What I liked:in Meta, Luigi, Rosaria (best pizza), bells and roosters that punctuate time, going to the cliff to admire the view, Antonietta (the coolest nonna). In Naples, I loved the energy of the city that overflowed, observing the students of the University. In Pompeii, immersing myself in the life of a city from the past, remembering that art is a visceral need of humanity (and perhaps the only thing that can save humanity), hearing an opera song. On the Amalfi Coast, the view from the road between Sorrento and Amalfi. Seeing dolphins having fun following a small boat from the road. Seeing how the Italians seem to constantly portray small moments of everyday life: the woman who protested strongly to the ticket seller for minutes, and then goes back, as an encore. The elegance of female cops (which gives almost want to become one).
What I did not like: Leaving Meta after a week, I already felt at home. Sorrento, far too touristy. Capri: too many tourists, too, although I can see why it once attracted people. I find myself in the awkward position of the tourist understanding why the citizens of Venice protest to reclaim their city. The nonna who counts his money behind the counter and is not very nice with her granddaughter doing all the work.
I am now on route to Sicily. And many claim this is a different country (anyway, this is what an Italian friend of mine in New Zealand claims).
I nearly did not go to Pompei, after watching a very boring documentary re-enacting the last days of the city. But, at the last minute, I told myself it would be stupid not to go, while being so close by. I discovered a city, large streets. beautiful houses, a refined lifestyle and a taste for art.
To find, in the temple dedicated to Isis, a quote from Apuleius, in Metamorphosis. A text I studied in Latin, when I was at university. Then I thought about my time at university, how time is flying and how life always end up so different from what one thought would happen.
Then the joy of discovering the theatres, the permanence of humanity’s love of art. An emotion completed by a guide who feels the need to demonstrate the quality of the acoustic with a little opera song. Perfect day.
I arrived with the night ferry from Cagaliari in the Bay of Naples, at eight thirty, a moment I had imagined many times, bathed in the morning sun, but that day, it rains. Need to find a taxi to the central railway station and on the train to Meta, for a one week stay on the Amalfi coast. This village seems an ideal base for visiting Sorrento, Naples, Pompeii, Positano, Amalfi and Capri. Meta is a few kilometers from Sorrento and is much cheaper, while allowing easy access by bus or train to where I want to go. The big surprise of the week is however Meta, a small authentic village with few tourists (at least at this time of year. I felt immediately comfortable there, largely thanks to Luigi who, at seventy -seven years old, has been managing for twenty years the apartments he decorated himself. The views from the apartment are beautiful and the streets go down to the beach. From the first day, Rosaria, which has a small bakery and a pizzeria business, sells me what I want and many other things, including fresh cheese (paradise). She also offers me a pizza, but I say I’ll come back the following day. I went to Rosaria’s every day and by the second day, she started greeting me as if I had always lived in Meta. The views from the cliff on the small bay is enchanting. Luigi introduces me to lemoncello, a lemon base liquor and spend a lot of time explaining the transport system and how to maximise, buses, trains and boats. He sometimes talks about his life. At Antonietta, I discovered the benevolent gaze of a nonna who runs a small cafe with an iron hand, no doubt, but also with much love for the three generations that are working to run this small restobar.