I first discovered Nonna Paola while surfing through videos on my smart TV's YouTube app. Immediately, I called over my wife and son and we lost ourselves in laughter for the next hour or more as we played video after video.
This diminutive Calabrian nonna puts up with the provocations, jabs and teasing of her Australian comedian son, Greg, as he records videos of her reactions to the the world around her: telemarketers, smart phones, "sooshi" ("Do I eat-a the paper?"), politics, and priests. In one episode she asks her son to play Metallica in the car. In another, she explains how she bottles and labels her own holy water. One of my all-time favorites is when her son catches her drying chili peppers in the washing machine's spin cycle!
The mix of a loving, prodding son and a thick-accented energetic Nonna is hysterical. The videos has made Nonna Paola a YouTube sensation, with nearly 24,000 subscribers with some of her videos reaching over half a million views!
In many ways (especially in stature) she reminds me of my maternal Grandmother: the way I would always tease her about her "boyfriend", the Pope; trying to put a helmet on her and telling her "today is the day" I was taking her for a ride on my motorcycle; and I perpetually blamed her tomato sauce (overloaded with onions and peppers) as the reason my appendix almost killed me when I was 12 years old.
Their videos are addictive, but I'm trying to pace myself for when I really need to take my mind off of everyday problems of life. When I need it, I'll load up their video channel on Youtube and laugh at the way Nonna fights back at her son by calling him "Dick-a-head", soothing my soul with laughter...
A few of my Nonna Paola favorites...
Amazing video (some by drone) of divers jumping from the bridge over the the
Furore Fiord on the Amalfi Coast.
Click on the photo to see the video.
When traveling through the Amalfi Coast, we can't help but wonder, "Who lives up there? How do they deal with all those steps? How do you even get up there?" You'll see houses precariously clinging to a cliff edge with no indication of how you even get to the house from the road above--or below--and how you would even get your groceries to your door. Anyone who has done even a little trekking and walking would be familiar with the old donkey paths and countless steps that link these communities, up and down the mountain and from hamlet to village. Consider what it must be like to live a workaday life in towns like Positano, Amalfi Town, or the not so famous towns of Furore, Priano, Nocelle, Montepertuso, San Lazzaro, San Michele or Scala (even its name means staircase). The YouTube videos of Nicki Positano takes a look behind the curtain of what it's like to live as an expat in Italy and on the Amalfi Coast...
Although I've experienced what it's like to be an expat living in another country (France), I've never lived in Italy and am amazed at how people need to adjust to the quirks of not only government and social customs, but also with the extreme geology of the place... hills, heat, narrow roads, tiny cars, compact living quarters and perhaps even dodging the enormous tourist throngs that "invade" during the peak season.
As GVI's mascot, La Bocca della Verita demands, we always look for truths about Italy, and we've found amazing truths in the wonderful, funny, informative and completely entertaining videos of Nicki Positano. Nicki is a British expat who has lived in Positano for nearly 20 years with her husband, Carlo and daughter Sky. Nicki speaks fluent Italian but the local dialect is still an effort for her. They live in a house that is 465 steps down from the road above. Their life is beautiful, difficult at times, but fulfilling nonetheless--like Italy itself.
Watching Nicki's videos and learning the intimate details about life on the Amalfi Coast--and in Italy--has become a family event in our home. We gather around our large screen smart TV, pop open the YouTube app and call up one of Nicki's videos. Our son loves Nicki's ever-present four-legged companion Holly, even riding on the foot board of her scooter as she does her daily errands.
It's like watching both through a window and through Nicki's eyes. She shoots many videos using a selfie-stick while walking along with her rapid-fire dialog flowing, never missing a beat to give a detailed account of the activity at hand. She's a damned good reporter, presenter and videographer.
Her videos include all sorts of activities: hikes up on the mountain, kayaking, meeting up with friends, taking out the trash, attending local festivals, or buzzing around the treacherous Amalfi roads on her two-wheeler while heading to another one of her wedding or magazine assignments (she's a make-up artist in high demand). Whether it's going to the cemetery on Halloween night (oddly beautiful), following the aftermath of a torrential flood or forest fire, going shopping with a friend, hiking the Path of the Gods, chilling at home with her teenage daughter or whipping up a simple lunch, you'll fall in love with Nicki's videos--and learn an enormous amount about living in Italy.
The high quality of her 4K videos (she uses a GoPro for kayaking and skiing, and Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II for walking) paired with a large screen, HD-TV gives us the feeling like we are walking the paths with Nicki--you can almost smell those Amalfi lemons and bougainvillea.
Thanks for sharing your lifestyle with us, Nicki...
Subscribe to Nicki Positano Videos HERE.
The Calabrian Lira (lyre) is a bowed string instrument with three strings. Like most bowed lyres and psalterys, it is played upright, usually supported on the knee, held with the left hand touching the strings with the nails laterally while the right hand moves the bow. Traditional songs of the Lira include accompaniment songs (e.g. serenades and songs of anger) and songs suitable for dancing (tarantellas).
These songs and tunes are passed on from older players to the young. In recent years there has been a resurgence of Italian folk music from many regions of Italy, with newer musical traditional folkloric music groups and performers. There has also been more and more craftsmen in Calabria building these instruments.
The Calabrian Lira is closely related to the bowed Lira of the Byzantine Empire, first noted by a 9th century Persian geographer and spreading to eastern Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries.
The video below visits a Lira maker in his workshop...