Touring Italy North and South travel blog

Hard to leave this view too

Santa Maria del Merino bids us goodbye

Can't expect me to stay awake after midnight fireworks.

Trulli houses

Susan at the Trulli

Tommaso shows us an example of a carob fruit

Overlook of Trulli town

Example of a Trulli house

More interior of the Trulli house

David among the Trulli

More Trulli

Signs that can appear on the roofs.

Wine tasting and local foods

Together in the Trulli city

I liked this one handed shot

Even the church had the traditional cone roofs.

Different roof toppers indicate different families

Susan and David at Matera

Looking over the cave town of Matera-1

Looking over the cave town of Matera-2

Looking over the cave town of Matera-3

Our dinner destination

Cave room wasn't too bad

At the group dinner

Looking out the room

Our table at the dinner

Looking over Matera at night from our room

We are off from Vieste and traveling south to Bari then to Alberobello for a visit to the trulli. These are structures that were originally done as temporary structures to avoid taxes. (if you took it down, you were taxed less) but they were adopted as a preferred and more permanent structure in this area. We were dropped off in Alberobello and then Tommaso took us for a tour of a typical trulli, then we went for a wine tasting with appetizers at a wine shop. Then we were free to roam around. Susan and I wandered up the road into the heart of Tullo country and took pictures of the trulli. Those with the same chimneys were family members. They also had magical runes on their roofs to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.

We piled back into the bus and drove for awhile to Matera, in the middle of the boot of Italy. This town was made famous by Mel Gibson when he shoes to film The Passion of Christ here. Matera is famouns because it is a cave city. People in the Stone Age lived in caves on one side of the river. Then, in the Medieval Age they excavated caves on the other side where the stone was softer and lived in them, along with their animals, for centuries. In the 1930s an exiled writer wrote about the difficult living conditions (people and animals living together, high disease rate, no sanitary plumbing) and poverty of the area. (it looked so bad it wasn’t bombed in WW II because it already looked like it had been bombed) When his books became popular after WW II, the Italian government considered it a scandal and in the 50’s forced 15,000 people to move out of the caves into public housing built by the government. For many years the cave area of the city was abandoned, but gradually the cave area has been renovated and re-built with modern conveniences and folks are moving back in and hotels are rising in the new cave town.

We set up in our cave room at the Loconda de San Martino, then met Tommaso for a walk to the trattoria where we were having dinner. We enjoyed each others company as we worked our way through 4 courses. Tommaso also arranged for a singer with a guitar to join us. As with the last tour group, we discovered we had a performer among us in Phyllis from Omaha, who impressed all of us with her rendition of “Summertime.” Then the rest of us joined in for pieces of “Volare” and other Italian songs we recognized but couldn’t croon all the words.

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