I must confess that I subscribe to some of those thick and glossy travel magazines. However, I don’t know why, because I’m never going to stay in any of the hotels they tout. Too expensive. And truth be told, I’d rather not stay in a hotel at all. Let me explain:
My wife and I just returned from a week on the Amalfi coast, in Italy, where we rented a small house in a fishing village that clung to the side of a mountain. On our first morning there, I woke up before my wife – unusual in itself – and went from the bedroom, through the living room with its 12-foot ceilings, sun-bleached walls and blue tile floor. I pulled back the blue and white cotton drape, opened the heavy wooden door, and stepped out onto the terra cotta terrace that was big enough to host a party of 100 people. The sun was brilliant. Straight ahead there was nothing but the bluest of blue skies, and an azure ocean that stretched as wide as could I spread my arms. Then, as if from heaven, I heard the sound of mandolins, clear, rich and amplified strumming above me. Could God really live here? “Why not,” I thought. A chorus – of angels? – Joined the mandolins.
And then God spoke. And his first melodic words were: “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that’s amore.”
OK, it was really Dean Martin, but he had me wondering for a moment. So I turned to look further up the mountainside and there was our neighbor, a middle-aged bleached-blonde Italian, hanging her laundry on her balcony while Dean Martin serenaded. I waved, and she waved back. Welcome to the neighborhood.
I looked back out toward the endless expanse of blues. “When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine, that’s amore.” Yes, I was in love. Not with the blonde, but with where I was. “I could live happily here,” I thought. And I would for a week.