Friday, May 17, 2013

Every Mile a Memory ( Part 4 ) Amalfi

We drove to our next destination --- AMALFI.

Amalfi is one of the most historic towns along the Amalfi Coast. It is not a big place - the population of Amalfi  is less than six thousand people. However, because of its location, climate, historic and cultural heritage as well as the beauty of the sea and surrounding landscape,  thousands of visitors come to Amalfi. 

Our bus dropped us off at Piazza Flavio Gioia which is primarily used as a transportation hub where tourist buses, cars and boats arriving in Amalfi every day load and unload visitors. This piazza was dedicated to Italian mariner,  Flavio Gioia, who is credited with inventing the modern-style magnetic compass. 

The city starts at the water's edge with a pretty promenade along the Mediterranean and a marina full of colorful boats with their international flags. From Piazza Flavio Gioia we proceeded to Piazza Duomo where the crown jewel of the town, Duomo di San Andea Cathedral, was located.

The focal point of the historic center is the Piazza del Duomo, in front of the striking cathedral. 

Here is a panoramic view of the piazza del Duomo. 

Up close, the Duomo di San Andrea dedicated to St. Andrew was truly a beautiful structure. One has to pay a nominal fee to enter the cathedral. 

The piazza is clustered with sidewalk cafes and elegant shops, but the sixty steps leading to the church to visit the Byzantine style structure that bears Moorish-influenced arches and decoration was a bit tiring for me to do that day. 

( courtesy of Lulu Kamatoy )

We decided to have our daily cup of cappuccino and a pastry called Santa Rosa at the Andrea Pansa pasticceria. Our tour guide told us that this pastry was very  popular dessert in Amalfi. We had to try it!

It  had a vanilla cream based filling with orange bits and flaky crust topped with a slice of cherry.

As soon as we finished -- we boarded again our bus and headed for Torre el Greco. This town, is better known as the world capital of cameo and coral carving.  We visited a licensed Giovanni Apa Cameo factory.

At Giovanni Apa, they specialize in cameos. They manufacture and sell their own pieces, making them a popular tourist destination in this city known for cameos. The cameos of Giovanni Apa are sold all over the world. We were given a demonstration on cameo making.

The shell and coral carving center of Torre Del Greco uses a method thousands of years old. The use of steel gravers with handles are used in a timeless tradition of master craftsmanship. The carver will select the shell to be used, outline the number of cameos to be obtained from that shell, and then supervise the entire carving process. With these incredibly sharp precision tools, the most intricate details can be obtained.

There are quite a few fancy and expensive ways to clean your cameo jewelry. If you have to choose one, I would go with an ionic cleaner. But be prepared.  They're not cheap! My mother gifted me a long time ago with a set of cameo jewelry. I clean my cameos simple, easy and very inexpensively. I use an age old secret formula!! Its been a trade secret in the jewelry industry for years and I am going to let you in on it right now! I use TOOTHPASTE! Yes,  good old fashioned tooth paste will clean the white face of a cameo in no time at all. Try it !!

After his demonstration on how cameos are carved out of the conchs, we were allowed to browse around and buy some of his jewelries. Here are some of the pieces I liked:

The prices of these cameos were so expensive. But do keep in mind that buying Cameo jewelry is not only an investment that will be cherished for the purchaser but a gift for the next generation!

CIAO !!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment