Exploring Massa Labrense, Italy

While Wally rested, Lucia and I set off to explore the hillsides around Massa Labrense on foot. She had been there a few times before and trekked around quite a bit, so knew (mostly) where she was going. Always adventurous, she likes to strike out on new paths to explore, so we never knew where we might end up.

Massa  Jamie and Lucia, hill viewA neighbor’s dog guarding his turf…

Massa dog barking on wallCurious kitties…

Massa feral cats in gardenAt the bottom of the hill below Villa Erca is the community of Santa Maria. There is a little store, church and that’s about it. We were walking past the store when we saw movement on the roof…

S. Maria dog on shop full viewGorgeous German Shepherds! What a view I bet they have!

S. Maria 2 dogs on shop

S. Maria dogs on shop lookingAround the corner, we saw the door was open at the church so peeked inside. Work was being done, but no one was in sight, so I snapped a few pictures of this lovely community church.

Santa Maria church ext

Santa Maria church interior full view

Santa Maria church renovation interior

Santa Maria church interior, paintings

Santa Maria church painting 2

Santa Maria church painting clsupContinuing along the road…

Massa agave and urn

Massa Angela's olive pressLucia spotted chestnuts in the road and looking up, there was a huge chestnut tree. We began gathering every one we could find, stowing them in her back pack. If you step on them first, you can pop the porcupine hull off. These are an expensive treat – often referred to as being roasted at Christmas time. Lucia later boiled some for us to eat and they were delicious.

Massa chestnuts  Massa far hill view to town, blue skyPicking wild fennel along the road to cook with later…

Massa Jamie collecting fennel

Most all of the houses have little gardensMassa gardenTrailside treat! Lucia pointed out the bright green figs that were hanging into the road and said they were ripe. She likes to open them up and eat the insides, but not the skin. That is the fig tree behind her.

Massa Lucia collecting figs

Massa green fig closeupThey were sweet and sticky and the perfect hiking treat.

Massa Lucia with figsThe view towards Naples and Pompeii in the far back right with its top in the clouds…

Massa hills to water, blue skyThe fruit trees such as lemons are what you see in the terraces with arbors

Massa hills, olive coversThere was a truck sitting at one of the road junctions full of what Lucia said were Italian watermelons.

Massa Italian watermelon

Massa watermelon truck, JamieWe passed this arbor, and after closer inspection, realized it was a kiwi fruit arbor!

Massa Lucia and kiwi arbors

Massa kiwi arbor coat of arms

Massa Kiwi fruit arborLemon trees along the way. The Amalfi Coast is famous for their lemons (yes they are green lemons) I think they turn yellow when they are mature??

Massa lime treesWe walked down past La Torre Ristorante and a church and over to Villa Murat or “King’s House”.

Massa La Torre and churchThe King of Naples lived here in Villa Murat 1808. It faces the Isle of Capri.

Massa Murat House

Today you can rent the Villa Murat house for your vacation or special event. There was a group of Americans there during our stay and Lucia introduced herself and went back the next week to give the ladies massages. Learn more about it’s history at: http://www.villamurat.com/en/territory.phpMassa Murat House railing, flowersThe view from Villa Murat to Capri. There are nice benches you can sit here and enjoy the view.

Massa Murat House view to Capri rock wall

Villa Murat’s iron fence pointing out Pompeii in the background.   Massa Murat iron fence to Pompeii viewDown the hill and onward…There is a path just past Villa Murat that takes you down the hill.

Massa water, olives, pine

Massa Jamie with fennel, smiling

Massa Olives and agaveThe Massa Labrense marina community

Massa panorama of town, water, sky

Massa olive groves town to Pompeii viewA typical “trail”

Massa Lucia walking up pathI loved the forms of the olive trees…They put out netting for the olives to drop off onto when they are ripe.

Massa olive nets shining

Massa nets under olives

Massa olives on ground netting

Massa olives, church, rooftopsProbably poisonous but pretty mushrooms in the woods…

Massa orange mushroom bottom

Massa orange mushroom topsIn the town of Massa Labrense is this charming painted tile map…

Massa painted town tile mapIn the town of Massa, this is where you can pick up one of the local buses going to Sorrento or further down the Amalfi Coast. You can buy tickets in the coffee shop or tobacco shops for the buses but good luck figuring out their schedule!

Massa park, hotel by waterWe stopped in the fresh seafood market to see what the fresh catches were. Again, a pretty painted tile picture caught my eye.

Massa seafood shop tile mural

Massa seafood market tiled wall

Massa seafood 3 fishes

Now don’t be squeamish about the squids – they are very tasty when cooked right!

Massa seafood squid and octipi

Massa seafood squid and shrimpMussels are also a local shellfish

Massa seafood, musselsJust down the street I spied a sign for what I translated to be a ceramic shop…

Massa pretty arched doorway

Massa Artinostre ceramics signI love Italian painted ceramics, so we stopped in.

Massa Artinostre ceramics 2 big vasesThe artist was at work painting a jug. She didn’t speak English but Lucia chatted with she and her aunt (I believe) for a while.

Massa Artinostre ceramics artist working, JamieI loved the soft colors and themes of her pieces…

Massa Artinostre ceramics birds and floral plates

Massa Artinostre ceramics chicken, urn, shelves

Massa Artinostre ceramics donkey, bowl, urn

Massa Artinostre ceramics grist stone, bowls

Massa Artinostre ceramics house numbers, switch plates

Massa Artinostre ceramics owls & lemons

The paisley-looking platters were FABULOUS! Massa Artinostre ceramics paisley platters  Works in progress…Massa Artinostre ceramics work tableWe shopped at this little grocery store for some supplies for dinner.

Massa produce shop display

Massa produce shop apples

Massa produce shop grain bags

Massa produce, tomatoes, grapes, lemonsThen it was time to trek back up the hill ~ a mile? Seemed like 10 since it was almost four hours after we set off. (and I’m definitely NOT in shape).

Home Sweet Home to Villa Erca… wine and food and put my feet up!

Erca side view of house, pool edgeTomorrow, we are going to get educated on hitchhiking in Italy (thanks Lucia) and how to catch a bus to Sorrento! We’ll go shopping, have a delightful lunch and sample limoncello and other goodies.

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