Published: January 15th 2009October 7th 2009
Trip to Calabria, Basilicata and Puglia (Apulia) (southern Italy) - October 2008 My husband was born in Italy, but left when he was a little boy and grew up in Ontario, Canada. Since 1990 he has been back 5 times and we have criss-crossed the entire length from north to South, including Sicily many times. Three years ago while on a trip with a friend, my husband travelled through a corner of Puglia (Apulia in English) and was very impressed. He has been planning a return trip for 3 years.
Although this was to have been 3 weeks in Puglia, we actually spent 4 days (2 nights) in Basilicata and a further 7 nights in Calabria (the region where Joe was born) Our 11 days in Puglia were spent from the Itri Valley (Alberobello) south to the tip (Santa Maria de Leuca.)
The “slow season” begins October 1 and we just happened to arrive exactly on that date! It was the last charter flight that was available direct from Toronto to Lamezia Terme, just outside of Catanzaro. The weather was next to perfect with only a few days when we
had a bit of drizzle or cloud.
An excellent resource and one that we highly recommend is Lonely Planet,”Puglia and Basilicata.” We purchased this book and then a few weeks later received the same copy free from the Italian consulate in Toronto!
UPDATE MAY 2012: See our other two trips: Puglia & Abruzzo in 2010 and Calabria and Puglia in 2012
Wednesday, October 1 Lamezia Terme to Santa Severina
We landed in Lamezia Terme, Calabria around 12 noon and spent the next 2 hours getting luggage, getting processed through Immigration, and renting our Fiat Punto from Avis Rent-a-Car. Upon arrival, my first impression was of warm, humid, sweet air, very similar to that of the Caribbean. Our luggage was first on the plane and last off. Immigration was a breeze.
Our car is black, cute and about a year old. It’s a diesel and can be driven both automatically and as a standard (with no clutch). Joe prefers the standard. The Avis representative went over the car’s operation thoroughly with us. On the trip we averaged 66 mpg or 4.3L/100km.
The first few hours’ driving was a little traumatic as we re-accustomed ourselves to the car, the map, and the highway and its 3-lane drivers on a 2-land road! Whoa! I just gripped the door handle tightly (which I did from time to time along the trip, I might add.)
We drove from from Lamezia Terme past Catanzaro, Crotone and to Santa Severina
where we stayed at an Agriturismo named Le Puzelle (56Euros - Contrada Puzelle 0962 51004) (email@example.com).
It’s a beautiful farm. The buildings are stone with sturdy wooden windows similar to those in Germany. The farm grows grapes, oranges, olives, lemons and almonds. There is a large dinning room. The owners are friendly and the chef has won awards. We bought his cookbook for Joe’s mother who was born not far from here.
We unpacked in our large room and set out to walk into Santa Severina to look around. It was cloudy and beginning to sprinkle rain, so we ducked into a pizzeria (La Nave di Pietra - 096251611) and shared a piece of pizza and each had a small glass of local wine to toast our lovely first day
in Italy. At the café bar we met the owner (a lady) and her chef, Michael, who spoke a little English. We had a nice chat with them.
After our dinner, we walked back in the failing light to our B & B and saw the twinkling lights of Santa Severina in the distance up high on the top of the mountain. It was enchanting. We made some decaf coffee (which we brought with us) and sat out under the stars and quietly reflected on our trip at the end of the the first day.
The frogs croaked and an owl hooted in the distance. It was a relaxing end to our first day. We had a great sleep, even though our internal time clocks were 6 hours out of sync. Best memory of the day for me: Coffee under the stars at our beautiful B&B.
Best memory of the day for Joe: Being back in Italy and speaking Italian
Thursday, October 2 Santa Severina to Ciro Marina
Our breakfast was lovely with banana bread, crusty bread, orange marmalade, prosciutto, sliced Reggio parmesan cheese, grapes, sweet buns, pear juice and cappuccino. All were homemade
and delicious! They gave us a parting espresso as we left. Lovely people. (Note: This was one of the top 3 or 4 places that we stayed at on this trip.)
Before leaving the area, we returned to Santa Severina in the hot early morning and walked to the top of the fortressed town and castle. It was quiet and sunny; people were going about their morning business, including some workmen who were painstakingly building a stone road. We stopped by to see the pizzeria owner again and she showed us her B&B which was quite nice. Only 35 E/night including breakfast. This would be a place to return to, I guess, but Le Puzelle was a treasure. I don’t think we could afford it during the regular season, however.
Then it was off to Ciro Marina
in bright sunshine and 26’C (Our car has a thermometer built in.) It was a pleasant drive. At Ciro Marina we stayed at a hotel that Joe and his friend Lars had stayed at on a previous trip 3 years ago — Hotel Miramare (55Euros - Via Lungomare 146, 0962 36539) (www.hotelmiramarecalabria.it).
Our room was on the
second floor and faced onto the Ionian Sea just a stone’s throw from our balcony.
After unpacking, we took off on a long walking tour that started in hot, humid sunshine (1:00 p.m.) and ended in light rain showers (around 3). We explored the beach and the downtown area. Everything was closed (of course). Businesses over here close between 1 and 5 p.m. daily. We did find a little pizzeria that was open where we had a delicious lunch of pasta al forno (with sausage) and melanzana ripiene (stuffed). We shared an Italian beer named Moretti. (This was my favourite meal on our whole trip.) We asked for directions to return to our hotel on the Lungomare and on our way back, my arthritic ankle began to act up. It was a painful trip.
Afterward, Joe went for a dip in the Ionian, and then went to use the hotel’s Internet to send messages home. It is so nice how hotels let you use their computers right in the office. This happened often. I took this time to write in my journal with a glass of wine on the balcony. Then it was off
to the supermercato for some dinner fixings. We ate in the twilight on the balcony. It was very beautiful and relaxing. Best (Carol): The peaceful tour of Santa Severina and the lovely eggplant and pasta lunch at Ciro Marina Best (Joe): the swim in the sea, getting the same room at Hotel Miramare, and touring Santa Severina.
Friday, October 3 Ciro Marina to Montescaglioso
We awoke to a blazing sun and high temperatures at the ocean. Breakfast included yogurt, pear juice, croissants and cappuccino. It was okay. Driving was stressful—just getting out of Ciro Marina with all of its twisting one-way streets was tricky. The views along highway 106 were often lovely—the Ionian Sea.
We left at around 9:30 and after getting lost, we arrived at the mountain town of Montescaglioso
at around 1:30 p.m. It was hard to find the Bed & Breakfast da Pacifica (50E via G. Matteotti 26, 0835 200224) (www.dapacifica.it)
that Joe had selected from the Internet, but he enlisted the help of local people who called ahead to the B& B to get directions, and another who led his big delivery truck through very narrow streets to hook us up
500+ years old in Puglia Italy
with the owner, Domenico. He and his wife are charming and have relatives in the Toronto area (Woodbridge). We have an apartment with a kitchen which is nice. We don’t know how to work the gas stove, so we won’t be cooking.
After a short lie-down rest, we toured the old section of the town (Centro Vecchio) on foot to find the Saint Michael Abbey, built in the 1200s by Benedictine Monks. It is very old and they are renovating it. Inside, I took a picture of old Italian costumes, thinking one might look like a dress that Teresa might have worn for her wedding.
The view from the mountaintop in the old section was breathtaking—we saw a patchwork of green and brown fields below. From that point, we toured around the outside of the village, smelling the remnants of grapes used for winemaking in the caves located in the sides of the mountain. This brought back familiar childhood memories for Joe every time he smelled it on the trip. He had to sit down on the steps and just enjoy it!
During our walk in the hot afternoon sun, we
met an old man dressed in a full black suit and hat, out for his daily walk. We stopped to talk because he commented on the view to us first. He was interested in Joe’s beard and he quite liked it. He said a few more funny things to Joe, but Joe didn’t quite understand it all…something about our being married and being young, or something. Wherever we walked through the streets of Montescaglioso, at around 4-5 p.m. you would see old men sitting on the many benches scattered throughout the town, chatting away. What do they have to talk about?
Everywhere in southern Italy that we went, people were always stopped along the street chatting. Interesting! We didn’t see older women at this time of day, but there were school kids returning from school. We picked up some fruit, veggies, cheese and lunch meat and headed back to our B&B. On the way, we watched as a couple unloaded boxes of white grapes at their house. More winemaking?
The owners were waiting for us on their balcony a few doors down, and introduced Joe to their son who had come from working in
Ionian Sea - Policoro
a town some kilometres away. They chatted and unloaded a load of melons that they received and gave us one. I was making dinner, and was pleased to have the addition of the fresh, round, yellow melone. Tired, I lie down, and read while Joe went out for another walk. Best for Carol: View from the mountain top to the rich Bradano Valley below Best for Joe: Getting the melon and thinking it was a pumpkin! Also, the truck driver who led us to the B&B Pacifica through narrow streets. What a driver!
Saturday, October 4 Montescaglioso to Alberobello
We had a great breakfast with Pacifica Ditaranto (our hostess) and a German couple. Was it ever lovely: connolli, melone, mandarini, artisan bread, butter, cherry jam and lattes. Pacifica couldn’t do enough to serve us a great breakfast.
She was quite lovely. She kept interrupting our talk with the German couple with offers of more food. From the Germans, we found out that Germany and Italy celebrate Halloween and that Germany’s Thanksgiving is only a church celebration of nature’s harvest. They don’t have a special meal.
After a trip
to the bakery for bread and a mini market for fresh ricotta (This was the best ricotta I’ve ever had.), and picante sausage, we left in a light rain and 17’C. (Remember, this is a mountaintop village (10000 people.)
At Laterza, there was a very busy Saturday market going on, and we had trouble getting through the town to the route we needed, so once again, a helpful Italian led us through the maze of streets. We landed on one of the nicest highways of the trip—Hwy 107 which was flat, straight and with shoulders. That’s quite unusual for this region.
We arrived in Alberobello
after carefully navigating turns from town to town, then we got help again from a friendly (and good looking) Italian driving an Alfa Romeo on how to get to our destination Hotel Airone (50E via Col di Lana 30, 080 4322804 - near the train station) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
He led us there, of course.
Arrived at around 1:30 p.m. After a cold pizza lunch with wine, we then set out for a short tour on foot. We ended up at a wine tour at the Cantina Albea
South of Matera
across the street from Hotel Airone. Here we tagged onto a German tour group. We couldn’t understand the tour guide who spoke in German, but we took the time to browse through the excellent museum of antique winemaking tools and to read the English signs explaining wine-making in the region. I’m not a museum lover, but this one was really interesting. The photographs that accompanied the text were superb and so were the displays
At the end of the tour, we were invited by the manager to join the German tour group for wine tasting. Yeah!
We sat beside the German tour guide, Doris, who now lives in Cisternino, the next town. As well, there was Günter and his friends from Bamberg, just outside Nuremburg. What a funny guy! He and his friends spoke some English, so we had a good time chatting during the tasting. We, of course, bought a bottle of wine as a souvenir, but drank it as Joe thought it would add too much weight to our luggage with our plan to take home olive oil. Today, things came in two’s: we met 2 German travel groups and we were
helped to find our way by 2 helpful Italians.
Afterward, we strolled through light rain falling in Alberobello, where we saw the famous trullis and a great rainbow. This place is a World Heritage site because of these unique structures with their conical roofs made of stone and cylindrical structure underneath. We toured a two-storey one, called Trullo Sovrano built in 1785 (1 Euro entrance fee). It was remarkable. I loved the cosiness and soft yellow lights inside the whitewashed walls of this lovely home.
There were a lot of people strolling through Alberobello, both times that we passed through it on our trip. Families, and tourists were everywhere, walking, and talking in the cool fall weather. I particularly remember walking on this Saturday evening when the town was all lit up, and the large church in the centre of the old town broadcast its mass into the crowds of people milling about. It made me think of the movie, “Life is Beautiful” with the music filling the space outside the buildings.
We considered attending Mass, but it was too crowded. On our way back to our hotel, we
photographed a beautiful rainbow. Joe picked pomegranates and persimmons from trees along our path, the first time that we had seen these on trees. I picked some rosemary growing in large bushes. We watched as the electric train silently passed by our hotel.
For dinner, we enjoyed a great repast with fennel, salami, cheese, fruits, veggies and bread, and of course, wine, our staple beverage in this country. I cleaned up, did a small laundry and Joe made our decaf coffee as usual. Joe headed down to the office to use the Internet and watch the soccer game.
It was a good day. We met nice people, had interesting tours, ate delicious food, and we have a nice clean new hotel to spend the night in. Having a fridge in the room is great for storing our goodies. Best for Carol: We had such fun with our two sets of German tourist friends, and the great wine and trulli tours. Best for Joe: He loved picking the fresh persimmons and pomegranates and was thankful for the Italians who helped us find our way.
Sunday, October 5 Alberobello Day 2
Sunny, windy and cool (15’C),
and a sky with white puffy clouds greeted us as we awakened at 8 a.m. It was nice to sleep in for a change and not have to move on. Our hotel breakfast included cappuccino which was nice and hot, store-bought sweet rolls, dry toast, butter and jam—a basic hotel breakfast.
Joe had quite a time at the nearby Agip gas station trying to use the self-service machines. He got help from a friendly Italian, although in the process he lost 10 E. We made a short excursion to Locorotondo, another trulli town and arrived at around 11 a.m. There were many people milling about, either just out for a walk or coming from church. We strolled through the little alleyways between pretty whitewashed houses with colourful flowers decorating their balconies. I was surprised to see flowers in October.
We came upon a pretty park that overlooked a valley. This was one of the few times that we saw a lot of grass in southern Italy. While making use of a WC, the friendly Italian attendant gave us free postcards and lots of information about the area. When he found out that Joe was born in
Beach at Policoro
Calabria, he dug out more brochures and maps, this time of Calabria.
After touring the old section, we went across town on foot to see our first Italian cemetery—a real Ozymandian experience! All of the tombs were above ground and elaborately decorated, complete with names, pictures and often plants and flowers. There was a huge new development that looked like a high fashion district in New York, the way that the little buildings were decorated. It was so unusual, we had to take a lot of pictures and spent a good deal of time just looking at all of it.
We came back to our hotel and had lunch and a nap. Out we went again to tour the town and look at the trullis. We found a Sunday market, complete with clothes for sale, as well as a “just as seen on TV” presentation of a cookie maker. We carried on further to the trulli church, where we saw a large group of Italian tourists, as well as an American family who are spending 5 years just outside Bari. He is a manager for an auto parts company from Germany. We learned from
them how hard it is to fit in to Italian life as most people are so family-oriented. These people were familiar with the Erie Canal bike path that we like to ride on as they were formerly from upstate New York. Lovely couple.
On the way back to our hotel we found freshly roasted chestnuts and we bought a bag for 3 Euros. What a treat! Yum!
Tonight we received phone calls from Canada. It was so good to hear their voices on this Thanksgiving weekend. We missed them. Best for Carol: Seeing the cemetery in Locorotondo, and meeting the Americans in Alberobello. Best for Joe: The friendliness of the WC attendant in Locorotondo, and eating fresh chestnuts in Alberobello.
Monday, October 6 Alberobello to Cisternino
Today was warmer—about 18-20’C and sunny. After breakfasting at the hotel, we left for Cisternino or Ostuni. We weren’t sure where we would decide to stay. It was a beautiful tree-lined drive, very scenic, typical of the Itri Valley. I think this was the prettiest area that we travelled in on this trip.
At Cisternino we stopped at a supermarket that
View from La Corte dell'Angelo in Cosenza
was open. We easily found La Terrazza del Quadrifoglio Hotel in Casalini, just outside Cisternino
(55Euros, via Brindisi 120, 080 444 1123) (email@example.com). We heard our first rooster crowing here—at noon and at 4 p.m. What time schedule is it on? Joe managed to bargain the room price down from 65 to 55 Euros and got a better room. That’s over $18 CDN per night.
Interestingly, the website that Joe checked before coming to Italy, listed this hotel at 60 Euros per night at this time of year. Hmmm…. Joe felt better about the 10 Euros he lost at the gas station yesterday. He felt he made up for it by his clever bargaining today.
This hotel room was the nicest of our trip. It had Mexican tile floors, beautiful orange/coral bedspread with throw pillows, orange/coral drapes. It was very pretty. We had a lovely balcony as well that received the hot morning sun, perfect for drying our laundry.
Our hotel had underground parking as well, and was located on a quiet side street with a building-in-progress opposite. Very restful for weary travellers who are tired of hearing car engines.
Upon unpacking, Joe discovered that he was missing one of his suitcases. He had the manager call Hotel Airone in Alberobello and sure enough, it was there! Apparently it had been left on the bench outside the hotel, forgotten by us as we were loading the car.
An honest passerby had taken it into the hotel. Wasn’t that lucky for us. That suitcase contained most of our valuables. There is so much to remember when you are on the go, as we are, each day.
So back we travelled along the scenic route to Alberobello—just 30 km away to retrieve the wayward luggage. The hotel manager meanwhile had called our home and cell numbers in Canada!
Upon our return, we stopped in at the Il Frantolio di D’Amico Pietro
olive factory just outside of Cisternino (tours free, contrada tesoro 25, 080 444671). This was the second tour that we had planned to take (other than a winery) on this trip. We were the only tourists present at the time, so were treated to a one-on-one tour of the 17 year-old factory that contains two sections: one for regional farmers to use
to press their olives and the second for making the Trisole brand of both organic and non-organic olive oils manufactured in this plant.
This is the only organic olive oil plant in the area. Olives are picked in November and pressed from November to February. Farmers have to make appointments to bring their olives here and pressing goes on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Wouldn’t that be fun to see! We tasted 3 types of olive oil for each of the organic and non-organic types. They were all first pressed and tasted delicious to us, as we dipped bread into them. The lightest oil could be taken by the spoonful for your stomach daily.
The second contained only the fruit of the olives, is light, and is used mainly for salads. The third, the Classico, contains the pits as well, is a little darker, and is used for salads and for cooking. The residue from the pressing process is sold to other factories for the manufacture of pig food and other uses, such as the non-virgin olive oil that McDonald’s uses.
Their website is www.ilfrantolio.it.
We spent some
time after buying oil to take home, taking pictures of the 1000 year-old olive tree and plants on the premises. Just as we were leaving a busload of tourists showed up.
Nearby Joe found some cactus pear plants, just full of ripe fruit. We buy a few of these in Canada each year, but here he had all he could eat for free. So out came his trusty Boy Scout knife, and speared a few and ate some right on the spot. The smell and taste of this fruit triggers a memory of his youth. Oh, was he a happy Italian boy! I did have to pick out a few cactus prickles from his fingers for his efforts.
At around 4 p.m. we returned to our hotel, shared a beer and some provolone dolce, (yum!), and Joe went down to the office to use the manager’s notebook computer to get onto the Internet. I, of course, sat down to make diary entries, on the nice quiet balcony. After awhile, I went down to send messages to a few friends in Canada as well.
We ate dinner out at the nicest
getting a haircut
little place in Casalini called La Locanda del Ristoro which opened at 7:30 (Via Brindisi39 Frazione Casalini - Cisternino, 080 4449149). It was hard to get used to eating so late. We each had a great meal at a reasonable cost. Joe’s dish was mixed shellfish with pasta, and I had orecchiete with beef rolled up. My dish came with chopped cucumber and fennel and a few sprigs of arugula. I just loved it.
A couple from Scarborough, England came in as we were finishing and we had a lovely chat with them, although the restaurant was full of other diners. They had been staying at Masseria Piccola for 5 days and loved it. They were off to Tropea for another 5 days. They had been touring the same spots that we had, and were in Locorotondo at the same time we were on Sunday!. They are avid travellers and have been to Vancouver, different parts of Italy, and the Far East.
They recommended that we try the antipasto for 5 Euros next time we were in. Apparently they bring plates and plates of appetizers, quite enough for a meal, and each is delicious. We never
did get to try it as the restaurant was closed the next night. Carol’s Best: Olive oil factory tour and dinner at La Locanda. Joe’s Best: Finding his suitcase intact, and eating the cactus pears
Tuesday, October 7 Casalini Day 2
Sunny and 21’C. Had a great breakfast at our hotel—yogurt, pomegranate and apricot juices, a variety of fresh sweet rolls and tarts, cappuccino which was nice and hot! We did a laundry for the second day in a row as our balcony faces the hot morning sun.
We left around 10:30 for Ostuni to tour the old town. It had a gorgeous view of the Adriatic in the distance. We had a chocolate gelato to share.
There were a lot of tourists in the main square. The caramelized onion foccaccia we had for lunch was delicious! (It came to be one of my favourite meals of the trip.) We watched a bulldozer remove an old olive tree. It sure was quite a feat! It was so relaxing to look out over the lovely valley below from our park bench.
Then we went on to Villanova
the seashore where we walked out onto a harbour pier and spent a pleasant time in the sun watching fishing boats going out as well as fly fishermen near us trying their luck from a land position.
We continued north and found a beach at Pilone on the Adriatic
. There were a few people sunning themselves; one was in the water. We put on our swimsuits and joined her/him. It was cool at first, but then you got used to it. While drying off in the sun, we read Monday’s USA Today International version which we had bought in Ostuni. It was fun to read a North American paper. The water was so beautiful and blue. It was a lovely place to while away the hours. We returned to our hotel by a different route.
After showering and changing back at our hotel, Joe went to use the hotel’s Internet again, and I settled down on the balcony with wine to write. Dinner tonight was disappointing We had planned to go to our favourite restaurant, La Locanda, to try out their appetizer plate which is supposed to be fabulous and cheap. It was closed! We found
a small café open, and shared a beer and had air-filled calzones. Not too great, for sure. We rounded off the night with pomegranates and persimmon and our decaf coffee. Mmm good! Carol’s Best: The caramelized onion foccacia that we had for lunch, Villanova harbour and the beach at Pilone. Joe’s Best: Swimming in the Adriatic Sea. Yeah!
Wednesday, October 8 Casalini to Marina di Mancaversa
We are so lucky! Another 24 ’sunny day to greet us in Italy. It doesn’t get much better than this as we like to say. Our Quadrifoglio Hote
l breakfast again was a hit—kiwi, apricot juice, milk for my cereal, butter, crusty buns, sweet buns, dessert buns, yogurt, and hot cappuccino. As we were departing, the manager gave us a complimentary bottle of their house wine. How nice! We took a picture.
We passed through Ceglia, Francavilla, and Manduria.
We stopped in Oria
to see the cathedral that is now a Papal Cathedral
. We looked in a museum (Museo Diocesano di Oria) there and saw ancient clergical vestments, statues, and religious paintings. We actually stumbled on the museum door, as it is not marked. Admission was free and
there was no attendant.
Quite interesting and very well done. One painting of a circumcision was particularly graphic, so Joe took a picture of it. Okay….
We carried on along to the Ionian coast through Averana where we bought some lunch items and ate at Porto Caesarea
at the harbour. The sun was bright and it was so relaxing. So was the drive along the coast. We saw a beautiful sandy beach at Baia Verde
. We stayed there for a short bit, and could easily go back. It was worth it. We drove around Monopoli.
At Marina di Mancaversa (near Taviano)
we found a B&B that was open -- B&B Marchese (50Euros, Via Camogli 13, Marina di Mancaversa, 0833 911477) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Most hotels, etc. were closed along the seashore at this time of year.
The place was rustic. We had plenty of room in our apartment that contained fridge, kitchen, bedroom, but poor lighting and poor water pressure. You couldn’t sit long in the lovely gardens surrounding the house because of the mosquitoes. The host gave us a bug plug-in to kill any that got in. We’ve seen these before
Winery and Museum
on this trip.
We went looking for a beach to spend the rest of the afternoon and found only a very rocky, but unique coastline. It looked as if this is the “beach” in the summertime. No sand to be had. We spent a pleasant hour there. Joe swam, and poked around the shoreline, while I sat and drank in the lovely breezes. Back at our room, we picked up our novels, and some wine and headed to the boardwalk about 100 metres away to catch the last rays of sunshine. There were some fishermen out in the water and many older folk out for their evening stroll. Dinner (the usual), followed by an evening stroll through the town, shower and bed. A relaxing day, for sure Carol’s Best: Our leisurely drive and our time at the seashore. Joe’s Best: Getting the complimentary bottle of wine and the museum at the cathedral in Oria.
Thursday, October 9 Mancaversa to Castro/Zinzulosa Grotto
Breakfast with our hosts downstairs in their home consisted of homemade fig jam (just made last night…mmm good), dry bread, dry cookies, delicious cappuccino, and an espresso just before we left. A
View with Adriatic in distance
lot of caffeine to start yet another warm, sunny day. Antonio and his pretty petite wife, our hosts, have a cat and a 5 year old black dog that is ill. They’re worried about him.
They have 4 sons, one of whom has a B&B nearby. These people get visitors from Austria, Italy, Germany, and Britain. Our hostess has menus in all languages to accommodate them. Their home is piled with items they’ve collected over the years. It is neat, but stuffed.
Antonio got us a large bunch of yellow grapes from his trellis to give us as a parting gift. How very generous! Joe had been eyeing them hanging along the passageway to our room. Note:
We seem to be getting an espresso either upon arrival or before departure from some of the places we’ve stayed at. Examples: Le Puzelle Agriturismo, Quadrifoglio Hotel, and here at the B&B at Mancaversa. It must be a custom.
We travelled along the Ionian and Adriatic coasts today. We bought groceries in Porto Racale
in a below-ground supermarket where we got fresh ricotta (yum). We had our car windows open and smelled the pleasant smoke
Herd of sheep near Gallipoli
from burning branches and grasses as people are doing their fall clean up.
We stopped at a beach in Marina San Giovanni
where we changed into our swimsuits and swam in the cool Ionian Sea and played with our small Frisbee. A few others were swimming and picnicking. We met a young man from London, Ontario, visiting for 8 days with a friend he had met in Ireland. This young guy has been working/travelling for awhile, trying to decide where he wants to live. (He’ll probably end up back in Ontario where he has family, he said.) He’s off to Bosnia next and would like to travel in Thailand and the Far East. An interesting person.
We continued on to Santa Maria de Leuca
. At this, the most southerly point in Puglia, we stopped to look out over the high rocky outcropping towards both the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. We met a group of touring bicyclists from the U.S.A. and briefly chatted with them.
Afterward, we headed north along the Adriatic Coast to Grotto Zinzulosa
, just south of Castro Marina,
along a narrow cliff road. The sights were breathtaking—the Adriatic was so blue,
Mancaversa boardwalk near Santa Maria de Leuca
the sky was virtually cloudless. There was not much traffic on the road. I’ll have to admit, I wasn’t as comfortable as I had been on the Ionian Coast. We got lost a few times along this route and had to turn around to stay on the coastal route.
At mid-afternoon we arrived at our destination, one that Joe had found on the Internet that came highly recommended by those who had come before, B&B Macchia di pele (58Euros, Litoranea Castro-S. Cesarea Castro Marina, 328 3567460) (email@example.com)
Our hosts, Amedeo and Nancy had a beautiful stone home on the cliff facing the Adriatic with 5 rooms to let. Lovely white linen curtains blow in the breeze as doors are not closed during the daytime.
There to greet us were their pets: a huge, docile dog named Otto, and 2 cats named Carmela and Carmelita. All were moochers as we found out when we went to sit on a bench outdoors to eat. Our room was lovely; the bathroom with its black tiles, pine trim, large mirrors, and black and white native-print shower curtain was stunning.
The property is terraced with local limestone. Pine
Beach south of Gallipoli
trees, cacti and cedars, as well as bright blooming flowers contributed to the beauty of this place. Soft guitar music was playing in the house from our hosts’ stereo. As the sun was setting, we walked down the road bordering the Adriatic towards Castro. Supper was our usual fare of cheese, meat, veggies and fruit, and of course, wine. Carol’s Best: The lovely B&B at Castro (Grotto Zinzulosa) and I agree with Joe’s as well. Joe’s Best: Meeting the young man from London, Ontario at the lovely beach at Marina S. Giovanni and swimming on a perfect day.
Friday, October 10 Castro to Torre dell’ Orso
We experienced one of the best breakfasts
so far on this trip. Picture a warm, sunny day, blue, cloudless sky and the Adriatic below you as Nancy serves cake, fresh bread with homemade jams (plum, apple, apricot, etc), melon, cheeses, and 2 cups of coffee that cooled too fast, I must admit. There was some fatty bacon (prosciutto, I think), which we fed to Otto the dog. Better for his cholesterol than ours! Amedeo and Joe talked about the area, in English, and we found out that their
water comes from aqueducts from Basilicata. Their sewage on this hillside home is collected in a sewer. We often wondered about these details re: mountain living.
Up the coast we stopped at Otranto
where we toured the historical centre part of town and had a great view of all the sail boats in the port. Many other tourists were around, including a large group of high school students. The day was windy and a bit cool with temperatures around 21’C.
We met a touring English couple from Kent, just outside London, who were there on a tour. They had flown into Bari. Nice people. For lunch we bought foccaccia-like items that were not tasty at all. Unusual as we usually loved whatever we were able to find.
This time we did not have a place in mind to stay, but simply looked around for one. We found a b&b in Torre dell’ Orso
early in the afternoon and had to wait for the landlord of the B&B to come to open up for us. The fruit and vegetable vendor across from the B&B used his cell phone to contact the host for us.
Oranges just south of Matera
What a nice guy. I had a picture taken with him before we left. We stayed at B&B Villa Iris (50Euros, Piazza Salvatore D’Acquisto 1, 0832 841674) (www.villairis.lecce.it).
Although there was a nice porch for eating and relaxing, the rooms were very small (unless we could have got the one upstairs), and the shower was completely open and made everything in the bathroom and our adjoining bedroom damp. But the sandy beach was just a block away. I walked in to the cool water up to my waist, and Joe, of course went for a full-fledged swim. He’s so tough!
We walked along the beach, took photos, relaxed and then went back to shower and change in our room. Following that, we explored the town which had an abandoned look about it. Everyone had left at the end of summer, I guess.
There was lots of garbage along the streets and graffiti on the walls. We weren’t too hungry for supper, so we had peanut butter on rolls and coffee. We sat on the front porch and read under a fairly good light.
The Russians (as the host referred to
Beach at Policoro
them) arrived after awhile. They actually were a group of mid-20s architects from Riga, Latvia
. They invited us to join them upstairs on their balcony for “martinis.” We spent the next few hours, under the stars, in pleasant conversation with these interesting young people, all of whom spoke pretty good English. We learned about the difficulties experienced in a recently democraticized country (18 years).
By the way, their first Prime Minister was a Latvian-Canadian woman, whom they said did a very good job. Prices there are high; they all live in apartments. They are doing a trip throughout Italy in about 3 weeks, and still have Pompeii, Rome, and Venice to do. We discussed politics and the lack of trust we all felt in politicians. What a great way to end a day. This was one of the highlights of our trip. Carol’s and Joe’s Best: Meeting the young people from Latvia.
Saturday, October 11 Torre dell’ Orso Day 2
We had a lovely breakfast on a sunny but cool (18’C or so in a.m.) porch at the B&B. We were offered 2 coffees—one cappuccino and 1 double espresso, sweet rolls, and donuts (like Tim
Horton’s sugar donuts filled with Boston Cream filling). The girl who works at the B&B is very friendly, speaking a little English. She encouraged us to do laundry in the tubs out back and offered detergent and a clothesline. That was very nice.
We took a group photo with the Latvians before they left. Kristops, one of the Latvians, gave us chocolate bars from Riga and Joe gave him his Internet website card and we invited them to communicate and to come visit us in Canada. I ate my chocolate right away; Joe kept his until we returned to Canada! When we arrived home we had an email from Kristops telling us about the rest their trip.)
Joe and I ventured to the nearest town, Melendugno
and I bought warm foccaccia for lunch and we met a man whose parents were born in Montreal and who gave us postcards of the area and informed us that a wedding was about to take place in a nearby square at the 16th C. cathedral.
We went and took photos of the lovely bride and her procession. The beauty of this moment brought tears to my
Our B&B in Calabria
eyes. We sat in the piazza, ate our warm lunch, and then headed for San Foca
to see its beach. It wasn’t as nice as ours in Torre dell’ Orso but the town seemed more well cared for.
There was no graffiti, and they had a newer waterfront boardwalk made of stone. We toured the yacht basin trying to find a bathroom but no luck. We headed back to our B&B, had a beer, and spent a lovely afternoon at the beach again, swimming, playing Frisbee, reading, and walking along the seashore.
We returned for showers and Joe went to read in the sunlit piazza opposite our B&B, and I washed the car! It happens every trip. At some point, I give our rental car a bath. It felt so good to see it clean and shiny. As the sun was setting, Joe went off for a walk, and the church next door was ringing its bells, calling the people to come to Mass.
It took 3 bank machines before we were able to withdraw money. Don’t know what that was all about. Joe used a little flashlight that Lisa had given him for Christmas
advertising a night club
in order to see at the machine which was not lit up in the twilight.
Our dinner was at a local pizzeria restaurant. It was not very good and cost a whopping $27. My orachiette was very salty, and Joe’s Neapolitan pizza had anchovies. Oh, if we could only speak the language better! I think we were the only ones dining in this place. Back at our hotel Joe watched a soccer game between Italy and Bulgaria as we had coffee in our room. Oh, oh, Formula 1 is on at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow. It will be an early day for Joe, I’ll bet. Joe’s and Carol’s Best: The day at the beach.
Sunday, October 12 Torre dell’ Orso to Alberobello
This is the only day on our trip that we would call “not our best day for sure”. It started early with Joe’s Formula 1 race on TV. Due to the dampness in the room, I didn’t sleep very well.
On a partly sunny and cool porch, we ate breakfast at our B&B. Same as yesterday. Joe wanted to spend another night here, but I couldn’t take the room any longer. We took
off and toured the old section of Lecce
, seeing the Roman amphitheatre, great examples of baroque architecture and we found our first McDonald’s
of the trip. Of course, I had to have chicken nuggets. I felt starved for meat. It didn’t taste as good as it does back home. I wonder why?
We walked through an extensive flea market and found nothing that we wished to buy. We walked through a large city park where there was some kind of celebration for children going on. Music and Boy Scouts were everywhere.
After leaving this busy city, we continued along the Adriatic Coast trying to find a place to stay. That turned out to be more difficult than any other day this trip. Most of the coastal towns were deserted. We did try Torre Canne, which looked like a vibrant town with a nice beach. It would be worth revisiting. But no places were open, or we couldn’t find them. I’m not sure which.
We tried Polignano al Mare
where places were very expensive. Most of the town was blockaded due to the arrival of a group of bicyclists who were on a tour
of Italy. We then entered Conversano, but no luck again, so at 4 p.m., we headed back to a place we knew and liked: Hotel Airone at Alberobello.
We arrived after being on the road for a long time, tired and a bit grumpy.
It was nice being back in a hotel and town that we knew. We relaxed with a glass of wine and then headed for the old town where we picked up some foccaccia. We decided to attend the large church that we had tried to go into on our last visit here, and spent an hour experiencing an early evening service in Italian. It was packed, with people, including children standing along the sides. The service consisted mainly of repetitive choral responses, a very short sermon, and no music. Not too interesting for me, as the music is the big draw.
I finished this day feeling that I had had enough of our same dinners, too little shopping and feeling that we had done what we had come to do. Perhaps a two-week trip with more dinners out and more shopping would be more attractive to me. Otherwise, I have
Landing in Calabria airport
loved the trip with interesting mountain towns, seashore days, pleasant weather, good lunches, and a relaxing time. Carol’s Best: The warm wind blowing through the car as we drove. Joe’s Best: The unplanned return to Alberobello
Monday, October 13 Alberobello to Matera
What a change from yesterday! We awoke to 23’C sunny weather…a lovely breezy day. The Hotel Airone breakfast was the same: sweet rolls and cappuccino. We walked to a local supermarket for some basics before leaving.
Driving through the pretty Itri Valley
with windows open to the lovely breeze was great today. We went through Gioia del Colle, Santeramo,
by Altamura to Gravina di Puglia
, looking for Trattoria Zia Rosa in the old town. We found it, but alas, there was no vacancy. It’s too bad, because the price was the best we have seen in Italy and the town looked really neat.
We saw groups of schoolchildren in their blue uniforms with their teachers walking down the street. The town square was heavily treed complete with fountains. We ate our yogurt there in the sun. Then it was off to find Salve Masseria which was recommended by the host
at Zia Rosa. No one answered our ring…no one was home. Except their barking dogs.
Disappointed, because it looked like a lovely agriturismo in the country, and close to Gravina, we went on to Matera,
a pretty busy city in the mountains, which Joe had researched on the Internet. We found the B&B Best Value (55Euros via Fratelli Grimm 5, 333 2310789, www.sassihotel.it)
after asking for directions a number of times.
This B&B was located on the third floor in a fairly new looking apartment building. It was different from anything we had experienced thus far. We entered at mid-afternoon with 4 Dutch people, also arriving. We chose a room with an attached bathroom; otherwise our price would have been 5E cheaper.
Our host, Carmen, was very helpful—a high school math/computer teacher taking a year off—and he spoke excellent English. He has a Cuban wife and a 3 year-old son. We were immediately given an espresso and lots of tourist information on Matera. He assured us that he would take us or pick us up from anywhere we wanted to go. As I say, he was a gem. Our room was located next
to the breakfast room, and had access to a rooftop terrace, accessible by climbing out our window. It was nice at night.
After a salad, cheese, meat, lupini, fruit meal in our room, at around 4 p.m. we went out to find the Sassi. They are cave dwellings that had been inhabited by people in the area, even by the poor up until the 1950s when the government closed them and moved the people into government housing. The living conditions were deplorable. Now they are being refurbished, and have been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site
We had quite a long walk, enjoying the city, and topped it off with luscious gelato on the way back. We made a brief visit to our room, and then went out for a night-time walk in the city. There was a lot of traffic, lights and modern apartment buildings and shops in the area. This was quite different from most places we have visited except for Lecce. Back to the room to shower, and sit on the roof terrace to watch the traffic and sip wine before bed. A different day, that’s for sure. Carol’s Best:
Driving through the beautiful Itri Valley in the warm breezy day. Seeing the Sassis was great as well. Joe’s Best: Finding the Best Value B&B in real life, after only knowing it on the computer screen back home.
Tuesday, October 14 Matera to Pietrapaolo
It was a sunny and warm morning. Breakfast: espresso (a thermos full!) along with warm milk in a teapot, crusty bread spread with olive oil, mashed tomatoes and oregano. It was very good. The Dutch people eating after us had cheese as they requested for their breakfast. We gave them our Puglia road map as they were headed there. It was very stressful, leaving the B&B and Matera as traffic was heavy, and we needed help to find the way out of the city. We took charming back roads to SS106.
Along these, Joe stopped often to pick fruit while I watched for passing traffic. He picked kiwi for the very first time. We had a good ride on SS 106, not sure where we would end up at the end of the day. We stopped to have a swim at a deserted beach at Policoro
. This place must be a
real zoo in the summer. Huge, wide sandy beach with wide boardwalk.
We thought we might be staying at Ciro Marina again, but after a panini stop on the highway, and trying unsuccessfully to call Joe’s mom, we came upon the Agriturismo La Corte dell’ Angelo (The Angels’ Court 70Euros, contrada Camigliano, Pietrapaola Mare, Cosenza, 0983 90153) (www.agriturismolacortedellangelo.it) at Pietrapaola Mare on SS 106.
What a wonderful place! This was the most expensive place that we stayed at but was a veritable Garden of Eden There were cats all over, a few dogs in pens, doves, roosters, gardens, and flowers and vegetables and olive groves.
It was a peaceful spot on the side of a hill looking out at the Ionian Sea. Just perfect for frazzled travellers! After getting set up in our room, we walked up to the top of the hill behind the main house, and were treated to a fabulous view of the Ionian Sea. There was a special feeling here…peaceful…it looked like a scene out of the Sound of Music. I began to sing the theme song!
Once again we had
province of consenza
our usual dinner while travelling in Italy, only this time we were treated to a lovely dining house complete with kitchen, brick fireplace, and lovely wooden tables. It had a real earthy charm to it. Our hosts are a Milanese woman (Angela) and her Calabrese husband (Gino) who inherited the place from his aunt, a duchess. Wow! Clean air, gardens, relaxing atmosphere. What more could one want? Joe’s Best: Swimming at Policoro, and picking lemons, oranges, grapes, kiwis, and pomegranates.
Wednesday, October 15 Pietrapaolo to Soverato
Joe was up at 6:30 to see the sunrise but was disappointed. It was misty and the sun did not appear! Around 8 we breakfasted on farm bread, homemade grape jam, butter, cake, cookies, toast, and espresso and hot milk. It was a good hot cup of coffee that we had here.
Afterward, Joe had a long talk with Angela, about things Italian. She and her husband, Gino, had done all of the restorations themselves on the property, have had the B&B open for 7 years and have been working on the house for 10 years. They have a handyman, Antonio, who helps out as
Gino is now 75. The olive trees are managed by a company who comes in and harvests the fruit. They have 4 children: a girl and 3 boys, who live in Rome.
They talked about the immigrant Romanian gypsies and the crime they’re involved in. Some stole clothes from her right under her nose as she worked alongside them on her property. Her children in Rome go out in groups as they’re fearful of attack/robbery.
Romanian gypsy women are big into prostitution. She gave us her brochure and Joe offered to rewrite her English portion after she admitted that her daughter had tried with difficulty to do the translation from Italian. Joe promised to send it back by email.
We travelled along the SS106 amid sun, warm 23’C temps. and a lovely breeze. Joe has developed confidence driving here and passes very assertively. We had lunch along the way at a lovely restaurant after Joe took pictures of a HOLLYWOOD sign up in the hills. (It referred to a disco in the area). Our lunch was great—veal scaloppini for Joe and tagliatelli with ground beef pasta sauce for me. The waitress was a recent Romanian immigrant and
was learning English. The meal, including beer, cover charge and tax was 20E or around 34CDN.
We continued along the coast and stopped at Catanzaro Lido
. Joe vaguely remembers when he was 3 or 4 years old his parents brought him to this beach. We continued to Soverato
where we stumbled upon the Hotel del Golfo (60Euros, via Marina 32, 0967 21307 - no website),
a few metres from the Ionian Sea.
We bargained down from 80E per night to 60E for 2 nights, and ended up staying three nights. This was an unplanned lodging…just the first one we found as we entered the town. We went to the beach where Joe swam and then we went to an Internet café where we sent text messages home. Gelatos were next on the agenda: Tiramisu for me and pistachio for Joe. Then off to a supermecato for supper fixings. We spent the night in our large, basic room facing the ocean…no balcony, but it had a large picture window. Best for Both of Us: Lunch at the lovely little restaurant, and Joe’s long talk with Angela
Thursday, October 16 Soverato Day 2
Once again it was sunny and temperatures in the early-mid 20s. It was hot with no cloud in the sky. Breakfast was typically a hotel one: 2 cappuccini, a sweet filled croissant, cookies. We went out for a morning walk, looking to see the lovely church perched on the hill above the hotel, but we were unable to access it as all roads were blocked off. A local man, trying to help us, couldn’t understand why, either. We took some lovely pictures…hibiscus in full bloom.
Joe got a haircut for 8E at a little barbershop. The barber did a great job. We found out from him that Padre Pio was from a town in the province of Foggia. He had a picture prominently displayed in the shop. We’ve seen these pictures, as well as statues of Padre Pio throughout this trip. We washed clothes and hung them out to dry on the sunny balcony on the upper floor of the hotel.
We snacked on olives and cheese and went to the beach. We swam, and walked about 30 minutes each way along the beach, with the water lapping at our ankles. It was very pleasurable. Not
Centre of Lecce
many people were out sunning. We spent the rest of the day in the Mare Jonio and reading.
Joe went up to the room for awhile to eat and rinse out my shorts, which I had foolishly worn into the water! Why??? He brought me back some beer, crackers and cheese. We walked over to watch fishermen fly fishing from the beach. It was so peaceful; sitting in the sand, listening to their quiet voices We saw no fish, however. I guess that’s what the sport is all about!
Then it was back to the room to shower, watch the news and have some wine. After a pleasant walk along the boardwalk, we went to dinner at a Michelin recommended restaurant called Ristorante Riviera di Alfonso Vitale, via Regina Elina, 0967 530196, close to our hotel. It was very expensive (for us!) …Joe had a vegetable buffet at 9E with 3E for some patates frites, and I had American beef.
We didn’t realize that the beef was 6Euros per/100g and I was not asked how much I wanted. The buffet was not a buffet as we know it, where you help your self.
The waitress placed a few veggies on Joe’s plate. Our bill came to 36E. The beef and the patates frites, however, were delicious, but I guess we paid for the fact that it was Michelin rated! Best for Both: The day at the beach.
Friday, October 17 Soverato Day 3
Partly cloudy, very warm, sunny and humid in the morning. We had grapes, pears, coffee, croissants for breakfast. What an improvement over yesterday! We walked along the boardwalk past many high school students lounging around (no school?) and came upon a large flea market. It had everything that Wal-Mart carries, it seemed.
Joe tried bargaining for an Italia hat but the vendor wouldn’t budge from 7E. We went out later to the supermercato for foodstuffs and met a very friendly meat/cheese guy who let us taste the ham (yum!) and cheese, a local pecorino. We stopped by a little tavola calda where I had melanzana (mmm good).
Joe saved his appetite for our supermarket meal. The hotel owner gave Joe 4 pomegranates and we ate 2 of them. They were delicious. It seemed as if we were only 1 of 2
parties occupying the hotel. To the beach we went and swam with about 5 other Italian tourists on this warm brightly cloudy day.
We read and relaxed all afternoon. Joe went up to the room to eat and I stayed at the beach. I got chilled in my wet suit so I went up to change. We shared beer and crackers and cheese again at the beach. We walked quite a way past the fishermen and lay on the sand, then made our way back slowly to our beach.
Joe went out for a pre-dinner walk as I packed and wrote in my journal. I noted that we have gotten along well on this trip…only 2 ruffles in 18 days of togetherness. Not bad. Best for Both: The beach.
Saturday, October 18 Soverato to Amantea
A warm, bright cloudy day greeted us today. Rain is in the forecast for our destination. Joe watched the Formula 1 Trials today from China. After breakfast, Joe had a confrontation with our hotel manager over the cost of the room. It seems they had a misunderstanding over the rate. Joe is not too happy. Up until this point, she
South of Galipoli
had been very pleasant.
We travelled through a mountainous area with narrow roads today en route to the opposite coast and Amantea. I was clutching the armrest or the door, closing my eyes a lot, just as I remember doing on previous visits to Italy. Ah well, it was just for this one day this time. Joe really enjoyed this touring and took pictures of people laying their nets under the olive trees for the harvest.
We lunched at an Esso station’s cafeteria, near LaMezia, on chicken, gravy, potatoes and beer. It was quite good. We have nothing like this in our country. Then we arrived at Amantea.
We had been by Amantea 3 times before and liked what we saw.
We had quite a bit of difficulty finding the hotel that Joe had found on the Internet. It had such great reviews, that we persisted, and with the help of an Italian who insisted on leading the way, we found it, Trevi Village, S. Statale 18 km 349,700 Campora San Giovanni, Amantea, 0982 4646113) (www.TreviVillage.it firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our 4 star resort @ 49 E/nt.
It was beautiful! Imagine, we left the
best for last. It is located on the Tyrrhenian Sea where the beach is a bit coarser and greyer than that at Soverato, but it was fine. We had a cabana—a room with a large TV, fridge, lots of room, a big picture window facing the Sea, and a deck with table and chairs. With the extensive gardens surrounding, it was really pretty. If we had just taken a
hotel room it would have cost 10E less!
We spent the afternoon, which was sunny and not rainy as predicted, on the lounges at the beach. It was hot enough to tan. The only others on the beach were a pair of stewardesses who apparently like to use this place as a resting spot between flights. We had a brief dip in the Sea which was refreshing and wavy, similar to others we’ve met on the trip. Later on we went to a supermarket in Amantea to buy dinner for the evening. Afterwards, we sat on the beach under the stars and had our customary decaf. It was with the gentle whisper of the waves that we slept. Best for Both of Us: Our
resort—Trevi Village— very affordable for us as it was in the off-season
Sunday, October 19 Amantea Day 2
We awoke to a beautiful sunny, and warm morning at Trevi Village. Fishermen were out early on the breakwater. Breakfast was amazing: bread, ham, cheese, prunes/mixed fruit cocktail, yogurt, croissants with a light dusting of icing sugar, cereal, milk, juice, latte in a machine (okay and hot). The only thing missing was eggs! We have had none for 3 weeks, and that will be the first thing I eat when we return. A few other couples (Dutch/German) were eating in the dining room at the same time.
After Joe watched the F1 Race on TV, we ventured out to find the spot at Amantea where we as a family with Lisa swam and sunbathed in 1996. It was hard to find because the road system had changed since then and the area is now bypassed with a tunnel . It was nice, but not as great as we remembered. I guess you just can’t go back!
On our way through Amantea
, we found a Sunday market in full swing, and after wandering through it, I bought Joe
an Italian hat similar to the Ferrari hat worn by Michael Schumacher. He looks really good in the pictures we took of him in it at Trevi Village. While I had been busy shopping, Joe ran into tourists from Sault Ste. Marie (my hometown) who were in Italy for a funeral. They chatted and left before I returned. Wonder who they were and if our family knows them.
We spent a hot sunny lovely afternoon on the beach lounge chairs reading and dipping into the water a few times. Joe had our luggage weighed. The hotel staff actually took it into Amantea to be weighed for us…no charge. Joe had expected them to do it on site. Nice people once again. Supper was at Trevi Village, and unfortunately the food was not very good at all. I guess the summer chef has long gone and we were stuck with frozen meals.
We were tired after this wonderful day and had a very good sleep. Best for Both: Beach at Trevi Village.
Monday, October 20 Amantea to Toronto
Had a lovely breakfast where we met a nice couple from Holland here for
a week’s holiday. They had visited Toronto, Niagara and want to see B.C. Afterward, we walked in the hot, humid, sunny morning to our Amantea rock and cover following the beach from Trevi Village.
We spent the afternoon at the Lamezia airport. Returning the car was a simple task. I bought a hand-woven Calabrian scarf for Lisa. We walked around the grounds at the airport, ate some pizza. The airport was full of returning older Italians. At Rome we had a delay of 1.5 hours extra, as the baggage compartment was unbalanced and had to be emptied and repacked. Must have been all of that olive oil, cheeses and salamis that the Italians were bringing back to Canada. We were told by an Italian lady that most of them freely pay the extra charge to bring back much more than their limit.
The plane was packed, and it was an uncomfortable trip back. My body doesn’t seem to fit the seats. At first I had a coughing Italian woman beside me, but Joe worked out a seat trade with her and he became my seatmate. Dinner was forgettable—breaded ham patty, dried up bread, peas, potatoes and
Santa Maria de Leuca
Where Adriatic meets Ionian sea
Seem to be of the same quality as frozen dinner from Trevi Village. I managed to sleep on and off, taking Tylenol for my aching joints.
We arrived at about 1: 30 a.m. in Toronto. Customs passage was easy, but luggage was another matter. Joe helped a lot of the old people lift their heavy bags off the carousel. He could hardly lift them himself. We finally found our missing bag, which someone had taken off the carousel at the other end. We arrived at our hotel, at around 3 a.m., slept from 4-8, and had a lovely bacon and egg breakfast in the hotel dining room. Then we were off home on a very cold day and the first unexpected snowfall of the year. And to think yesterday it had been 26’C when we left!
All in all, we agreed that we had just experienced one of the best trips we had ever had.
======================================== Addendum October 2010:
We returned to Puglia in 2010 this time taking in Abruzzo as well. We revisited many of the same places but also discovered some new ones. You can read about it in
our blog Italy - Abruzzo and Puglia. Addendum May 2012
We returned to Puglia and Calabria in the Spring of 2012. Lots of repeat places but also added 3 new ones as well. Read about it on the Calabria and Puglia
blog. If you are planning a trip to Puglia, Calabria, Abruzzo or Basilicata, please feel free to contact us with any questions. Joe and Carol - Jursano@vianet.ca