Italy’s Punta Ala is the place to be in the summer: NPR – Yalla Match

Swimming and sailing lessons are just a few of the sports offered to families vacationing in Punta Ala. Families return year after year to give their children a break in nature and reunite them with friends they only see in the summer.

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Swimming and sailing lessons are just a few of the sports offered to families vacationing in Punta Ala. Families return year after year to give their children a break in nature and reunite them with friends they only see in the summer.

Adam Raney/NPR

PONTA ALLA, ITALY – For Italians, an August vacation always means spending time at the beach with family and friends. And most people return to the same beach year after year, as families gather and pass traditions from one generation to the next.

About a three-hour drive north of Rome on the Tuscan coast was Punta Ala, an exclusive beach resort developed in the 1960s and 1970s. You won’t find archaeological sites or ancient Roman ruins. Indeed, in some ways it is less Italian in appearance than the resorts. There are large houses with large yards, tennis courts and stables for horses. It is a sports haven for connoisseurs and people with money to spend.

The children who return year after year look forward to endless days of soccer and other sports with their friends in Punta Ala. Many families say they return year after year because they remember making lasting friends at the luxury resort on Italy’s Tuscan coast.

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The children who return year after year look forward to endless days of soccer and other sports with their friends in Punta Ala. Many families say they return year after year because they remember making lasting friends at the luxury resort on Italy’s Tuscan coast.

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Private beach clubs complete with cafes, restaurants and rows of umbrellas for hire along the beach. The water is clear and the sun is steady and strong. Elba Island can be seen from the beach. Yachts are often moored offshore or at an elegant marina.

Despite the natural beauty, for many the day begins not on the beach but at La Pasticceria Siciliana – a pastry shop on the ground floor of a faded 1960s-era apartment building.

The espresso is strong, but it’s the pastries – Sicilian classics like the ricotta-filled cannoli – that draw regulars here year after year.

Morning dilemma: Which delicious pastry to pick at La Pasticceria Siciliana before heading to the beach to spend the day with family and friends. The cafe opens daily at 07:00 and serves Sicilian pastries to the high-heeled group Punta Ala.

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Morning dilemma: Which delicious pastry to pick at La Pasticceria Siciliana before heading to the beach to spend the day with family and friends. The cafe opens daily at 07:00 and serves Sicilian pastries to the high-heeled group Punta Ala.

Adam Raney/NPR

Growing up in Rome, Emily Mangoza started a new family tradition. One morning she was on a Sicilian balcony watching her 10-month-old son, Eduardo A. Cornetto Italian croissant.

“The cream fillings are wonderful,” says Mangoza. “We live in Switzerland now and they don’t know how to make a cream like this. I think it’s like a whole different experience here.”

Francesco Esic is the third-generation pastry chef at La Pasticceria Siciliana, Punta Ala’s bakery dedicated to Sicilian pastries such as cannoli filled with ricotta and aragusta, crunchy lobster-shaped mini pastries filled with sweet cream or ricotta. His great Sicilian uncle and father opened the bakery in 1969.

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Francesco Esic is the third-generation pastry chef at La Pasticceria Siciliana, Punta Ala’s bakery dedicated to Sicilian pastries such as cannoli filled with ricotta and aragusta, crunchy lobster-shaped mini pastries filled with sweet cream or ricotta. His great Sicilian uncle and father opened the bakery in 1969.

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More than filling it with baked goods, she dreams of cultivating a love of nature and sports in Eduardo with frequent trips to Punta Ala.

“They have a sailing school, horse riding, tennis and swimming, so it would be great if he could spend the summer here,” she says.

A ten-minute walk down the hill to the Tyrrhenian Sea, a branch of the Mediterranean, dozens of children carry small boats ashore for daily sailing lessons.

Children from all over Italy take summer sailing lessons in the calm waters of Punta Ala on the Tyrrhenian Sea, an arm of the Mediterranean Sea.

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Children from all over Italy take summer sailing lessons in the calm waters of Punta Ala on the Tyrrhenian Sea, an arm of the Mediterranean Sea.

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Nearby, a young child, Francesco, is taking swimming lessons in the shallow sea as transparent as a swimming pool. His trainer, Manuel Corley, is toned, tanned and loved by many mothers, who correct his lumps. Ciurli, a former Italian backstroke champion, runs the only swimming school here, complete with lap lanes bobbing on the waves.

Manuel Ciorli, a former Italian backstroke champion, teaches swimming lessons to the same children year after year in the calm and clear sea of ​​Punta Ala.

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Manuel Ciorli, a former Italian backstroke champion, teaches swimming lessons to the same children year after year in the calm and clear sea of ​​Punta Ala.

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As he guides a young student through the corridors, he says: “It’s always touching to see how children change over time, grow up and come back. It means you’ve passed on something meaningful to them. And who knows, maybe even some of the children become competitive swimmers.”

In Punta Ala, children often run free as they hop between the waves and the shade of the pine trees. Christian Bartoli spends hours on the soccer field with children he has known all his life.

“It’s great because you’re going to meet all the friends you haven’t seen in the last year,” he says.

Lying on the beach, time passes. Countless sand castles have been built, destroyed and pushed. Sometimes it’s lunchtime and the sun has exhausted you from walking to the many restaurants along the beachfront Lido promenade.

It was then that Attilio Annone, driving his golf cart full of fruit, was a welcome sight.

Attilio Annone is from Naples, but for the past 14 years he has been selling fruit and fresh mozzarella di bufala along the beach in Punta Alla on the Tuscan coast.

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Attilio Annone is from Naples, but for the past 14 years he has been selling fruit and fresh mozzarella di bufala along the beach in Punta Alla on the Tuscan coast.

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Cantaloupe in Italy is usually sweeter in taste than what is usually found in the United States. Asked what a cantaloupe looks like today, Annoni opens one slice to reveal its deep orange color. “Look at the perfect color,” he says.

Annone is from Naples, but every summer he has been selling watermelons, peaches and even exotic tropical fruits here for the past 14 years. He earns very little selling mozzarella di bufala from his affair in Campania – at home near Naples.

Annoni is quick to say what he likes about this place: “Punta Ala, it’s like family here. We all know each other.”

Society, that’s what he gets. There are many communities that feel a special connection to Punta Ala.

Under a tall pine tree is another place for reunion – Filipino domestic workers who travel with their employers from places like Rome, Milan and other cities meet twice a week to chat, play cards and eat.

“These gatherings are important because they give old friends a chance to be reunited,” says Juanito Altibono, who moved to Italy from Bologna 40 years ago. “The Filipinos I met in Italy are like my brothers and sisters.”

As the sun sets, Ellaria, a mother of two who did not want her full name given, is stroked and tickled by her laughing daughters. She struggled for several minutes to explain how much she loves coming here year after year. Finally one of her daughters took her hand from her mouth and let her speak.

I know a lot of people here. My friends I grew up with now have kids…and our kids play together like us. It’s really nice to see it. And of course eat well! In Tuscany – you have it all! “

In years to come, her children may find themselves on the same beach and tell the same stories to their children about the endless summer joy here.

A beachgoer takes in the scenery on Punta Ala Beach.

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A beachgoer takes in the scenery on Punta Ala Beach.

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