When Goethe described the Amalfi Coast in the mid-19th century, he was impressed. The German writer’s trip to southern Italy (as a guest at a 12th-century monastery founded by the Franciscans, now better known as the Hotel Luna in Amalfi) does not have the characteristics of the Grand Tour followed by many rich young people from northern Europe had connected. in search of the classicism so dear to him and to the great travelers of the Italian journey. This obligatory route, enchanted for centuries and starting in Salerno (Vietri sul mare, famous worldwide for its ceramics), inaugurated in 1853 by Ferdinand of Bourbon II, arriving in Positano and then heading to the Sorrento coast, has always been one A refuge for glamorous tourists, intellectuals and lateral thinkers. Does anyone remember Jacklin Kennedy’s walks?with the red and white checked shirt, smiling and barefoot through the streets of Amalfi, accompanied by an enterprising young man, Gianni Agnelli.
Others think of some insights into Paisà (1948) by Roberto Rossellini. The soldiers arrive at an abandoned Maiori; The Germans are on the run and the population is barricaded in the monastery of S. Domenico. This is followed by films such as “The Bad Killing Machine” and “Journey to Italy” with Ingrid Bergman. Not to mention that in 1953, my uncle, then a young medical graduate, was stopped on the bus from Naples to Vietri sul mare by two guys named Humphrey Bogart and John Huston for directions to Ravello. The film would have been called Beat the Devil (1953), written by Truman Capote. There is still a memorial plaque in the small square in Ravello commemorating this event.
In Ravello, Wagner composed his second act of Parsifal on the steps of Villa Rufolo in May 1880. For years, Ravello has welcomed not only polyphonic but also love outbursts like the famous one between Greta Garbo and the composer Leopold Stokowsky (composer of Disney’s Fantasia, to give you an idea). Gore Vidal, an “uncomfortable” American writer, lived for more than thirty years in his wonderful Rondinaia, a villa overlooking the sea, purchased in 1927 by Countess Szecheney, daughter of Ernest William Beckett, and designed by the Ravello genius Francesco Amato was built.
The author moderated Hundreds of Hollywood showbiz characters who walked through the streets of Ravello. Today Ravello is known as a concert city. Last but not least, the beautiful villa that an English general bought in Positano after the war and later sold Franco Zeffirelli where, with his friend Rudolph Nureyev, a world-famous Russian dancer and choreographer, he asked the citizens of Amalfi for citizenship to live as hermits on the islands of the Gauls (opposite Positano), but above all far from an overly conformist and arrogant Russia (history repeats itself). The opera-loving Italian director and the Russian dancer naturalized from Amalfi spent many summers thinking about the Neapolitan nature and the gestures of the locals’ movements. Maybe thanks to another neighbor, Eduardo De Filippo, who, next to the Galli Islands, had bought the island that we called De Filippo.
But time passes for everyone and fashion changes, I myself find slightly faded photos that show my mother and her sisters barefoot in the streets of Positano, fashionably dressed in clothes by Pepito (a tailor from Positano, in the late 70s Linen coats throws).
Today huge yachts occupy the bays of Amalfi, Positano and Praiano. It’s all very mysterious, crowded and otherwise hip. The limoncello that used to be negotiated at the doors of the farmers of Atrani for a delicious bottle, or the anchovy colatura carefully harvested by the Cetareese fishermen, are no longer available today.
You have a franchise, a small shop with printed labels in Correggio or Novara. The leather smell of handmade sandals is no longer in the air. Yet somehow all these characters from the past still float today not only in the memories of those who experienced them, saw them or listened to them, but also in the glimpses of some very narrow streets that were built to more easily prevent Saracen incursions . The colors that this route inevitably offers in a single obligatory path that varies from city to city gave Flavio Gioia the intuition to invent the marine compass.
This was perhaps the mystical fraud of those who followed his path. But the coast remains fascinating and mysterious, changing with the seasons. However, if you visit Pasticceria Pansa in Amalfi, you can still get an idea of what the elegant and glamorous coast looked like in the 60s/70s. If you take a small boat from Lucibello to Positano At Tonnarella you can still go to lunch barefoot. And when the evening falls, you can feel a romantic breeze in the golden waves of the little locomotive that takes you home, a little wind that brings you home every evening like a long time ago.
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