We drove into the small town of Vietri Sul Mare slightly before noon. As soon as we found an open space and started to parallel into the spot, a kind lady knocked on my window and said something in Italian. From the 27 words I know in the Italian language, it was enough to put together that we weren’t allowed to park there.
She pointed out a prime open spot across the street. Even though the spot was painted in blue on the pavement, which means you have to pay, she said we didn’t have to… By “said” I mean we exchanged gestures and repeated “va bene” over and over. This lead me to conclude that we didn’t have to pay. So, I grabbed the dog and we headed down the steep hill with our picnic.
The sun was shinning and I was ready for the prosecco we bought. We sat in the park with our fancy cheese and people watched. Some teenagers asked us where we were from and I said “California.” They started singing in unison “Califoooornniaaa… here we coooommee” like it was circa 2003. Interesting.
We ran into the lady down by the water. She made the universal money gesture and said a few sentences… of which I understood “eighty,” “ticket” and “police.” This did not inspire much confidence in our previous parking decision. She kept saying “va bene” though, so we just said “Oh, well… Hope our car is still there.” We decided to wash the anxiety down with a cocktail at U’Chevalier Trattoria di Mare.
Italians wear black, boots and pants even to a beach bar. Supposedly, late May is when it’s appropriate to start shedding that light jacket.
After we washed our worries away, we explored the beach area and made our way up to the ceramic shops back up the hill. The Italian version of siesta, called riposo, was in session and most of the restaurants were shutting down. Riposo is sacrosanct and most places close entirely between 3 and 7. Luckily, a couple of shops were open and we got a peak at the ceramics this region is known for.
We decided to head home and beat the traffic. Vietri is just north of Salerno and traffic can get hectic from the Amalfi Coast towns. Our car was still there! AND no ticket! I guess everything was “va bene” after all.