I first went to Positano in the Summer of 1985. This visit was on my seminal first exploration of the Continent of Europe, a trip I had been dying to make for some 10 years or so at the time. It was a month long journey in my 24th year of my life. The trip would take me to first Rome, then on to Florence where I would meet up with a high school friend who went to school there, met an Italian and got married. I had a great time with JoAnne and Leo before heading off to Barcelona to meet up with my friends. Efrom and Christina in Barcelona with a stop at the seaside town Blanes on the Costa Brava in Spain. All these spots were amazing, especially those first few days in Rome which completely blew me away. I was so excited and enraptured in those moments in the Eternal City, from my very first discoveries as such little but oh so very important things as the discovery of the Italian Sandwich known as a Tramezzini, perfectly ripe Appricots (Albicocca), Gelato, and perfectly made Espresso. I was absolutely captivated at the site of the Roman Colosseum for the first time and walking among Ancient Roman Ruins in the Roman Forum. And renting and riding a Vespa was one of my life’s greatest thrills. All these experience and discoveries one-after-the-other had me in quite a state of euphoria as I truly felt like a young child on Christmas day, if you know what I mean.
After my stops in Spain, it was on to Nice, Monaco, Monte Carlo, and the French Riviera which was most spectacular and full of great discoveries and wonderfully memorable experiences as well. More dreams coming true, going to Monaco, seeing the Casino of Monte Carlo and swimming in the Mediterranean on a Beach in the South of France, The French Riviera, on a beach in Monaco no-less. “I was in 7th Heaven,” literally.
A little footnote. I met a French Girl on the train while on the Italian Riviera. She came with me to Spain and we had a little Romance. I left Spain, and went to Nice, where I had another little fling with a French Girl named Chantell. I do not want to forget these wonderful little flings as I young man, so I mention it here. Anyway, on to the next thing.
After my fling with the French girl on the Riviera, it was on to another dream, of going to Venice. Ever since I was a young of about 6 and saw Katherine Hephurn in the movie Summertime, shot so beautifully by David Lean all over Venice, I was captivated by this magical city, and knew that one day, I must go. It was early in the evening (about 6 PM) when I arrived at Santa Lucia Station in Venice on my train trip from Nice to Venice. There was no internet back then, and I would find and get my hotels through looking in a Frommer Travel Guide Book, and making a list of a few possible hotels to stay at, in whatever city or town that I was on my way too. The other option I discovered was that many cities in Italy would have small tourist booths in a train station and or in the main square of the city. I spotted one of these little booths at Venice’s Santa Lucia Station as soon as I walked into it. I went over to the booth and chatted with the young lady. She booked me into a nice affordable hotel (Fierenze) right in the heart of Venice at San Marco Square. She told me to take the # 1 Vaperetto and get off at the San Marco stop, and it was a short walk to the hotel from there. So I did as the young lady said and I hopped on the Vaparetto to make my glorious first trip of the Grand Canal of Venice.
Well, without question, riding up the whole length of the Grand Canal is an experience not to be missed. There can not be many more wondrous things to do anywhere in the World. The Canalzzzo Grande is S-Shaped and starts at the lagoon near Piazza Roma and Santa Lucia Train Station and goes up 2.5 miles to the basin just passed Piazza San Marco. Along the way, you pass some 170 buildings and Grand Pallazzos made of marble and date from the 13th to 18th Centuries. It is quite some sight to see as you pass Gondolas and and Pallazzos along the way.
As I took that first voyage on the # 1 Vaporetto, I was enchanted and captivated once again, by yet another of Italy’s many splendors along the way. I took it all in, and finally arrived at the San Marco stop. I got off, and it was a mere 2 blocks down the Venetian calli as I made my way to the Hotel Fierenze. I checked in, went upstairs, took a shower, got dressed, and then it was off into the night, for some more exploration of this mystical city known as La Serenissima, The Most Serene Republic, Venice, Italy. Yes Venice was amazing, what more can I say. Now it was off to Positano and the Amalfi Coast, and where I would discover Heaven on Earth, or quite simply Paradise incarnate.
I first went to the beautiful little town of Positano in the Summer of 1985. Positano was not nearly as well known to Americans as it is now. Nor to the Japanese who go there in droves and get married there, nor to many around the World as it has been for the past 15 or 20 years.
Positano jumps up out of the Sea. It starts at Sea Level and shoots up to the Heavens on sheer cliffs, with white and pastel colored houses stacked one upon the other. The beauty that is Positano will go penetrates deep into your heart and soul. Questioning why and how these homes cling to the cliffs of this wondrous town will fade, and all that will matter is the shear beauty of this incredible little town on the Amalfi Coast of Italy.
The late Poet Rene Ricard who was a friend of mine, gave me place to stay in Positano along with the sage advice that I absolutely had to dine at his favorite restorante Da Vincenzo and partake in a plate of their fabulous Spaghetti Vongole, which Rene claimed was the best in the World. Well I did go to Da Vincenzo and had one of the most wonderful meals of my life. I met Victor and Jesse who both took care of me that night, and I fell in love with the place. I had a plate of Spaghetti Vongole and just as Rene Ricard proclaimed, yes it was “the best Spaghetti Vongole on Earth.” Da Vincenzo has always been my favorite restaurant in Positano, there are other fine restaurants as well, and are for you exploring and discoveries of your own. And I’ll tell you about my favorite hotel as well. It’s not Villa Maria Antonietta, where Rene sent me too, knowing I didn’t have much money and was on a budget, the young man that I was back then. I did stay there. It was nice, very affordable and centrally located. So Villa Maria Antonietta was nice, yet very basic, and I wanted something a little nicer on my next trip, so the following year I found another place to stay. I was looking around and scouting out places, when I came upon Casa Albertina just behind Da Vincenzo’s. I walked in and spotted Lorenzo at the front desk. Lorenzo is the son of the owners and seeing I was a young man and probably wasn’t loaded with cash, he took a liking to me and made me a special “young persons price” of just $65 a night. Quite nice of Lorenzo. He showed me a room and I snapped it up and was checked into Casa Albertina in no time flat. Well it was a great find. Casa Albertina is a wonderful hotel, quite a little gem and great value for the money. It’s pretty much like a luxury hotel, but at more affordable prices. The hotel is beautifully appointed with white-washed walls, lovely art pieces and furniture, with gorgeous marble and tile floors and oriental rugs. The common areas are very lovely. The rooms are elegantly simple and serene, and the service warm and friendly. I stayed there on 3 separate occasions and always had a lovely time.
Now, I’m sorry to say that because Positano is without questions one of the World’s most beautifully romantic places anywhere, because of this fact the place has become overly popular and overrun with way too many tourist for such a small town. This being said, the abundance of people has not detracted from the towns sheer beauty. The town gets super crowded at the very bottom, so I suggest staying in the hill a little further from the vey bottom to get away from the crowds. You might want to stay at Casa Albertina or somewhere near by. So even though Positano is overrun, if you’ve never been there before, you must absolutely go at least once in your life, if you ever get the chance. So Positano is well known by most, but there’s much more to do on the gorgeous Amalfi Coast, one of the most gorgeous spots on God’s Good Earth. I love staying 3-5 days on Capri which I love just as much as Positano itself, and I made one wonderful new discoveries in 2015 when I stayed at a lovely little agriturismo called Villa Maria in the coastal town of Minori south of Positano and closer to Amalfi and nearby Ravello.
Villa Maria is way up in the hills of Minori and quite close to another famous town, Ravello just above. Villa Maria is a working Lemon Farm run by Vincenzo Manzo, his wife Maria, his daughter and son. Besides the beautiful Lemon Groves that supply the Lemons for a refreshing glass of Lemonade upon arrival, Vincenzo’s homemade Limoncello, and the ingredients of Maria’s Lemon Cake and other dishes, there are many other fresh products that come from this farm. Vincenzo has grape vines from which he makes both Red & White Wine and they have Olive Trees from which they make their own Olive Oil. They grow many vegetables and fruits that provide the base of Vincenzo’s homemade Jams, and Pigs from which they make Prosciutto and Salumi.
Villa Maria makes what I call the “World’s Best Breakfast” and one of the highlights of staying at the property along with their fabulous breakfast is the four-course dinner made by Maria and Vincenzo’s sister and their team. The phenomenal breakfast is include in the price of the room which is just about 65 Euros (as of 2015), and if you have the four course dinner, it’s just 20 Euro for the food, plus whatever drink is extra, but very inexpensive, and well worth the price.
Entrance to VILLA MARIA ANTONIETTA
POSITANO , ITALY
Inside CASA ALBERTINA
See The LUXURY
But at Much Gentler Prices
Breakfast on The TERRAZZO
The WORLDS BEST BREAKFAST
One Days Posts
Summer Vacation 2015
NAPOLI , CAPRI , MINORI , POSITANO , CAPRI
Author DANIEL BELLINO ZWICKE
@DanielBellinoZwicke ‘s Instagram
Pictured Above : An ESPRESSO at The HOTEL QUISISSANA Capri, Da LUIGIBeach Club at the Faraglioni Rocks CAPRI , Shuttle Boat at Da Luigi to Marina Picolo CAPRI , MARINA PICOLO Capri ITALY , Cahpel at MArian Picolo . View at Marian Picolo looking towards the FARAGLIONI …
GREATEST HITS COOKBOOK
AMALFI POSITANO RECIPES
CAPRI NAPOLI and More …
The 1st Place I stayed in POSITANO
Me in POSITANO
CAPRI , ITALY
This beautiful little church up in Anacapri on The Isle of CAPRI is one of my favorite churches in the World. This beautiful church features a stunning Majolica Tile Floor …
The church of San Michele in Anacapri presents several interesting aspects, but surely it is the majolica floor to capture the attention. The Expulsion from Paradise of Adam and Eve leaves open-mouthed for its beauty. To admire it you have to get on a balustrade: the floor can not be stepped on, during the ceremonies it is protected by a carpet.
But you can watch it closely, you must use a walkway that runs along the perimeter of the church.This work was made with majolica riggiole by Leonardo Chianese. The inspiration comes probably from the exotic tales of travelers and a lost painting by Francesco Solimena, and represents a biblical scene: the original sin of Adam and Eve.
MANGIA ITALIANO !
RECIPES and STORIES
of CAPRI , SINATRA
NAPOLI , The AMALFI COAST
POSITANO and More ..
The COOLEST GUITAR SHOP in NEW YORK Just Closed Today !
This is a Dam Shame !
Yes, we just lost another Great Greenwich Village , New York Institution today, Matt Umanov Guitar Shop on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. No, for once it wasn’t because of Insanely High Rent pushing them out of business like so many ill-fated MOM & POP businesses all throughout the city. No Mr. Umanov owns his building, but he just wanted to retire and pack-it-in. Our loss. Matt Umanov was a very cool Mom & Pop sized business that catered to musicians of all scopes, from rank amateurs to people like Carlos Santana and other big name musicians and everyone in-between.
Well, we’ll sure miss this place. Wnder what we go in the space? Probably another FUCKING YOGHURT SHOP , a Chain Drug Store , or Bank .. This SUCKS ! How much more must we endure.
TELE ‘S & STRATS
GOT ANY KAHLUA ?