Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: travels with stefania

San Lorenzo coi trulli

I loved everything about Abruzzo, which is Stefania’s second home. Yet, our visit to San Salvo lasted less than 24 hours as the next day we wanted to continue our journey to the south. Stefania and I had planned to spend the second half of our road trip in Puglia. As we got there, we hit on the national parc of Gargano. We camped between Peschici and Vieste for two days, roaming from beach to beach in absolute freedom and with no need for a plan.

We were thinking of spending one more night in the parc, but yesterday we were surprised by a violent thunderstorm. We decided it was time the find a solid roof to get cover. Unfortunately, the first available b&b was about 200km further south in Trani. We slept there and today we welcomed the opportunity to visit the harbour, the castle and the cathedral which, incidentally, is literally and beautifully built on the sea.

Not far from Trani, just a little bit out of the way, lies Castel del Monte, one of the most renowed and enigmatic castles in Italy. Some ten years ago it was the theatre and, I should stress, the main cause of a historical family insurrection against my father and his will to visit the castle. This time there was no discussion: Stefania and I decided to get there and get in. We agreed it was worth doing so.

You will not hear me saying that all thr places around here are beauiful/nice. The area around Foggia is ugly and dangerous. Bari, the region’s capital city, is dirty, unattractive and heavily overcrowded. However, Bari Vecchia remains quite fascinating with people moving, working and relaxing in its little tiny streets as if they were ants.

Since our arrival in Puglia, Stefania and I have driven for about 400km. We are now camping in Alberobello, the world capital – and world heritage – of ‘trulli’. For those who do not know, I would dare to define trulli as the southern Italian version of a hobbit’s house. Tomorrow we will continue our journey to the south.

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Nieddu e il cinghiale

Only one thing is worse than tourism: religious tourism. Assisi is ruined by people with cameras and white hats who buy expensive souvenirs inspired to San Francesco and the holy cross. If it weren’t for these masses, the Basilica di San Francesco (inferior and superior: the inferior and the cript are unique) and the little streets would be spiritually inspiring. But I recognize: the local community would also be much poorer. Everything here is based on tourism.

We stopped for a great lunch just outside the evokative Eremo delle Carceri. This is an isolated place used for meditation, with a few tiny caves and farms emerging in the middle of Monte Subasio in a silent forest.

Driving along the river Tronto through the Monti Sibillini is a pleasure. Too bad we did not have the time to visit Norcia and San Benedetto.

We bought a tent along the way. After leaving Umbria and crossing Marche (440km) we are now in San Salvo, Abruzzo, Stefania’s second home. Tonight we will drive through Molise and plant our bright tent in Peschici, Puglia.20130808-150618.jpg20130808-210549.jpg

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Il calzolaio e la donna coi baffi

Stefania and I are hitting the road for a two week trip through centre and southerh Italy.

Yesterday we drove 480 km and got to Perugia after having lunch at the Abbey over Passignano, on the Lake of Transimeno, where a few centuries ago Hannibal slaughtered the Roman army on his way to Rome. The place is now quiet and full of olive trees.

Perugia is small and pretty – can I use pretty for a city? ‘Beautiful’ would be too much, ‘nice’ too little. It is surprisingly high on the sea, as it is built on the top of a hill and is sorrounded by ancient Etruscan walls and churches.

The same applies to Orvieto, the little medieval town where we drove today to meet Marco and Leila, who were coming up from Rome. The town is small and full of surprises, good food, and tourists. I was quite amazed by the Pozzo di San Patrizio, where you walk 52 meters deep into the ground. I was sure this was the deepest dwell I had ever visited, just to find out from my father I had been here already ten years ago.

We did not have time to visit Todi and Gubbio, but these look like small and fascinating Umbrian towns dominating the surroundings.

Today we added 200km to our count. We will leave Umbria tomorrow: after visiting Assisi we will head to san Salvo in Abruzzo.

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