Cinque Fotografie-Napoli Day 1May 9 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C
We said good-bye to Sorrento this morning. Our accommodations there were really first-rate. I don't recall feeling so pampered in a lodging in quite some time. Initially our plan was to take a commuter ferry back to Napoli later in the afternoon and sample wines in Sorrento, but our innkeeper suggested that we instead consider hiring a car and going wine tasting near Mt. Vesuvius.
We chose the latter, and it was a really wonderful way to spend the afternoon. Our driver, Fabio, picked us up in a Mercedes van, and he told us about the adjacent towns, including, Castellammare di Stabia, the one he grew up in. He shared with us that he was engaged to be married next year, and that his fiancé was in a post-doctoral program in Napoli. He shared that it is Italian custom to move to the town where the wife is so the would be relocating to Napoli when he married.
On the way to the winery, we passed the entry to Pompeii and we arrived at Cantina Del Vesuvio, a winery run by the Russo family since 1930.
The grounds were quite beautiful, and overlooked the Bay of Naples.
We were escorted by our tour guide who was quite lively and funny. Her speaking cadence did remind me a bit of Gilda Radner's SNL character Roseann Roseannadanna. We learned that the vineyards required no irrigation due to the porous nature of the lava field that maintained the perfect humidity for the grapes.
In our tour group, we chatted with a retired couple from Michigan who were touring Italy. They were from the Detroit area and had been postal workers. They talked about their previous visit to Portland and how much they liked it there.
After the tour we enjoyed wine pairings with a nice meal of breads, meat, cheeses and spaghetti. The red wine reminded us a lot of Washington's Red Mountain area wines as they were rich and complex. We concluded our visit and reconnected to Fabio who took us to the neighborhood where we are staying.
Since we arrived before our host had finished work, we drank cappuccinos and watched the neighborhood people greet each other and interact with hugs and kisses. I think that of the things that I like best about our travels is just watching the people, particularly the interactions with the children.
Finally, we arrived at Francesco's home, a beautiful remodeled apartment that is well appointed and comfortable. "Ance" was quite welcoming and he oriented us to the space and he made several restaurant recommendations.
After a long nap, we ventured out for a city walk and to sample Napoli's culinary contribution to the world: pizza. Napoli is known for thin-crusted pizza swimming in red sauce and olive oil and topped with less cheese than we're used to in the U.S. An online acquaintance suggested that we also try the fried macaroni appetizer. Picture macaroni and cheese with peas and meat rolled into a breaded deep-fried ball. I liked them, but Jim C wasn't a fan. It tasted a bit like a country fare offering.
We laughed at the notion of trying an exotic beer to accompany our pizza. Among the offerings was Nastro Azzurro, better known to us as PBR. We both chose a Dutch beer, and we enjoyed our pizzas.
I should report that we've had several people tell us to be on high alert about pickpockets and other targeting of tourists. While we're striving to approach our travels in the city with eyes wide open, we both enjoyed the gritty medieval feel of the streets and alleys that are peppered with cathedrals and monuments every few blocks. Like Catania, the drivers, cyclists and scooters race through the narrow streets, but we found it to be part of the charm of the city.
We're calling it a night, and we're looking forward to telling you about Pompeii and the Herculaneum tomorrow. Ciao!Read more