Feb 6We are off to Alberobello, a small town in the in the providence of Bari in Puglia Italy. Known for it's Trulli style houses and home to Rena's ancestors. It is a 4 hour train ride. We pack some travel picnic supplies of wine, cheese, bread and prosciutto and are ready for our trip. The drive down the coast is beautiful and soon we start to spot the Trulli homes dotting the landscape.
Our first stop, lunch at a roadside Trulli trattoria, LaNicchia, for our first taste of orecchiette, local hand made pasta. Winding our way though the narrow allies of Alberobello we find our UNESCO World Heritage Trulli pension updated with heated tile floors.
We start the day strolling the streets. The building style dates back to the 16th century and these cassede (small houses) were built stone by stone without the use of lime/cement in order to be dismantled during periodic inspections of the area, thus avoiding the unfair taxation of the local inhabitants. Today there are over 1000 of these homes in the tourist area of Rione Monti district, many still residential, and over 500 mostly residential homes in the Aia Piccola district. Trulli a beautiful place!
Our plan for the week is to drive around southern Italy. It is a beautiful day and we head out in the afternoon, picnic packed, to the town of Ostuni. A stunning town built on the hillside overlooking the Mediterranean. We find a park and enjoy a picnic before heading off to old town for some sites cobbled streets and churches. Then back on the road for a coastal drive north to Monopoli for a little touring and some ice cream.
Today we head south to Lecce, nick named Florence of the South. Baroque architecture of limestone, cobble stone streets and Basilica di Santa Croce (Church of the Holy Cross) sits high on the hillside overlooking the Mediterranean.
We are off to Matera to see the cave houses of the ancient Sassi. Some of the houses are simply dug out caverns that have been inhabited for 9000 years.
Today we stay in Alerobello and enjoy the morning. In the afternoon we find the local graveyard and search for Rena's family. It took a bit of time but sure enough we found her Iocovazzi roots and paid our respects. Quite a special day!