If anyone ever tells you that Italy isn’t all that, you should know they’re plain and simply wrong. Italy IS all that and then some more. The movies, the magazines, the postcards – they don’t just portray a beautiful myth. The streets really are narrow with laundry drying out on tiny balconies, flowers hanging over their edges. The women really do cook amazing food right out on the streets in huge pots and the men really do go out on the sea and then sell the catch of the day in small pescherias on the same very streets.
The cars are small and there are many Vespas. People go out on the streets and talk the hot nights away, loudly and with much enthusiasm. The food is as good as you imagine Italian should be when taking a bite of your take away pizza and telling yourself that that’s the real deal. The smells and sounds of a good life with very little stress surround you, will be sure to charm you. Never before have I ever fallen in love so suddenly and deeply with a place I’ve visited.
ITALY AS IT SHOULD BE: PUGLIA
I was very happy I chose Puglia, the south east region of Italy, for my first visit to this enchanting country. Puglia is still not part of the touristic route and hopefully it will stay his way. My stop there was short but dense and the best part of it was that I felt the experience was genuine due to the lack of international tourism.
I got to see Bari, which is the main city of the region and one of the biggest ports of Italy, connecting it to Greece, Albania, Montenegro and Croatia. Fun fact: I saw only one souvenir shop in the whole city. There is however no shortage of millenia old landmarks to be visited because old in Italy means really old.
The Beautiful Bari, Italy
While in Bari I was welcomed on one of my nights there to stay over at the La Uascezze . This completed my Italian experience, the guesthouse being located in a small, very old and charming house, offering only two rooms to their guests. The rooms were beautiful and lacked nothing of the comfort of a three star hotel, adding the personal touch of genuine hospitality.
The main focus of “La Uascezze” is their restaurant which is located on the same backstreet of Vico Corsioli in the very heart of the old town. I was sorry to miss the opportunity to be served dinner on their terrace which looked very charming and was praised to me by local friends.
Uascezze is an untranslatable term of colloquial Bari dialect. It can refer to a festive meal, to a reunion between friends, but also to a joyful, cheerful mood.
The only night I was staying there I had the opportunity to take a trip to a near by town that I couldn’t turn down. On my return, the restaurant was busy at capacity, Maurizio and Rino, the two men who ran the place, along with their staff, were all running around the tables making sure every guest was having the best time. The next morning I was served breakfast consisting of a yummy croissant and a delicious cappuccino at their partner bar around the corner. Check out the La Uascezzeon hotel on facebook HERE!
Puglia has a big coast which attracts a big number of tourists every year, most of them being locals taking their summer holidays there. I briefly visited the coastal town and summer resort of Polignano al Mare, famous for its poems written on doors, stairs and so on, and for being the home town of the beloved Domenico Modugno. The streets were packed and everybody was preparing for the town’s yearly festivities.
The gelato was delicious and it will probably be very difficult for me to enjoy ice cream from now on since it’s highly unlikely that any will reach the perfection of the one made there. Another stop in Puglia was the beautiful town of Alberobello with its beautiful trullis, the houses with the cone shaped roof tops made out of river stones. Despite it being so touristy with all of the houses in the old town having been turned into shops, one can overlook these aspects and still be amazed of the beauty, order and geometry of the town.
All that being said, I feel like I’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg and cannot wait till I get an opportunity to visit Italy once again!
Want to visit more cool places in Italy? Here is list of all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy!