Grottaglie is the capital of ceramic in South italy.
The town can be reached via air through 2 airports, Bari and Brindisi, both within less than 100 km.
It’s a beautiful, though not touristic, town in Apulia, a region that has been re-named by british as salentoshire and trullishire, due to the raising number of english travellers in love with this region.
And I can’t agree more!
There are so many reasons to visit this land, I’ll try to list few:
Expect a warm sun, almost the whole year, during summer time, expect a really warm weather! 🙂
Ionian sea is only 20 km far, it’s the most beautiful sea in continental italy. Adriatic sea is only 60 km far. Ideal for an affordable coast-to-coast. In land is very green and refreshing, with pine forests, fertile soil to grow olives, tomatoes, almonds and every good product.
Another interesting caratheristic are the ‘gravine’ kind of caves in natural canyons, where the ancient population lived many centuries ago
You might not be aware of the fact that an high % of the wine produced in italy has a base made with grapes from this land. The wine ‘Primitivo di Manduria’ (a town far only few km from Grottaglie) is a must to try.
As mentioned in the landscape, here you can try wonderful BIO products from agriculture. Tomatoes, almonds, grapes, olives, all sort of salads, watermelon and so on…
My recommendation is to enjoy a great dinner at ‘Casa Lacorte‘, in the historical part of the town. This newly open restaurant has an amazing terrace and also the internal part is very nice. A must to try is the fave’s cream (see picture)!
Grottaglie has one of the biggest historical centre in the whole region.
Few years ago a talented and smart young local decided to invite the most famous street artists from Europe, to redecorate streets and buildings.
Unfortunately the festival (FAME) had been active only for few years, however the pieces of ART are still visible all around the town.
Take a stroll and admire all of them, there are many huge graffiti taking the whole building, as well as smaller ones.
Art lovers will find Grottaglie a paradise also for its ceramics.
The city is considered the ‘capital’ of this ancient art.
There is a nice neighborhood/district all dedicated to small stands and shops, where you can fine real pieces of handcraft art.
Everywhere entrance is free, feel free to ask about the products (however english is not widely spoken, you know italians :)…), take pictures and admire the steps of the long process and creation of a ceramic pitchers, jars, urns…
Grottaglie has an old castle, entrance is free together with its museum of ceramics.
Despite the evident language barriers, do not hesitate to ask for any information.
Locals are incredibly nice and kind and will do their best to help out.
The atmosphere in town is really easy-going, we are in deep South italy, stress is something far from the daily life.
Expect shops to be closed after lunch, until 16 or even 17, because ‘siesta’ is not only a spanish habbit!
Best meeting point for a nice chat with locals is Bar delle Torri. The owners, Ciro and Saverio have created a very pleasant place where to have a drink and in general, good time.
Well…this is something that you should try!
Here is the best place at very good price.
Belgrade (Beograd in serbian language) is one of my favorite destinations in the whole Europe. Belgrade is not an ordinary city, you will not be amazed by its beauty but you will remember the days spent here, because in Belgrade you really feel the city’s life, by easily getting in touch with locals.
You will understand how unique is the city, when you will discover that it lies on the confluence of two rivers, the Sava and the Danube. The city itself, like all the Balkan region, has a recent base of communist elements, a mix of Austrian and Slavonic cultures with Turkish influence and a Mediterranean flavor in its architecture and view of life (café culture, nightlife). Belgrade has been destroyed many times, its history is fulfilled with battles, changes of political powers and bomb attacks (the last, in 1999, by the criminal nato forces). Do not expect an old historical centre, the old Belgrade’s spirit is however well preserved by the citizens…
– Join the Free Belgrade walking tour
Probably it’s the best walking tour available in Europe, and you will fully understand about the city and its incredible history.
Everyday, starting at 11, from the republic square, the young guide will wear a yellow t-shirt. It will take 3 hours but you won’t get bored!
The tour will show you the very city centre, with many interesting, funny and historical details.
A friendly shot of local rakia will make the tour even more interesting…(in the picture, the guide Zeljko, was incredibly prepared, lots of info about the city)
Serbs are very proud of their food, based on grilled meats and sausages, local cheeses and bread. Local produce is fresh and organic. Most Serbian restaurants offer roštilj, a large plate of various unseasoned grilled meats. Serbian cuisine is famous for its heavy use of varied vegetables, fresh or cooked.
Snacking and eating on the go in Belgrade is easy and cheap. Local hamburger are called cevapcici, available in many parts of the city for a very cheap price. Bakeries (pekara) are everywhere and you will find a wide assortment of breads, sandwich, sweet and savoury pastries. The most common is called burek, a light snack and meal to be consumed together with a drinkable yoghurt (similar to kefir). Some of the bakeries are open 24 hours.
– Sleep at El Diablo hostel
The hostel is a clean apartment turned into a cozy hostel, with a roof terrace where to chill-out.
The owners, Nigel and Dragan are incredibly nice and helpful, always happy to talk and give suggestions to guests. You will feel like at home.
Location is probably the best you can have in Belgrade, in the heart of the former bohemian quarter, skandarljia, where famous restaurants for tourists are (expensive though), many other affordable restaurants and bars are close by. The biggest city market, where you can buy their organic veggie, meat and cheese, is only 2 minutes walking, same for 24hrs a mini market and local fast food stands.
At night, there are plenty of bars, cafés and discotheques that are open, selling cheaply priced drinks. Belgrade is reputed to have some of the best night life in Europe.
Part of local culture are kafana (in the picture of of the oldest in town), a cafe’/pub with serb music and drinks. ‘Kafana is a place where sad lovers cure their sorrows in alcohol and music, gamblers squander entire fortunes, husbands run away from mean wives while shady businessmen, corrupt local politicians and petty criminals do business’. Usually you get in sober and get out drunk and happy…
In summer nightlife moves to the splav, river boats turned into restaurant/bars/disco located along the Sava and Danube rivers.
Best way to enjoy the city is to make a friend, a local one, that will show you the best places and things to do. So I did! 🙂
Since many years I’m lucky to have met and known so many wonderful people in this city. This summer I was even invited to a serbian wedding and, believe me, it is something that I will remember for long…!!!! 🙂
Serbians are naturally welcoming and warm-hearted people, full of nice sense of humor, together with brave and proud attitudes.
If you are going with a local friend, be sure that you will visit/see/eat/drink the best…
Serbs are crazy for sports, not only, they are VERY good at sports! Tennis, basket, water polo…are only few of the sports where this little country is at the top.
The local football derby, between Partizan and Red Star Belgrade (Crvena Zvezda, my second favorite club, after Napoli) is also known as the ‘eternal Derby’ and it’s considered to be one of the most intensive football events in European football, for the incredible supporting atmosphere, despite the poor quality of football. Due to the intensity of the rivalry, it is not recommended to wear either team’s colors outside the stadium during match days between the two sides.
The two clubs have teams in other sports, basket for instance is very popular too. If you have time visit the Belgrade Arena, New Belgrade. It is the second largest arena in Europe and the largest in the Balkans. You will definitely be impressed by the architecture.
In summer is usually very warm and humid, enjoy Ada Ciganlija, a river island on Sava River with an artificial lake.
The lake has an 8 km long gravel beach, which is visited by thousands of bathers during the summer. This is a great place for sports (area for football, basketball, beach volley, golf and tennis) and picnics.
It also contains a lot of cafes and restaurants. In summer, it is swamped with people wanting to cool down in the water; Another option is the great War Island (Veliko ratno ostrvo), a river island at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, for picnics and bird spotting.
Recently I had an interview for an online italian magazine. It was a nice experience, to tell my story, because I would like that more people could understand that downshifting is a positive path of our life.
In these 2 and half years travelling what I enjoyed the most, were not the wonderful sights, cities, monuments, landscapes … I loved the unique time spent with every single person I met, coming from a different lifestyle, with a different past, history, mentality.
I always thought about writing down what we were talking about. It could have come out an interesting book, collecting thoughts from people, travellers, explorers, free minds.
One of the most interesting person I have met is Ibrahim, we met in Bulgaria, in a hostel. Below you can read his story. I hope you will enjoy it!
Budget Euro Trip: Hi Ibrahim, tell us something about you
I’m originally from Alexandria, Egypt. I have lived in USA, since July/20 /1978.
Since 1977, I’m on the go. I visited all over Europe, except, Andorra, Belarus, Belgium, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Russia, Greenland, Iceland, Switzerland and Ireland.
In the Caucasus, I visited Georgia. All 50 states in USA, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St.John in the Virgin Island. All ten provinces in Canada, and Yukon Territory.
In the Caribbean, I visited Dominican Republic. In Africa I visited Morocco, and Tunisia. Also, I visited all over Mexico, Central America, except Belize. All over South America, except Falkland Island, The Guiana, Suriname and Paraguay.
In the Middle East, I visited Istanbul in Turkey. In South East Asia, I visited Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. In Indian Subcontinent, I visited Nepal, and India. In North East Asia, I visited China, Macau, Hong Kong. In South Pacific, I visited Australia, and New Zealand.
I’m free spirited, I could go wherever, whenever I feel like it. I have absolute freedom, therefore, nothing to tie me down or rush me along. I am looking for the complete experience, such as: Music, foods, cultures, traditions, arts, friends etc. I’m an adventure seeker.
Also, I hitched-hiked throughout USA, and Canada it has been a very unique, and exciting experience for me. I have met very generous Americans, and Canadians, some invited me to their homes for diner, and stayed over night, some offered me money, and they were very insisting. Also, on so many different occasions, I gave money, and put Gas in their cars to some motorist, which of whom, they gave me RIDE!
I never been married, and never will. Also, I don’t have any kids, because kids are big responsibilities.
Regarding religion.I don’t have any. All religions evolve out of Mythology, all Hocus, Pocus, Jumpo Pumpo, Witch Doctor Kamongo! Also, I believe, everybody entitle to his or her believe.
I don’t believe in Nationality or Religion, I considered those are the most two stupid ideas the man ever invented, If you aren’t one of us, you are a DEVIL, that make no sense, that hetrate, that bigotry.
What kind of justice that, either heaven, or hell fire, that’s too extreme.
I believe in peoples, humans, I’m Humanistic. Regardless of any different, every person is my sister or my brother, if some peoples don’t like me, that’s their problems, I keep going, never look behind.
My ultimate goal is to go all over the GLOBE, and be able to say, I have friends all over the GLOBE.
Also, I’m the author of the books: ” Wesson, and Smith Still in Control “, ” Rome Was a Corporation ” , ” What happened to Judea Christo Ethos? “, ” USA Stand for United Sheeps of America “, ” Epic Of Gilgamesh, and Book of the Dead Vs The Old Testament, and Koran “, ” Nation States VS Corporate States “, ” The Americans Are The Most Friendliest, and Generous Peoples On Earth “, ” Across Good Old USA, no Money Down “, ” Politicians, TV, Calculator, Computer and The Educational System Made Ass Out Of Americans “, ” NATO stand for North America Terrorist Organization “, ” 911 Was a Wake Up Call Vs. 911 Remote Control, Fundamentalists Jews, Christians, and Muslims, they are going to destroy the whole world! “, ” The Intellectual Elites in America Are Top of the Line, but average Americans Are Damn Idiots “, ” People are People, No Matter Where you are “, The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly “, ” Americans Got Shit & and Stick! “. ” The Have Not, and Those Mother Whom They Have It !, ” AmericanTreat Each Other Like Shit “, ” Life Is a Game “, ” US Goverment is a terrorist organization “… No, no just kidding!!!!!
Budget Euro Trip: How and when did you decide to travel and quit the ‘usual life’?
Ibrahim: I want to travel since I was a kid, but I started in 1977 to Rome, Italy, I have only $5.00.
Budget Euro Trip: Is it possible to travel without money or with a tight budget?
Ibrahim: Yes, its possible to travel without money or on tight budget. Being a Street Vender, Playing Music, Work for few Months, BEGGING for MONEY,…
Budget Euro Trip: What did you enjoy the most from this experience?
Ibrahim: FREEDOM, FREEDOM the most I have enjoying from this EXPERIENCE!
Thanks a lot!