Having never been further south than Tuscany in Italy, I was excited to experience Apulia. A friend of mine is from that region and when she decided to “go home” to visit her parents for a week, she invited me to join her. My husband was nervous for me, saying it would be too hot. But I love the heat. I grew up where it is hot in summer and looked forward to feeling it again. While we took the bus from Brindisi airport to Lecce, I eagerly looked out the window and exclaimed the vegetation was very much like California: dry with oleander bushes, grape vines, olive trees, cacti, etc. In a way it wasn’t new to me.
We spent time on the beach, in the lovely Mediterranean Sea, ate our weight in delicious food, from figs we picked from trees to fresh sea food, walked though groves of olive trees which are hundreds of years old, and visited towns at night once it had cooled off.
The sea was crystal clear and had the perfect temperature. We spent hours in the water.
And then there were the beautiful sunsets.
I was lucky enough to visit Lecce both at night and during the day. Lecce is a beautiful city with many Baroque style buildings and a large Roman amphitheater in the middle of the city.
My friend’s mother cooked us delicious dishes and we enjoyed ever morsel. There was plenty of fresh sea food, pasta, vegetables and fruit.
Once the sun sets, it cools and the towns and village come back to life. People sit out on the street and after 9 pm the cafés and restaurants fill up. Still, it’s possible to find quiet side streets. The following were taken in Copertino and Leverano.
We picked fresh figs and the first grapes. A week or two later, we would have been able to eat prickly pear cactus.
One of the things that touched me most were the ancient olive trees. We walked between them in the evening light. The cicadas sang, there was a warm breeze and the red earth glistened.
Grazie mille per la bella settimana!