We left Villa San Giovanni on the mainland and continued around the southern end of the boot and stopped at Arduro where we spent the night at an Agriturismo place in the coutryside where we were the only guests. They didn’t even charge us for the electricity for the van only the room for the two girls. It was after 8pm when we got there and nowhere to have dinner so fired up the gas and made a pasta dish.
We took off about 10 o’clock for a long drive up through Calabria via the beautiful hilltop town of Gerace and the hilltop town of Ursini from where our friend Jeana comes to the province of Basilicata and a great little “Agritourismo” campsite and lodging in the countryside at San Marco at another Agritourismo site which was beautifully situated in a large pine forest and lovely grounds. They gave us a wonderful three course meal with wine and coffee for 20 euros each.
The countryside of Calabria was covered with olive groves and large plantations of citrus trees.
In the morning of the 22nd June we left to go to the village of Matera where Mel Gibson filmed his movie “The Passion”. As with most towns it is divided into the “new town” and the “historic centre”. The buildings in the old town are made of limestone and a lot of natural rock constitutes a lot of the structures which do look spectacular.
The next morning we headed for Lecce in Puglia, a lovely city with a beautiful baroque church and very beautiful buildings with a Norman fort built in the 1500 and is the most complete castle in Puglia. A Roman amphitheatre dominates the main square of the historic town.
We had a hard time finding appropriate accommodation for all of us and we ended up in a pine forest about 8kms from the city in a camping retreat place called “Namaste”. The only Indian thing about it was the Indian from the Punjab who ran the camping ground. The bungalow accommodation was very basic but that is all we could find. I cooked up another pasta dish and we were the only people in the
We went back into the city of Lecce the next morning and as it was Helen’s birthday on the 23rd we stopped at a wonderful cake shop and bought some tasty delights for the evening and had a look around the old centre of town. The buildings were all very well kept and the city was very clean.
We headed out then to Alberobello where we found a lovely little “Trullo” house for the girls in which to stay and we found a wonderful camping ground with very helpful staff about 3kms from town.
The “Trulli” are cone shaped houses dotted throughout the town and well into the countryside.
They are very picturesque and make for a wonderful cityscape.
We had a meal in a very small trattoria and the camping ground dropped us off and picked us up for the grand sum of 1 euro per person. It was no problem for them even though we didn’t finish dinner until 11pm. The restaurants don’t open until 8pm with most Italians arriving about 9-9.30pm for their meal.
We got the transport in again the next day and bumbled about the many small quaint shops in town and bought a few souvenirs. Maurice and I then walked the 3kms back to the camping ground to collect our washing and relax. The very knowledgeable and delightful girl at the reception desk who does a lot of guiding around the archaeological sites in various provinces dropped us into town
again at the time we wanted and we went to an excellent restaurant called “casa nova”.
The food and service were second to none and it was located down some steep stairs in a large
cave like series of rooms.
After breakfast on the 25th June we left Alberobello (meaning beautiful tree) and headed for the lovely towns of Monopoli and the seaside town of Polignano a Mare before our last stop for a couple of days at Roccamandolfi to regroup before heading to Rome again.

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