Silver Anniversary at Aurora Hotel

In primo piano

Joe and FlorenceThe silver anniversary is a milestone! In the good or the bad times you have spent a half of your life together. How much to remember, you guys came a long way!

Joe and Florence from Canada chose to come to Italy to celebrate their 25th Wedding Anniversary and during their holiday in Amalfi, in the privacy of our garden, they renewed their commitment by saying ‘I do’ all over again.


The staff and I were all excited because to witness a love story from overseas was a huge privilege. During the readings of love poems the emotions rose up and the tears dropped when Joe pledged his love again and gave the ring……….. A ring always has a very special meaning! How sweet, these two guys we will never forget, thanks again for being part of such good memories forever!



The Master of Ceremonies and I would like to dedicate to Joe and Florence a small poem of our favourite Italian poet Alda Merini

there is a place in the word where the heart beats strong

where the breath goes away

and you are really touched

where the time stops

and you are not young anymore

That place is in your arms

where the heart never gets old

and the mind never stops dreaming




Lemon Tour in Amalfi

In primo piano


On a lazy sunny afternoon sipping a drink with our friend Sal, we tried to convince him to take us for a short visit to see his wonderful lemon gardens. He gracefully accepted but he was also a bit concerned because when old friends have not seen them for many years something strange could happen. An appointment was made for the next day at 10am but Sonya and I wanted to be treated like simple clients who take the tour daily, so we asked if he would come to collect us with his funny electric lemon car at the bottom of the steps of the St. Andrea Cathedral in central Amalfi.



He drove very carefully and had to make several beeps (as the electric car is silent) to warn the few tourists that were wandering around for some early shopping.


Sal and his brother are the fourth generation of lemon farmers. He resigned from his boring job as a business consultant and moved back to manage the lemon gardens. They produce a wide selection of limoncello and herb liqueurs in their distillery and they have also a retail shop in the main square of Amalfi called ‘La Valle  dei Mulini’.



But the shop is nothing compared to the stunning Lemon gardens: they are amazing! The beauty and the excellent yields are due to the hard work of Gigino, their father, now known as the “King of lemons”. He is eighty and he still gets up at 5 in the morning and works tirelessly all day long in his garden. He knows each lemon plant, he keeps the secrets of how to make pergolas, how to cultivate without the insects, how to  strengthen the weaker plants. He was the wizard of lemons before he became the king!



Our wonderful tour ended seated in front of a fresh lemonade and a delicious slice of homemade lemon cake. We declined the limoncello tasting because we wanted to remain sober during the day at least. W rested on the hammock and we did not want to leave. When you visit heaven you want to stay…….




How to beat the heat in Amalfi

water gym in Amalfi

water gym in Amalfi

The heat wave doesn’t seem to want to end. We realised during last May that we would have an exceptional summer because the temperature did not fall below 28-30 C but nobody knew how long it could last.

No way! Now towards the end of July the record highest temperature is 41 C! How to beat the heat in Amalfi when the sun cracks your head?

DSCN2276The water gym for the early birds can be the right choice: look at these ladies (from 10 up to 70 years old) at 7.30am. They all are happy: husband and children sleep quietly at home, no cooking yet or queueing to make shopping.  I personally join the lesson with them and I’ve never felt so fresh  and dry until noon…. A very good suggestion for my guests.

water-gym in Amalfi

water-gym in Amalfi

The lesson lasts one hour until 8.30 am then you can go completely wet back to the hotel and even have breakfast ‘al fresco’ to start a very pleasant day!

The trainer Rosaria is very friendly and helpful and the lesson fee is very affordable just 5.00 euro per person


…. and we had also our breakfast with pastries and little cakes on the beach thank to habit of locals to celebrate every anniversary!


That’s the Amalfi life…Do not miss!!!!

Opening exhibition at Aurora Hotel

opening exhibition

The opening exhibition day of ‘Ceramic artist walk’ at Aurora Hotel involved a broad mix of friends and customers. We are aiming to make the hotel a place where people can meet each other and enjoy cultural and social activities together. Everybody met the artist and had a look at the brochure and most of our visitors also tasted some local appetizers! A simple party, a different way of being together, more relaxed and deeply involved in the local life!

Daniela Carrano ‘ Hotel Aurora ‘ Amalfi


Vasari photographer at Aurora Hotel

Alessandro Vasari at Aurora Hotel

Alessandro Vasari at Aurora Hotel

Having one of the most important descendants of Italian photography to take pictures at the Aurora Hotel was both an honour and a pleasure at the same time.

P1040388 Helping him to move equipment and placing the set was much harder work but great fun!

P1040390P1040408Alessandro Vasari is an artist and a perfectionist, highly professional but very very friendly even with us far from expert assistants.

P1040395 It has been a great experience for all of us and we can never thank him enough. People come and go, but some seems to remain for ever.


Artistic walk at Hotel Aurora


Franz Brugman - The Syrens

Franz Brugman – The Syrens

The Aurora Hotel (Amalfi) will host for the entire 2015 season an artistic walk of the last ceramists from the Amalfi Coast.

A loving match between locals and foreign artists where everyone brought his or her own identity into the ceramic art as an example of extraordinary sharing.

Franz Brugman is considered to be the last representative of the ‘German period’ of Ceramic art in the Amalfi Coast and his multicoloured tiles shows the influences of the Esopo tales on human morality.

Fausto LUBELLI with his Odyssey of Pulcinella tells the story of Ulisse, the first traveller who discovered his identity through a long lasting trip;

Fausto Lubelli - The archery

Fausto Lubelli – The archery

Fausto Lubelli - The Odyssey of Pulcinella

Fausto Lubelli – The Odyssey of Pulcinella

Fausto Lubelli - Penelopy

Fausto Lubelli – Penelopy

Fausto Lubelli - Pulcinella

Fausto Lubelli – Pulcinella

Lucio Liguori researches particular colours using the RAKU techniques to brighten the grotesque figures in his artistic creations.

The panel with decoration of San Chiara Cloister symbolizes the garden of delights in contrast to the cloistered convent.

The lamps of Pinto Ceramica are decorated with mother-of-pearl polish to give an extraordinary brightness.

Ceramic is everywhere in the Aurora Hotel and the sense of community between foreigners and locals is still living in here: please come and see!

Franz Brugman - The Birds

Franz Brugman – The Birds


Amalfi traditional food: bread-biscuits

Amalfi traditional food

Amalfi traditional food

Round and salty the bread biscuits are typical of Agerola, a small village up in the hilly area above the Amalfi Coast. they are twice-baked for at least 12 hours, and the heat of the first cooking (when the bread is made) to make them very crunchy and dry. They are made from whole wheat flour or rye flour and always with a yeast base.

Amalfi traditional food

Amalfi traditional food

In this area of Italy until about 30 years ago, when people were not very well-off, each family had their own wood oven and they made biscuits with the bread production only once or twice a month.

DSCN1674People used to lend the yeast base to their neighbours and then they would keep the yeast base “living” for other local families. This cooperation was a very important part of village life! Most people were quite poor and therefore they really helped each other. Time was important to cultivate crops and to feed the animals in the stables. Bread biscuit were very known during the Angioin era for supplying bread to the navy during the long war campaigns.

DSCN1675Today these Amalfi traditional food ‘bread-biscuits’ are very welcome on our table for a quick lunch, dinner or a short break and they are indeed very, very healthy and tasty.

I illustrate how we prepare them:

Soak the biscuits in a bowl of fresh water and then put them into a dish and add chopped tomatoes, garlic, onions, oregan, basil, salty anchovies and red pepper. Then add a little olive oil and a glass of good red wine. This course is called ‘Caponata’ in the Amalfi Coast but don’t ask for that in Sicily as they would serve you some fried mixed vegetables!

Buon appetito!


Baking lesson in Amalfi

Off season is the best time to enjoy a baking lesson in Amalfi. baking lessonAnny and I would like to retrieve some old pastry recipes passed on generation but still living today. We have never forgotten the afternoon snack made by our grannies! baking lesson at Daniela home Sal a young maître-patissier very expert in traditional home-made cakes revealed us his secrets adding a good pinch of patience. Pasticciotto napoletano is a must, a smooth pastry wraps a delicious stuffing of custard and black cherries. First make the pastry. Place in a bowl 250 g of sugar, 250 g of butter and lemon zests, a pinch of salt and mix. Then add 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk, mix again and then add 500 g of flour filtered before in one fell swoop. Now mix by hands very quickly. Shape into a ball, wrap in the cling film and place in the fridge for about 30 mins.

baking lesson at Daniela home

baking lesson at Daniela home

Meanwhile make custard: while the half liter of milk with vanilla are boiling, mix 100 g of flour, 200 g of sugar and 4 egg yolks in another pan, add hot milk slowly and mix gently. Cook over law flame until custard congeals. Add a drizzle of Strega liqueur and cover with cling film. Preheat the oven to 160 C.

baking lesson at Daniela home

baking lesson at Daniela home

On a lightly floured surface, roll out a bit more than an half of pastry to 5 mm thick and use to line the tin, then prick all over with a fork. Add the custard on the base of the pastry, then arrange a layer of 250 g of black cherries drained of their syrup. Roll out the remaining pastry and use to cover the tin. Pinch the pastry all over, prick with a fork and bake in the oven for 40-45 mins. Remove, leave to cool, decorate with icing sugar. 2007 035 2007 016 baking lesson at Daniela home Buon Appetito!   Add this code MAR15BLOG to your booking at the Hotel Aurora and you will get a free tasting of Pasticciotto Napoletano! BOOK NOW!

Amalfi sightseeing: Emblema factory

DSCN1437Just a few kilometres from Pompeii (and not very easy to find) there is a place where nature stands still. It is the remarkable Emblema factory, a modern art studio where Peppe and Francesco Emblema transform objects into art. They work in lava, bronze, brass and gold converting leaves, bark and tree branches into amazing designer objects.


A pine bark and a lotus flower are turned into doorknobs, a prickly pear branch becomes a necklace or a bracelet, maple leaves become a tray, olive leaves become earrings and seeds become rings.


Nothing is wasted or thrown away, nature simply comes back in a new form. Natural elements are used as molds so that each piece created is one in a million as the plant kingdom is extraordinarily unique.




DSCN1471The aim of Francesco and Peppe is to make it possible for these jewels to be worn and to customize a simple cupboard, a wardrobe door or a vase holder thus giving daily use to these extraordinary creations.



DSCN1474Peppe and Francesco are the sons of Salvatore Emblema , an artist very well known and appreciated in America and in Japan, and they have inherited from their father the sensitivity for nature and their fatal attraction for Vesuvian landscapes made by lava, light and heat.


Pompeii and Vesuvio, both Unesco Heritage sites, will never stop surprising me. They gave me a trip between past and future. Thanks to the Emblema brothers and viva the Bella Italia!

If your wish Amalfi sighseeing to Emblema factory during your next holiday in Amalfi please contact me in advance, and we will also have copies of their lovely booklet for sale in the hotel, please ask .    BOOK NOW!



Amalfi’s secret jewel


Amalfi san Filippo Neri Chapel

Italy is famous for its historic monuments, culture, traditions and food and visitors came all over the world expecting to see this heritage wherever they go. That is true of course, but what a wonderful surprise to visit a monument which is mainly unknown even to the local residents. The San Filippo Neri Chapel is an authentic Amalfi’s secret jewel.


Amalfi San Filippo Neri chapel

The Chapel was closed for many many years and then finally restored and reopened some ten years ago, it was then reopened but just for a few days without any advertising. I had the great privilege to visit this chapel on a warm August evening recently.


Amalfi San Filippo Neri Chapel

It was a funeral house back in the XVth century just for the local priests, and the tombs show some perfectly preserved skeletons as well as some very interesting paintings in the other rooms. It was restored to be used as a meeting room but the striking atmosphere seems more suitable for a vampire get together rather than for more serious or religious events….anyway we hope it will be visited and used more in the future.

From time to time I am able to arrange a visit to the Chapel with some special clients as long as I request permission and the keys some days in advance……. so….. are you ready for a unique and very frightening visit ??????


Restaurants on the sea side in Amalfi Coast: the Tonnarella

conca dei marini

Restaurants on the sea side  in  Amalfi Coast are a must. There are many between Amalfi and Positano but the favourite for the locals must have some very distinct features: first of all they must be off limits to the tourist crowd and so 300-400 steps to get there is a very good way to guarantee the right isolation, so you need to get there by boat; secondly they must serve excellent food especially fresh fish (“pescato” means today’s freshly-caught fish); last but not least they must be completely dress-down informal. Overcrowded during the day, in the evening they become the perfect place for relaxing or for having a romantic dinner right by the sea.

tonnarella 4The best one over the years for the Amalfi local residents is ‘La Tonnarella‘ in Conca dei Marini. It has been there for over 40 years and takes its name from the tuna fishing net, the bay was famous for keeping the privacy of Jackie Kennedy, Princess Margaret plus D’Urso, Chandon and Princess Caroline of Monaco during the 1970s. We would take a private boat from Amalfi under the cover of darkness carrying guitars , beach towels and swimming costumes .

tonnarella2When we arrived at the lovely pebble beach we would call out load to the owner always the same expression: Franco, please, pasta e zucchini (courgettes) and ‘pescato’ half fried and half barbecue while we have a swim, please call us when its ready.

Luckily the restaurant is still managed by the same family even now. Franco is still there waiting for us (and for you!!) looking a little older but with the same wish to laugh!!


If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at or visit our web site

Amalfi Coast roses


Amalfi is not only the area where lemons and tomatoes grow precariously from the rocks. At Piana del Sele, slightly off the traditional touristic route behind the Amalfi Coast line, there is still a cultivation of fresh roses. At the foot of Vesuvio where the rich soil contrasts with the lunar landscape of the top of volcano, the rose gardens run by the Testa family make your heart miss a beat.

rosa3Thanks to the father and especially to the grandfather, the Testa family today produces roses from all over the world and in particular from France and Great Britain: the ‘Lovely Red’ and the ‘Yves Piaget’ with the single aim to celebrate the beauty of life.

rosa2Many brides have chosen these roses for their special day because the future needs love and beauty. The lost world of romanticism and the Dolce Vita are back, thanks to our Testa heroes. If you want to see some flowers arrangement made by these unforgettable roses please visit the web site

Wine bar in Ravello: Palazzo della Marra


Finally a welcome and expert “newcomer” Gino has arrived to manage the wonderful Palazzo della Marra Wine Bar in Ravello! This returns this most famous hangout to locals and visitors.


Located at the entrance of the beautiful town, the Palace was built for an aristocratic family between the XI and XII century and has survived for many years despite some foolish restoration works, to still give us an idea of his magnificence.

DSCN1047-001 We can enjoy the best of local and Italian wines and sample home made traditional food in a very friendly and professional ambience.

Every Monday and Thursday they hold a wine and food tasting session with a real sommelier from 6 to 8 pm.  Well worth a visit.

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at or visit our web site

Amalfi recipes: strawberry tart


April and May are the months of strawberries in the Amalfi area and they are small, delicious and very romantic! They are also very attractive as they resemble small hearts.

William Shakespeare was pleasantly fascinated by them and called strawberries ‘the food of fairies’. In the Amalfi Coast thanks to the very mild climate they mature a bit earlier, at the beginning of spring.


People here still maintain the old habit of eating seasonal fruit and veg according to nature, they know that fruit does not grow on the supermarket’s shelves and out of season the fruit has little flavour. So now is the right time to sample a traditional strawberry tart.


The recipe is very easy but there is one small secret: you cook the pastry in the oven just with custard and you must cover the tart with aluminum foil when half-baked. Dress the strawberries with lemon juice and sugar, put them onto the tart when cool and then leave overnight. The syrup then comes in smooth layers releasing pink colour and flavour.


The clients of the Aurora Hotel have the opportunity to taste it for breakfast on a sunny and bright Sunday morning. We hope they will keep sweet memories of us!



Amalfi Musical Opera

Amalfi Musical

If you have a chance to visit Amalfi during the week end do not miss Amalfi Musical Opera on Saturday evening in the Shipyard Museum. Location used to build war galleys ,is stunning: cross vaults and 20 pillars recall the Islamic architecture. The musical told the story of Amalfi during the cruel supremacy of Longobards until it was liberated by some brave citizens who defeated dictatorship and established a long period of peace.

musical-001 Music and actors are superb and foreigners can follow the story on the screen with English subtitles. What it certainly strikes you is that there isn’t a stage, actors perform among the public involving people sometimes.

musical2-001 Full contact fighting, the desperate love’s songs of leading actors, the moving set and the rhythm really take you back in the year 829 a. C for a while. Do not lose the opportunity to soak in the history of Amalfi, it’s truly amazing.

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at or visit our web site

Amalfi Ceramics


When you stroll along the narrow shopping streets in the centre of Amalfi you can easily spot the colourful ceramics which almost invite you to admire and touch them. The art of hand-worked ceramics with their stunning colours is typical of the Amalfi Coast nowadays. If you go deeper into the matter you should visit the Museum of Ceramic located inside ,Villa Guariglia in Raito a small village up towards Vietri sul Mare.

DSCN0918That was the Italian Ambassador’s mansion donated to residents to promote the knowledge and tradition of ceramics in 1970. The collection includes the pottery of the most important ceramic centre in Campania. The fine production started thanks to the religious influence in the daily life: fonts and votive tiles as a symbol of the protection of the houses.


The ‘albarelli’ containers used to preserve herbs and spices used only in the monasteries and hospitals. Then in the table decorations like jars dishes and bowls, special attention must be given to the ‘ogliaruli’ containers for oil which had two small holes near the spout, like eyes…. a way to chase away bad luck, because spilling olive oil was considered to be a symbol of misfortune! Ceramic is still all around the Amalfi Coast residents: the yellow and green tiles called ‘riggiole’ dress up the church bell towers and many foreign artists (most of them from Germany) escaping from persecution, left excellent works which have inspired local artists.DSCN0910

You can find this art everywhere on the colorful floors, in the walls along the road, on the main doors, on the garden seats, so much that Amalfi and villages of Coast are like an open air ceramic museum.

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at or visit our web site

Wine tasting in the Amalfi Coast: San Francesco Winery

DSCN0960-001Whatever time of year you visit Amalfi it always seems to be sunny, thanks to the white houses hanging by rocks and to the hustle and bustle of the city centre, but the weather seemed like late autumn during the bank holidays in the first of May. Despite the heavy rain we did not give up our visit to the San Francesco winery in Tramonti, a cosy village up in the hills 12 km from Amalfi. DSCN0965-001When we arrived the surreal atmosphere of the damp and misty countryside took us into another world for a while. The vineyard was stunning with secular pre-philloxera grapevines and the organic method of production stand out straight away.DSCN0966-001 We joined the same respectful project of sustainable viticulture before sharing the joy of tasting wines and flavours of ‘cucina povera’ . The founding families Bove, D’avino and Giordano introduced us into this wonderful world with proficiency and friendliness typical of rural life.

Some wines were for expert palates, but anyone who likes the ‘bien vivre’ can have an unforgettable experience.DSCN0975-001

We all become friends when we have chance of sharing some food at home with Italians.

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at or visit our web site

Food in Amalfi Coast: Mozzarella tasting

Ravello is one of the most popular sites to visit on the Amalfi Coast. Up the hill just 6 km above Amalfi, Ravello is famous for two stunning villas: Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo, the latter’s wonderful location for Wagner’s concert each July. Therefore Ravello is well worth a visit, but why not combine culture with a taste of traditional food? ricottaWithin a few metres from the main square Piazza Vescovado there is Staiano Dairy where you can find the best handmade mozzarella that you ever tasted. The Dairy and the shop are located inside a church dating back to the six hundreds and the ritual of handmade cheese making by the Staiano family has lasted for over two hundred years. Biagio and his mother Maddalena have preserved the old methods to produce mozzarella, fresh ricotta and butter even now. But the eclectic Biagio also added to cheese the flavours of his beloved Amalfi Coast: lemon leaves and zests, drops of pears and local apple jam that made the final production unique: the small ricottas and the cherry mozzarellas are a pleasure for the eyes as well as for  the mouth.cheese But there is more; thanks to his genuine friendliness he will teach, upon request, how to make your own mozzarella. He shows the full working procedure, how to tie and to cut by hand….there is no guarantee of the flavour of your cheese , but what fun!

biagioIf you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at or visit our web site

Mont Vesuvio

Vesuvio  is not only included in the Unesco World Mab Biosfere Reserve but it is  the real symbol of Naples and inhabitants. They affectionately call him ‘The mountain’ but they always have a special consideration  for one of the most dangerous volcanos in the world.  Vesuvio has frightened  collective imagination since the dawn of time. Considered the ‘Netherworld’ by Greeks and Romans the eruptions were thought of as the fury of Gods.

Loads of folk stories  from the fervent imagination of Neapolitan people have always filled tourist guide books: Vesuvio fallen in love with the wonderful Capri (that is just a short ferry ride away) released warm breaths and fire-hot tears; it was considered the Mount of Devils because a monk claimed the help of magic powers for getting an ‘unmentionable desire’ was swallowed by him.

The only heaven’s saint, San Gennaro, the Preserver and Guardian of Neapolitans, was able to fight against Evil: in fact  a fresco of V century, discovered in the catacombs of S. Gennaro, shows the Patron of Naples close to Vesuvio. But the weird behaviour of Neapolitans got over the drama: in the 1952 when the smoke plume on the top of Vesuvio disappeared as well as tips of tourists ,they invoked the Saint to get the smoke back……. saving people once again!

Whatever happens Vesuvio well worth a visit,  you can enjoy from the top a spectacular view of Naples bay with Sorrento peninsula, the island of Capri until Ischia and Procida. Local travel agencies in Amalfi arrange once a week full-day trip to Pompei and Vesuvio from April to October to admire the beauty of landscape.

If you want to live a true italian experience without stress nor unwanted surprise, please contact me at or visit our web site