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Puglia and Basilicata

Pauline

Forums Admin
We are home! It was a long evening and day of travel - 2 hour drive from Valerie's town to Bari Airport, overnight in the airport hotel, fly Bari to Gatwick, then 2 1/2 hour drive home. Writing it down makes me realize it was not that bad.

Here is the stash of stuff I brought home:
- almost 5 liters of organic olive oil (1 liter from a shop in Ostuni, the rest from the olive place in Basilicata)
- Pocket Coffee (great Italian candy) - some given to us from Giovanni who runs the shop in Valerie's village because he had none to sell us, so gave us what was left of a bag he had in a drawer (his personal stash)
- Italian chocolate bars (recommended by Bryan) - purchased at the only Autogrill we were at on this trip!
- a shoehorn I liberated from the hotel
- taralli (crackers) from that great bakery in Ostuni (Forno 31)
- 12 teaspoons, made in Italy, from the Ostuni market
- chocolate and pear sauce left for us in the Basilicata vacation rental
- dried red peppers, popular in Basilicata, given to us by the olive oil producer (he is expanding his product line soon)
- bread from Basilicata (brought back 1/2 of a 1 kilo loaf - and we had some for dinner tonight)
- 4 packets of Lupini, those beans that are a snack - some from Ostuni, some from Basilicata
- a few books
- presents from Valerie and Bryan - a lovely locally handmade plate made using local materials, taralli (crackers), a kilo of coffee beans that they won in a local contest (they won 5 kilo), pretty pasta

No tea towels! I showed great restraint.

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jonathan

100+ Posts
Welcome back! I like that Novi chocolate, too (but not the nutty one...). We're off to Trieste on Fri, just for 3 nights - so look forward to hearing more about it all when we're back.
 

jonathan

100+ Posts
Actually, it's a bit crazy, even from here - but P is running one of her marathons (well, actually a half this weekend: the full one comes in Edinburgh at the end of the month). It would be nice to stay a little longer in Trieste, but work brings us back...
 

PokeyMindy

100+ Posts
Pauline, do you remember that we won Villa Trotta for a week? We went in 2008, although we were supposed to go in 2007. But I broke my arm two days after we arrived in Italy (before we got to the villa) and Luca very nicely agreed to let us postpone the trip for a year. That was an amazing place, with incredible views (all the way to Capri), but it was a crazy place to drive to. Here is a picture of our favorite road sign between the town of Perdifumo and the villa, and Mike's reaction to driving those roads.

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Roz, this made me laugh so loudly I scared my cat!! I remember when you broke your arm and how you were able to go another time. Great memories of that ST contest. :)
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
A follow up post about our time in Basilicata.

The visit to Metaponto on the Basilicata coast was odd. I had read about the remains of a Greek temple and amphitheater and wanted to see them (described in our Cadogan guide book and in a New York Times article). We easily found the temple remains, called Tavole Palatine. Our GPS took us straight to it. There was one other car leaving as we arrived. The main building was closed but the gate to the field with the temple remains was open and we could walk in. The temple remains were beautiful and I was happy that we drove down to see them.

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From there we drove to Metaponto, just a mile away. The Cadogan guide says the town is like a modern army barracks and it is - but a very rundown and almost empty one. The town consists of a few blocks of three story apartment blocks with a small central park. There were a few people about. This is an agricultural area and I think people living here work nearby. It was all very derelict looking.

We drove on to the seaside. There were a few construction workers about, getting things ready for summer. One seedy looking place was open for lunch. We rejected it and made a picnic of our breakfast leftovers from the hotel. You could see the area would be lively, if somewhat tacky, in the summer.

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We drove back to Metaponto looking for the archaeological remains and the museum. After circling twice following the signs that end before you get anywhere, we just drove away. I don't like being defeated by a place like this but talking to Valerie about it, the same thing happened to them. If I had done my research ahead of time, I would have known where to go. I found the museum now on Google Maps. But how can they make it so difficult to find when there is hardly anything else in the town?

I added Slow Europe Day Trip - Metaponto Palatine Tables with more info and photos.

From Metaponto we drove on the main road towards Potenza and Salerno. It follows the River Basento. We stopped at one of the hilltop villages at the start of the drive, Pisticci. It was siesta time and everything was closed but you could see it was a pretty town. We had coffee in the cafe in the central piazza. Here is the view from the town.

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Next up - visiting @Valerie and Bryan.
 

Anne

100+ Posts
I'm beside myself with excitement about our upcoming visit to this area!! Thanks for the heads up about the museum in Metaponto, I'll make sure to mark it on my google map before we venture over.
 

Anne

100+ Posts
I did do the zipline - it's incredible!! This whole area is incredible actually. Our week in Florence was wonderful, but our three weeks in the south utterly captivated our hearts.

I wrote this on Facebook at the end of our first day in Naples:
"First taste of Naples...chaotic, gritty, loud and friendly. Graffiti on every wall, traffic whizzing by with 2 cms to spare, grand old buildings, most looking much the worse for wear and tear. People working, playing, gathering everywhere. This city is positively teeming with life. It is fantastic. Truly so. (Oh, and the pizza here really IS all that and more.)"
My opinion didn't change over our five nights there.

And we fell in love with southern Italy more and more as we travelled. The Tyrrhenian coast of Basilicata is stunning (nevermind Amalfi - Maratea is every bit as scenic and way less touristy!) We rented a villa (well, half a villa but the other half was empty so we had the entire property to ourselves) in the campo above the town of Materea. Gorgeous view, and so very peaceful.

Matera is fascinating and unlike anywhere we've been before...we loved our week there. Finding parking near our rental was a bit of a pain each day, but otherwise it's a perfect base for this area....within easy reach of Alberobello, Polignano a Mare (had lunch at the uber upscale Grotto Palazzese), Castel del Monte, the Parco della Murgia Materana, Miglionico...and so much more (we barely scratched the surface!)

From Matera, we moved onto Melfi for a few days...loved this area as well. We drove over to see the unfinished abbey in Venosa, and also spent a relaxing day around Laghi di Monticchio. On the drive back to Naples (for our last night/flight home), we drove through the incredible Parco Regionale Monte Picentini, stopping in Calabritto for lunch. We didn't have particular plans most days, we just meandered around and stopped here and there as we went.

I'll stop there, am getting long-winded. Bottom line...I want to go back to Basilicata, the sooner, the better!
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Matera is fascinating and unlike anywhere we've been before...we loved our week there. Finding parking near our rental was a bit of a pain each day, but otherwise it's a perfect base for this area....within easy reach of Alberobello, Polignano a Mare (had lunch at the uber upscale Grotto Palazzese), Castel del Monte, the Parco della Murgia Materana, Miglionico...and so much more (we barely scratched the surface!)
Interesting to think of Matera as a base for a week! We were there one night only. I would love to return to see more of the town, plus do day trips from there.
 

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