A Travellerspoint blog

Comfort of Manduria and Casa

semi-overcast 75 °F

Southern Comfort!  No, I'm not talking about that popular whisky brand- rather, a place in the south of Italy- precisely, Puglia.
We recognize Puglia (Apulia in English translation) as the heel of Italy. This is a land blessed with a splendid stretch of coastline, olive trees and arguably the best bread and wine in all of Italy. I found temporary home away from southern California in this coastal Italian region.
20181107_103649.jpg calvar.jpg
My stay was in the Apulian region Taranto, in the town of Manduria, a relatively unassuming town halfway from the bustling cities of Taranto and Brindisi. Mandurian pace is slowed, like the process of preparing a hearty minestra.  There simply is no reason to rush in these parts. It was lovely to take strolls, visit churches, and stumble upon quaint shops in centro storico (historic town center).  Some of my Italian souvenir buys- cutesy little ceramic mugs and a sharp pizza cutter- was done in Giulia Selvaggi's shop. The most intriguing Mandurian pit-stop was Calvario, an intricate, religious monument with a melange of religious statues and murals.

It was a relatively short time here but fond memory lasts, especially due to "relatives" gained on my trip, a precious mamma and fratello (brother). The hospitable Dimitris took such good care of me: mamma preparing simple yet scrumptious meals, laundering and laying my clothes and my bro who proudly guided me around his town and humored me throughout. Their cozy home was mine, feet kicked up. It surely beat shacking up in a shabby B&B. One of the best moments of my trip was in the Dimitri casa watching the hilarious Italian classic comedy starring Roberto Benigni, Non ci resto che piagere (Nothing left to do but cry). Thankfully, many scenes of this very cultural Italian film with some dialect Napoletan and Tuscan was translated by my bro.

My Manduria collage on Insta

Church Hopping:
For Catholics and any tourist interested in getting to know the heart of Manduria (and any Italian town), visit churches. My bro pointed out a few dear to him, including one where his parents married. Here are addresses of a few:

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, 74024, Manduria, Italy

Via Marco Gatti, 74024, Manduria, Italy
Center of town

Duomo Church
Piazza Commestibili, 74024, Manduria, Italy

Immaculate Church
Viale Mancini | Corner Via Antonio Bruno, 74024, Manduria, Italy

Also, there is at least one Jewish temple. On the steps of it, I could not help but to be fixated on
this poor little sickly looking black cat. I crossed her- but no bad luck for me.
Ghetto Ebraico
Jewish Temple --poor black cat
Vico degli Ebrei, 74024, Manduria, Italy

FOOD (Il Cibo):
So, I wanted to indulge a bit in real Italian food. Lucky me, authentic food was prepared for me at casa Dimitri. The best, most simple meal I had for pasta. Common pasta in Puglia include taralli, foccaccia, orecchiete, As a wonderful surprise treat, a specialty of the Salento region was made for me by mamma, friselle or frise ( a bagel like bread or rusk topped with tomatoes.

Going for a little cup of gelato was not easy on the Mandurian streets. Well, it was Fall- big fail!
However, I managed to get some at the supermarket.

If not fortunate to stay in a comfy casa with mamma,
stay in a farmhouses, unique and often elegant inns transitioned from old farms and ancient rural dwellings.
At a trullo, you can even spend a weekend or more among the olive trees of Apulia, in an old local trullo

Parting Tip:
It would be wise to pack repellent for mosquitos.
They got me good while briefly walking in a vineyard!

Posted by Marinarena 14:25 Archived in Italy Tagged italy italian italiano italia puglia apulia calvario manduria mandurian Comments (0)

Prime Primitivo in Manduria

Word on the wine and my visit to the local wine museum in Manduria

sunny 72 °F

Mark Manduria on the map if you are a wine lover - and if you're particularly fond of Primitivo- this is paradiso!


What is Primitivo?

Primitivo is derived from Latin " early ripening". The delectable wine of Manduria traces its origins are traced to Croatia, which is located across the Adriatic sea. A sister wine to Primitivo is California Zinfandel.

Which are the charateristics of the wine? High alcohol, rustic, chewy tannin, sweet taste at the finish.

The grape of Primitivo is the third most planted grape in Puglia and is the sole varietal used in the region’s only DOCG wine, Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale.

Off a very unassuming road is the fantastic Museo della Civilita del Vino (Wine Museum), the best place to go to purchase wine and view several
pieces of local artifacts-from old wine tools to pottery

Wine and museum tours are conducted here. Check the museum Facebook page for tour availability. My wine tour was conducted mainly in Italian. Luckily, I know enough of the language to get the gist of what the tour guide was saying. However, there may be arrangement to have a tour with a English speaker.

The Wine Museum is located at:

Via Fabio Massimo 19 | c/o Cantina Produttori Vini Manduria, 74024, Manduria, Italy
FB: museodelprimitivo

Posted by Marinarena 15:59 Archived in Italy Tagged italy museum wine museo winery italia puglia apulia manduria primitivo Comments (0)

Torre Colimena Beach

A site in the Salento region of Puglia

semi-overcast 69 °F


A memorable pit stop: Torre Colimena beach. Cherished by locals, this is an unassuming spot of coastal discovery north of Porto Cesareo, along the Ionian Sea. As part of an extended natural reserve with dunes (Dune Costiere) , it is a saltwater area situated on salt mines. Dip out from here into the Ionian sea to swim you may or stick around on land for Salentian serenity.

Torre Colimena keeps guard of the coast. It is one of many towers dotted along the northern sea side, due south of the city of Taranto. Legend says that the towers "talk" to each other. No watchman guards these parts nowadays but back in the 15th century, the tower was a command central for local soldiers communicating to sister towers during attacks of the Ottoman Empire.

The landscape here is ordinary. It is a low reef area with a number of prickly pear plants and sandy beaches.

Speaking of "Sandy" , I recall a fond memory on my visit.
An unruly yet sweet pup came chasing me and my friend Giuseppe down the road along the afternoon. We named (her?)
Sandy, the dog for her amber color.

Don't be surprised: a loose pup like Sandy may chase you down and seek some spoiling attention.


Best thing here: Most likely , you can have this place to yourself.

Posted by Marinarena 15:57 Archived in Italy Tagged coast nature coastal torre puglia salento nature_reserve puglia_coast colimena beacj Comments (0)

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