Arrivederci, Italy!

So, where was I? Sorrento2011_4115It’s been long, too long. I’ve been hoping for some internet time that would let me pull you into a sidewalk cafe to tell you all about it over a dark espresso. Italy, sun-dazzled Italy. Sorrento2011_0087Here is my citrus-infused promise that all the sweetness we gathered from Tuscany and Rome and the coasts of Italy will be coming (and then on to the lowlands of Europe where we are presently sitting in sleekness and simplicity, sliding along canals and eating brown breads.)

For now, come onto the train with us from Sorrento to Florence. I was there, writing, and here you go, a week later. Pompeii2011_4153– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
We are moving past yellow homes with orange tile roofs under the tuscan clouds, which are high and thick and wide, balancing on the blue triangular hills. Olive trees squat, smoke clouds in the air here and there, and sun seeps through from a blue slat in the clouds and comes down to make patches of grass neon green on a hill somewhere. It’s hard to write when there is so much pressing down on my fingers that all wants to pour out at once, like the waterfalls bulging from the rains yesterday, the rivulets piling up in stone corridors running off from spaces between cobblestones. Amalfi2011_0149

We have been in Italy three days. It is hard to sum: the cobalt tiles and the paint falling off geometric buildings in swatches, the towers standing on cliffs, the happy twirl of the language that winds its way around stone corners, over flocks of pigeons, and into pasticerrias piled with ricotta and pera (pear) pastries. Italy is slow, inefficient, and falling apart, but somehow, the muted colors and the drama of rock cliffs sliced off to show white hotels and bridges of roman arches stuck onto the precipices like felt to a board, the terraced hills of fruit trees just go to show that inefficiency can be refreshing, and it can be necessary.

We’re passing a sage pond, the trees like the ones I imagine on safaris, with one thin trunk supporting fat pillows of dark green needles, making a walkway for the birds high up in the air, towns grouped in valleys below.

Sorrento and the Amalfi coast sit on the southwest coast of Italy. Sorrento is a tourist Riviera of gelato shops and palm trees and smooth-faced hotels with balconies and dark green shutters, and shops with shoes and umbrellas and silk scarves. We stayed three nights in the Antiche Mura hotel, complete with a pool surrounded by lemon and pink flowering trees, a breakfast with (I kid you not) 30 plates of cookies and fresh orange juice (plus all the Italian meats, cheeses, and pastries). Bon appetit on repeat!
Buon giorno, hotel garden!

My memories of this airy place will be piled with foods. Vaniglia sorrentina (vanilla lemon peel gelato). Pizza, famous from the nearby Napoli (neopolitan) with a light soft crust and pure sauce. Gnocchi.
Lemons the size of softballs, and churches swarming with mystique and relics, brilliant flowers planted everywhere.
There was so, so much more. There are times in Europe when I’m hobbling over huge stones and thinking “I learned about this, I did”. Pompei, the Collosseum, the Roman Forum, Michaelangelo’s David . . . all of these in all their grand, chiseled glory are coming, in time. But for now, I’m taking the quiet walks in the sun licking pastel gelato as stores close for the evening, and preserving them in a big bottle of limoncello, and sending it in the mail to you.
We had a beautiful trip, and now we can take a deep whiff of new memories. There is something about savoring memories for the first time while they are sharp and fresh that I love.
Amalfi2011_0123Arrivederci, Italia! Buon giorno, memories!

14 Responses to “Arrivederci, Italy!”

  1. thanks for making me feel, for a minute, like i was somewhere besides ohio. 🙂

    1. Anytime:).

  2. Hi Alie – I’m Jan’s cousin Renee (Gordon Lewis’ aunt.) I wanted to let you know that I look for your blog daily. I am rich in family, but “poor” in travel. I have never been–and may never be–able to travel as you have. I want to thank you for sharing the spectacular pictures and lovely narrative of your experiences. I drink in both–as often as they are available! I feel as if I am able to share your discoveries, and “see” things I may never have the opportunity to experience in person. Papa’s blessings to you, and I’m glad you’re part of our family! (second-cousin–I think…) Renee

    1. Wow! This is amazing! Thank you so much for reading:). Perhaps someday we’ll meet in person (unless I already have; I simply can’t keep track of all the relatives, no matter how hard I try!!)

  3. Oh my goodness. Your trip looks exceptional. I love what you were seeing. The cobalt tiles: WOWZA! The views: Amazing!
    So funny that Darcy of My 3 Boybarians did an interview for me today and she was talking about Italy, and I was totally wanting to see some Italy pictures. Thank you : ) I am glad you had such a wonderful adventure.

    1. I read that interview! Perfect timing, indeed:). Thanks for the interview, and thanks for the comment!

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  5. The inefficiency, I don’t think I’d appreciate. The Neopolitan pizza, that I would love. But gnocchi…. you could just come to Texas, and I’d make you some. Oh wait, you already make your own anyway…

  6. Memories of my trip to Italy in 2005 came flooding back to me. I traveled around italy for 3 almost 4 weeks. Fell in love with their country, culture and lifestyle. You captured Italy beautifully! xoxo

  7. Wow..those are gorgeous…LOVE that last image!

  8. They are all so unique, but that last one is simple stunning.

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  10. I want to be in Italy right now! I’m hoping to go back this fall and stay at a vineyard in Tuscany and drink wine and eat cheese, and of course eat gelato! I have a lot of catching up to do on your blog. I was busy April 7-17th since two of my college roommates came to visit! We had a great time in Amsterdam, France, and here in Germany. I’m headed to London in a week to meet up with a friend. Hope all is well. <3 you!

    1. Goodness, girl, you’re getting around! Lucky to be in London:). Enjoy, friend!

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