Everyone knows about Amalfi and the amazing Amalfi coast, even those who have never visited have surely read about it and dreamed of visiting. Words come to mind like the Cathedral, the island of Capri, great food and hospitality, limoncello, wonderful wine, olive oil, Ibsen (the Swedish writer) and Wagner, and stunning tiles and porcelain from nearby Vietri.
But Amalfi also brings to mind expensive, very hot, crowded and heavy traffic (all true in June thro’ September, the main tourist season).
Well I have recently discovered a stunning compromise: Amalfi out of season.
I have visited Amalfi perhaps 30 times over the past 2 years, in general for a weekend but also for New Year and Easter and I am getting to know her better and better. She reveals her beauty slowly and gradually but she also suprises you frequently. In the summer the sea and the sun are in charge, out of season when Amalfi has only its 3,000 ish residents it is much easier to explore her as during the season the population grows to more than 60,000 from all over the world.
The food is wonderful and the people very friendly, although the town gets a bit quiet as many businesses close down for some well earned rest and holiday. Many old and traditional businesses still survive in and around the town and many are passed down through the family. For instance you can find wine makers, lemon growers, olive growers and wine makers, bread makers and many many more activities and in general you can visit them easily out of season and even have a guided tour, the pictures below show a local bread “factory” run by a family and the 90 year old Gran is still in charge (not the one pictured here of course)!!.
When I visited a friend recently in his business near Roma we took some photos of his amazing collection, and all of these cars and bikes are up for sale. He restores them to a VERY high standard (he used to race Alfa Romeos) before he sells but some (like this Mini) are ready to go. He has a very rare Lotus Omega in his collection (this was sold in the UK as a Vauxhall Lotus
It is well worth a visit and a chat with Riccardo, he knows more about cars than most and just loves to chat…hence his nickname Two Words…..
Goodness what an amazing day out. Last Saturday we were up early and heading north from Roma to Orte and we met up with Luca plus the other 2 riders at 9am. We all got ready and fired the bikes up and off to fill up the bikes with petrol and us with some breakfast.
And then off into the hills!!!! See these pictures and they each tell a thousand words or perhaps more. The area that this group use for riding is truly stunning and contains an amazing amount of history. Fun plus culture, wonderful!
Last week from Thursday through Sunday, Moto Days was held here in Roma. The biggest motorcycle shows are in the north of Italy, EICMA in Milano is the biggest and then Verona and so on. But we have Moto Days, so I went along to help a friend Luca Viola who had a stand for his off-road riding school (see http://www.runxfun.it/) and also a great group of guys called Di Di (see http://www.diversamentedisabili.it/). On the thurday morning it was raining like hell so I decided not to go by bike/scooter, instead I thought that a train or metro would be a better idea so I walked over to Termini, Roma’s central train and Metro station. Well of course there is no train nor metro from Termini to the new Roma show ground!!!!!! The Express Train to the Airport (the show is very near to the main airport) does not of course stop at the show ground and the Metro does not reach the show. So the only way is to go to the Tiburtina station and then catch the train from there, which I did. BUT the train takes an hour, as it stops everywhere!!!!!. When we finally arrived at the Fair station there were no signs to the show ground so we walked about 500 metres hoping it was in the correct direction and there, 50 metres in front of the North entrance, I finally saw the first sign mentioning Moto Days!!!! Well done.
On Sunday luckily no rain so I went by bike. Inside Hall 3 I went over to the nearby Aprilia stand and there I met both of their World Superbike riders the Brit Leon Haslam and the young Spaniard Jordi Torres. I have always been a big fan of Haslam ever since I watched his father Ron race against Barry Sheene, Kenny Roberts and Mick Grant, and I knew that he (Leon) now lives here in Italy. They were both busy signing autographs and posing for countless pictures but when I said hello to Leon and chatted with him in English, he was very keen to enlist my help for some translation with his fans so he kept me with him for about half an hour, until the Aprilia staff asked me to leave! I went back a couple of times during the day and chatted lots both with him and also with Jordi and they are both really pleasant and “normal” modest guys, both looking a bit fish out of water surrounded by fans!! Great fun, and Leon even gave me his phone number to stay in touch, so I can help him with his Italian!!! Great fun…….
See this web site: http://www.termestufedinerone.it/en
These wonderful, historic baths are near Pozzuoli, about 2 hours drive south from Roma. The baths are for the local people and as a visitor you can only gain access by staying at a local hotel as you become “resident” for a day and then you can go, paying about 30 Euro per person.
Most visitors would NOT choose to go as from the outside it looks average and the staff do not generally speak English. But once you get in and everything is explained to you, you will not want to leave. This area is built on a series of “faults” and hot water, indeed boiling water which comes out of these faults can reach 70 degrees. The Terme di Nerone are right next to the sea so the natural spring water is also mixed with sea water. The natural sauna in the rock, inside the terme, is 54 degrees at the entrance and then seems to get even hotter as the heat reflects off the stones if you dare to go further inside. The big outside swimming pool is at 35 degrees (25m x 10m) and the smaller indoor pool is at around 40 degrees.
The place is amazing, one seems to lose the concept of time inside and there is also a snack bar serving excellent and very inexpensive food, with seating both indoor and out.
It is not too easy to find nor to get in, so Services can help you, note that you require about 3 hours to really appreciate the experience. NOT to be missed.
This amazing and (relatively) unknown wine producer was founded in 1890 and the same family still makes the wine, the fourth generation are now in charge. Three brothers run the show and we recently visited and met with Raffaele, one of these three brothers. He showed us round their lovely winery and we tasted several of the wines while he described some of the history (for more see http://www.iovine.eu/). Production now exceeds 1 million bottles of wine per year!
We purchased a few cases of wine at wonderful prices and this place is really well worth a visit. No appointment is required but would be sensible if the visitors need some help with translation. Great place and wines, lovely people, not to be missed.