South of Italy is one of our first shared memories. The airport in Rome, a rented car, a trip to Naples and then a little bit further to the most beautiful place I know.
South of Italy tastes like cold limoncello eaten on the beach, mozzarella on lemon leaves and prosciutto bought in a nearby shop for everyday breakfast on the terrace. It also tastes like fried calamari and various pastas with tomatoes and swordfish that won my taste buds and my heart or like thin pizza and perfect tiramisu.
A trip to South Italy was our first. Long, it took three weeks. Since we did not decide to part ways while we were there, It must have meant that there was something going on! 🙂 A tonne of amazing memories of places we’re so eager to get back to.
Our TOP 5:
An absolute must see. A little town taken from a postcard. Colourful houses on a hill, that you watch lying on the beach or walking through the tiny alleys. Amazing food with delicacies such as mozzarella cheese grilled with lemon leaves. An expensive place (the cheapest accommodation is approx. 100 euro for 2 per night), but still worth it. It’s also worth many kilometres of curvy roads required to get there, that always make me feel nauseous.
Positano is located on Amalfi coast (Costiera Amalfitana), 60 km from Naples, so if you’re near, go there for one day at least. It’s a perfect spot for a romantic trip for two. Łukasz keeps repeating what I said when we got out of the car in Positano late evening and I first saw charming little cafes, restaurants, tiny alleys and gorgeous views: „If you took me here for an ordinary trip then where are you going to propose to me?”… I guess it’s hard to beat Positano since he hasn’t come up with anything better yet! 😉
What’s interesting is that Positano used to be a poor fishermen’s village in the first half of 20th century. It started getting more popular in the 50s after John Steinbeck published an article about it in Harper’s Bazaar calling Positano “a place from a dream”. It’s funny, cause Americans seem to be the biggest tourist group in Positano nowadays and therefore there must be something about this “dream place” – it’s worth spending so many hours on a plane in order to get here. Fortunately we can get here faster! 🙂
After our Italian trip to Positano we went further South. We planned to see Apulia, Basilicata and Calabria and then to jump to Sicily. First, we left towards Bari. It was late, we were looking for a place to stay and with the help of our guide and we found ourselves in Trani, 55 km from Bari. We found accommodation quickly and the price was much more affordable than in Positano – 50 euro for a night! We left our luggage and went to the harbour looking for a dinner… The food was amazing. It applied to both the taste and the price.
Trani is considerably big (50 thousand inhabitants) compared to tiny Positano (4 thousand). There are some monuments worth seeing including a Roman cathedral built in 1097 which is supposed to be the most beautiful cathedral in whole Apulia. For us, Trani was fantastic thanks to the calmness and quietness of the bright streets and because of the liveliness of the harbour at night. I still remember the food I had there (even though it was 5 years ago!). Especially that after Positano, Trani seemed like a paradise when it came to prices! And these shrimps, calamari, pizza or mozzarella di bufala with Parma ham – the best in the world!
A fishermen’s town at the very end of the “Italian boot”. A place where the tradition seems to be still alive, where women sit in front of their houses and chat in the evening while men meet in their clubs or during fish dressing. Tiny, quiet alleys are ideal for a walk during siesta. Also one of my favourite pastas with swordfish and tomatoes and… cocoa for breakfast at signora Mariolina’s house, where we found a place to stay before we decided to leave Gallipoli. We found the accommodation thanks to the old Italian ladies chatting in front of their houses. They told us to “ask for signora Mariolina”.
Matera is completely different than the abovementioned charming little towns. It’s located in Basilicata – one of the poorest regions of Italy. There’s no charming houses, no picturesque harbour but the town can still impress you and is worth visiting on your trip. Matera combines antique and modern world, since until recently, locals used to live in houses carved in rocks, known as sassi. They date back to Byzantium times, when churches on rocks where built in Matera. Over the ages, many of the churches where transformed into houses. The place looks astonishing. It makes you travel back in time. It’s mysterious and also a bit sad… You can cheer yourself up with a great dinner eaten in a local restaurant -also carved in a rock.
In 1993 Sassi di Matera was put on UNESCO World Heritage list.
Scilla was the last place we’ve seen in Italy before we left for Sicily. It’s located at the “peak” of the “Italian boot”, a few steps from Sicily. There’s a decent beach in the city, but it’s the Chianalea district with houses “growing” straight from the sea that’s the most impressive. To find a hotel with a terrace almost floating over the sea – priceless. There’s a little cape (?) dividing the district from the beach with Castello Ruffo overlooking the town from the top.
What can I say: Italy? An absolute must! It’s only our top 5 and there’s much more places worth remembering! And apart from locations there’s the food. Beloved, the best, looking like this for instance 🙂