During the day we were commenting on how we'd met so many great people; both travelers as well as locals during our trip and that for both of us meeting new people is probably what we love most about traveling. My wife said, "I'd love to meet a fun couple this afternoon then go to dinner with them tonight at 'our' restaurant." I agreed and told her that I had a good feeling about that possibility becoming a reality.
As it turned out my psychic meter was a tad off; we didn't meet anyone as we strolled, browsed and ate gelato. C'est la vie, we were in Italy. We booked our reservation for Antica thus, all was good. We chose to dine inside the restaurant as the rain had been coming and going throughout the day. Ain't no way was I about to enjoy a fine Italian red only to have it watered down by Sorrento's sweet showers.
The interior reminded me of a British tea house but with Italian trimmings. The table cloths were white linen while the stemware, flatware, and cutlery appeared to be high end. The waiters all wore matching black suits differentiated only by chosen tie color. This place was swank if not posh…or swanky-posh as I call it. It's the kind of place that when I walk in I'm always ready for that gentle tap on the shoulder which will be followed by, "Ah, excuse me sir but how did you get in here?"
Happily, the shoulder tap never came. We sat not far from another couple and two tables over was a third couple. Each could not have whispered any more quietly if they tried. We selected our food, chose the wine and settled in for a nice QUIET evening. I'm not opposed to quiet dinners and believe me I'm not looking for a sports bar but this joint didn't even have Chopin or Bach sneaking through their speakers. A church mouse would have said, "Ha! call me a church mouse, are your hearts even beating?"
|Vivere con passione|
"Well this is slightly different from the night you described honey--the one where we meet the rocking couple and have a raucous time loaded with merriment," I said. She agreed. And then I heard it. Music. Distant music. Floating. A mandolin if I wasn't mistaken.
Then from another section of the restaurant popped a friendly little gent pluckin' and-a-strummin' on a mandolin. I smiled like a kid on christmas morning. Music! He caught my dumb grin and meandered over. After he finished out his tune my wife and I applauded at a volume that the British couple at table one and Spanish couple at table three no doubt thought 'Ah, Americans'. I also cheered and said bravo a half dozen times. Clearly I was brining the posh level down a notch...or two. Right away Vincenzo the mandolin player introduced himself and thanked us. He then said, "So you are a musician what do you play?"
I guess we muzos just recognize each other that way. We chatted briefly before he launched into a Beatles song; name escapes me. He encouraged me to sing along (with the few lyrics I could remember) and at the close came over and chatted some more. With song 3 done he moved back into the depths of the restaurant. A few waiters came by with smiles and nods. One even complemented me on my singing…however he laughed as he said it. Fifteen minutes later Vincenzo returned and bee- lined for my wife and I. We sang, laughed, tipped Vincenzo heavily and somewhere in there the johnny-on-the-spot waiters managed to stealthily top up our wine glasses.
|One part mandolin; one part percussion X parts wine=Good times!|
Vincenzo stumbled into 'Something' by the Beatles which is a tune I love. He made me sing. Miraculously the majority of the lyrics came to mind. We took turns botching parts but forged ahead and made it through to the finish line. The big applause from the staff and patrons was a total shock. Perhaps the wine was flowing for everybody that night. I should mention that the food was absolutely out of this world. (I'd hate for you to think I was only there for the wine and mandolin melodies)
We carried on throughout the night in much the same way. It turned out that Vincenzo was from the same region as my wife's parents. He was truly one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet. And he's definitely the coolest mandolin player we've ever met. As we strolled back to our hotel we laughed at the memory. As Sorrento's crisp night air caressed our faces I said, "Well we didn't meet that rockin' couple but I'd say we kinda rocked the place."
|My wife and I with the manager. We're dressed differently because we went back to the restaurant two days later|
"What!?" My wife blasted. "Are you kidding me? Sweetie, that is a Michelin Star rated restaurant. You found a little mandolin player and completely rocked that place! I guarantee that place has never rocked like that!"
"Honey, when you put it in those terms I believe you have a point."I paused. "Say maybe we should get a mandolin for the house!"
Note: If ever you're in Sorrento go check this place. You'll be glad you did. See link below...