A fascinating visit to a historic ceramic factory on the Amalfi Coast

Vietri sul Mare is perhaps the most famous town for ceramic tiles in the Naples area of Campania, perhaps one of the most famous in Italy. But the surrounding area, not just the town, still manufacture tiles and other ceramics using the traditional methods.

I went recently with Daniela to a local ceramic factory in Cava to choose the new tiles for their next hotel room restoration. The factory is a truly amazing place where the tile decorations are made totally by hand. The Aurora Hotel in Amalfi was built in 1959 using these tiles in every room, with different patterns and colours in each bedroom, and this is one way that the hotel continue to support the local economy, to keep their traditions alive and to offer their guests a real taste of traditional Amalfi Coast life.

Feast your eyes on this amazing factory, the workers and the products. Amazing.

Call or text or whatsapp me on +39 333 8153190 or email me on simon.f@spirometry.com.



Cars and bikes for sale….cheap (ish). LOOK at the beautiful new MT10

Our fleet of cars and bikes are always up for sale, at the right price. Here follows a brief description and a photo of each with an approximate value, but any prices will be calculated at the time you make an enquiry ‘cos of course the value depends on many factors including the age and mileage, so I list the current mileage (updated March 2018).

Mercedes Vito 120 CDI (diesel). 2009, red, worth about 18k euro. Purchased new in Roma in November 2009, this lovely van has loads of factory extras as well as some stuff I have fitted over the years. Here we go:

  • Vito Van “medium” wheelbase with 3000cc V6 turbodiesel engine, auto gearbox (5 speed) plus cruise control, 205bhp. 3 seats “leather look” with arm rest for driver, extra side sliding door, protective load tray with hooks both on floor and side walls. Fitted with Pioneer satnav/stereo with decent speakers plus subwoofer fitted under the middle seat. Motorbike front wheel holder in rear of van. Chrome mirror covers plus rear light surrounds. Lovely black alloy Merc wheels with summer tyres (new July 2016) plus a set of standard metal wheels with winter tyres. I have just this month fitted a SuperChip to increase the power to about 235 horses but above all this has greatly increased the driveability and torque so its now even more fun to drive. Currently about 105k kms.



Audi A5 3200V6 (petrol) S line silver 2008, purchased very third hand in Roma in 2014. Quick description:

  • Audi A5 Sline, front wheel drive and 3200cc V6 normally aspirated petrol engine with 265 bhp and 8 speed auto gearbox, worth about 16k euro. Full black leather interior with electric front seats. Standard stereo with subwoofer added in the boot. 19″ Audi alloy wheels recently refurbished and finished in gunmetal grey with Pirelli PZero tyres. Currently about 170k kms and running great. Just fitted a throttle controller and so now much more responsive.


Yamaha FJR 1300 AE 2017 dark grey, UK registered.

  • The FJR is the latest model (2017, worth about 18k euro) with electronic suspension, ABS, cruise control, heated grips plus a host of other electronic stuff. Beautiful in grey. Support for TomTom satnav.  Currently about 700 kms. Amazing for cruising 2 up and fully loaded this bike just floats, fairly quick too. Photos to follow.


Yamaha MT10 2016, blue, UK registered.

  • The MT10 is the latest Yamaha to be launched, worth 15k euro. It has the 2016 R1 crossplane engine, detuned from 200 to about 160 bhp. Mine is standard just fitted with the Yamaha comfort seat plus a small windscreen and TomTom satnav holder. Now about 4500km after I rode her down to Roma from the UK. FLIES!!! Here she is on the train, ready to cross the channel tunnel. Aftermarket Leo Vince exhaust system just fitted, lighter and faster too, as if she needed!


Yamaha Giggle 2010. UK registered and yellow.

  • The most amazing 50cc moped ever, the 4 stroke Giggle was made in Japan for the Japanese market and Yamaha only brought a few to Europe, they sold very very few cos they cost almost 3000 Pounds new!!. Mine is worth about 1.0k euro. It is 50cc with electronic fuel injection and limited to 50kmh so returns about 60km per litre. Mine has a Yamaha windscreen plus metal front carrier fitted and has suffered some Roman road rage but still runs great, some 6000 miles now. I must find a picture, in the city I am asked for a pizza or an ice cream at almost every traffic light….

Yamaha Raptor 700R Quad 2006, white.

  • The Raptor is powered by a fuel injected 700cc version of the 4 stroke single cylinder XT660 engine, now worth perhaps 6k euro. She is rear wheel chain driven and has 5 speeds plus reverse. Mine is standard just with a topbox and goes really well, amazing fun off-road. Will climb almost anywhere and is at her best off road of course, sand mud and snow are her specialities. Fun on the road too but needs a firm hand to convince her to turn a corner.

Call or text or whatsapp me on +39 333 8153190 or email me on simon.f@spirometry.com.

Here is the Raptor, having a quick spin round the office car park.





What a wonderful journey, and what a bike!!

Well in theory I was visiting the UK in August (2016) to see my beloved mother and sister. But I spent more time with Martin Cole (pictured above when my bank transfer arrived!) in his wonderful Midland motorcycle dealership (www.alfengland.co.uk) than I did with my family. And well I left the dealership with an almost-new Yamaha MT10 and rode home to Roma.

The weather in the UK was wonderful all week ,warm and sunny, how unusual!!!. So I looked carefully at all of the new and used bikes in stock (Martin sells Yamaha and Suzuki new and almost everything second hand) and I was very tempted by the Honda Fireblade and by the Kawasaki ZZR1400. But then cunning Martin suggested a test ride on the lovely blue Yamaha MT 10 demo bike. Within the first five kms I decided that this was the bike for me!!. Goodness. Unlike cars, a bike is really a “heart” purchase and depends on how you like the “feel” of a bike. This feel is a combination of the power, speed and handling of course but is really much more than that. You cannot get a feel for a bike unless you ride it and the sad irony is that not many dealers will lend bikes to potential customers, given that they cost up to 20k pounds these days and of course can fall over……or worse.

The MT10 is a new Yamaha launched 6 months ago and is powered by the 1000cc engine from the R1 suitably detuned for this naked or “street fighter” concept. The gearing is also shorter, the riding position more upright and the only extras I had fitted to mine are the small windscreen plus the comfort seat. Nigel and the boys got her ready and tweaked the suspension settings for me too. So I was ready!

One of my greatest rides ever, details follow:

  • Day 1, Friday the 2nd September. 136km. I fitted my Givi bag onto the back seat (again with help from Nigel, Chuck, Darrel and young Ashley, they really are THE BEST) and headed off towards Cambridge. I took it very easy for the first miles as I had to get used to this brand new feeling. I have had several R1s in the past but not with this new cross plane engine (so called “big bang”), so I really did not know what to expect. Suffice to say that it is breathtaking. Indeed in a recent article in the UK magazine Performance Bikes (see http://www.performancebikes.co.uk/magazine-issues/september-2016) a former racer Tony Rutter suggested that 90% of normal riders could go faster on the MT10 (160 bhp) round the track than on the R1 (200 bhp) as the MT10 is much easier to ride and less intimidating. Amazing. Despite the A14, I was soon in Cambridge to visit Mother.


  • Day 2, Saturday. 497km. Following a lovely lunch with Don and his curious mate George (pictured)
George has become a member of the family……but that’s another story

it was time to leave. I donned my waterproofs as there was some drizzle in the air and I headed off down the M11 towards London. The traffic on the M11 and M25 was ok and the rain stopped but then the M20 was closed so I had to follow a detour down the M23 to get to the Chunnel, but I got on the train very quickly at about 1630. This was a first experience for me and quite expensive (as I bought an open ticket) but fast and efficient. The bike was not strapped down but stayed quite steady during the 35 minute crossing.

The MT10 takes a brief rest on the Chunnel before heading south.
  • Then from  Calais I headed south down the excellent motorways towards Reims, famous for its lovely cathedral, as I was thinking about possible routes south and I had already stayed in Reims so it seemed like a good stopover. I hate planning as I have always been obliged to plan my trips for work so when I travel for pleasure I really enjoy taking each day as it comes. And for me the bike is all about freedom. The journey was uneventful and I found the Ibis Hotel at about 7pm with the help of Tom Tom of course, and the bike performed faultlessly. Fast, with a stop every 200km to refuel with 14litres. Great fun.


  • Day 3. Reims to Bologna. 974km. I was up at 5.30 and left the hotel at 6.00, still dark and damp so with waterproof trousers on again! Weather was cool and damp but the rain was very light and soon stopped as I headed south again. Luckily the bike and Tommy took care of everything and I just had to hang on and watch the stunning scenery. And this bike even has cruise control!!! The French motorways are fantastic and I discovered that unlike the rip-off Italian motorways which charge a bike the same fees as a car, in France the bike pays MUCH less so given that the route through France and Switzerland was several hundred kilometres less than going through Germany and Austria, I decided to stick with France. I developed a routine. I reset trip 1 at every fuel stop. The bike runs to reserve at 13litres so that gave me 200km of autonomy and then the remaining 4 litres gave me a 60km breathing space so I stopped about every 200km to fill up, and then either a coffee or water or whatever.This amazing sports bike even has cruise control which proved very relaxing as well as great fun so the almost 1000km that day were really not so tiring but as I reached Bologna I was feeling a bit weary so I found a great place to stop for the night.
  • IMG-20160904-WA0009
    Lovely hotel.

    This wonderful hotel and restaurant gave me a lovely room for just 57 Euro and the food in their restaurant was stunning too. Early bed for me.

  • Lovely comfy bed
    Good night!!

Day 4. Bologna to the office in Roma. 370km. I got out of the hotel and onto the bike at about 6am and following breakfast, 2 fuel stops and a very uneventful journey I was in the office in Roma by about 10am. The new motorway around Florence is truly amazing and wonderful fun, I took the scenic route and with very light traffic it was great fun and soooo smooth. The MT10 performed faultlessly, as fast as anything on the road and it handles like a race bike. And all this at an average of 15km per litre is a truly amazing package. Stunning. Thanks Yamaha and thanks to Martin and the gang!!

Call or text or whatsapp me on +39 333 8153190 or email me on simon.f@spirometry.com.


Now she is happily tucked up next to her sister Super Ten!!