Wanderlust — we have returned to my favorite international destination : Italy.
Once again I have great traveling companions: Kim and Maleka and also Jody and Mark.
First stop is Adriatic coastline tiny and charming town of Monopoli. A piccolo city of narrow white stone streets, charming window boxes, large rock stone pavers, white ceramic pots laden with florals, castles, turrets and the blue blue adriatic sea.
A mini jewel of a paradise.
The Don Ferrante Hotel in Monopoli was our elegant home for our short stay.
The Hotel is built in the rocks adjacent to the old fortress walls of the city.
It was newly renovated a few years ago and is appointed with pristine white interiors and fine frette linens. The exterior spaces all look out over the Adriatic Sea and the staff offers delightful service at all patio locations.
Our last location of this travel voyage was in the picturesque hill side town of Taormina. In addition to gorgeous views of hillsides, the Mediterranean sea and craggy rock coastlines, this city overlooks Mountain Etna.
We stayed at an elegant hotel Villa Schuler which, also had lovely gardens which were verdant enough to supply the kitchen with oranges and we were treated to the Villa’s own marmalade !
The shops and restaurants in this town were plentiful and all rather high end and sophisticated. Access to the beach is via a gondola ride. Boating, of all sorts, and swimming are favorite pastimes of vacationers here and we were no exception. We managed to get in the sea twice in our short 24 hour stay.
Finding this little remote village and being treated to dinner and breakfast by the Mama, Aunts, cousins and extended family of Maleka’s friend Nino was a highlight among many in this journey. Nino’s sister Nancy stopped her weekend plans and spent the evening hosting us.The generous hospitality of these folks, their love for preparing the most delicious food, the way they share this food with gusto and laughter, the instantly fresh ingredients all raised locally and their welcoming warmth…..defines the Italian culture. Fresh porcini mushrooms gathered in the woods around us were sautéed in olive oil and then topped with toasted pistachio nuts…..DELIZIOSO !
We traveled from Positano to Naples via auto and then flew on to Palermo. Here we were fortunate enough to rendezvous with my dear friend and Italian language instructor Beatrice Litt who gave us a whirlwind tour of the city and its history.
Today was among our most adventurous days and proved to be among the most fun.
We traveled to a tiny rocky coastal restaurant, bar, lounge area in the tiny town of Praiano. The trip was a 10 minute ride on a water taxi from Positano. In the very first 2 minutes of the excursion I had my sunhat fly off into the sea and without giving much thought I just waved it good by and never signaled our speedboat driver to rescue it. We arrived at this isolated cove and were greeted by the owner Piccolitto. the service was delightful and food incredible. The foods are all brought to the location by boat as the cove has no car access from town.
The Restaurant is called One Fire and was recommended to us by a waitress at our favorite breakfast location: Casa & Bottega. When the owner learned that we were clients of the Casa & Bottega spot he brought the chef out from the kitchen to greet us as all these folks are apparently good friends.
Well the pictures will reveal the type of fun , food, family and relaxation that filled our day.
After the boat driver dropped us off at the spot I jokingly mentioned I had lost my hat overboard and for him to be on the look out for it in the harbor some 10 miles away.
You will see this story has a happy ending.