Hopefully, reading this piece will be an adventure in itself. Here is part one. Enjoy.
Bella Puglia: The Heel of the Boot
"Friends, Romans, Travelers, lend me your um, attention span?" What follows is both lengthy and jumbled. It may serve as a sort of trip-report-plus-tips-list based upon our recent ramblings around sunny Puglia, Basilicata and Rome. We’d been to the latter numerous times, but this was our first visit to the former pair of places. It has been re-read many times by the Department of Redundancy Dept. to ensure that there was no undue repetition, incorekt spelling or grammar badly. It has been re-read many times by the Department of Redundancy Dept. to ensure that there was no undue repetition, incorekt spelling or grammar badly. Hungry readers will be rewarded with (sound of trumpet fanfare) a special SPIKE Mullet fish recipe towards the end. A few eclectic musical references will also be included in an attempt to convey something of the coastal character of the Adriatic seaboard. We hope that somehow, these facts and opinions may prove useful to travelers who are Puglia-bound.
Five Reasons to visit Puglia during the late Fall:
1 Lower off-season rates
2 Lesser crowds, fewer lineups.
3 A welcome cessation of zanzara (mozzies).
4 Temperatures that more closely resemble those found on Planet Earth and not those on Venus.
5 Locals who work in tourism will be exhaling for the first time in months and may welcome the chance for a more relaxed chat.
Weird pre-trip coincidences:
Just a few weeks prior to our departure, Italian TV stations in our city, Toronto, broadcast a pair of shows. One show was an episode of ‘Il Stagione del cuore’, which was shot in Monopoli. Later, I also chanced across a home-hunting show depicting a real-life couple and their real estate agent shopping for homes in Gallipoli. Both Monopoli and Gallipoli were on our itinerary. Five months earlier, we’d never heard of either place.
Best new bus discovery: Bus #11 took us most everywhere throughout both Puglia and also Basilicata. It also proved indispensable in Rome. Number 11, get it? A pair of stick-legs? We walked our butts off on this trip.
Most egregious error regarding train tickets: Moon handbooks suggested that both the Info Point, plus the APT offices in Lecce, would assist travelers in securing treno tickets. We suspected otherwise and were eventually proven correct. C’mon man editors @ Moon!
Most Unexpectedly Pleasurable Treno Ride: The Frecce express from Bari to Rome. This newish, non-stop train has replaced the old Eurostar. It has a 6:24am departure that gives sleepy riders passage through picturesque Pugliese valleys and misty Campania countryside (e.g. the Roman Carolina-Vanvitelli Aqueduct) before sliding through Lazio into Termini Stazione three and-a-half hrs later. It may be half-price on Saturdays. Admire the engineering skills that cause the train to tilt here and there, as though trying to provide the best possible views. My wife enjoyed the scenery so much that she quipped, “Make them back up!”
Taxi in Matera: Davide Gentile 39)3382500494. Taxi in Monopoli: Sergio 39) 3665498514