Every important journey requires a few essentials. Simple wardrobe. Carefully chosen accessories. And a good driver. My driver is both skilled and reliable. He stops occasionally to smell the roses. And best of all, he is not too chatty.
The second part of our journey is to the southeast coast of this beloved country. We say goodbye to Naples, and all things Diego Maradona (Campione del mondo!), and head to sunny Bari.
We pop into Avellino en route for a birthday toast to our Neapolitan son-in-law. The friarielli salsicce pizza is earthy, bitter, and worthy of him. With a glass or two of Nero di Troia, it is an ancestral treat.
Troia is a hybrid where ancient cathedrals sit alongside solar-paneled benches with public USB ports. Hundreds of windmills twirl lazily in the distance beneath stunning blue sky and snow-capped peaks.
Casa Lilliput is aptly named and highly recommended. Our apartment has views, decks, great bedding, well-equipped kitchen, and a tiny but molto efficient washing machine. Bravo!
We sip and savor Pugliese wines while watching the new Ben Affleck thriller — in Italian. For us, it doesn’t get much better.
We spend a lazy Sunday in nearby Foggia, enjoying full-on spring, with families strolling quiet streets, heading for Nonna’s Sunday pranzo under glorious cherry blossoms.
On Bari’s working waterfront we find notorious El Chiringuito, where we hang with fishermen and sketchy dudes on the docks, drinking €1 Peroni each morning. The Driver is in ne’er do well heaven.
We treat ourselves to Luxury Penthouse Seaview and its spectacular vistas. But we miss our bed in Troia and host, Tiziano. Lesson: Read the reviews. Do not be seduced by words like ‘luxury’ and ‘penthouse.’
Art & Soul
We daytrip to the National Gallery of Puglia in Bitonto, where I’m deeply moved by a painting of Mary Magdalene attributed to Artemisia Gentileschi. So moved, in fact, that I do not photograph her, preferring to keep this Mary for my mind’s eye alone.
The “Hall of Women,” seems to be a recurring theme in my travels, here. Stay tuned.
I pause at the sight of the “young cleric,” who bears an astonishing resemblance to The Driver, ages ago.
Grand Teatro Margherita presents a mind-blowing exhibition on plastics in the world’s oceans, amazing illustrations and graphics. Every citizen of the planet should see this exhibition — schoolkids first.
Oh my, I would love to hear Puccini at the grand Petruzzelli. Next time!
As always, all this art and soul makes us hungry. We binge on seafood through the alleys of Bari’s Murata district, and waterfront cafes. We continue our pesce marathon through Pescara, our last stop along the dazzling Adriatic.