Saturday, February 7, 2009

Piano di Sorrento, Le Maison de Titty, and Ristorante Betania

Having raced at speeds of over 160 kph on the autostrada the night before, I find it amusing that I should greet that very same autostrada with relief the following morning. Escaping the snarled suicide rush of autos, bicycles, motorcycles, trucks, buses, and pedestrians around the Naples Termini felt miraculous. We were finally “out-a-there.” (Apologies to all Naples lovers.)


Photo L to R: Michele, Rita, Titty, Beryl, Bill


The drive to Piano di Sorrento, where we would spend the next two nights at Le Maison de Titty, was gorgeous with fantastic views of the bay. Finding Piano di Sorrento was another matter. We drove right past the small sign announcing that town and were well on our way to Salerno when a phone call to the owner got us back to the town of Piano di Sorrento, north of the city of Sorrento. The hidden backstreet where the B&B was located continued to evade us. Unable to connect again with the owner, whose phone was busy) we asked a motorcyclist waiting next to a small church. Rather than giving us verbal directions, he led us to Via Legittimo, a narrow cobbled street where the number 38 identified the B&B's location. As we rang the bell in the wall, a solid metal gate opened slowly to reveal a lovely secluded garden. Titty, a exuberant young woman with that wonderful fly-away curly hair I’ve noticed on so many Italian women welcomed us and after showing us our room, settled us at an outside patio and served us coffee with a torte made by her mother Rita while her dad Michele presented a host of siteseeing options and suggestions for places to dine that night.


Having several hours of daylight at our disposal, Bill and I set off to explore the town and find the waterfront. We needed exercise and Piano di Sorrento gave us plenty of that. We never did find the waterfront but instead got wonderfully lost in a maze of narrow alley’s frequented by motorcyclists and residents in their autos that flattened us against the walls and ornate gates behind which hid beautiful homes and magical gardens. In one such garden -- abandoned -- a striped tabby-cat lolled in the dappled sunlight a top a broken pillar.


A steep climb back toward the B&B to find the restaurant Michele had praised so highly required more detective work as we made our way past a park, church, and into and up another narrow alley.


Don’t let the pizza-kitchen-entrance to Risorante Betania deceive you. Behind that deceptive façade is a wondrous cave-like room – dark and candle lit – with only a few tables and a handsome young waiter.


And, for love of God, don’t miss dining at Ristorante Betania either. Our meal there stands out as one of the VERY BEST of all the wonderful meals we ate in Italy. An artistic masterpiece of an antipasto -- fresh buffalo mozzarella, puff pizza, crusted rice balls, melon balls, prosciutto, grilled zucchini, and carrots in balsamic vinegar – preceded the melt-in-your-mouth fall-off-the bone shank of lamb and roasted potatoes. Served with a great house wine and thick crusty bread to sop up all the juices. For dessert crème brulé and panacotta.


Sated and wondrously relaxed we made our way back to the secret garden at Le Maison de Titty and our lovely, secluded room.

3 comments:

Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds so lovely!

Diana Raabe said...

How wonderful!

Jo said...

That food sounds so good. I do a mean lamb shank, but there's sounds better.