Eating on the Amalfi Coast: a Restaurant on the Sea
I had been told about a place where the scenery is magical, the heart softens and the mind clears. Many, many times I had been told about such a place.
I had traveled along our ancient "boot" and around the world. Yet, when I was given descriptions of the Amalfi Coast, I would feel sadly uninformed. Then I decided to see it in person.
Over the centuries, man has often resorted to architectural, sensory or even illusionistic artifices to win the minds and hearts of others. But where I arrived on the Amalfi Coast, everything appeared naturally and effortlessly placed in its beautiful setting.
I marveled at the magnificence of the landscape along the winding road whose sharp turns and breathtaking views made me dizzy with emotion. Then, I decided to stop in Praiano, a small town cut in two by the road that leads to Salerno.
I wondered how to go about fixing in my mind the sea, the colors, the breaths that enlivened the most remote recesses of my heart. I had to look for a spot that would allow me to do that.
I found it by chance. Or at least so it seemed. A nice-looking restaurant, with a simple entrance and a steep climb to a roof terrace where the scenery was as beautiful as it was natural. As if it were the most common thing in the world.
The inviting tables and the soft, excited chatter in the background pushed me to sit down.
First a glass of wine, then a dish, then another, all accompanied by the warm and welcoming service of people who seemed part of the local scenography.
The world seemed different. Even my hands, moving between forks, napkins and glasses, looked different. I felt my senses dance together, while gratitude flowed in streams.
I wondered who the author of that fresco was. Ubaldo, I was told. Baldo means brave, I thought, and it must have been a forceful man the one who had built that terrace in paradise.
I chatted with Silvia and Nicola, heirs of the dreams of that man. And I learned of their mom, Maria, has been cultivating the patch of land where the zucchini flowers had come for fifty years. Flowers of pleasure when filled with ricotta dipped in batter and offered to satisfy the appetite of their lucky customers.
It must have been a magical spot, I thought, the one that produced vegetables that accompany the beauty of the view. I could see the enjoyment on the faces of those who tasted the scialatielli pasta with shrimp, zucchini and lemon sauce.
Then I asked the name of that place. The answer was simple, obvious now that I think about it: La Strada, the Road.
I am a traveler in love with her travels, but I could have been a tourist, a writer, an aristocrat, an actress or a thousand others. I am anyone you'll meet on the Road overlooking the beauty.