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Francis Bown, Bown's Best

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See below for the latest September 2018 Reviews

Hotel Santa Caterina, Amalfi, Italy | Bown's Best


One of my favourite hotels in Italy is the famous Santa Caterina. Like an exquisite white lily in a verdant garden, this immaculate establishment is the focal point of the Amalfi Coast. Its location, its décor and its facilities are wonderful. But best of all are the people who make it such a joyful place in which to stay. I mean, of course, its staff. I present to you a picture of four of them from the Restaurant. Together, they have given more than half a century of service to this magnificent establishment. They are, from left to right, Domenico (the Assistant Maitre d’ – 18 years), Lucca (the Sommelier – 9 years), Pino (the Maitre d’ – 28 years) and Michele (a waiter, and the relative newcomer). These splendid gentlemen and their many colleagues ensure that the hospitality at the Santa Caterina is of the highest quality. I salute them. Indeed, Pino – with his impeccable taste and unfailing courtesy - must be regarded as hotel royalty; so I will call him henceforth Prince Pino.

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Casa Angelina, Praiano, Amalfi Coast, Italy | Bown's Best


The exquisite Casa Angelina occupies a spotless villa in one of the very best locations on the Amalfi Coast. From its elevated position, it provides the guests in its 39 rooms with a panorama which embraces Positano, Capri and a substantial stretch of the most famous coastline in the world. Reached by a vertiginous private road, it has the feeling of a luxurious retreat. In the mornings I counted just three sounds: the bell of the local church calling the faithful to prayer, the birds singing to welcome the new day and a distant cockerel proclaiming his masculinity. ‘Heavenly’ is the word which came to mind.

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Ristorante La Capannina, Capri, Italy | Bown's Best


Some restaurants seem to sum up all that is best about the place they inhabit. Thus it is with La Capannina and Capri. Relaxed, welcoming and warm-hearted, this establishment embodies the charm of its location. Indeed, whenever I think of La Capannina, the pleasures I have enjoyed on the magical island over the years come to mind. And I smile. Is not smiling the best tribute one can pay to any establishent? In my photograph you will observe that both I and the owner of La Capannina, Mr Antonio De Angelis, are doing precisely that.

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See also Dining in France

Francis Bown 2003
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