Southern Italy: A Photo Preview

Posted on
Apr 9, 2014
Posted in: Photos, Top Ten

Rand and I got home last night. Since we landed, I’ve been waging a losing battle against jet-lag. It is 9:15 am, and I really want to go to sleep, which, even if you take into account ALL of the time zones I’ve visited in the last few weeks, makes zero sense (depending on which location my body got stuck in, it is either 12:15pm or 5:15pm, neither of which are appropriate times for curling up and going to sleep). As best as I can figure out, I’m on Papua New Guinea time.

I have never been to Papua New Guinea, but it is presently 2:15 am Thursday there. Which feels about right.

As soon as we left Italy, Rand and I started to have a little bit of perspective on it. On our way home, we spent one more night in Germany, and two in Boston (I guess that counts as taking the scenic route), and when people asked how the Amalfi coast was, we both answered to effect of this:

It was beautiful. And stressful as hell.

Taking a photo in my grandparent’s village, presumably of a house I wanted to buy.

That, in brief, is southern Italy. It is lovely and infuriating. Something will inevitably happen that will cause me to think, “I’m never coming back here,” and then, in nearly the same breath, I’ll be planning our next trip to Naples and trying to convince my husband that we need to buy a summer home in my family’s village, which is hilarious for lots of reasons, not the least of which is this: we don’t even own a regular home, and I want to buy a summer one.

The entire country makes me absolutely lose my mind. I detest it. I can’t wait to go back.

Here’s a quick preview of our trip, via ten photos that my beloved husband took. They make me sad. They make me smile. They make me strangely homesick for a place that I’ve never lived.

They also make me sleepy. But that could be said of everything right now.

  1. Walking back to our hotel in Amalfi, under a hot Italian sun.

    Can’t decide whether I should wash that shirt, or burn it.

  2. View of Amalfi from one of our hikes. In the far distance, one of the large white hotels on the cliffside was ours.
  3. Rand and I near the center of town. The row of lights above us is from the cemetery, I think.
  4. The street in Frigento on which my grandfather bought a house, in an attempt to get my grandmother to head back to the village from America. It didn’t work. We still have the house.
  5. I have no idea what’s happening here, but I love it. (With my uncle, my aunt, and my not-so-little-anymore cousin in my great-aunt’s home).

  6. Rand discovers his new favorite dessert: amaretto cookies dipped in red wine.
  7. Family hike! I don’t know where we were going. I think there was a castle or something up on a hill (I realize none of that is helpful, but you guys, there are castles EVERYWHERE in Europe. You can’t walk five feet without bumping into one).
  8. The photo is blurry from the steam. Rand declared this pasta some of the best he’d ever had. It was hand rolled by my aunt and great-aunt in the village.
  9. Walking with my aunt Rosamaria along the limiti of town (The village sits at the summit of the mountain and extends downward. The limiti form a ring around the summit, where the center of town lies).
  10. This gentleman was amazing. His name is Marciano, and he stopped me in the street and asked me to whom I belonged. When he found out my mom’s last name, he took us to meet my third-cousin who lived down the road, and then showed us his workshop, where he made everything you see on the shelves.



Leave a Comment

  • Julie

    I am planning a trip to Italy later this year with my husband who has never traveled to Europe before. I have been all over Europe many times except Italy, and I keep wondering if it’s the right first experience for him. You mention it’s infuriating, so of course I’m curious to know why you thought as much?

    By the way, the Amalfi coast looks absolutely stunning and I’m dying to go!

  • What a wonderful experience, though! My grandfather came from Sicily–Cinisi or Terrasini from what I can find on I also know my great-grandfather built carts similar to the ones in your last picture. I’m heading to Florence in two weeks and am terribly excited for a chance to be in Italy at all, but there’s a part of me that would love to go to southern Italy and walk streets my grandfather might have also walked once. And the summer home makes sense to me! 🙂

  • I love the photos and the tidbits of stories. I agree with you about Italy and it being infuriating but somehow makes you want to return. I think you like it a bit more than I do, but even after three horrible trips there filled with pretty bad experiences, when my husband got word that he might be headed there for work I instantly got excited about visiting him. Springtime in Italy was calling my name! The trip didn’t end up going through, but still, it’s funny how that works.

  • Jay

    I’m heading to Italy this weekend. It’s my second time, my husband’s first, although I was 16 during the first trip so undoubtedly, this is going to be different. It usually seems like people either love it or hate it but I kind of like how you have a complicated relationship with the country. Also, I find when you have to ‘get shit done’ in a place not known for its efficiency, it’s easy to find it infuriating while the moments when you can go with the flow without worry are the times when you love the place.

  • Photo 10 is my absolute favorite! What an awesome story! I can just hear you carrying on in Italiano with that gentleman!

  • Haha. Everyone loves/hates Italy. There’s something in the wine/sauce/limoncello that makes me passionate about everything when I’m there. I can hardly stand myself. And then I cry when I have to leave. That said, I need the address of the shop with all the *things*. Trying to decide between a safari and a road trip through Italy with The Mister to celebrate my amazing birthday and our huge anniversary. Wondering aloud now if driving through Italy will make it our last anniversary together…. huh.

  • I absolutely love Italy and all of your pictures bring back great memories. So cool that you were able to connect with family and of course eat some amazing pasta!! Thanks for the post.

  • Scott

    I’m also wondering what is so stressful about it? I’m American and my wife is from Naples so we go and visit occasionally. We’re actually in northern Italy at the moment. But I love the amalfi coast. The way all the houses and buildings are built into the cliffs really makes you feel like you are somewhere different. Really different. It’s amazing. But I’ll tell you one thing this is stressful when I’m in that area. It’ visiting my wifes family. Their nice and everything, but they are load and every so called “nice conversation” sounds like an argument to me. I guess it’s a different way of communicating.

    • I get what you mean about loudness (and I write it being a neapolitan). Don’t ask me why that happens, tho…

  • Is likelyu most definitely can/may own a summer house and not a real house. We do. However, our summer house is “down the shore” in southern New Jersey, 1 hour from our apartment on Center City Philadelphia. I think living in Seattle and having a summer house one ocean and a continent and a half away might not be that practical. Plus, I suspect that the process of acquiring said house and maintaining it in Italy from that distance, is likely to make you certifiably insane.

  • I see the beard’s coming along nicely. An improvement.

    As for the rest – wow. See. I don’t know if the infuriating stuff is yet to come, but I forgot all about it when I saw those pictures. Check out that workshop! It’s like the whole village saying welcome, and why not rent a vespa and ride through the countryside like you’re in a movie?

  • First, “to whom do you belong” is the most awesome phrasing ever. And second, cookies dipped in wine?! Say no more!

  • I loved the Amalfi coast! Did you go to Capri and check out the Blue Grotto?! If not, you must go back! 🙂

  • This is so lovely – I love family and bumping into people and random castles. I’m taking Pad home to where I grew up for the first time this weekend, and I am so excited for him to love it as much as I did. You forget how charming small towns and villages are when you live in a place like London! x

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