Interview with Chiara D'Amico - Tv producer from Vietri
1. We are curious to know how life is in a wonderful place as the Amalfi Coast. Tell us who you are, what your job is, what life is like in Vietri and surroundings?
This land is divine, it’s magical. I love telling the magic of my land. I am Chiara, a television and media producer, I run a company that produces television programs and documentaries on the Amalfi Coast. Every day I try to describe with photos and videos a little piece of this land, its tastes, traditions, history and daily events. So to make the idea clear, I experience this magic every day.
I consider myself very lucky, because I was born and work in Vietri sul Mare, one of the most unique towns of the Costiera. Vietri is a town of 10.000 inhabitants, has the soul and the features of a small country, but it boasts a strategic position a few kilometers away from Salerno and Cava de’ Tirreni, two beautiful, very lively cities. Driving on the motorway, in 45 minutes you can reach Naples, and we are very close to Pompeii and the hills of the Cilento.
But despite its proximity to major cities, Vietri sul Mare is one of the villages of the Amalfi Coast that has kept the tastes, smells, and typical traditions of the Divine Coast intact. We live in a quiet place, but we are very close to very stimulating cities. I enjoy all of this to the fullest, the town, the cities, but also the bicycle and hiking trails, and then the beach… and also the lemon desserts.
2. What do you do when you don’t work? How do young people have fun when they go out with friends? And what about the elders? Do they have any recreation areas to spend their time?
When I don’t work, I enjoy the Costiera. I also go cycling, I practice triathlon and I love walking in the hills and mountains.
Local young people are lucky enough to live in this particular situation: on one hand the benefits of a village life, where you build strong relationships, but on the other, the possibility of having entertainment centers within easy reach, where to find sports facilities and clubs, cinemas but also nightlife.
The elders, instead, have already been through all of this, and now have the good fortune to be part of a community, which doesn’t leave anyone behind, with people who always help each other. They have their own clubs and get-togethers, and various associations that offer both lay and religious activities. This is for the elderly residents. I suggest elderly tourists, instead, to come and visit Vietri in spring or autumn, when there is less crowd and life in the Costiera is more relaxed: we have places of art and beautiful natural landscapes to discover.
3. Let’s play. Close your eyes. Visualize Vietri and answer without thinking it through: what image comes up to your mind? What colors? What sounds? What smells?
Images. Two brothers, the rocks just a few meters from the shore of the Marina. They represent Vietri’s soul, the people who live here. Many legends have been woven around their identity, but in my opinion the most true is the one referring to two shepherds who were trying to save a girl from the fury of the sea, and who perished in the attempt, one after the other. The girl was actually a mermaid, and so the god of the sea, recognizing the value of the two shepherds, turned them into two rocks surrounded by smaller rocks, the sheep of their flock. Let me introduce you to the people of Vietri: love, fervor, and altruism.
Colors. Mainly three: cobalt blue, yellow and copper-green. The first is the color of the sea and Vietri ceramics. Yellow is the color of lemons, the “Sfusato” lemon of Amalfi. The third, copper-green, is the color of the tiles that are found in every corner of Vietri and the Amalfi Coast in general.
Sounds. The melody of the sea has no equal, both when it’s calm, and when it’s stormy. But other unforgettable sounds are those of popular songs, of the festive evenings when we dance to the rhythm of Tammorra.
Smells. The smell of lemons that pervades our lives, from the scent of the countryside to the kitchens where fresh lemon cakes are prepared.
4. If for some reason you were forced to leave your land, your town, one day, what would you miss most and why?
I would miss the country life, the village, the community where everyone knows each other and help each other. I’d miss the smiles of the people when I walk in the streets, all the chatting and the stories about these families. Of course, some may think all this familiarity thing is quite intrusive, but it’s part of a whole instead, a sense of community that gives strength to the individual so that he never will feel lonely. I work with local institutions, associations that deal with children and the elderly, I really feel this sense of community that pervades people and their lives.
5. The Amalfi Coast is one of the most sought after tourist destinations during the summer season. We are curious to know, though: how is the Costiera in winter? How is life in Vietri and the Amalfi Coast during the winter season?
I think the real Amalfi Coast is given off in winter. Everything becomes more intimate, the villages are like precious favors closed in themselves. In winter, silence and calm reign supreme, but there’s no sense of anguish. The sea really helps to keep the Costiera always alive, to give people an open space where the bad thoughts can be kept away. In the evening, even in winter, in the streets there is always someone to chat with, there are lights at dusk that make the Costiera look like a long crib. Moreover, Vietri is much more lively than other towns of the Amalfi Coast in winter. Positano and Amalfi are much more touristy, but this means that in winter they turn off as soon as the night comes. Vietri is a tourist town, but also has many workshops and small businesses, so it keeps being pretty dynamic throughout the year.
6. If you were a traveler, what should you NOT miss out on in your trip to the Amalfi Coast and Vietri, apart from the classic tourist routes?
One of the best moments of the day is when sunset comes, when the sun goes down over Positano. Day and night are beautiful, but that’s another story. The real magic of the Costiera sprouts up in the evening, when the sun goes down and the lights on the roads and in the towns start turning on. Unfortunately, at that time tourists are often preparing for the evening or are having dinner, so they miss out on the magic of this transformation, when the whiteness of the towns and the green of the hills become a single color dotted with stars, and lights of houses, streets and squares.
I would definitely recommend also to go beyond the towns and villages, towards the mountains, on the paths of Valle delle Ferriere, the path of the Gods and the Amalfi one. And then, absolutely not to miss the smaller towns of the Divine Coast, enchanting places like Cetara and Maiori, and the stunning walks along the sea.
7. The Amalfi Coast is famous for its handicrafts. In your opinion, which of these are the most representative of your homeland?
Undoubtedly, Vietri ceramics, which now can be found throughout the Costiera. But not only in objects and furnishings: ceramics are everywhere, from the domes of churches, to shop signs, they’re also on the inner and outer walls of houses and villas of the Amalfi Coast.
Also lemons are considered “crafts” here, as they are an integral part of life and economy on the Coast. Lemon is the main ingredient for many liqueurs and desserts known and exported daily all over the world. And how can we forget the Vietri’s Spumone, that lemon-flavored ice cream shaped like a dome, prepared only at the historic Bar Centrale in the town centre of Vietri sul Mare.
It’s impossible not to mention Positano fashion style, the Amalfi paper and Ravello corals, but I’d also include Cetara’s anchovies, Maiori’s chocolate-flavored eggplant, and my grandma’s eggplant parmigiana. And of course, the wines of the Amalfi Coast, the wines of Tramonti, Marisa Cuomo’s precious vineyards and San Francesco estate, just to mention a few of them.
8. When you decide to eat out, do you have a favorite restaurant? What’s its name? What are the delicacies you usually order? What kind of wine do you pair with them?
I eat well everywhere, at any restaurant and tavern along the Costiera. The restaurants I often eat at are on Via Costiera, here in Vietri. The specialties: fresh fish of the day, but also pizza at lunch or quick dinners. They are all old restaurants that have maintained rustic style, but very cozy. A very nice thing is that in many taverns and restaurants on the Amalfi Coast they serve foods in dishes made with Vietri ceramics.
9. Can you think of a work, a ‘famous’ quote, or a book, a song or a movie, that could “capture” the true spirit of the Divine Coast? Can you tell us why?
It may sound a bit weird, but I was very impressed by the first two editions of the TV Fiction Capri. Actually, it was filmed entirely in Vietri, for months we had its film crew staying at our hotels and eating at our restaurants. Villa Isabella, where much of the fiction was shooted, is actually Villa Guariglia, located in Raito, behind Vietri’s Marina. I really liked it because I found my town in it, the people of the village, our stores, our beaches and streets.
10. What is your blog / website about? And why did you decide to carve yourself a little space on the web?
After graduating in Communication Sciences and a Master degree in Performing Arts and Multimedia Production, I started to work with digital technologies. This is because I wanted to ‘professionalize’ my business and find lots of channels for communication. With my company, Workin’ Video, I tell stories about my land, I produce TV shows, but also multilingual video tour guides, in collaboration with experts and historians who live on the Amalfi Coast. Travel guides have become a must in my production, my Apps on Positano are greatly appreciated and downloaded by many. The Internet is wonderful to tell stories, but also to propose contents created for television or radio. Eight years ago, I was among the first to revive TV shows on the web. And thanks to regional broadcasters such as Lira TV and Telereporter, my shows get into the homes of my fellow citizens too.