POSITANO PICTURE of The DAY
Copyright Daniel Bellino Zwicke
Almost Sunset Time
And Some Cactus
POSITANO is COMING
POSITANO PICTURE of The DAY
Almost Sunset Time
And Some Cactus
POSITANO is COMING
Now, flash forward to May 2015. Back in the Summer of 1985, yes people knew of Positano, but very few Americans, and not many others outside of Italy. Back in 85, the only people who went to Positano, were people who as they say are “in-the-know.” I had no idea back then, that this small town would one day be pounced upon by hundreds of thousands of people from all corners of the globe, each Summer starting in the early 1990s, as it is now and who knows for how long? Positano, is now known by millions more than had known of the place way back in 1985, when I first visited this lovely town on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
As you now know, the town rises steeply from the sea, and up to very high heights and into the sky to the area known now as, The Path of The Gods, the hiking trails high up on the highest points of town. Obviously, the name Path of The Gods comes from The incredible beauty and heights of this area which emerges high above the Sea below, and up into the Heavens with Godlike Beauty along the way. And up at the top are the two small hamlets of Montepertuso and Nocella. These hamlets are part of the town of Positano. Up in Monetpertuso there is a large natural arch that has been carved out by Mother Nature, right into the mountain. Montepertuso was literally named for the arch which translates to “hole in the mountain.” And it’s this arch that many make there way up to Montepertuso to hike up to the arch to take pictures in front of it and to marvel at the abundance of stunning vistas as they look down at Positano to the sea and each and every sight they lay their eyes upon.
OK, back up to the top of Positano, Montpertuso and Nocelle. Legend has it, that it was at this arch where the Virgin Mary had a battle with the Devil, of which traces can be seen in the rock of the Gambera Mountain, with the shape of a Snake and the hole in the arch which it is said was made by the finger of the Virgin Mary. While up in Montepertuso, see the Church of Santa Maria Grazie and go to one of the fine restaurants up there, which includes Ritrovo, a very popular restaurant, considered to have some of the best food in town.
Now I have to tell you that, this is a whole other world, and rather different then Positano down by the sea, the beach, and hotels. When I was going to Positano in the 80s and early 90s, I never went hiking up in the mountains and I hadn’t even heard of others doing it either. And I’d never even gone up there until my fourth trip to town, there was no need to, everything was happening down below, at the beaches, hotels, restaurants, bars, and the caffe’s of lower Positano. It’s the Positano everyone knows, except now there’s another aspect that interest people, yes hiking The Path of The Gods for even more world class spectacular views.
It’s all quite spectacular, and it is now a “thing,” hiking The Path of The Gods. Back in 85, it was not a “thing,” 1985, 86, or 1988, and no one who I know ever knew or spoke of it, and still when I was in Positano in 2015, it had now become a thing. And I a person who knows more than most (90%) of the people going to Positano these days, in 2015 I still didn’t know of this thing known as The Path of The Gods. I became aware of it in 2018, from Instagram a few months before taking my fifth trip to Positano and the Amalfi Coast with my cousin Tony in the Spring of 2018. And this is part of the phenomena of that thing called Instagram. As Positano, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast hold some of the World’s most beautiful scenery you’ve ever seen, people just have to go there and get the ultimate Instagram picture to post. Yes, this is another of “Thing,” posting the most spectacular pictures ever! You’ll get them in Positano, and the Amalfi Coast of Italy.
Wow, I just realized something. I had just thought that it was only because of the popularity of major motion picture films like “Only You” (Marisa Tomei & Robert Downey Jr.) and “Under The Tuscan Sun” that let The Cat Out of The Bag as exposing Positano to the masses who previously had no-idea this little town existed. Yes, I thought it was soley the fault of these two movies, but now as I write of Instagram and The Path of The Gods, I just now realized that it was Instagram too, and maybe even more so responsible for the people of the World discovering Positano and The Amalfi Coast.
Excerpted from POSITANO The AMALFI COAST by Daniel Bellino Zwicke
Coming Soon … Positano – The Amalfi Coast is a Travel Guide / Cookbook of Positano, Capri, The Amalfi Coast, Naples and the surrounding area. The book is due for late 2019 Publication.
A View From The PATH of THE GODS
The AMALFI COAST
BEST SELLING ITALIAN COOKBOOKS
by Daniel Bellino Zwicke
Author of Upcoming POSITANO – The AMALFI COAST
The PATH of THE GODS
BACK on CAPRI
And a APEROL SPRITZ at BAR TIBERIUS
PIAZZA UMBERTO CAPRI
Back to Italy 2019; Rome, Salerno, Naples, Capri, Ischia, and Positano, the Amalfi Coast, vacation and research trip to put the finishing touch on my upcoming book Positano The Amalfi Coast – Travel Guide / Regional Cookbook. Had a great time, and learned a few new things and going staying in two places I’ve never stayed at before, Salerno and Ischia. I’d spent some time in Salerno last year with my cousins Tony, Marta, and Mimmo, but I stayed there for 2 days this year and did a little exploring. I stayed at a wonderful hotel, the Plaza Hotel, which I had a wonderful time at, and I highly recommend staying there. It’s a super nice hotel with nice rooms and excellent service from owner Gaetano and his staff. The hotel is situated in an excellent location to make it an affordable base to stay if you’re looking to do Positano, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast, and you don’t have $350 a night or more to stay in Positano or Capri, but you want to spend time visiting and eating in those spots, then staying at the Hotel Plaza at about $95 a night for two, including a tasty and robust breakfast, his hotel is one of the best choices you could possibly make to explore Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and the outer islands of Campania. Besides being such a great hotel, the location could not be more ideal. The Hotel Plaza is located 200 feet from the Salerno Train Station that can get you a train to Naples in just 30 minutes and just 1 1/2 hours to Rome. The hotel is just 3 blocks to the Marine Terminal where you can get frequent ferry boats to Positano, Amalfi, Cetara, Minori, and other points on the Amalfi Coast. Very convenient.
Besides staying in Salerno, I finally made it to Ischia, a place I’d been wanting to go to for years. The reason I’d never gone before, is that I love Capri so much, that I had a hard time not going, so year after year I’d be back on my beloved Isle of Capri. Well I did like Ischia, it’s a beautiful place, but having spent 4 days on this lovely volcanic island, I still prefer Capri, which is more compact and easier to get around to the beaches and most popular sights and such. My favorite things about Ischia were watching a couple fishermen bring in their fresh catch of the day, swimming, drinking Biancolella with every meal, and finishing the meal with the a wonderful new Amaro I discovered, the locally made Amaro Rucolino which is made with its own secret recipe of roots and herbs and the main flavor ingredient being locally grown Arugala (Rocket). I just loved it, and brought 2 bottles of it to bring back home to New York.
While staying on Ischia, I took the short 20 minute ferry boat to the Island of Procida, another new discovery. I quite a nice time in Prociada where the shot the movies Il Positano about famed Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda, and The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Palthrow.
I had a nice tasty lunch of Alici Fritti at the Trattoria / Pizzeria Piazzetta on Procida were I had a lovely time chit-chatting with a couple English ladies sitting at the table next to mine outside on the piazza, with our gorgeous view of Procida. Quite a nice time.
One day, I walked the 3 short blocks from the Hotel Plaza to the Marine Terminal of Salerno and caught a ferry boat to Positano to go visit my friend Mario and his wife who were staying at the Hotel Poseidon in Positano. It’s a beautiful 50 minute boat ride from Salerno to Positano, that cost just 12 Euro. Glad to be back in Positano, I stopped at the Delacatessen for an Aracini and fresh fruit before making my way up to see my buddy Mario and his wife Esperanza. It’s a nice little walk up the pathway and then onto the Via Pasitea where the Hotel Poseidon is located at # 148 Via Pasitea. This hotel is perfectly situated at one of the nicest spots in Positano, with a spectacular view of the town on its large terrace where you get one of the best views in town. The Hotel Poseidon has a nice pool on their terrazzo, along with a bar, and one of Positano’s best restaurants, the Tridente.
I had one of the best times on my whole vacation hanging out with my friends Mario and Esperanza that day on the Terrazzo of the Poseidon Hotel. We swam in the beautiful pool, drank Campari, and Aperol Spritz’s and had the most wonderful time, hanging out poolside in Positano, with our gorgeous view of the most famous and treasured town of The Amalfi Coast Italy. Yes it was a very day hanging out with Mario and his lovely wife. A day I will always treasure and always remember.
On this trip I visited some of Underground Napoli (Naples) which was quite interesting. There was a Roman Market and other buildings that were built over older Greek Ruins. It was quite interesting to see.
I started my trip in Rome, were I stayed for 2 days before taking a fast train from Roma Termini Station down to Salerno (1 1/2 hours). Once I got off the train in Salerno, and out of the train station, it was a nice easy 300 foot walk to the wonderful Hotel Plaza just across the street from the train station. Again, I reiterate, the Plaza Hotel is a great place to see to base your trip to the otherwise expensive Amalfi Coast of Italy. This hotel is lovely and a wonderful place to stay. Ask for Gaetano and tell him “Daniel from new York,” sent you. And have a Great Time!
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The AMALFI COAST
Stopped in here for an Espresso, so I could use the bathroom and change into my swim trunks to go swimming at Marina Picolo. If you want to go swimming at Marina Picolo, the best way to get there is to take a little town bus to Due Gulfi (Two Gulfs). Get off the bus, and ask one of the locals where the pathway is to Marina Picolo. It’s a great little walk (10 minutes), with nice sights to see as you stroll down to the beach. You have options of paying for a chaise-lounge at a private beach club, or better yet, there is a free beach that’s awesome. I never pay when swimming at Marina Picolo and always opt for the free beach, which is wonderful.
I reserve saving my money for when I go swimming at Da Luigi Beach Club at the Faraglioni Rocks. It’s gorgeous!
#AperolSprtiz #Aperol #Campari #Negroni
MAP of SOUTHERN ITALY
SORRENTO – CAPRI – POSITANO – CETARA
Drinking the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Positano, Napoli, what do you drink? Well there’s always wine. Yes wine, Campari, an Aperol Spritz, Prosecco, Mineral Water, Cappuccino, Espresso, and you must drink some Lemonade, for after all, you’re in The Land of Lemons of the Devine Coast of Amalfi. Or if you’re on Capri or Ischia, Sorrento or Salerno, or the Capital City of Napoli, it’s all the same. All the same of what you might drink, what the locals drink, business men, travelers, tourists, whoever.
Yes, you will drink Cappuccino and Espresso, it’s good all over, and every Barista takes pride in his coffee making skills and prowess. And when it comes to Espresso, the Neapolitans are the World Champions of making it and drinking it. Espresso that is.
And if on your trip to Positano, Capri, Sorrento, wherever your destination is down there, if you’re in Napoli, try and go to the Gran Caffe Gambrinus for one of the great cafe experiences of your life. The Gran Caffe Gambrinus is heir to the great Neapolitan coffee tradition, for coffee and the art of making and drinking a proper Espresso, is at its highest level in Gambrinus. Espresso in Napoli is rooted in ritual and the habits of each social class. There is a phenomenon in this habitual ritual that makes the simple moment of refreshment an opportunity for culture and socializing. You will experience a moment of great pleasure as you partake in this esteemed ritual known as espresso. But not just any Espresso, but a Neapolitan one. And while at Gambrinus, drinking your Cappuccino, Espresso or Special Gambrinus Caffe, why not treat yourself to a Sfogliatelle as well?
All over the Amalfi Coast, in Naples, and especially popular on the Isle of Capri are Lemonade Stands. It stands to reason that with all the Lemon Groves you find on Capri, in and around Sorrento, and in Minori, Maiori, Atrani, and Amalfi, that they’d be serving that refreshing lemon based drink, Lemonade, yes they do. Though lemons are grown all over the coast and on the islands, there seems to be two places that you see Granita and Lemonade Stands more than in other parts, and those two places are in Napoli and on the Isle of Capri. And when it comes to me personally, I always remember that first Lemonade I ever had there, and that was the Lemonade Stand on the Piazzetta of the Piazza Umberto that’s right there before you, when you get off of the Funicular of Capri, if you happen to be taking it. And if you do take the Funicular from the bottom at Marina Grande, once up are at the top and your ride is over, the first thing you’ll see when you exit the Funicular is that Lemonade Stand that is so very inviting on a hot Summer day. So, just as I did on that day in the Summer of 1988 when I had my first, I got a glass of Lemonade. I got off of the Funicular, saw the Lemonade Stand and I couldn’t resist. I got myself a nice cold refreshing Lemonade made with the Lemons of Capri. Later on, in the trip (i988), I’d have my first Limoncello, that hugely famous after dinner drink made with the local Lemons. So, you see, it’s usually the littlest things that I love most when I travel. Like that lemonade on Capri in the Summer of 1988, my first Campari, Aperol Spritz, and most recently a lovely liquor made in these parts called Finnonchietto (Fennel Liqueur), that the waiter brought for me and my cousin Tony, after dinner at Z’Antonino one night in Sorrento. Wow, I went nuts when I tasted this wonderful liqueur for the first time. It was a revelation. I never had it before, and I absolutely loved it. So much so, that when we finished the dinner and took a little walk, as we passed by a Salumeria that sold Limoncello, Amari, and other liqueurs, including Finnonchietto, I just had to get a bottle, and so I did (8 Euros).
So, now as we talk of drinking on the Amalfi Coast, we come up to the subject of the Aperitivo and Aperitivo time on the Amalfi Coast or anywhere in Italy for that matter. Well, what is Apertivo anyway you say? Aperitivo is a drink that you have before dinner, and is meant for socializing as well as getting your palate going for the meal to come. Most often when you go for Apertivo (aka Aperitif) and order a drink at the traditional aperitivo time (late-afternoon & early-evening), the waiter will bring you some little snacks along with your drink (Aperitivo). The snacks might be as simple as a bowl of Potato Chips and Olives. In addition, some places might serve canapes (crostini) with various toppings, all for the price of the drink. The most popular forms of Aperitivo drinks are anything made with Campari or Aperol, such as Campari & Soda or OJ, a Negroni, or Aperol Spritz. Prosecco or any wine at the apertivo hours are also considered as aperitivo drinks. You can get any other cocktails made with Vodka, Gin, Rum, Whiskey or other forms of alcohol other than Prosecco, wine, Campari, or Aperol, but these cocktails may be quite a bit more expensive than the traditional Aperitivi.
On a recent trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast, I partook in the delightful ritual of Apertivo on numerous occasions. It was quite wonderful sharing this ritual with my cousins Tony, Mimmo, Marta, and friends in Salerno, Sorrento, in Positano, and Vietro Sul Mare. My trip started off in Rome for a day before I hopped on the high-speed train to Napoli the next day. After landing in Rome, checking into my hotel, I took a shower and then a nap. Well, more thana nap, I fell asleep for 6 hours. I finally awoke and hopped in the shower again.
Once I showered and got dressed for one more evening out to my beloved Roma, I had a plan. My plan was to walk over to the Metro stop and take a train to near the Piazza Spagna where I would go walk around and enjoy a bit of time at this one of Rome’s most popular spots. I walked up The Spanish Steps, taking pictures along the way and enjoying the scene before me; the people and that view from atop the Spanish Steps is absolutely magnificent. I stayed there to enjoy it for a little while. So, now on to the second phase of the plan.
After spending a half-hour enjoying the Piazza di Spagna, my plan was to walk over to the Piazza di Popolo from there, a short 8 minute walk away. Yes, my plans included going to Piazza di Popolo to see the beautiful little twin churches of Santa Maria Maracoli and Santa Maria Montesanto and to have a Aperitivo at Rosati afterwards. After that, I’d go on to dinner. So after leaving the Spanish Steps behind I made my way along to the Via Babuino leading me to my destination of the Piazza di Popolo and all its offerings.
When I arrived about 10 minutes later, I walked towards the Fountain of Neptune to get a good view of the Twin Churches. I took a few pictures of the churches, then asked a couple if they would take a picture of me in front of them. They took a couple nice pictures that are now part of my wonderful memories of that day, and even back to 1985 and 1986 in Rome. After taking pictures of the two churches and the Piazza and myself, I went over to the churches to go inside. The Chiesa Santa Maria Miracoli was closed, but the doors to Santa Maria Montesanto were open, and there was a Mass being conducted. I went in and sat down to relax there. I listened to the priest and parishioners as they responded to the priest. I said a few prayers for my sister Barbara, myself, my Brothers Jimmy and Michael, and their loved ones, and then I left the church.
After my time at the churches I walked across to Rosati for my little aperitivo. I took a seat at a table outside to watch the World go by the Twin Churches and life on the Piazza Popolo. I ordered a Campari Soda and the waitress brought it to me along with Olives, Potato Chips, and Canapes. And yes, I sat back, sipped my Campari and watched the World go by. I had quite a nice little Aperitivo Time at Roasati and then it was on to dinner.
Drinking? You can’t talk about drinking in Italy without talking about wine. On this recent trip I was briefly in Rome where I drank Frascati with dinner that night, followed by an Amaro of Capo di Stato digestive from Calabria.
Now, down to Campania and the Amalfi Coast and the wines down there. This area has some wonderful wines that are sure to please all. There are a lot of very good white wines, as there should be with all the wonderful seafood available and simply for the fact of the heat and being on the coast in Summer, for many people, white wine is the way to go. The White Wines of the area are some of the finest in Italy, in wines like; Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, Coda, Falanghina, Biancolella, and a few others, with these being the main ones as well as being most popular. When it comes to reds, Aglianico is King, especially in the form of “Taurasi” the most prestigious red wine in all of Southern Italy. The red grape Palumbo, also known as Piedirosso which makes up the local wine that is called Lacryma Christi, meaning “The Tears of Christ.” This grape makes wonderful fruity wines as is in the case of Lacryma Christi. Yes, Aglianico is the most renowned red grape varietal of the region, but the grape Piedirossa and the wines that it makes up are not far behind in stature. The more famous wines are made with Aglianico, the grape that makes up the famed Itaian wine known as Taurasi.
There is a most lovely legend that goes along with the wine Lacryma Christi, which can be found as either white or red wine. As the legend goes, is that when Saint Lucifer (the Devil) was cast away, he took a piece of Heaven with him. When Christ first saw the Bay of Naples, he recognized it as the stolen piece of Heaven and he wept over its loss. It’s said that as Christ wept, where his tears landed on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius is where the grapes that make up Lacryma Christi first sprang up from, and these are the grapes that sprung from the Tears of Christ. So the legend goes, and it’s quite a lovely one at that.
So you see, drinking in Napoli, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast, is a very pleasant pastime, whether drinking Cappuccino in the morning, Espresso later in the day, Lemonade or Limoncello, local wine, a Negroni, Campari, or Aperol Spritz, you’re going to have a good time. You have to? You’re in Amalfi. Enjoy it.
EXCERPTED from POSITANO The AMALFI COAST
by Daniel Bellino Zwicke …. Due for Publication, May 2019
BEST SELLING ITALIAN COOKBOOKS by Daniel
Cocktails at FRANCO’S BAR
APEROL SPRITZ TIME in POSITANO
LEARN HOW to MAKE POSITANO’S “Most Popular Cocktail”
The APEROL SPRITZ
Yes, without question, the Aperol Spritz is Positano’s most popular cocktail. You see them on almost every table, as you pass restaurants and outdoor cafes in Positano, there’s at least one Aperol Spritz on practically every table in town. Other popular drinks are the Negroni, White Wine (& Red), Prosecco, and fresh Lemonade. I first started drinking Aperol Spritz’s way back in 1995, almost 20 years before most Americans ever even heard of it. Now it’s almost as popular as water, and for good reason, it’s the perfect drink for Positano, Capri, or any beach town in Italy or anywhere. It’s light, tasty, and refreshing.
The best places to drink an Aperol Spritz, or any cocktail of your choice, when in Positano, are; the Trident Bar at the Hotel Poseidon, Franco’s Bar at the Hotel Le Sirenuse, or any of the terraces at Buco di Bacco, or Covo d’ Saraceni.
Is COMING SOON
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