I have had dropped many pins on my map and every pin feeds my soul. I choose my destinations based on how I feel in the given moment. I sometimes feel I need this fancy lifestyle, all dressed up, walking around the big city. Sometimes I just want peace and be in the middle of nowhere, out of everything, surrounded by crystal clear water amazing people and me feeling like a mermaid. This time all I wanted was small charming town, riding a bicycle around it, good food, have the best wine & cheese and I decided that I need to drop my pin In Italy. I decided to be part of an amazing project for a week. But why did i choose Puglia? Why did I choose the “hill” hugged by two seas? Because I almost knew nothing about it. All I knew is that I will find the authentic Italian way of life and I felt the urge of discovering it.
Puglia is magical, in every way possible. True hidden treasure. Once you arrive to Lecce, you will find the past and the present meeting each other right in the center of the city. But let’s move on to the southern part. Let’s discover the undiscovered treasure of Puglia.
Every morning, since we arrived, I’m sitting on the balcony and having my coffee that is being brewed in the mocha, with the cat, who is having her morning latte and all I can hear is the sound of the trains and nothing else. I can feel the fresh air and feel the smell of the olive trees. The day goes on. We stay in this charming little town, called Poggiardo, like I planned, with charming people saying Ciao Bella early in the morning while I ride the bicycle through the narrow streets, surrounded by beautiful architecture. You will find people on the market who will flirt with you while selling you the best cheese or the freshest vegetables and you will feel like you are in the movies. That’s exactly how I feel and I’m loving it. I love the evenings as well. Having sparkling Pugliese wine in this amazing little bar inside a museum in Vaste, the town close to where stay
Every place that I have been is different from one to another. Every place has it’s own soul, same as us. We hopped on a train and went to the closest beach. Went to Castro. I was surprised that Castro has much more to offer than just a small beautiful beach. The town has been founded by the Greeks but its name comes from the Romans. Upper medieval town on the hill with white washed buildings and the marina below that still holds the tradition as a fishing village. You will find the most beautiful cave, that has only one little flower inside and many bats as well ( Grotta Zinzulusa) Real gem. As I was wandering around, we saw the Archeological Museum and curiosity hit me. Puglia is one of the richest archaeological areas in the country so we went to visit the museum. Totally worth it if you are interested in archeology as me and my family are. Castro is a fascinating destination for scuba divers and snorkelers as well and I can’t wait to put my snorkeling goggles and dive into the sapphire water.
We headed to the town and port on the Adriatic coast. We took the next train and went to Otranto. There is this amazingly, beautiful enormous castle -Castello Aragonese. We climbed on top of it and Oh my, what a view. The weather was so nice that we could actually see part of Albania as well. Magnificent view of the beach, the marina and the best place for gelato. We ended up staying on the beach, enjoying the music and drinking Moretti, Pugliese, cold beer with the notes of caramel and berries. Couldn’t ask for more. Took the last train and went to our charming little town.
This project was wrapped up perfectly like a Christmas gift. You just can’t hide your excitement. Italy is all about food and culture and we all know about it. Puglia is all about the authenticity. The Italian breakfast! Having a freshly brewed coffee on the table, cornetto filled with Nutella and pasticciotto con crema, our mornings were like you are in a heaven. Packed our notepads and headed to Botrugno. We met the locals, ready to share their stories they are proud of. The stories about the honey making, the stories behind their small churches and the stories about this small peaceful village. As we were wandering around, we could hear music during siesta time and we were told that the songs in Botrugno were inspired by the gossiping in the village J Every song has a true story in it. Lovely!
We headed to Park Padulli. It was time to find out how the olive oil has been made. We had a presentation about the olive oil under the olives trees. It was probably the most beautiful day since I arrived in Italy. We were charmed by the way the lady was speaking, with so much passion. I felt again, like I was part of the cooking channels that we watch on TV. We dipped our crunchy homemade bread into this golden amazing oil and all I could think about in that moment was Oh Italy I do love you!
The next day got more excited. It was the day when we would finally learn how to make proper Italian pasta. Who doesn’t want to know the secret of it ? The treasure of Italy. The ladies were so passionate about it, they showed us the love that you give to the dough. The result was a perfect product. They were singing, people were dancing on the street outside, the old man was making a baskets out of olive tree branches and I was lucky to be thought and bring one home with me.
And yes, you are right, as soon as we arrived in the house, we finished our day with homemade pasta made by us and celebrated with a nice glass of red wine.
I haven’t explore enough and I promise I will find all the hidden gems and share it again once I come back, and I will. As of now all I could say is, Puglia is magical, authentic in every single way possible.
I love it!
Author: Petkovska Jovana