I can not help but write a post about the bell tower of St. Matthew Cathedral in Salerno. I wish all visitors who come and visit famous sites around Salerno could have a look at it. I photographed the ancient cathedral at all times of the day. Still I do not have enough pictures to satisfy my wish to show the beauty of the slender tower overlooking Salerno’s old town. It was built in Arab-Norman style, contains 8 bells and is 56 meters high. With small arcades and mullioned windows its harmonious silhouette invites to enter the splendid square porch. A place of incomparable serenity.
In March 2016 I first met Salvatore at the Prowein fair in Dusseldorf, Germany. He was exhibiting with other wineries from the Cilento National Park. Salvatore was born in Naples, but his family come from a pretty village in Cilento, not far from Paestum. A few years ago his decision to devote himself to the earth, Salvatore sold his vinyl record and CD store in Naples and started a new life in the Cilento with the aim to produce from a clean healthy soil red wines and olive oil. The work was very hard, but Salvatore’s idea has established itself against all possible resistance.
Its Aglianico red wine shines in the glass and our palate takes on the sunny power of this terroir along with the scents. Its dark red color is almost impenetrable, but shimmers in the sun and lets us dream in advance of cherries and liquorice, leather and hay. I would not like to reveal more here but introduce you to Salvatore next time you are in my area. We can visit the ancient cellar from 18th century and then enjoy the wine sitting in the living room with wonderful old furniture, ancestral pictures listening to Salvatores vinyl records collection!
Two days in the Bavarian capital just like in a picture book. Clear air, warm sunshine as in May. At the Victuals Market – the heart of Munich – you can experience a special dreamy mood in the early morning. Farmers, butchers, bakers, florists, waiters prepare for a long working day. Early birds, people on their way to work and single travelers – like myself with suitcase in tow – do their shopping in peace, get their traveling provisions. No noise, no hassle. Before the Bratwurstherzl, a cozy Bavarian inn, tables and chairs are set up, a waiter is smoking his first cigarette. Everything will be different one or two hours later. Mass tourism has its price.
SUNNY WEATHER AT CHRISTMAS
As in the past years we enjoyed again sunny mild weather all over Christmas break. Especially those who live all the year round in colder countries, do not miss the snow on these days! Between Christmas and new year’s eve I have undertaken a three hour trekking tour with friends. We started in Cetara, a tiny fisher village on the Amalfi Coast, an went up walking along comfortable footpaths between Thyrrenian Sea the Lattari Mountains. It was the best day of the year!
Last summer I spent a short weekend in Siena, the town I love the most after Salerno, my birthplace. I was walking with Sandra, one of my best and oldest friend heading to Piazza del Campo as I saw a couple walking in my direction. As they were passing by I stopped and they looked up. I hadn’t seen or even talked to them for more than 4 years and all of the sudden we met in Siena, a few steps from the Accademia Musicale Chigiana. Next day I met a small group of US-Students who had just visited me in Salerno. This is a very small world.
A lovely mediterranean town lying between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Lattari Mountains. Its historical old town is Salerno’s beating heart inviting visitors to walk along tiny streets and small squares, to climb to its top overfacing the beautiful gulf. Long time ago spa and health resorts, its rivers and brooks would rush downhill winding themselves through gorgeous vegetation. In the Middle Ages Matteo Silvatico, a distinguished physician of the Medical School in Salerno, created a “garden of simples” in a wonderful site called Plaium Montis, half way between the Castle of Arechi and the Municipal Gardens downhill. Silvatico himself describes the garden in his main work Opus Pandectarum medicinae, “…and I have a taro, in Salerno, in my garden, near a well known spring.” About 20 years ago the local administration in Salerno decided to rearrange a garden of the simples (Hortus simplicium, forerunner of all botanical gardens) in the place owned by the Silvatico’s family. The project was accomplished in 2000. The garden, named after Minerva, the Goddess of thousands works (Ovid) brought to light a few traces of the medieval garden like the ancient irrigation system. Today the layout of the garden goes back to different settings carried out between the 17th and 18th century. Visiting its five terraced gardens you will see a variety of plants and herbs Matteo Silvatico had chosen for his didactical purposes at the Medical School of Salerno. Enjoy the wonderful view over the old town and the gulf of Salerno.
When Lina, my mother, enters the beautiful pastry shop in Amalfi she stands very still for a while, enjoying the subtle elegance and the warm beauty of the Pasticceria’s interiors. After a while she approaches the colorful selection of Sfogliate, Delizie al limone, Capresi, Babà and other sweet delicacies. Sometimes the pastry shop owners, Andrea or Nicola, dressed in elegant black and white old fashioned suits, help her to make her choice.
Next time you arrive in Amalfi and stand before the cathedral´s imposing staircase, I suggest you to change direction and go first to the pastry shop. Whether you opt for a Delizia with lemon custard or for a tiny almond lemon cake, you will definitely enjoy the unforgettable taste of traditional pastry art. You have the choice of sitting in the beautiful interiors with its distinguished elegance of former times or in front of the pastry main entrance to enjoy the lively activity of everyday’s life on the small Piazza.
During a journey we should always have time for some itinerary changes. Image you are just arrived in Amalfi to visit St. Andrew´s Cathedral. You head to Piazza del Duomo, reach the imposing staircase and want to climb up. At this very moment you look to the right and see an old-fashioned sign, white padded chairs, small tables with immaculate tablecloths. A heavenly scent reaches your nose. You follow the scent and face a pastry shop. You can’t do anything else and go inside into another world…