We began Wednesday with some time on the beach. The weather was starting to change, with grey skies and a stiff wind. The formerly calm water was now pushing rolling swells to shore, looking more like the Atlantic than the Tyrrhenian Sea. (I just looked at the map–the Mediterranean seems to divide from the Tyrrhenian at Santa Maria di Castellabate) Most of the chairs on “our” lido were deserted, except for us crazy New Englanders who still considered this a nice beach day.
We eventually got into the car and started driving south, first stopping at the nearby village of San Marco. Similar to Santa Maria, it’s a former fishing village now well supplied with beach hotels, restaurants, and a marina with mostly pleasure boats. There’s a nice view up toward Castellabate perched on the hill.
We followed the road inland for a bit, and then took the turnoff for Licosa. This is a lovely, isolated area with just a few hotels and a nice stretch of beach. You can walk out along the point through the pines.
Back on the 267, the road started to climb and twist as it followed the coast. Interesting driving, with the rock wall on one side, the sea on the other down a sharp drop, and trucks barreling down the hill toward us. Will admit to clutching the bar and gasping every now and then. But beautiful views at the villages and towns clustered along the bays. These towns were very quiet, with the beach season not yet started.
A bit of rain started falling as we reached the beach town of Marina di Casel Vileno. Not much was going on, but we followed a sign leading from the main shoreline street to an open restaurant. I think we and another gentleman were the only people who showed up for lunch that day. We ordered a seafood antipasto for one, and enough little bits arrived to serve four–octopus salad, smoked fish, marinated shellfish, smoked seppie, fish crostini, fried baccala. Next, I had my standard spaghetti con vongole, and Larry had a special of frito misto of just fish. And quite a mix–there must have been five different kinds of fresh fish, all lightly friend whole and piled on a platter. The tiny ones like alici (fresh anchovies) you just eat whole, as the bones are extremely soft. The larger ones you carefully take the meat off, which takes a while.
After lunch, we pointed the car inland, first going through an agricultural valley, and then climbing the hills, up and down steep winding roads. Very small towns, lots of pine forests and a few grape and olive fields. We eventually found the road back toward Agropoli, and headed home.
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All of the sea around Italy is Mediterranean, but the only parts that don’t take the name of a subdivision are west of Sardinia and south of Sicily. The Tyrrhenian is on the whole west side of the main Italian peninsula down to Sicily.