sailed into Portofino, Italy early one morning, just a short distance from France where we had spent the last few days. From the moment I stepped on shore, there is a completely different feeling – it must be my Italian blood as there is a different energy, a familiarity to me. I am ready for pasta, Italian music, and I can’t wait to eat our first Italian lunch in Santa Margherita. Two days later we arrive in Rome, a place I have been fortunate to have visited many times before. I have so many stories from Roma from what seems like a lifetime ago – I had been a flight attendant or back then we were called “stewardesses” or “air hostesses”, and I would fly to Rome often and would spend a few days a week there. Since then, I have visited Roma to speak about doulas at the Ministry of Health, visited on my honeymoon, and even to spent a few days with a dear friend of mine, Father Peter who gave me a private tour of the Vatican and amazing art/history lessons around the city…a story for another day 🙂
I love walking thru Rome’s piazza’s at night -Piazza Navona, Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain are my favorite nighttime walks in Rome but for me, nothing compares to heading south of Naples to Agerola and the Amalfi Cost to where my great-grandmother is from. As I have shared in other blogs, I work hard to find a balance between passion, work, pleasure and rest. It’s not always easy but I can be sure that each year when I head to Agerola and the Amalfi coast my heart, belly, and soul will be filled with enough to take home memories of pleasure for months to come.
Winding up the mountain from Napoli the views begin to lift my whole being higher. Coming thru the tunnel and seeing the sign of welcome to Agerola I truly feel I have come home, back to another time when life was simpler (which has some great advantages and it’s difficulties too). Soon we are pulling into the driveway of my family – Graziella and Agostino’s home with Nonna Maria, Nonno Antonio and their daughter Angela too. What great hugs, smiles, kisses and soon the food..ahhh…Graziella is the best cook in the world! (I really mean that and can’t wait for her cookbook to be ready to share with you as I know you will love her recipes as much as I do!)
Although a year had passed I felt as If I never left. After some concern over Nonna’s health as she needs surgery on a duct from her gall bladder and is not feeling well and also looking very yellow, we give her our love and prayers that the operation will happen soon and say good bye till tomorrow and head down the other side of the mountain. Agerola is called little Switzerland as it is located at the peak of the Amalfi coast looking down to the Bay of Naples on one side and the Mediterranean on the other- with spectacular views and a cozy mountain life of cows giving fresh milk in the morning – made into the best mozzarella and ricotta cheese by 9 am you have ever tasted!
Efesio our friend and trusted driver in this region takes us to our Villa with spectacular views of Positano and glistening sunsets. It is wonderful to be with our friends from NJ and CA as I get to give them a tour of my favorite things to do on the Amalfi coast which includes walking thru the magical Valley of the Fairies – my favorite walk in all of the world – which goes thru a small rainforest with spectacular waterfalls, Roman ruins, lemon groves and down into the Town of Amalfi for the best lemon cream! We also spent time walking around Positano -Priano where my great-grandfather was born, had a picnic at Pipo that Angela prepared for us with one of the amazing views in Agerola, and an incredible family dinner. We also rented scooters and drove together along the Amalfi Coast, which is one of the best ways to take in all the sights, sounds and smells on these windy roads overlooking the Mediterranean sea. The days are full and I savor every moment, every hug and every taste.
The time goes by too quickly and l say each time one of these years I need to come and spend several months in Italy and learn Italian. I know I am still a few years from this, but I do vision that one day I will make it happen! In the meantime, I will be in Italy again next year and hope to teach a workshop…if you’d like to join me, sign up to receive details as they become available.
What is your favorite Italian food that fills you with pleasure? What about your favorite place in Italy?
Share you favorite Italian tweet or share mine – “Mangia bene e ama la vita! Eat well love life”