By Walter Sanders
We always tell our readers and friends that Italy is great, but try and avoid it in August. Ferragosto is when Italians have a month of vacation, and many go to the seaside. Those towns are jammed, and the Italians who work there would rather be someplace else.
So we broke one of our own cardinal rules. We were invited to spend time with a friend in Pisciotta on top of a hill overlooking the Cilento Coast south of Salerno. When our hostess needed to commit to some other friends, we had the opportunity to ride with a driver named Francesca to Palinuro.
She was a delight. And incredibly helpful. (She stored an extra bag in her home while we traveled the shore: a generous offer and a guarantee that we would engage her again later in the trip.) We chatted all the way to Palinuro.
She dropped us off in the center of town near the Pro Loco, an office that might be helpful in finding us a place to stay. If we couldn’t find a place to stay in this busiest month of the year in this seaside town, we could stay with her and her husband in the hills. We thanked her for her kind offer.
It was 1:30 PM when we went to the Pro Loco which serves as the nexus of tourism. It was closed until 4:00 PM. So we decided to have lunch. We returned to the Pro Loco shortly after 4:00 PM. It was locked. We sat on a shaded bench outside the front door and waited. We could her the phone ringing in the office.
About 4:45 PM a lovely lady approached, unlocked the door, put on the lights, and booted up her computer. We gave her some time to get organized, then I entered to discuss finding a room.
She gave me the sad news that every hotel, pensione, B and B room was booked. And most had been reserved for a year. I asked her if she had any recommendations. She asked if we would mind staying with a family, her family,
We stayed with her family in a lovely room with a private bath, broad terraces and a distant view of the sea. It was special.
Contact info: Francesca Iorio mobile: 340 5594744
I’m still amazed by the kindness and openness of the Italian people in general. This experience, then Antonio from the other post, then the taxi driver.
I read recently a quote and it’s a pity I can’t remember who said it and the exact words, but it went something like this: “Italians have mastered the art of making you feel good in their country.”