The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
May 10 - Dining in Amalfi

Continental breakfast is included in the room rate. That's good. Breakfast is served in the main salon of the old palazzo that now houses the hotel. That's wonderful! The ceiling frescos are badly in need of restoration but you can easily see the elegance that once marked this dwelling. That's one of the things we like most about Italy -- the unexpected windows to the past. The other thing we like, of course, is the people ... and at the Floridiana, that means MariaRosa Ferrigno, our ever-present guide, breakfast queen and general concierge. If she looks tired, it is because she is! Her present schedule is a full week of 13-hour days!

[July 1 Note: I got an e-mail from MariaRosa today, thanking me for the kind words about the hotel and her. The heartbreaking part was her comment that this was the first time in four years of work that anyone has recognized her contribution. What a waste! I wish more employers realized that the most powerful reward they can give is also free! PLEASE don't be guilty of the same thing with the people who go the extra mile for you ... no matter who they work for.]

We thought a light lunch on the water would be just the ticket so we headed to one of the restaurants on the beach (next to the Marina Grande) for a pizza and a little quiet conversation. There are four restaurants here, all with their own beach clubs. The water was still a little cool for bathing. A few hardy souls (mostly teens) ran in for a quick dip but nobody stayed for long!

For dinner it was back to Marina Grande. Although I usually like to try as many different places as possible, I was impressed with this restaurant ... and I wanted the whole-fish-filleted-at-the-table thing. Like most restaurants in Italy, Marina Grande is a family-run operation. Two brothers, Gianpaolo and Enzo have the day-to-day responsibility but their father is still very much in evidence.

The final stop of the evening, as it has been every night (and most afternoons) since we have been here was Gelateria Savoia, just off the main piazza. The two girls on the evening shift came to recognize us on sight and gave us a set of ceramic gelato dishes as a thank-you gift. As you can see, Margene fit right in!

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