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Published: June 14th 2017
This morning we say goodbye to our hostess, Paola. The apartment has been comfortable but hard to compare with some of our previous apartments. This one was in a good location and was quiet. In New Zealand Saturday is usually a day of working at home, taking children to sport or catching up with friends and relatives. Here in Italy it tends to be another weekday. The offices on the ground floor of this building are open for business. That means Sunday is the only family day. Perhaps they make the most of their two hours of afternoon siesta time.
We set course for Vasto, a small city in Abruzzo. We have three driving days to reach Ravenna. Why Vasto? No particular reason other than it is about 400 kms north of Lecce. Italy is a long country. To break the monotony of long motorway driving we decide to make a brief detour to Locorotondo. This hilltown looks down on vast areas of olive trees. As we get closer to the town we get a glimpse of what we really came here to see – the famous trulli houses. These unique farm houses dot the landscape around this town. We
Typical street view.
make a brief stop for a walk around the town centre. Large buckets of whitewash must have been used throughout the town. The town is sparkling. We wander through a maze of these whitewashed buildings, some cafes, others artisan shops. We visit the Duomo. Two nuns are busy washing the entrance doors and surrounding walls. The local inhabitants obviously have pride in their town. A pity there is someone in the town who is handy with the graffiti pen. Perhaps one day he/she will see the error of their ways.
We take the short drive to Alberobello, a nearby town, made famous for its trulli houses. Out in the countryside you see many traditional buildings but in town they appear to be developed as a commercial enterprise. Many are used as hotel, bed and breakfast or apartments. Perhaps the growth in building these modern day trulli houses is a way of keeping a traditional building skill alive.
We join the strada statale for the long drive further north. Finding a convenient lunch spot can be a problem where everywhere around you the land is flat, dry, hot, and lacking in shade. As we enter a town we spy
Is this a tourism venture?
a shady spot on a slip road. With some tricky navigation we get to the shade tucked into someone’s driveway. Luckily the home looks shut up and the large gate padlocked. We park in a position for a fast getaway.
We drive through endless kilometres of wheat being harvested. To us it seems very early in the season. We catch up to a truck transporting a load of uncovered wheat to the silos. We may now have an engine full of wheat. Perhaps we can sell it on the open market. Passing the truck at great speed may bring another problem. Will the hail like grains of wheat have a sand blasting effect on the paint work? We hope the truck hasn’t far to go because most of the farmer’s profit will be on the road.
Jane likes to keep us on our toes. After about 400 kms of driving our guide and mentor directs us through some interesting country side, under the autostrada a few times, past two farmers discussing the price of olives, and down a very narrow lane to our destination, on time. Why the back way into Vasto, we do not know. Only Jane
Conventional Trulli house in the countryside.
can answer that and she won’t.
A phone call to our hosts and we are guided through a maze of keypads, combination locks, two locked doors, and into our room. We are now in Fort Knox for the night. Problem is we need to escape into the town for a meal. We take on the challenge and succeed. The two farmers are now discussing the outlook for the wine vintage. We choose a restaurant that is fully booked but if we promise to eat quickly we can have a table for two, doesn’t matter about indigestion.
After two of the best pizzas we have had it is home to bed. Breakfast is at 8:00.
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