Incontri / Encounters

by Lorenzo Piccoli

Even the most impressive beaches can become the asshole of the universe when invaded by thousands of selfish tourists. This, unfortunately, is the story we got out of the otherwise enchanting seaside spanning from Lecce to Santa Maria di Leuca. It must be said that the hostile masses of tourists at Torre dell’Orsa, Laghi Alimini, and Torre Santo Stefano got us by surprise after we left Alberobello, the relatively peaceful hobbits’ village. Struggling with thousands of people for an illegal parking spot or for a place to sit on largely overcrowded beaches was not an easy task to accept. As a result, the day was quite stessful and in the evening, as in a sign of silent protest, the car broke down. It was a minor thing, for we just had to resurrect the battery, but at least, as for many other unpleasant experiences, this little inconvenience brought us a nice surprise. Matter of fact, in the act of fixing the battery I randomly met Francesco, whom I last saw some five years ago in Florence. At that time I knew him as Killer007 and he knew me as x4nti, but this is another story to be told in different circumstances.

We met for breakfast the next day (which would be today, or the day that just ended) and we found out that both of us abruptly stopped playing online and got rid of our computers altogether. It was nice talking about this before leaving for Otranto – which was nice, although overcrowded – and then for Santa Maria di Leuca – which was not particularly nice, but still overcrowded. These whole coast has an interesting military history, as it was the target of Mehmet the Conqueror who, in 1480, sent here the Ottoman Turkish fleet to launch an invasion to Rome. The army reached the shore of Otranto and the city was captured in two weeks after refusing to surrender. 800 Catholics were beheaded after refusing to convert to Islam. These victims have been canonized by Pope Francis on May 12, 2013.

After paying a visit to the sanctuary of Leuca, the place where the Adriatic Sea meets the Jonian Sea, Stefania and I are now camping on the very top of the hill on which the Italian boot rests. Tomorrow we will drive towards Gallipoli where we will probably see Fabio and finally settle in a b&b. Camping was sweet, though.