“In the local dialect of Avellino, the Campanian province east of Naples, mesali means “tablecloths,” a sign of hospitality. Now, it is also the name of a new association of restaurants sprinkled around the mountains of Irpinia…

Irpinia’s rustic soups, homemade pastas, ricotta, legumes, black truffles, chestnuts, and heirloom fruits and vegetables, along with the area’s three DOCG wines — whites Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino and powerhouse red Taurasi — will have you baaing with pleasure.” — Faith Heller Willinger, Gourmet, January 2007 (Click to Read the Full Article)

The 11 member restuarants of this new gourmet food association in the Avellino Province (Irpinia) can be found at .  I have included some on my “Great Links” page – some do not have websites, but you can find contact details on the Mesali Website. Bon Appetito!

Italy Holiday Rental – Would you like to stay at Casa del Cipresso in Irpinia? Please contact us at . Copyright © 2007 All rights reserved.

Sant’Andrea Church - AmalfiSant’Andrea Church – Amalfi

The main piazza in Amalfi just has to be one of the most relaxing spots in the world…I could sit at an outdoor table and sip a glass of Tramonti wine for hours…off season that is.  The piazza gets pleasantly busy during Spring and Fall…but just enough so that people-watching becomes an art and the traditional evening stroll up and down the main drag is just lively enough. 

I don’t think I will ever stop being amused by Amalfi’s traffic light in town…yes…the only one…it controls “rush hour” so that a single car can squeeze (barely) up the road and the pedestrians quickly back up the the side of the buildings to avoid getting hit…can’t help it…it just amuses me every time.

Last winter, I came to the conclusion that winter was the absolute BEST time for a trip to Amalfi.  Firstly, we discovered that the temperate coastal weather is….well temperate 🙂  and even if it’s chilly and raining for the day up in the hills of Avellino, chances are good that by the time you drive the hour down to Amalfi, the sun wil be shining and you can leave your sweater in the car!  The streets and beach are wonderfuly deserted and there are no reservations needed at the restaurants…some are closed up for the off-season, yes, but that makes the choice easier…I figure it’s a good assumption that anywhere open in the off-season on the Amalfi Coast, must be getting a decent local crowd…who won’t put up with “tourist menu” food only! Many of the kitchy shops are closed too…don’t know if this is good or bad…but it does make for a more authentic-feeling stroll when you are not surrounded on all sides with kiosks selling the very same ceramics…maybe you can actually find something pretty and unique this trip? Oh…and another perk…plenty of parking!!  What a luxury that is on the Amalfi Coast! 

Be sure to take the time to visit the cathedral (although, the facade itself is rather impressive and the steps and exellent resting spot/place to eat your lemon gelato!) square of Amalfi. The original church dates back to the ninth century, but in 1203, it was completely rebuilt in “Arabo-Normanno” styles. The cathedral’s facade and gold mosaics were from a renovation in 1861. The bronze doors were actually casted in Costantinople in 1066, when Amalfi was a powerful republic.  You can also visit the cloister (the enterance will be on your left after you go up to the cathedral) and crypt (from 1253).

Next trip I think we will visit the paper museum (!)…something I always SAY I will do…and then never make it there!

As travelers journey down the fabled Amalfi Coast, their route takes them past rocky cliffs plunging into the sea and small boats lying in sandy coves like brightly colored fish. Erosion has contorted the rocks into shapes resembling figures from mythology and hollowed out fairy grottoes where the air is turquoise and the water an icy blue. In winter nativity scenes of moss and stone are created in the rocks.- Taken from, Amalfi Coast and Capri Overview

Obviously, after reading this…I just MUST be there next time before the festive Christmas season too! 

We had a lovely lunch at:

Ristorante Trattoria da Gemma    Ristorante Trattoria da Gemma
Via Frà Gerardo Sasso, 9
84011 Amalfi (SA)
Phone and Fax: +39 089 871345

(open off-season too!)

Amalfi in Winter

-When the tourists have gone from the Amalfi Coast Summer season, they are replaced by the old Southern Italian ways…we snapped this photo of local “Transportaion” on the main street in Amalfi in Winter! 


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