Tag Archives: sea

Taranto, the ancient italian Sparta!

tarHere you are a brief description of Taranto, a city you might want to visit in Apulia:

-Taranto is the main city of its own county.

An ancient history, one of the first greek colony and, around 500 BC, one of the largest in the world, with population estimates up to 300,000 people.

castTaranto is known as “The Spartan City” because it was the only colony ever founded by Sparta, in 706 BC.
Currently it’s the third largest city in continental South (not including Sicily and Sardinia).
The city is also known as the “city of two seas” because it is washed by the Ionian Sea (called Great sea) and by the vast reservoir of the ‘Little Sea’.
Taranto offers many interesting activities:

 

taOld town tour, this part of the city is connected by two bridges (one is mobile, called ‘swing bridge’ – ponte girevole) to the land.

The bridge is opened to let the big navy boat ether to exit or enter the city depot centre.

It’s an island (not natural, though).

Currently the condition of this part of the city is not the best, for years was almost abandoned by its population.

Many buildings are in ruins, however it’s very interesting to walk from one point to another to see a genuine lower class lifestyle and conditions.

Many fishermen families still live here.

casCastle FREE visit.

Aragonese Castle was built in the 15th century with the intention to protect the town from the Turks’ frequent raids.

The castle replaced a pre-existing fort which was deemed unfit for 15th century warfare.

Nowadays is a navy military base.

Tours in english are available too! It will be a couple of hours of interesting information about the city.

tabBest beer in Taranto: TABIR!

Everytime I visit the city, if I want a beer, I only go to Tabir.

This is where you get ONLY best beers available.

No commercial beers, only from small breweries and/or quality ones.

The owner is a real beer lover and expert and he’ll be happy to guide you to the best combination of drink and food (all local products!)

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Polignano a mare

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Polignano a Mare is a small town few km far from Bari, the main city in Apulia, a region in South italy.

It’s easy to reach Polignano, in fact Bari has an international airport with low cost flights.

You might consider to visit one of the most amazing town in italy. I’ll never give up with this: italy is not Venice, Florence, roma…

There is so much to see, every little town has something to offer and South italy, even more, in terms of history, coastal and seaside beauties, out-standing food, good wine…

If ancient greeks and romans used to spend their vacation in South italy, well…there should be some reasons!!!! 🙂

11707583_581683345307686_7064910204274478781_nPolignano a mare is ideal for a day trip, for a weekend or even for a short-term spring/summer holiday.

It is mostly about the sea, relax and food.

The city itself, the old part, stays on the scenic cliffs. You can find one of the most amazing restaurant in Europe, built inside the limestone rock, with a natural view of the sea.

Imagine a deep blue sea, white small houses in mediterranean style and warm sun welcoming you every day, this is Polignano a mare!

Moreover there are 2 things that make Polignano a mare even more UNIQUE:

po-Best ice cream, ever! Believe me!

Everybody knows that italian ice cream is the best and there should be a place where it is better than everywhere else. This place is Bar Turismo, in Polignano!

Believe it or not, in an old, small, un-trendy and (not intentionally) ‘vintage’ bar, you will find a man who will serve you the most delicious gelato on earth!

Ice cream here is prepared with the original ARTISANAL recipe, not with industrial powders ( as in 99,99% of other premises). Few ingredients:  milk, eggs, sugar, adding the main ingredients, according to the final taste, chocolate, nuts, coffee…

Long story-short, find this little bar, just before entering the old town, ask for chocolate and nuts ice-cream, with home-made coffee cream. Eat it inside the bar or nearby. Now if you are brave enough, leave without ordering another one! I’m sure you’ll be happy to find yourself weak and go inside for a new gelato! 🙂

10984102_10207362940696052_8899573994417624889_n-Voooooolaaaareeee!

Could you tell me the most famous and well known italian song?

‘Nel Blu dipinto di blu, (VOLARE)’ most likely it is the song that everybody associate with italy (over 22 milions copies sold all over the world). Well, the author and singer of the song is Domenico Modugno, born in Polignano (9/1/1928), one of the best italian music artist, ever.

He was (together with Renato Carosone) the only italian singer able to sell his songs to the american market, in the original italian version. I don’t remember any other post with a music video, this time I have to do it 🙂

Please enjoy these incredibly nice songs, I’m sure they will bring a sudden happiness:

Nel blu dipinto di Blu     Malarazza  Vecchio Frack  Tu si’ ‘na cosa grande

If it wasn’t enough…

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poligna

polign

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polig

 

 

Grottaglie: sun, ceramics, wine, street-art, food, oil…

11659259_584376468371707_1423215247769718508_nRaise your hand if you have ever heard of Grottaglie? I bet only few of you can, and that’s a real pity!

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:

-Weather

Expect a warm sun, almost the whole year, during summer time, expect a really warm weather! 🙂

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– Landscape

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

10426306_583488435127177_4928090071757577982_n-Food and wine

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)!

streetart-Street-art

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.

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-Ceramic

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.

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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.

1610955_581683475307673_437586920087772042_n-Extra virgin olive oil

Well…this is something that you should try!

Here is the best place at very good price.