Echoes of Italy

Madonna cleaningIt feels like we’ve been home for ages but every so often something reminds you of holiday times.

Like the photo above. We were having breakfast at the villa one morning and two ladies arrived to clean up the madonna next door. It was our madonna apparently – because it was on the villa property – but locals take the responsibility to sweep, clean and polish it.

It was also a useful landmark if we needed to describe which vila we were in – the one next to the madonna – ahh, si la madonna. Bene.


And now we are home

Wet WellingtonAfter 3 weeks of rest and relaxation we’re back home in Wellington and back into our routine – including the daily commute to work. And despite it being spring we were met with a pretty good impersonation of winter. Sigh.


Vintage Vespa

Vintage VespaThere is no shortage of Vespas in Italy, in fact the soundtrack of the country is the buzz of two stroke engines. In Positano, where parking is a nightmare, Vespas are all pervasive.

And every so often you see one that catches your eye.

I believe this is a Vespa Sprint VLB made between 1965 and 1974. Don’t you love the split seat with the vintage helmets resting on them.

We saw this one parked outside the Galli Bar most afternoons while it’s owners took a break and had an espresso enjoying the view across the bay.


Positano – the way it was

Positano historyA recent article in the Daily Mail included some photos of Italy in the 1950s and earlier. One was of Positano (a Getty image) when it was more fishing village than tourist centre.

But even in this photograph there are clearly recognisable landmarks – the Church of Santa Maria Assunta up from the beach, and the steps down to the beach with those iconic bronze lions sitting at each end.


The house on the cliff

Cliff top houseEvery time we walked from the villa to the village of Positano we passed a house that simply had to be photographed. It is actually three apartments that are built, quite literally, on the side of a cliff overlooking the sea and above a private beach.

The setting is stunning and the way the house is fitted into the hill seems to sum up the relationship Positano has with its surroundings. They work in harmony, like that’s the way things have always been. The Italians have a word for this – simpatico.

Si, simpatico.


Two days in Rome

At the end of our holiday we had two days in Rome. It was a chance to visit some favourite places of ours as well as some new places. We stayed at Hotel Barocco in one of their junior suites – which meant we had an outdoor patio to relax on – four floors above Piazza Barberini. It was a real luxury.

As always we were looked after superbly with nothing being too much trouble. Which made it even harder to say goodbye and start the long trip home. The good thing is that we threw a coin into the Trevi fountain (well sort of as you can see from the photo) so we’ll be back.

Cheese glorious cheese

Cheese for PoppieIn New Zealand buying Parmigiano Reggiano usually means buying small pre-packed slices, at great expense from the super market or deli. In Italy it’s different – as can be seen from the Parmigiano available at our favourite alimnetari. You give an indication of  how much you want and it’s sliced off the round – right there in the middle of the store.

These were also the rounds that Poppie and Daisy used to sit next too when they were in Positano waiting patiently for the shop keeper to cut off a wee slice as a treat.

Poppy still enjoys the taste of Parmigiano – she obediently sits and waits for a taste every time I use some in a dish at home.