If you have never been to Italy, you need to start planning a trip, now. If you have been there, you need to start planning your return trip.
A friend recently returned from a trip to Italy raved to us about her experience in Cinque Terre, in the northern Ligurian coastal region. She told us about swimming off of a boat in the Mediterranean Sea, while an Italian chef on deck grilled freshly caught seafood to be served once her party returned onboard. Why, she asked, would we ever have left a place like this?
That answer, of course, is complicated, but in short has to do with the fact that as regular, middle-class Italians we did not spend our days swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, while onboard our yacht a chef grilled seafood for us (shirtless, I imagined, although admittedly this detail I added myself).
Our posts in this category are not about why we left Italy, but instead about our favorite places in Italy, so that all of you who visit can enjoy these wonders. We start with an amazing restaurant called Torre Normanna on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, located south of Naples on the Mediterranean, where the mountains meet the sea.
We lunched at Torre Normanna while visiting our family in Rome this winter. This Norman (as in “of Normandy”) Tower is a fortress that juts out into the clear blue-green Mediterranean Sea. From the street, you walk along a narrow pathway into the ancient structure, up a flight of stairs and into the main dining hall, the windows of which open up onto the sea.
It was lunch time during low season when we were there, between Christmas and New Year’s, and the restaurant was quiet except for a few other couples. The seafood menu was exceptional; our kids’ batter-fried seafood platters were abundant and came with a miniature shark perched on top with its jaws pointed toward them in a wide-open smile. When you visit, order scialatielle ai frutti di mare. Scialatielle are a home-made egg pasta made in that region of Italy, and frutti di mare means “fruit of the sea”, or seafood.
Ask for a table adjacent to one of the arc-shaped windows that look out over the sea, or better yet, in warm months request a table on the patio or terrace. There is a private beach available for patrons in summer months, as well. Finally, be sure to use the restrooms while you are there, with their windows that open up the sea and let in the salty breeze.