Why You Need to Travel to the Amalfi Coast Now

Haven’t planned that well-deserved summer vacay yet? Not to worry! We tapped Pavia Rosati, co-founder of popular travel site Fathom, for her take on this summer’s go-to vacation destination. Her response? The Amalfi Coast, a picturesque coastline situated in Southern Italy.

“There’s nothing new about the Amalfi Coast,” says Rosati, “but it’s the nicest place to be. The weather is perfect, the people are nice, the food is amazing, and the setting is just gorgeous.” It’s no wonder that celebrities like Beyoncé, Reese Witherspoon, and Lauren Conrad have all spent time in the stunning location.

Instead of staying in the heart of well-known hubs like Positano or Sorrento, which Rosati says can get quite crowded during the summer months, she suggests opting for smaller boutique hotels on the outskirts of town, like La Minervetta: “Think: pretty ceramic tiles, bright, saturated colors, and high design,” says Rosati. “Casa Angelina is also exquisite. Really, really beautiful.”

In addition to scoring some R&R on the outrageously turquoise sea, Rosati advises visitors to “have a really lovely cultural day.” A local train will take you right to the striking ruins of Herculaneum, situated near the base of Mount Vesuvius.

For a proper Italian meal, Rosati swears by Lo Scoglio, a favorite eatery of notables like Steven Spielberg and Diane von Furstenberg. “It’s a family-run, mellow, unpretentious, down-to-earth place,” she explains. “But because it has all these incredible qualities and is situated right on the water, it’s a super glamorous spot.”

So what is it about the Amalfi Coast that makes it such a hot spot, year after year? “Summertime is when people just want a sure thing, they want to be surrounded by fun energy, they want to be surrounded by other people who are in it to be relaxed and easy,” says Rosati. “Summertime is, ‘I want to shut down, I want another bottle of rosé before noon, and a bowl of spaghetti. And then another bottle of rosé.'”

We are so in.


Pernille Teisbaek’s Amalfi Coast Avventura Is As Stylish As You Would Expect

JULY 20, 2016 6:02 PM by MARJON CARLOS

Capri Faraglioni

Between advantageous views of the Mediterranean coastline and the comely actor Gerard Butler hanging poolside at her hotel in Positano, it would seem Pernille Teisbaek’s recent trip to the Amalfi Coast with her boyfriend was well worth writing home about. Road-tripping though Ravello, Sorrento, and finally landing in Capri, the Danish stylist explored the area’s secluded villas and lush gardens in between sips of—what else?—rosé and bites of homemade pasta from a restaurant neighboring Sophia Loren’s former villa. And just like the Italian bombshell, Teisbaek leisurely sunbathed against rockbound cliffs and later wrapped herself up in a white robe, kicking up her Miu Miu heels. Because, despite the vacation vibes and warm climes, the street style maven hardly abandoned fashion, dressing up in J.W.Anderson for tours of the rock-cluster Faraglioni and in Gucci bombers for walks around the local square in Capri (naturally). After all, as she explained, the island possesses an Old Hollywood feel that deserves an equally glamorous wardrobe.

Above, Teisbaek reveals the stylish details of her Mediterranean avventura.

Director Gia Coppola and a Gucci-clad cast retell the Orpheus Myth on the streets of New York.

Produced for Vogue with Gucci.

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Happy Hour: the Aperitivo

Happy Hour the Aperitivo

A time-honored custom neatly ingrained into the rhythm of Italian life is the aperitivo, otherwise known as happy hour. From late afternoon until dinner time the bars become a gathering place for meeting with friends, relaxing at an outdoor table, people-watching, and enjoying a pre-meal drink.
Aperitivi, said to stimulate the appetite, are normally lightly alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Popular choices are liqueurs that are slightly-bitter yet slightly-sweet, like Campari or Aperol with soda, or nonalcoholic versions such as Crodino (my personal favorite) and SanBitter. If bitter isn’t your taste, you can always fall back on a glass of wine, which tends to be a smaller serving than you’d consume with a meal. Prosecco is also a perennial favorite.
For travelers this ritual is a great opportunity to rest your feet and have a snack while waiting for restaurants to open. A wonderful benefit to taking an aperitivo is that for the price of your drink you also receive a plate of munchies called stuzzichini, little nibbles to sate your appetite while sipping your drink. They may be as simple as small rounds of bread topped with salami, but frequently include tastes of the local specialty items and serve to tide you over until the dinner hour. Now that’s something to be happy about.

Empty streets during riposo time

Getting The Rhythm

Empty streets during riposo time

Part of the joy of traveling in Italy is experiencing the rhythm of the day. There is a cycle that takes place in most towns and it is soothing and reassuring to have such a pace. Outside the large cities, most shops close in the afternoon for several hours then reopen in the late afternoon for a couple of hours. Sunday is still a day of rest. For visitors it can present a relaxing atmosphere, but also presents some challenges. Here are a few tips to help you adjust to Italy’s schedule.

•Plan Ahead. When planning your sightseeing, make note in advance of opening hours. Many museums and churches close during the afternoon for the period we call riposo and take a siesta. It’s best to know ahead of time rather than arrive at a coveted place only to find the doors locked tight. Many museums are also closed on Mondays.

•Become a morning person. Make the most of the mornings, when you’re much more likely to find opening hours. Keep in mind that many of the alimentari (and even many supermarkets) close for riposo at 1:00 p.m.

•Forget the dine and dash lunch. Don’t rush through lunch because you’ll have a few hours to spare anyway. Reopening hours vary, but generally range between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. So go ahead and have a leisurely meal. You’re on vacation, after all!

•Take a nap. Or read, write postcards, or plan your next day’s adventures. Afternoon riposo is very conducive to any of these activities.

•Stroll the streets. Many smaller towns are utterly silent in the mid-afternoon. It can present you with a wonderful opportunity for your photos, and a chance to experience a place as if it is all yours.

•Park yourself. Most parks and gardens have open access when you find everything else shuttered. Wander a park and enjoy the songbirds. Or, alternatively, park yourself in a bar, enjoy a drink, and chat with the patrons.

B.Y.O.B. – And Fill It Up

cantina for vino sfuso
A unique store found in many Italian towns is the cantina for vino sfuso. Literally translated as ‘loose wine’, they sell you their vintages by the liter, siphoned directly from the barrel into the bottle that you provide. Many people keep five liter jugs – one for red and one for white wine – to be refilled weekly.
The stores are normally small, and often they do not have signs. You may need to ask someone where to find a vino sfuso shop, but once you’ve located the place you can buy decent (and sometimes, fantastic), locally-produced wine at rock-bottom prices. Some offer the premium regional varietals; others have a rather generic homemade ‘red’ or ‘white’ vino da tavola. Normally you are allowed to taste before buying.
If you cannot locate a sfuso shop in town, many wineries also offer the option to buy wine from the barrels, but don’t forget that this is strictly a BYOB operation. Keeping a one-liter water bottle or two in the car while you’re out touring is a good idea, so when you happen upon a winery you can get your fruit of the vine directly from the barrel.

Emigrants leaving Italy for the Americas

Return to the Old Country

Emigrants leaving Italy for the Americas

From the 1870s through the 1950s Italy saw great waves of emigrants leave her shores in search of opportunity. From 1880-1920, an estimated four million Italians arrived in America. Later waves left for Australia and South American countries such as Venezuela and Brazil.
Today, many descendants of those immigrants are returning to Italy, planning their vacations as a pilgrimage of sorts, searching for genealogical records and to see where their families originated. It can be a very rewarding experience. If you’re planning such a trip, here are a few tips.
• The comune (town) website should have basic information about the town, population, and businesses. Search from this database. www.comuni-italiani.it is a good starting point.
• The local church may be a helpful resource for records, as well. Obtain a list of the town’s parishes and try contacting the priest for baptismal, death, or marriage records.
• If you’ll be searching for genealogical records such as birth certificates, marriage records and death certificates, you’ll want to visit the Municipio office (town hall) during your visit. Be sure to check beforehand for their hours of operation as many are open only in the morning. You’ll need to time your visit accordingly.
• The Ellis Island website (www.ellisisland.org) offers not only an extensive database of passenger records, but helpful hints and free charts and forms to assist in your genealogical search.
• Because most of our ancestors came from rather remote locations in rural southern Italy, it can be difficult to find information on these towns for trip-planning. There may be few B&Bs, hotels or restaurants in that area. Consult the map and determine the nearest sizeable towns where you are likely to find services. Don’t forget that Summer In Italy has hundreds of weekly rental accommodations throughout southern Italy and can try to help you locate something close to your location.
• For fun, find the dispersion of your family’s name throughout Italy. On the Gens site (http://gens.labo.net) you enter the surname (cognome) and it shows where families with that name reside.
• Take photos of your ancestors with you to help you connect with the townspeople when you arrive. Tell everyone you meet that your family member came from there. Most are inherently proud of their town and are happy when descendants make the effort to visit these locales to discover their cultural heritage.

Be Italian: Moka

Waking in your vacation rental – especially with jetlag – will doubtless have you wanting your morning cup of caffeine to start your day. In Italy, 90% of homes contain the coffee-brewing contraption known as a Moka pot. Invented in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti, the little device brought coffee to the masses. It makes a more intense, yet smooth, cup of coffee. Available in myriad designs and a multitude of sizes – from the baby one cupper up to the behemoth twelve cup pot – the principle for using all of them is the same.

Unscrew the top receptacle and pull out the funnel-shaped filter. Fill the bottom chamber with water up to the pressure release valve, then reinsert the filter. Add ground coffee, filling it all the way for the full rev-up caffeine fix, or a bit less if you prefer your coffee with a little less “oomph”. Screw the top on tightly, then place the pot on a stove-top burner over medium heat. Steam forces the water up through the grounds and into the upper chamber. When it starts spitting and sputtering you know it’s ready.

Milk is normally heated in a metal container on the stove-top to make caffé latte in the morning, and we Italians, being sweet-natured, like to sugar our coffee. However you take yours, the Moka will get your day started the Italian way.

Conversion Tables

Conversion Tables
Gioconda’s Kitchen: Conversion Tables
Italian recipes often come with ingredients measured using the metric system. That might be confusing, unless you have Gioconda’s conversion tables handy…
Grams (gr), ounces (oz) and pounds (lb)

100 gr = 3.5 oz
200 gr = 7.0 oz
300 gr = 10.5 oz
400 gr = 14.0 oz
500 gr = 17.5 oz = 1 lb 1.5 oz
600 gr = 21.0 oz = 1 lb 5.0 oz
700 gr = 24.5 oz = 1 lb 8.5 oz
800 gr = 28.0 oz = 1 lb 12.0 oz
900 gr = 31.5 oz = 1 lb 15.5 oz

Milliliters (ml), liters (l), gills and pints

100 ml = 0.1 l = 0.84 gills = 0.21 pints
200 ml = 0.2 l = 1.69 gills = 0.42 pints
300 ml = 0.3 l = 2.53 gills = 0.63 pints
400 ml = 0.4 l = 3.38 gills = 0.84 pints
500 ml = 0.5 l = 1.05 pints
600 ml = 0.6 l = 1.26 pints
700 ml = 0.7 l = 1.47 pints
800 ml = 0.8 l = 1.69 pints
900 ml = 0.9 l = 1.90 pints

The Italian Flag

The Italian flag, better known as the “Tricolore” (tricolour flag), was born as an official state flag in 1797. It was first adopted by the Napoleon Bonaparte’s Cispadane Republic. The three chosen colors were green (like the uniforms of the Lombard Legion), white and red (which were the colors of the flag of the city of Milan). Some would say that green is for the plains and the hills, white is for the snow of the Alps, and red is for the blood spilt during the Independence wars (which were actually fought only later, between 1848 and 1866).

Since those times there have been a number of variations, always respecting the original colors, as the many states into which modern-day Italy was divided started to pool together to form a single country. After unification, the Tricolore remained the flag of the Kingdom of Italy for 85 years, bearing the coat of arms of the House of Savoy. This was eventually replaced by the plain modern-day Tricolore in 1943, which then became the flag of the Italian Republic in 1948.

The passion of the Italians for their flag was made apparent in 2003, when the colors of were to be defined according to specific Pantone hues. In past years, the colors have been at times brighter, at others times darker, but the flag has always been uniquely Italian, regardless of its shade. If the Italians are going to commit to three specified colors, they are going to choose the absolutely right ones, of course. So a big argument ensued, and Italians debated until their arms got tired. Eventually they decided on ‘fern green,’ ‘bright white,’ and ‘flame scarlet’, but I get the feeling that the issue is still open to debate in some circles.