South of Naples, Italy, high above the Mediterranean is the famously winding and breathtaking Amalfi Coast. And much higher still above that, hanging over the most beautiful water views in Italy, is the hill town of Ravello. It is set amid semi-tropical gardens, and streets are often made of steps. The town has long been a favorite of artists and writers the likes of D.H. Lawrence and Gore Vidal. Richard Wagner wrote an opera here and stayed in the Palazzo Palumbo (where we have enjoyed incredible hospitality) as a house guest – and even though he had gotten there by burro, he enjoyed himself so much that he encouraged the owner to start a hotel. Which she did!

One July we stayed few days at the Palumbo and it happened to be on the feast day of St. Pantelone. Wasn’t on our calendar, just dumb luck. The whole village passed under our feet on parade to the church, then the sky blew up with the light and thunder of the most spectacular fireworks I have ever seen. Must be the kind of view the person lighting the match on the fireworks had. The building shook, as did we. And when the bells from the church next door joined in … well we were just on sensory overlook. I can see and hear it as if it were yesterday. Another indelible Italian moment.

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