Monday, September 18, 2017

Italy: The Country of My Heart - Part 2









While the Amalfi Coast is known for its lemons there are other products that call this region home as well. In Positano, you can find some of the finest linens in the world. I had way too much fun buying table linens in - what else - a lemon motif! 












In Ravello, pottery is one of their claims to fame (wool and cashmere are two others). I only bought a small pitcher but I drooled over so much more. Sometimes, living in a condo is good for the bank account. *grin*









Ravello is a small town high in the mountains. We visited on a lovely Sunday afternoon when tourists were not thick on the ground, allowing us to leisurely stroll through the town and enjoy the open square that faces a church with an ancient bell tower and also offers beautiful views of lemon groves that line the hills as well as the sea far below. It was one of my favorite stops. 






Gotta love those massages!

Another favorite stop on the tour was at the "cow spa" as our tour guide, Marcello dubbed it. 










The actual name of this organic buffalo farm near Paestum in southern Italy is Tenuta Vannulo though in actuality, "cow spa" isn't far from the truth. The water buffalo who reside here are truly living the good life with classical music piped in every morning, self-milking stations, and massage machines.








This group is queueing up to be milked. Each cow (female water buffalo) has a tag around her neck that carries her name (Yes, they are all named. I was introduced to water buffalo Britney, named after Britney Spears.), rate of milking, output, etc. When the cow feels ready to be milked, she simply enters the queue to go into the automatic milking machine. 







Opening the gate after milking to head to the feeding station.
When she's reached the amount of milk output her tag says is optimum for her, the machine shuts off and she's gently nudged out. She then opens the gate (with her nose) and wanders over to the feeding station. After eating, they can snooze in the sun, hang out with their friends, get a massage, or cool off in the misters. It's one of the coolest places I've ever visited. 





All that care sure shows in the milk they produce which is used to make a variety of products, including some of the best buffalo mozzarella and gelato I've ever tasted. The organic farm grows the feed the buffalo eat as well as the fruits and vegetables that are served to the people who visit. Our lunch at the farm included fabulous organic cherry tomatoes and mozzarella we watched being made that morning! 








Food. There aren't enough superlatives to describe how much I enjoyed the food of southern Italy so I'll just share a few photos. Feel free to drool. I did. ;-) 












Gelato!










Eggplant, Pumpkin, and Fennel










Cheese! 











Fresh seafood platter.













Warm, freshly picked tomatoes at a vineyard on Mt. Vesuvius. An explosion of sweet, earthy, flavor in my mouth.












Antipasto at the same vineyard. I could have eaten an entire platter of just the sundried tomatoes. 












Tomatoes from the same vineyard drying in the sun. The volcanic ash from Vesuvius creates some of the best soil in the world for growing fruits and vegetables. I gave serious consideration to stuffing as many as I could into my bag. I didn't, but I sure wanted to!









Caprese Salad. I had nine of them during the trip. I could have eaten more. ;-) 
















Prosecco. A nice welcome to our hotel in Positano!












Seafood delight. Mussels, clams, and prawns straight from the sea. Yum!











Delicious lemon sorbet made with fresh, Amalfi Coast lemons.  













Custard filled dessert. 











Gluten-free pizza that actually tasted like pizza! Italian restaurants are very conscious of customers with Celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. The gluten-free dishes I ate were fabulous!











Making our dinner at an Agriturismo (tourist farm) in the mountains. What fun that was!












I couldn't have these (gluten) but there were plenty of moans and groans from everyone else at the table. The center was melted chocolate.












This lemon risotto was incredible. Made with fresh picked lemons from the restaurant's groves, it was my favorite dish of the entire trip. I could have happily eaten it at every meal!










Our final day in Positano was also one of our most enjoyable. After a leisurely walk from our hotel down to the docks, we boarded our private boat for a full day of cruising along the coast, including two swim stops (I was surprised by how cold the water was!) and lunch at a restaurant that can only be reached by water. Viewing the Amalfi Coast from the sea gives you a completely different perspective.





I'd probably give up boating if I had to climb up and down that path each time I wanted to go out on the water!














One of Sophia Loren's homes. We waved. Alas, nobody waved back. ;-)












They grow lemons everywhere!









 



I love the homes and villages tucked into the nooks and crannies along the coast. 











No helicopter on this yacht but they brought their own slide. Looks like fun!












Our final day in Positano. This was taken from my hotel room balcony. Believe me, it was no hardship waking up to this view every morning. Saying arrivederci? Not so easy. 














As lovely as Positano is by day, at night, the magic comes out.  








I hope you've enjoyed this brief peek into my Italy tour and a few of the (thousands of) photos I took. Sharing it with you has reminded me of how fortunate I was to take this trip and how very much I enjoyed it. 



Have you ever gone boating in an ocean or sea? Did you enjoy it?

Which of the food dishes above would you most like to try?

What would be your biggest indulgence if you traveled to the Amalfi Coast? Linens? Food? Wine? Pottery? Cashmere? Something else?



PJ's Birthday Month Giveaway


One randomly chosen person will receive a book from my conference stash and a bar of organic yogurt and honey soap from the cow spa. (U.S. addresses only)







One randomly chosen person will receive a book from my conference stash and a linen bread bag. (U.S. addresses only)




45 comments:

  1. Love the pics, PJ. I would stuff myself with seafood if I ever get to visit the Mediterranean. Not sure about which souvenirs I would bring home, but probably linen and pottery. One reason I want to visit Venice is so that I can go the Murano glass factory and hopefully bring some beautiful pieces home.

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    1. I enjoyed the heck out of that seafood but the fresh mozzarella, fabulous tomatoes, and swoon-inducing lemon risotto were my favorites.

      I hope you get to visit Venice one day. The glass factories on Murano are fascinating and the products they make? Incredible!

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  2. Thanks PJ for giving us a taste of Italy through your pictures. I would stuffy myself with the seafood and custard filled desserts and worry about it later lol. Thanks again. I'll get there eventually.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. It was probably a good thing that I couldn't eat the custard filled desserts. I doubt I could have stopped at one! :)

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  3. Absolutely wonderful photos. Never been on a sea or ocean. You made my mouth water. Would love to try any dessserts or pastas.

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    1. Hope you get to make it there one day, Patoct!

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  4. OJ, your photos are wonderful and captivating. I love them all. I would eat the tomatoes for sure and the seafood since everything looks delectable. I haven't had the opportunity to enjoy a sea trip ever. An indulgence on a trip to Italy would be food for sure and gifts such as that beautiful brad bag and the linens.

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    1. I've never had better tomatoes. I could have happily eaten them for every meal.

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  5. All the dishes - absolutely all of them!!!!! And of course the wine lol. Loved your pictures and it sounds like you had a marvelous trip. And to think my ancestors left Sicily.

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    1. I don't drink much wine but my wine-drinking friends who traveled with me said it was fabulous!

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  6. Enticing food which I would enjoy, especially the gelato and seafood. Your gorgeous photos make me very happy. What an experience you enjoyed.

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    1. The gelato was so good. Another food I could have happily eaten at every meal! :)

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  7. Food would be at the top of the list and I think that any of these dishes would be wonderful with the exception of the seafood, not a big seafood lover. And those linens would be my second choice...

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    1. So many beautiful linens, Kathleen. I brought home a few things but I wanted to buy so much more!

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  8. OMG I love it all, but the Caprese salad is my favorite! With gelato for dessert, of course! The only ocean boating I have ever done was on a schooner off the coast of Maine over 30 years ago. Can you say cold swim in the Atlantic?

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    1. I was surprised by how cold the Med was but swimming in the Atlantic off Maine? Yikes!

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  9. Absolutely amazing photos of breathtaking views...and beautifully written commentary to make us feel as though we were with you, PJ! I think food would be my biggest indulgence...followed by trying NOT to overdo purchases of Pottery and linens!

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    1. Living in an 1100 sq. ft. condo saved me from the pottery. Especially after I found out they would ship things to the U.S.!

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  10. Patricia Bennett BarberSeptember 18, 2017 at 10:11 AM

    Oh, love the pictures. It looked like it was so fun :-)
    And the one time I did do a cruise, I got so sea sick..lol
    Happy Birthday month :-) :-)

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    1. I'm so sorry you got sea sick. I've been fortunate to never have that problem. Have you tried a patch?

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  11. PJ, I love this post. Italy is my absolute favorite place and in Italy, the Amalfi Coast. I've been to Italy many times, even lived in Florence my senior year in college, but I never tire of it. One place I haven't been is Ravello. In fact, I want to go back to The Amalfi Coast NOW! I can't choose between all the foods you've shown. Probably gelato, sorbet and Caprese Salad for food and linens and pottery for indulgences. I loved the pictures. Your trip sounds wonderful. I have been on many cruises and loved them all. Happy Birthday month and thanks for sharing your memories. Marilyn Baron

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    1. I never tire of it either, Marilyn. It's a magical country, isn't it? Let me know if you decide to visit Ravello. I'll give you the name of the restaurant where I had the fabulous lemon risotto. It's just below Ravello.

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  12. I'm salivating - that lemon risotto sounds fabulous!
    My niece is headed to Italy tomorrow so I'm sending here a link to this post so she can see your fabulous pictures. They really make me want to go back there - maybe you can organize a group trip & count me in!

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  13. Thanks for the pictures. I've never had gelato or lemon risotto, but they look good.

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  14. I love all the pics that you posted. I would just stuff my face with all the great food that I could find if I went to the Amalfi Coast. I've never been on a cruise but I have been on a ferry a few times.

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  15. What a wonderful trip, PJ! My nephew, who lived in Italy for 2 years, is constantly trying to get me there. It's definitely on my bucket list (right after Ireland)! I think you are the 5th person this year that I know that has travelled there recently. It's a hot spot now.

    I've been making a lot of dietary changes lately for health reasons. One is increasing the amount of fresh squeezed lemons in my diet and the other is going gluten free. Those are the 2 things that caught my eye. How awesome to know that my restrictions wouldn't hamper my enjoyment of an amazing vacation! My mouth is watering at the sight of that pizza. I've yet to find any real good gluten substitutions so I've just gone without. That and the gelato would definitely be on my list!

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  16. I should not have read this before lunch. I'd only go for the food!!! Like that lemon Risotto. I will admit to whale watching in the atlantic and deep sea fishing.

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  17. I love to travel by boats/ships. (Pirate.) Unfortunately it's been way too long since I've last taken a cruise (2001). I traveled in the Caribbean. I've picked up a couple magazines of Viking River Cruises because I think it would be awesome to travel that way.

    I also go for food. I would also likely eat the lemon risotto every night because I am a rice fanatic. *LOL* And the lemon and butter and cheese...yum. As for what would I bring back with me? Probably something soap or paper related. A handmade journal or sketchbook...or stationary. Lavender or Lemon scented soap.

    Your pictures are FABULOUS! You look like you had such a great time. You're a walking recommendation to travel there, just from the big smile on your face. :)

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  18. More gorgeous photos, PJ! The antipasto looks delicious, and I would definitely find the gelato irresistible.

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  19. I've never been on a boat on the ocean or sea. Would love to one day. Outside of all the desserts, which I would love, I would like to try the lemon risotto. I would love to buy linens and some lemon scented soaps. Love all the pictures you posted. You make me want to go there for a visit.

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  20. Funny, I have two pictures of villages of the Amalfi Coast on my computer screen savers pictures. I would love the food, no question, but I do believe I would enjoy the sailing along and looking at the scenery as much as anything. Now of course if I were wearing a cashmere stole and sitting at a beautiful setting of pottery dishes set upon a beautiful linen table cloth as I sailed, it would be very nice.

    Thanks for the lovely pictures and the wonderful descriptions.

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  21. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos, PJ. That lemon risotto looked incredible and since I'm a pasta freak, I would probably be having some with every meal there! 🤣 As far as what I'd bring back? Probably the pottery as I like to collect. Perhaps a ceramic ornament? I try to collect ornaments from every new city I visit. Thanks again for sharing your travels!

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  22. Hi PJ! Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip with us. I love lemon anything so the food sounds wonderful! Especially the lemon sorbet! Not sure what I would splurge on but sounds like a wonderful trip!

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  23. Went to Bermuda last year with my husband's family - a cruise.
    My indulgence would pasta.
    KAREN T.

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  24. Hmmm...I have been on boating trips for the purpose of snorkeling and enjoyed that immensely. All of the photos of food look wonderful but I am most tempted to try the cheeses and gelato. My biggest indulgence would likely be linen, light for my luggage and something to cherish using in my home.

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  25. I have been on a small boat on the ocean, just for a short ride.

    The lemon risotto looks good, as does the caprese.

    Pottery, linens, and food and wine, of course.

    denise

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  26. I've been 'deep sea' fishing once. The boat was tiny and the gulf was choppy. I was not a fan. ;-)
    gg
    PLEASE don't ask me to chose just one of those dishes! It isn't humanly possible!

    In case you couldn't tell from my previous answer: food and wine would be my primary indulgences. I did notice the massive lemons in the grocery stores in Rome - we had to buy one just because. :-)

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  27. I am enjoying your Italy posts. Been on a cruise this year to Nova Scotia and Boston. Love Gelato. Would love to try the custard desserts and new pasta dishes.
    Patty B43

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  28. Thank you so much for sharing your lovely photos. I would love to taste that lemon risotto. It looked delicious!! I love the linen table cloth you showed. I've been on the bay off Long Island and on cruise boats.

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  29. Wow, what a wonderful trip. I will have to reference this post if we ever get to travel to Italy. It bears duplicating.
    We have been boating on the ocean. Some experiences weren't so good, but most were enjoyable. The best was the 2 hour or so ride from Key West to Dry Tortuga. The ocean was smooth as glass and clear as could be. You could see the bottom and the turtles swimming near you. It was the perfect trip.
    All the foods above look wonderful. The one I would love to try first would be the Fresh seafood platter.
    I really son't know what my indulgence would be. I enjoy linens, but already have way too many. I'm sure I could find room for some more. I like pottery, too, but it would be harder to fit in. I have a feeling my biggest indulgence would be the food.

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  30. I loved all your pictures! The food looked so good. I would have gained 20 lbs being there, I think. That cheese looked so fresh and loved the story about the cows. Ok, when are you going back...lol?

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  31. Not entering the giveaway(I'm from Europe), but I wanted to say that this looked like an amazing vacation. I'm curious, and I'm sorry if you mentioned it before, but how much time did you spend traveling? How did you have time for all of this?

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  32. What a great trip! And now I'm so hungry! I'd most like to try the lemon risotto. But after that, I'd move on to many of the dishes you spotlighted. If I ever do make it to the Amalfi Coast, I'm sure my biggest weakness will be the food. Thanks for sharing! Happy Birthday.

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  33. I would try just about any of them, except for the seafood. The desserts and the cheeses look amazing.
    I have never left the United States but this place looks gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.
    My biggest weakness would be shopping and the food.

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  34. Gelato and any of the desserts would be my guilty pleasure. Have been to a few places in Europe, but not Italy. Would love to visit.
    Patty B43

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