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Sunday, 24 May 2015

MASSA LUBRENSE - A TERRITORY WORTH PROMOTING

Marina Lobra
Last week I was asked by the local town council of Massa Lubrense to take part in a TV programme which the  RAI (Italian national TV) was filming in this area.
The producers had specifically asked for the participation of a long-standing or should I say "long in the tooth" expat, and it seems that the natural choice was me.
Had I known what it would have entailed, I might not have been so willing...
Vervece Rock
As my friends all know, I am not the best of sailors. Infact I only have to look at a boat bobbing up and down on the sea to feel queasy. That is probably why I am such a keen hiker. I like to keep my feet on the ground. 
I had mistakenly presumed that they would want me to walk a few trails and expound on the delights of this area. Wrong! The first 3 hours plus were on a boat. 
rounding Punta Campanella
We set off from Marina Lobra, Massa's harbour, aiming for the Vervece rock with its underwater shrine. An awful lot of time  was spent here filming some scuba divers from the local marine reserve. Luckily the captain of our boat kept it moving round and round the rock since it is at anchor that I have very little resistance. We then proceeeded to sail round Punta Campanella to the fantastically beautiful Bay of Jeranto and on to Marina del Cantone where we arrived mid-afternoon and famished.
Bay of Jeranto from above
Off the boat I felt a lot sicker than I had on it (unbeknown to me I was coming down with a virus). It was also very hot and after a quick lunch, we (the ex-pat, a student and a journalist) were positioned on the beach under the sun to be introduced to the future viewers of the programme. We then hung around for a while whilst the presenter interviewed a few of the sunbathers  and one of the local restaurants prepared a plate of our  famous local dish, spaghetti with zucchini. This was placed artistically on a table at the water's edge for us to admire and taste. At that point I was really not feeling very well at all and it took a super-human effort to force the pasta down and look appreciative.
Marina del Cantone
Back to the boat, back to Marina Lobra, into the cars and off to a local agriturismo for....cheese making and tasting. By then I was feeling so bad that the last thing I wanted to do was taste or smell anything, let alone cheese. First though we had to stroll through a lemon grove admiring the lemons hanging in their dozens from the branches. Jugs of freshly squeezed lemon juice in chilled water appeared as if by magic before we watched the cheese making. And of course then we had to taste it. At this point all I could do was pretend and pray that I didn't disgrace myself.
Meantime it was almost dark and time for us to  decide which aspect of Massa Lubrense was its main selling point: the territory, the food and local produce or the hospitality.
This for me was a no-brainer.  Its territory is what makes it unique. The fact that there are many excellent restaurants, ranging from the well-known Michelin-starred to the more humble trattorias, delicious home-grown  produce and a vast variety of hotels, B&Bs and agriturismi is of course a plus. For me however it is Massa's perfect combination of sea and countryside, blues and greens, combined with its profound historical origins that make it what it is: an ideal place for nature lovers and sea lovers alike, for those who are happy on boats and for those who, like me, prefer to keep  their feet firmly on the ground.

For anyone interested, the programme "Sereno Variabile" will be on air on RAI2 on 14th June at lunchtime. If I look a little jaded by the end, you now know why!



photo of the Vervece by courtesy of www.torrecangiani.com


 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Something a little different - the marinas of Seiano and Vico Equense

Marina d'Equa from above
beach in Marina d'Equa
In all my many years of living in this area, I had never been  to Seiano's Marina D'Equa,  nor to the marina of Vico Equense. 
So a few Sundays ago, we decided to do some exploring.
The easiest way to get there, if you are staying in or near Sorrento, is by train, getting off in Seiano and returning from Vico Equense (or vice versa).
Vico's marina
Walk up the main road from the station and head into the "centre" of Seiano at the bend until you get to the little square. Take Via Santa Maria Vecchia, a quaint alleyway that becomes steps before emerging onto a road. Turn left here and you will shortly pass beneath a building and come out at the marina.
Here you can go first to the left past the Axidie Resort where there is  a small beach. Then retrace your steps, pass the harbour and walk along  the seafront until you come to another beach. Walk over this  and once past the remains of  a Roman villa (not particularly evident), you will come to some steps (Via Pezzolo). There are rather a lot of these steps and they are fairly steep, but they will eventually take you to Vico Equense. 
Walk through Vico (it is only small) and take the Via Castello Marina. This is an extremely pleasant lane that becomes a path leading directly down to  the beach. When we went it was a Sunday in low season, so it was not at all crowded as you can see from the photos. I shudder to think what it is like in July and August..
Go along the seafront to the end and now you will have to walk up along the road meandering back up to Vico. Unfortunately the more direct path has been closed for years due to a landslide. However, the views are not to be sniffed at and the slope is really not too steep.
All in all, if you fancy a fairly short relaxing walk and like the sea, then this could be the walk for you.

More photos of: Marina d'Equa, Vico Equense and not only.

View from the path going down to Vico Marina

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A SHORT BUT PRETTY WALK - RECOMMONE from MARINA DEL CANTONE


For anyone who doesn't really want to walk for miles and miles, but who appreciates beautiful scenery, then the walk from Marina del Cantone to Recommone and back is the one for you.
If you want to make the walk longer, then you can set off from Termini (further away) or Nerano (nearer), and either walk back to your starting point or take the local bus. A  description of the longer hike can be found on my website:
When you arrive down in Marina del Cantone, go down the steps to the side of the hotel Taverna del Capitano and onto the beach. Having admired the picturesque bay with its characteristic 3 "peaks" to the right, go to the far left where at  the side of the very last restaurant, Il Cantuccio,  you will find the path. Follow this and you cannot go wrong: there are no turnings at all and it takes you straight to Recommone.
Near to the start of the walk there is a tiny little house to your left and if you look to your right,  the whole of the bay, from its far-most tip to the main beach, is before you. In the summer the beach is cram-jam full of sunbeds and sun umbrellas and the sea buzzes with boats of every size and shape. Out of season peace reigns and you can start to imagine how it was many years ago, before the restaurants, before the hotels, before the jetties, and when the only boats were fishing boats.
If you would like to see Marina del Cantone many years ago, have a look at my Blog "Once upon a time Marina del Cantone"!
Back to our walk...continue along the path and you will come to a wooden bench where you can pause and catch your breath (if you need to) or simply sit for a while enjoying your surroundings.
Set off again and you will soon catch your first glimpse of one of the ancient defence towers dotted along this coast. It is rather dilapidated now with plants growing between its stones, but still standing. Once you reach the tower, the path starts to descend fairly steeply towards the beach. Between the trees, you will have views of the bay of Recommone, the Scruopolo rock, with the island of Isca and the Li Galli islands beyond. In the far distance the village of Vettica di Praiano clings to the hillside.
Once you get to the bottom of the steps, you will see a wall with a large open gate leading onto the beach. You have arrived!



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