Tales from Positano: Marcello the Cat

Hello there! This week I’ll be telling you Tale #4, all about a cool cat named Marcello. I started publishing Tales from Positano – my personal stories from a recent trip to the Amalfi Coast – about three weeks ago. I post a new tale every Friday. In case you’re new to the Tales from Positano series, you might want to check out Part I, II, III.

Previous Tales from Positano

Part I: The Driver
Part II: The Waiter
Part III: The Path of the Gods


One thing I’ve been learning as I write and edit these tales is how each experience has taught me something new, even if I didn’t realize it at the time. I’m starting to see how writing is very much a process of reflecting – when I write about an experience I start to notice something deeper, something I probably wouldn’t have even recognized if I hadn’t wrote anything down. Writing forces me to think about things in a deeper way, to choose my words carefully, and to recall what it was about the experience that was so impactful.

This week’s story brought out the idea of how sometimes our expecations can fool us. We see where we want to go and it seems easy, but then when we actually start moving towards our goal, we realize there’s a lot more to it than we originally thought…

Tales from Positano
Part IV: Marcello the Cat

After lunch in Nocelle, we began to make our way down to Positano. It was still beautiful outside and all the wine from lunch made us happy hikers. We thought it would be a pretty straight shot to Positano considering we could see most of the town from Nocelle. Of course, like a lot of other things in Italy, we could see where we wanted to go but the path to get there was long and curvy and not very well-marked.

Expectations sometimes fool us.

I don’t even think we noticed that we were no longer on a real path anymore, but on a road, where cars and motorbikes were whizzing on by us. Still, we could see Positano and in our happy blissful state we didn’t even think twice about our choice of direction.

We marched through a little town on the cliff. It had everything a little town in the Amalfi coast could need: a few good restaurants, bars, a church, a few small food markets, and a soccer field, looking rather abnormally flat amongst all the rockiness surrounding us. Food, soccer, religion (or at least the comfort of knowing that the center of the city is where the church is) – these are the building blocks of Italian society.

Just as we passed a roadside mechanic shop, a little ball of light orange fur suddenly appeared at Patricia’s feet. It was a tiny kitten! I screamed out “Eeeee! It’s so fluffy!!” immediately diving down, hands first, to pet it.


I really love cats, probably because dogs just weren’t my thing as a child. (Ok so maybe “not my thing” is an understatement. They were more like my worst enemies, my fear spawned by several incidents with a 2-pound Mexican Hairless, my neighbor’s Sheepdog and my aunt’s Rottweiler named “Sunny”..hah…who bit a hole in my favorite flower-printed dress, something I will never be able to forgive him for). Plus, we always had indoor cats growing up so I’m pretty accustomed to the independent, aloof and the “I’m-better-than-all-of-you” attitude that cats often display. I generally know how to approach them and break past their austere attitude.

So I have a serious weak spot for cats and of course, kittens even more. This little orange furball was clearly unable to see well, as kittens often have trouble seeing and balancing themselves during their first few months. It kept getting caught up in Patricia’s feet and Patricia, who didn’t even notice the little creature at first, sort of screamed out as she saw it below her, trying to rebalance itself.

marcello 2We all gave it a nice pet and I started rubbing its cheeks with my fingers as I remember my cats used to love. Patricia picked it up, but after a few seconds it got scared and clawed its way back down. I petted it some more, and giving it one last belly rub, began to continue down the mountain.

Yet just as we were walking away, I heard this loud “meoooooow!” and noticed that the kitten was running after us. I petted it again and then had to keep going, as David and Patricia were already well ahead of me.

Still, the kitten kept on coming. I thought perhaps it was attracted to my hot pink sneakers. Maybe it was the only color it could really see well? I could feel myself getting attached and Patricia yelled back at me “C’mon Sarah…”. She knew my love for cats.

marcelloWe walked around another curve, and still there was the kitten following close behind me. I finally decided to give it a name. The night before we had been talking about the scene from Under the Tuscan Sun where Francis comes to Positano to find her Italian love, Marcello. So I thought Marcello would be a fitting name, even if it was only temporary. So every corner we turned, I would say “Okay Marcello, c’mon” and he would keep running after us. If there was ever a point where we got too far ahead of him, he would meow as if a mother was leaving behind her baby.

I felt so bad for Marcello and would have brought him home with me if I didn’t have to travel all the way back to Bologna by train. I was worried that he didn’t have a home and that he might starve to death or get run over by a car.

I contemplated putting him in my purse, bringing him back to our apartment. I even thought, maybe it’s a sign? Maybe I’m supposed to bring Marcello back with me? Maybe he’s supposed to be my cat soul mate?! We kept each other company, as we continued to walk down the mountain. At one point he went under a parked car and didn’t come out. I waited for a moment but, against my desire, decided to keep going because I knew that if I waited for him I would only get more attached. I hoped that the others climbing up the road would greet him and that maybe he would accompany them for a while.

positano night

It was getting late and the sky went from a grayish shades of blue to pale pinks and purples as the sun was starting to set. Positano was now sparkling below us and after another hour of taking the long way home, we arrived back to our peaceful little villa.

Little did I know that later that night I would see Marcello again, in another town and in another light…

Expectations sometimes fool us.
It’s easy to give up and get frustrated, to turn back around again and look for an easier way. But sometimes its better to just keep going. Even if it takes you longer than you thought to reach your goal, you’ll get there eventually, and you’ll might even discover something new along the way (such as the cutest kitten in the world!).

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed this week’s tale. I’ll be posting the final tale (more to come from Marcello) next Friday, so stay tuned!

More Tales from Positano

Part I: The Driver
Part II: The Waiter
Part III: The Path of the Gods