Carefree Style: Jackie Kennedy in Ravello, 1962

In August 1962, Jacqueline Kennedy holidayed in the beautiful Amalfi coast town of Ravello with her son John John, her daughter Caroline and her sister and brother.  The location had been recommended to her by the writer and distant relative Gore Vidal, a Ravello resident.

Despite White House instructions that the stay should be low key, the holiday inevitably attracted huge interest.  On arrival Jackie was met by the mayor of Ravello, a band and a decorated town.  For three weeks, the stylish and photogenic First Lady was snapped by the paparazzi sailing, dining, swimming, water skiing, barefoot dancing the twist and cha cha, experiencing the sites of the area and generally epitomising La Dolce Vita.  

During the stay, he was hosted by L’Avvocato, the equally stylish, famously wealthy and wildly promiscuous Gianni Agnelli.  Tongues wagged about a possible liaison.  When she left, she said she would return with her husband; a promise never fulfilled due to his murder a year later.

More pictures of cool 1960s Jackie-ness in Ravello below:

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The Taste of Italian Summer: Lemon and Ricotta tart

Lemon trees here in the south, and especially on the Amalfi coast, are rightly famous and grow everywhere.  We have two in the garden which bear fruit for most of the year.  I was looking for a light Summer desert menu with a lemony zing and decided upon this simple but stunning tart from the Two Greedy Italians – Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo.  Both from near Naples, they cooked the dish outside on a terrace high above Amalfi.

The recipe uses candied cedro, a citrus fruit from the south of Italy, with pungent lemon zest sprinkled on the finished tart.   But you can use candied lemon peel too.  The result, as shown above, is a very light, delicate tart which is lovely either on its own or, as recommended by the cooks, with Summer poached pears.  This version is from the BBC website.

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Sentiero degli Dei: The Pathway of the Gods

High above the famously twisty Amalfi coast road, along which coaches whizz tourists on day trips to and from picturesque Amalfi and Sorrento, lies a simpler, more remote Italy.  The seven-kilometre long Pathway of the Gods runs down from the heights of Agerola (Bomerano) to the beach at Positano.  Of medium difficulty (at least downhill), the local legend tells how the Gods descended the rocky path to reach the sea where Sirens lay in wait for unsuspecting mariners, enticing entranced sailors onto the rocks with the beauty of their singing.  When Odysseus foiled them by lashing himself to the mast of his ship, the Sirens threw themselves into the sea, becoming the Le Sirenuse isles.

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