21.06.2023 BEST OF THE COAST

Gennaro Russo, Executive Chef, La Sponda

“One of my favourite places to eat when I’m not busy preparing meals myself is a lovely seaside trattoria called Da Armandino. It’s in Marina di Praia, which is this tiny inlet just beyond Praiano as you’re travelling east along the coast road from Positano. It’s crazily picturesque, just a little shingle beach with some fishing boats and beach umbrellas, between rock cliffs that are so high the sun only hits the beach for a few hours each day.



The owner worked in Positano hotels and restaurants when he was younger before he and his wife decided to set up on their own here in 1986. It’s a simple place, but all the better for that. A lot of the fishermen here go out fishing at night for totano – flying squid – so that’s a staple of the menu, done in various ways. If it’s your first time, don’t miss the tubetti con totani – short pasta tubes served in a rich tomato sauce with tasty chunks of squid. This is good, traditional local cooking done con la mano al cuore, from the heart.”

Da Armandino: www.daarmandino.it

Aldo Sersale, Le Sirenuse F&B manager



“Everbody goes to Pompeii, and there’s no denying it’s amazing, an entire Roman city preserved in astonishing detail. However, there’s another smaller archaeological site I love in the same area. It’s called Oplontis. I took some friends there the other day, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Apparently, for every thousand visitors that go to Pompeii, around fifteen make it to Oplontis!

What you see here is the remains of a sumptuous villa that probably belonged to Poppaea, the Emperor Nero’s second wife. It was the Roman equivalent of Jay Gatsby’s Long Island mansion, designed as much for entertaining as for everyday life.

The wall paintings that have been preserved here are quite simply breathtaking. But what really makes the place special for me is the deep wine-red color that dominates the murals here. It’s often called ‘Pompeii red’ but actually there’s more of it in Oplontis. Our family has always believed that it must have been a visit here that inspired my great-great uncle Antonino Sersale to paint the walls of our family’s Positano villa the same shade of red. In 1951, that villa became Le Sirenuse. Maybe that’s why I feel so at home in Oplontis!”

Oplontis: http://pompeiisites.org/en/oplontis


Cristian Fusco, Swirl the Glass wine tours, former head sommelier at Le Sirenuse



“I love it when young local people bring new energies and ideas to ancient professions like winemaking. That’s very much the case with Cantina Tagliafierro, a winery run by Raffaele Tagliafierro, who was only 25 when he harvested his first vintage back in 2015. It’s in Campinola, one of several rural villages up in the hills above Maiori that collectively go by the name of Tramonti. It’s another world up here, a farming culture with something of an Alpine feel.

Raffaele, who started helping his grandfather work the land when he was three years old, is a real force of nature. He studied agronomy but he’s determined to make wines his way, using native grape varieties.


He currently makes four wines, a red called Tramunte that is a blend of Tintore and Piedirosso, a white blend called Tredici, a refreshing, summery rosé and a special Riserva red. They do wine tastings here that are accompanied by all sorts of delicious plates, prepared using tomatoes and eggplants that grow on the farm, salumi that they make themselves, and an assortment of cheeses from Tramonti’s dairy farms. This is one of the wineries that can be visited as part of Swirl the Glass’ Amalfi Coast Wine Tour ‘Tramonti’, either alone or paired with a second winery nearby.”

Cantina Tagliafierro: www.cantinatagliafierro.it

Swirl the Glass: www.swirltheglass.com

Lee Marshall, Sirenuse Journal editor


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Valentì deserves to be better known. In a former ceramics workshop on the Positano stretch of the Via Amafi coast road, just ten minutes’ walk from Le Sirenuse, Valentino Esposito has turned his passion for lemons, limoncello, jams and spreads of all kinds into a full-time job. Although visitors from all over the world are his core clientele, this is no tourist operation. Valentino takes quality seriously, making limoncello only from lemons that come from trusted suppliers on the Amalfi Coast who use no pesticides or other chemical treatments. They are picked early in the morning when the essential oils are at their most fragrant, and turned into one of the most lemony limoncellos you are ever likely to taste. But this isn’t his only forte. Valentino’s lemon marmalade is uno spettacolo, as are his candied lemons and oranges, not to mention his colomba and panettone seasonal pastries filled with mandarin compote and mandarin liqueur. I fully recommend his ‘Limoncello and Lemon Marmalade Experience’, a full-on ‘how to’ lesson which takes place (weather permitting) on a lovely scenic pergola with amazing views over sea, town and mountains.”

Valentì Positano: https://valentipositano.it


All photos © Roberto Salomone except

Oplontis © Oliviero Olivieri

Valentì courtesy Valentino Esposito

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