Life is a combination of magic and pasta

London is one of those cities where you can walk down a street and literally feel like you’re in a different country or even a new era. There’s many places in the world where this happens – like India or even Italy.

Cross a provincial border and:
Dialect? Incomprehensible
Food? Different menus and ingredients every cafe, restaurant and market
Buildings? White washed walls to gothic to 18th century to modern…

This year I’ve spent my euros on a few trips to the mothership in Italy – Rome, Sienna, Chianti, Naples, Positano and Florence – and the only consistent thing for me was that food was always amazing, there was always a rich history and the locals were always so warm. I followed them everywhere…

Let’s start with Roma, where I spent Easter. My earlier memories of Rome were that ‘yeh sure it was nice’ but there were so many tourists I could barely catch a glimpse of the Trevi fountain without throwing an elbow. But by spending four days wandering around one of the oldest and most amazing cities in the world this year, those earlier memories have been transformed. Strolling with wonder through those old Roman streets, it was impossible not to lose ourselves in the sound of the gentle clink clink of forks winding around pasta; knives slicing into perfectly roasted artichokes; the whirring of espresso machines; the passionate chatter (or arguing? – we will never know) of the Italians. Something to really behold is the openness of their teenagers and lovers – finding some shade in the Villa Bourgeois also meant sharing what felt like a bed with couples young and old making out. Most likely because their boys are known to live with their mamma until say, 30.

Tuscany on the other hand was all rolling hills, wine tasting, vineyards, truffles, pecorino cheese – and then some! After a long yet mild London winter, the sun was bliss as we road-tripped from Bologna to Sienna enjoying a number of terazzas along the way. Sienna was a beautiful surprise with the most alive piazza I’ve come across, our perfect little terazza at the hotel and THAT view from our window while the church bells chimed.

Once our Fiat finally arrived up the gravel road in Chianti, we reached our BnB nestled at the top of a vineyard. I’d like to think it was the best view! As the home of Italian table wine, the minute we dropped our bags the cork was popped and we enjoyed the view in hammocks as the sun set. Buonissimo. The next couple of days followed in a similar fashion, popping into the various vineyards wide open for tasting at their local annual festival, Rassegna del Chianti Classico. Our trip ended with a hug from our host. A hug! So much love in these parts.

What have you heard about Napoli? Dangerous mafia and great pizza? You would be right, but there’s so much to say about this rich dirty REAL Italian city. I’d been warned – don’t stop in Naples, get a car straight away to the Amalfi and don’t speak to a soul, don’t wear jewellery, don’t look at anyone, etc. But I felt right at home.

It was the start of a special mum and daughter trip and I so badly wanted to show her some of the precious parts I discovered last year. What people are repelled by in Naples (apart from the pizza) I am in love with – it’s raw and it’s wild. It’s real Italy – so dirty though – but so passionate. If you go, it’s a perfect place to…eat pizza (everywhere is delicious if it’s real)…drink espresso with a side of Sfogliatella on the street watching all sorts…find the freshest fruit in summer…understand a little more about the place by walking the steep back streets. To finish a day of over stimulation, be sure to relax by the lungomare with some coconut oil and watch the locals do summer in the best way. Tan envy. 

Positano… Oh.

If there is one place where I could just throw my passport into the ocean it’s Positano (closely followed by the Algarve and Paris, of course). It’s such a breathtaking sight to step out of your car after an hour of winding roads – the Amalfi coastline logistics are complicated – and set your eyes on an entire cliff face of colourful terraces and homes built into the rock.

So many parts of Positano stole my heart. Here’s just a few –

…Waking up and sitting on the terrace with ham, cheese, espresso and boiled eggs while the locals set up for the day, propping up the umbrellas and pushing boats into the water…Lunching via boat to d’Aldolfo, where the menu is fresh depending on what’s good that day, and the waiters run up and down stone steps to and from the kitchen to deliver you delicious home made fare…The dizzying heights of the Walk of the Gods…Beauty in every way at Francos bar. One of my favourite very spots in the world.
…Soaking up the sun at tiny hidden beaches with a side of limencello after a picnic deli lunch…Exploring delicious Capri and baking at Marina piccolo…Speck and pecorino rissotto at the peak of Nochelle, a tiny town built into the cliff – very very special.

Italy has been delicious and addictive and there is so much more to explore. After all, life is a combination of magic and pasta.

EC xx

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