2013-08-02

A Garden in Positano: It is bougainvillea pruning day ...

If you visit Positano in summer, it is so easy to get accustomed to the colorful purple shades the bougainvillea blossoms are made of. But they need some pruning and tending, and this is often rather hard to achieve, gardening work done in the heat during the hottest days of the year - i giorni di solleone.
The famous bougainvillea covering Via Mulini seen from above the gardens of Palazzo Murat. Parts of these bougainvillea plants grow here and reach out over the wall to cover the pathway.
Read more here: A Garden in Positano: It is bougainvillea pruning day ...: Both the new building of Palazzo Murat (above) and its older part are lined with bougainvillea, both at rooftop level and framing in the b...

2013-08-01

A Garden in Capri: Come si è formato il manto verde dell'isola di Cap...

This is Marina Grande, Capri
Arriving in Capri, a few questions arise .. but take a look at my Blog Post: Read more here: A Garden in Capri: Come si è formato il manto verde dell'isola di Cap...: Everybody is standing up to get their first glimpse as Capri is fast approaching: on the omorning boat from Amalfi Arriving by boat...

A Garden in Positano: Purple petunias are in fashion this summer ..

Take a look at my Blog Post - very colorful, about Positano Street Gardening: There is Via Pasitea crossing the lower part of town, and reaching up towards the Chiesa Nuova area. And this is how this panoramic road is decorated:
Read more here:
A Garden in Positano: Purple petunias are in fashion this summer ..: Purple petunias, looking out towards the sea Have a look at the petunia varieties now on show in Positano.

2013-07-31

A Garden in Positano: View from the terraces of Hotel Le Sirenuse - this...

New Blog Post on my Positano Website. I love morning views, and in Positano they are exceptional. In particular if one has the opportunity to take pictures from the terraces of one of the most renowned and historic hotels in Positano.
Super-stylish location for taking pictures ... and a cappuccino of course ..

Continue reading: A Garden in Positano: View from the terraces of Hotel Le Sirenuse - this...: Even if you are not staying at the Hotel Le Sirenuse , it is really worth taking in the view from one of its many terrraces.

2013-07-08

Il Lecceto in spiaggia - What do beaches in Sorrento look like


Standing high on its tuff stone plateau, Sorrento is fringed by three beach areas. From black lava pebbles to finely grated black sand to tuffstone cliffs half-tucked on under the sea, everything is possible. 
In the southern-most corner of Sorrento, bordering on Massalubrense territor, you can enjoy a public track of beach including some private ones managed by the adjacent restaurants. Here, my favorite is Da Cataldo's.

Marina Grande, with fishermen boats drawn up on a stretch of public beach
Very colorful village, amidst the church of Sant'Anna facing the beach
The Church of Sant'Anna
Marina Grande is a beautiful fisher village that looks it is not really connected to the Sorrento part towering above the steep tuffstone cliffs. You can reach Marina Grande by a winding road, descending down through tunnels, so even cars can reach this part, or by a narrow passageway including stone stairs leading straight down to the beach.
The San Francesco Beach area is located between Marina Grande and Marina Piccola
Second, there is Spiaggia San Francesco, bordering on the ruins of the Roman Villa Agrippa Postumo, a grandson of emperor Augustus. This beach area can be easily be reached by an elevator located at the Villa Comunale.
And third is the artificially created swimming zone, where hotels have access, and this is probably the most restful place to be in summer, beyond the Marina Piccola. But even at the Marina Piccola, you can find a small stretch of a pebbles beach which is public.
A stretch of a small beach of black lava sand, in the midst of Marina Piccola !!
So for now it is the tuff stones that reach down to the shore, and where the hotels just above have carved out plateaus of various kinds and wooden and steel peers where the guests can take the sun and a swim. And this is how my favorite place looks like: It is actually a small evergreen oaks copse set almost at sea level, bordered by vanilla-scented oleanders with huge pink and white flowers.
You either take the elevator down to the beach area, or stairs cut into the almost vertical tuff stone cliff. In the background, you can see the harbor of Sorrento
Prickly agave and Mount Vesuvius in the background. Below, you can see the greyish-black lava stones
And here we have arrived at the beach which here at Hotel Royal is the most extensived area. Neighboring hotels also carve out plateaus at the foot of the tuffstone wall. And above is Sorrento town.
Hotel Royal is situated above, and it is nice - though hot - to walk a few steps up path secured by a wooden railing
A huge fig tree
White oleanders, agaves in the foreground and a grenadine tree
Mount Vesuvius and a sweetly smelling (a bit like vanilla) oleander shrub with huge blossoms (about 6 cm in diameter)
The beach zone itself looks like this: piers decked out with wood, supported by the black stone cliffs. The ground itself is rather soft and pebbly.

... and on the level above the deckchair zone, the lecceto is situated
View towards the Sorrento harbor, Marina Piccola. From here, the boats to Capri and Napoli leave
At the level above the swimming zone, the lecceto - the evergreen oak copse is located. Always nice to retreat there once in a while. With the hot sun, the vanilla scent of the oleanders is permeating the balmy air.
The wood at the beach ..
Oleanders frame in the trees 
Evergreen oaks have small, long and thick dark-green leaves
The beach bar seen from under the trees
Also, a Beach bar offers snacks and tea all day long lined with colorful pot flowers and palms.
Yellow summer flower patches on the stone terrace
Late afternoon view
Bougainvillea
If you would like to go for a swim, it is recommended to do so from the stairs leading down into the water from the wooden pier. You should not climb on the algae-overgrown cliffs, as sea urchins live there, but usually no meduse. And you really get an excellent view of the harbor which is just across. With the boats arriving and leaving, waves are churned into your direction, and if you love to ride the waves, this is even an additional challenge to do so.

2013-05-01

A wisteria walk in Costiera Amalfitana


On your journey to discover the most beautiful wisteria in Costiera, starting out in Sorrento, continuing towards Positano and Amalfi, and then on another day to Anacapri: 
Hotel Royal, Sorrento,  wisteria pergola framing in the terrace overlooking the sea
View towards the hotel
... and towards the sea. Pictures taken in the last week of April
If you love wisteriaglicine is the word for it in Italian, April is the month for you to be in Sorrento, Capri and the Amalfi Coast. But you can also view these blossoms, though in company of their fresh green leaves, now at the beginning of May.  
Positano, Via Mulini, next to Hotel Murat: A few steps down from here, you can view these blossoms ...
Glicine a Positano, Via Mulini
In addition to a lot of wisteria tucked away in secret private gardens, there are some extaordinary examples that can be viewed by all of us. And they are easy to find. If we start with Sorrento, in mid-April, walk along Via Califano and look at the seaside gardens, that is the gardens looking out over the sea. You may start from the Hotel Ambasciatori, where you can go in for lunch and take a look at their marvelous garden at the same time. The pool pergola is covered by huge grappoli di glicine by then. 

The same is true if you continue for Hotel Royal, which has a terrace overlooking the sea, where you can lunch or take tea, and choose whether to sit below the glicine or admire it from your viewpoint of a garden chair on the terrace overlooking the sea. 
Glicine controsole at Hotel Ambasciatori, outdoor lunch pergola
Continue towards Piazza Tasso and walk into Hotel Vittoria Excelsior's garden - there is pergola walk covered with glicine. Still, you need not even go in, from Piazza Tassa, the violet patches of flower cascades cannot be missed. And you also get a view from the Bar Syrenuse area - and could have lunch with a view of glicine. 
White glicine, hotel Ambasciatori, Sorrento
My favorite white glicine coming into bloom, last week of March
Glicine is of course not an endemic plant. But it takes extremely well here in Campania and in Italy in general.  In Northern Italy, it would be mainly wisteria sinensis (China) a more robust plant, while here in the South you would also find wisteria floribunda, originally from Japan. The white wisteria which you find occasionally here on the Coast is a wisteria floribunda variety.
A part of the glicine walk, I mean, pergola, at Hotel Vittoria Excelsior, Sorrento. Picture taken in the second week of April
Glicine-clad entrance to Hotel Vittoria Excelsioir's grounds, Sorrento
Positano is my second favorite place when it comes to wisteria. Via Mulini is covered in its lower part by wisteria. So it is a great idea to walk down this alley towards the church of Santa Maria Assunta. 
And if you have missed the most beautiful flowers of wisteria, as it can be rather hot by now, go up to Anacapri and visit the Villa San Michele, where the pergola walk decked out with glicine is right now in full bloom ...
Glicine in the front garden of Hotel Royal, Sorrento, first week of April
Still, I have not yet mentioned Ravello yet, and Positano, where wisteria is particularly abundant, adorning the pastel houses of Positano, and growing vigorously in the famous gardens of Ravello, Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrione. But these will be other stories to tell on this blog ...
Villa San Michele, Anacapri, pergola with glicine in the first week of April. While everywhere else the glicine was just coming into bloom, here flowers come out 1-2 weeks later. So if you are late in the year, go there to inhale this extraordinary spring fragrance ...


2013-04-29

Discover Anacapri in spring

If you have the chance to visit Anacapri in spring, you can delve into a wealth of soft green foliage dotted with yellow spots - the Mediterranean macchia flowers, but also the yellow meadow flowers that you find everywhere here on Capri and the Amalfi coast. 
Fresh spring green all over Anacapri
My other blog "A Garden in Capri" has been running three posts on spring in Anacapri: one describes a walk into nature, along Via Caposcuro, amongst orchards in full bloom, and a misty view of Monte Solaro enveloped in the first yellow touches of euphorbia and ginestra (they will be coming into full bloom in late April and May). 
Breakfast at Bar Columbus, Anacapri
Before you start off your walk, you might want to try a delicious breakfast at Bar Columbus located conveniently next to the central Piazza Vittoria. Read more about the menu and lifestyle of Bar Columbus here. And then you might want to start exploring le boffe, the old town of Anacapri, to which I will dedicate quite a few posts a bit later on. 
Spring clouds are moving rather fast in the sky, but it is pleasantly warm in the sun, standing next to the ancient wall: Chiesa di San Michele, located at Piazza San Nicola.
Walk on towards the church of Santa Sofia, and visit the white church of San Michele situated at Piazza San Nicola next to the main route (pedestrian) of Via G. Orlandi. 
Savoring a spring day in front of the church of Santa Sofia. The plants on the balconies are slowly coming into bloom
Finally, take a look (and possibly lunch) at Trattoria Il Solitario, which feels like you are coming home to an Anacapri home and lush private garden which I have described here. Then walk back towards Piazza Vittoria and off you go along Via Axel Munthe, next to vegetable gardens and luxurious villas, to Villa San Michele, the house of Axel Munthe. 
A view of the flower-dotted spring meadows along Via Axel Munthe
Stroll through their garden dotted with a host of colorful spring flowers, from blue hydrangeas and forget-me-nots to tulips, narcissi and the first wisteria coming into bloom. Even peonies start opening their buds in early April. 
The pergola of San Michele - wisteria which is about to flower
A view down from the pergola, towards the Sorrento Peninsula and Vesuvius, which is momentarily shrouded in the mist
And if you are finally tired after walking around all the ups and downs and stairs to admire views, it is time to take a rest on top at Villa San Michele - in a whitish and stylish cafe called Café Oliv, named after Josef Oliv who was a close friend of Axel Munthe's. 
Take a rest amongst the tops of the pine trees ...
... promising yourself to be back soon when it is warmer and you can listen to the cicades and smell the pines in May
Take a long rest and enjoy one of the torta caprese variants, I mean torta caprese al limone or the chocolate variant, plus a caffé napoletano or a fine cup of tea = afternoon tea in Anacapri. It is heaven sitting there next to the tops of the pine trees with a view towards Ischia which you can see here on a clear day.
Torta caprese, caprilù sweet almond pastries, and tea with milk .. enjoyed in an exceptional place