I finally arrived to the Sorrento Coast and my first stop is at the cliffs of Vico Equense, of Etruscan origins this little town has a lot to offer from the dramatic panoramas to pizza by the meter or Michelin Guide Starred Restaurants. The Sorrento Peninsula is definitely an unforgettable culinary experience.
But who where the Saracens and why they came to this part of Italy? Around the 455 AD the coast was invaded by Arab tribes, many watchtowers can still be seen on the cliffs to prepare the inhabitants for further attacks. Saracen was a term for Muslims widely used in Europe during the Medieval Era.
Now a brief tour of the tasting menu at The Saracen Tower, enjoy!
Juicy and red tomatoes, creamy white mozzarella di Bufala, ricotta and fior di latte, fragrant green basil, topped with a swirl of olive oil. The mix of intense flavors and vivid colors, is characteristic of a cuisine that reflect the region’s Mediterranean climate. Dishes rely on their success because of the freshness of the local ingredients. Getting the fish fresh from the harbor is still part of the local life; sword fish, anchovies, mackerel and sardines; clams, mussels, octopus, squid and cuttlefish are served in dozens of ways including pasta.
But when in Sorrento, don’t forget to try the “Gnocchi alla Sorrentina”, the “Delizia al limone” and a sip of “limoncello”; you are on your way to a longer and healthy life. Salute!
The myth about Capri goes back to Homer’s epic tale “The Odyssey” when Ulysses and his troop were going back to Troy, they couldn’t resist the temptation to hear the seductive songs of the Sirens around today’s Capri, they filled out their ears with wax so they won’t listen to the Sirens and kept navigating but they crashed in to the stones and vanished.
Of course you won’t vanish like Ulysses’ troops in Capri but you will be so tempted by the natural beauty. One of the trips you can do is on a boat to the Grotta Azzurra (The Blue Grotto) where Romans used to worship the waters.
Capri is the world’s first resort, dating back Emperor Augustus (29 B.C.) at that time Capri was under Naples rule, Augustus gave to Naples the Island of Ischia and turned Capri in to his very own private Resort. Today you can enjoy the magnificence of the oldest resort in the world just like Jacky O, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth and many more celebrities and film stars did in the 1950’s when international tourism arrived to Capri.
When coming to Capri, don’t expect to rush anything (piano, piano) slowly slowly, this is the land of the “Dolce far niente” (sweet idleness). Act like a local, walking the streets Jacky walked, a good excuse to get your hand made sandals to your measure by the local handcrafters, wear oversized sunglasses, a silk foulard in your head and capri pants.
There are many theories about the name Capri, a popular one says that it comes from the Greek “kapros” (wild boar) but the most widely theory is that it derives from the Latin “capreae” (goats) which makes sense been a referred as the Goat Island.
The iconic Caprese boutique “La Parisienne” is perhaps known for the famous Capri trousers, here is where Jacky Kennedy Onassis used to have hers tailor made. Michael Kors was for years a guest at The Grand Hotel Quisisana and he described the view from the terrace facing Via Camerelle as the front row of a fashion show. Fashion designer Oscar de La Renta went to Capri to receive the award “Tiberio d’oro” at Mare Moda, the island notorious fashion show. Valentino, Givenchy, Gianfranco Ferre, Missoni, they all came personally to show at Mare Moda.
Capri is more than a rock in the middle of the sea, Capri is a lifestyle, the concept of chic and casual was immortalized here and will be here to stay. If we are not the privileged ones that can make Capri our home we can
still live… the Capri way, salute!!!
(c) 2013 Montserrat Franco. All pictures taken by me. Additional Photo credits: Benny Galasso-Bely Franco.
For more info on Montserrat Franco sandals made in Capri, visit the store at:
Going to the Amalfi Coast is certainly memorable and a unique experience, the story of Amalfi is linked to the nymph Melphe, the apple of Hercule’s eye and the legend says that he built a city so high on the cliffs to buried her when she died but there is another theory; when Romans lived here in the IV century named it Melfi.
Suspended between the sea, sky ad earth the state road 163 twists and turns in an almost never ending path around the Coast, it has stunning views from every corner. In the 19th century access to the Amalfi coast was very difficult and possible only by the mountains in mules. By the 1900’s the isolation of this part of Italy attracted many travelers. In Edwardian times the coast became a destination of choice by British aristocrats, later actors such as Humphrey Bogart, Greta Garbo and Sophia Loren brought fame to the area.
You can find some of the best well kept secret restaurants of Italy (Michellin stars and local eateries) with amazing menus that are well worth the narrowed roadside trip and the headache.