Sea Caves of Polignano a Mare

Day 9

This morning we are headed to the striking cliff top town of Polignano a Mare which hosts the annual Red Bull Cliff Diving Championship. This event will be LIVE on September 23 at 12:30 PM CEST (10:30 AM GMT) on http://www.redbullcliffdiving.com. The birthplace of Domenico Modugno, writer and interpreter of the world famous song “Volare” (flying), is part of the province of Bari, Puglia, and inhabits just a little more than 16,000.

A modern skiff (boat) takes us into the spellbinding sea caves where many a smugglers traveled. The beauty of mother nature of water and wind that have created these caves. We experience the colors and light that play off the water.

The smell of the ocean water and breeze that blows into these caves settles into my mind and heart and great gratitude of being able to see this magical spot. I thank God for allowing me to see this and many other special places I have visited on this trip.

We are able to stop and dive into the beautiful Adriatic sea and cool off before boarding the boat for a glass of Prosecco and some snacks.

We return to explore this quaint town and eat more pizza and pasta. Wow its all so good.

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

Exploring the Sassi

Day 9:

We tour the ancient city of Matera; our overnight stay as well, which is perched high on a beautiful hillside and just recently seen by foreign eyes. This famed UNESCO World Heritage site is just across the border from Puglia, in the Basilicata Region. Matera is a complex of cave dwellings carved into the mountainside. Evacuated in 1952 due to poor living conditions, the Sassi now houses museums like the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario, with period furniture and artisan tools. Nearby rock churches include St. Lucia alle Malve, with 13th-century frescoes.

I found this great article on the city of Matera. Please read this to further understand how this impovershied town received a facelift and new life. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/17/matera-italy-culture-capital-cave-homes-from-squalor-to-airbnb-film-sets

In the afternoon we are lead on a walking tour of the ‘sassi’ ancient cave dwellings which have been restored for current use as homes, shops and restaurants. The nights light up in the dwellings and these pictures really dont show the true picture of what the eye sees.

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

A day at the beach in Puglia, Italy

Originally we were set to go on a boat ride to see the sea caves but the weather was not cooperating this morning, rain had fallen last night and the wind was still bringing in a chance for rain so we postponed our boat ride for tomorrow.

So off to the beach we went. We went to the White Beach club, set up our lounge chairs and enjoyed a sunny day. At this beach the sand is a mix of tiny shells, a bit tougher on the feet and to enter the water you need to be careful as the shore is spiky lava rock. We enjoyed watching a little school of fush scurry through the water and crabs hide from us under rocks. We gathered shells along the shore, which I love to do at every beach I visit .

We enjoyed pizza at the restaurante

and tonight we had dinner at Grotta Palazzese, set in the cliffs.

This place has a spectacular view, is a romantic spot BUT THE FOOD WAS HORRIBLE! Not even edible and expensive too. So disappointing. We had heard the same reviews but were told there was a new chef so decided to try it. I dont usually give bad reviews but this restaurant needs to step up there game and get a chef that can cook.

The town itself is vibrant with lots of cute boutiques, restaurants and gelato shops everywhere. There was also a vendor street fair and the whole town seemed to be enjoying being out on a Sunday. Definitely worth going to see this cute town but skip the Grotta Palazzese please!

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

Puglia’s Green Gold

Day 7:

We begin today’s journey riding bikes along the beautiful Adriatic coast through some of the worlds most ancient and monumental olive groves.

Our first stop is a visit to a local producer of olive oils where we sample “Puglia’s Green Gold“. So called thanks to its golden color and its value ensured sustenance generation after generation. This property has been in the same family since the 9th century, the most antique agricultural arboreal existent landscape. We explore a cave that they uncovered once used in ancient Roman times to extract the oils.

Puglia supplies around 40% of olive oil production in Italy (it is the first region for quantity and quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil produced per year).The Italian heel also provides around 12% of the olive oil production in the whole world.

After our tasting we hop on our bikes winding through country lanes; and I am in awe of the beauty that I see; getting a different perspective on a bike to view the landscape and smell the fragrances of wildflowers. We stop to taste ripe figs and discover a caper bush. The path we ride on was an ancient Roman passageway and we contine on this path before returning to the coast. After a 20 mile bike ride we are on our own for the rest of the day and enjoy a fresh fish lunch in the fishing village, a gelato of course and meander through Savelletri which is a Province of Brindisi.

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

Tuscany Farewell onto Bari

Day 6:

This is the final morning for my Backroads active hiking and culinary adventures. Although I could do one final hike to the hilltop town of Bagno Vignoni; with its hot springs and 12th century castle and tower; I decide to save my energy for the 2nd part of my Italian vacation. Alitalia has gone on strike so I am diverted to a long day of travel on the train from Florence to Rome to Bari. I look around in Florence a grab a bite to eat, then head to the train station to wait for my train to arrive, read and people watch.

Heres what happens when you travel. S..T happens, right! So the train pulls up and someone had smoked in the bathroom so my compartment had the sprinklers going off. Twenty minutes late we leave and I anticipate not making my second train. What to do. So put it in Gods hands and said a prayer. Arrive in Rome and my transfer is in front of me , thank you!! Arrive in Bari and driver picks me and finally After a full day of travel I arrive safe and am ready for a shower and a soft pillow to lay my head. Just a day in my adventures. I meet up with my sister Lisa, niece Ali and family friend Natalie for the coastal second half of my trip; active food adventures in the region of Puglia by http://www.ItalyinStyletravel.com.

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene