Spur of Italy’s Boot – Vieste and the Gargano National Forest

Puglia (or Apulia) is eyeopening because it presents a surprising geography not seen anywhere else in Italy.  We visited the ‘spur’ of Italy’s boot mid April and found it to be astounding!  Based out of the old pirate town of Vieste with it’s calcareous Pizzomunno il Faraglione, we explored lovely flat beaches along with interesting white rocky promotories with ancient towns jutting over cliffs.  Some old towns features a few ‘trabucchi’ jutting out into the sea.  This curious woodwork is an ancient way of fishing found throughout this region.  In only a few days you can explore the nearby towns of Peschici, Rodi, and Mattinata and also linger in La Foresta Umbra, the shady forest of the Gargano National Park stretching some 1000 meters up the mountain.  The light through these ancient oaks and beech trees is unique! This lovely unexplored spur is perfect for hiking, biking and enjoying the beaches along with the incredible food and wine of Puglia!

Farallones

Viesteoldtown

Viestechurch

Viestefromthebeach

Street

Cactus

Shepherd

Trabucchi

Gargano National Forest

trees2

trees1

goats

Pastries in Italy, eyecandy for those “just looking”

Perugia3Part of the obvious charm of traveling in Italy is the way store owners artfully display their wares!  And pastries, candy and gelato can be found in every small town and big city…just there to tempt you to try.

Here are a few delights from a lazy afternoon stroll in the town of Perugia in Umbria.

Perugia4Perugia is famous for its chocolate!

Perugia2

Snakes are part of the many animal symbols in Perugia’s history.

Perugia1Griffins are everywhere as they are the official city symbol.

PerugiaGriffinsVisit Ticket to Italy’s website for information about your next trip to Perugia!

 

 

Lucca

wallinfall.2It’s surprising that more people don’t use Lucca as a base for a week or so when visiting Tuscany.  When they discover that Tuscany includes more than Florence and Siena, they quickly want to know how to build a vacation to see it all.  Lucca has served merely as a day trip from Florence.  Tourists come to see Lucca, then Pisa and seldom spend much more than a few hours.

But what a delight it is to spend days, weeks and maybe a month in Lucca and surrounds!  Not only is the walled town a delight for the sights, food and shopping, but it’s within a hour of the Mediterranean beaches of Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi, and also within a hour of the mountain charms of Barga and other Garfagnana delights.  There are Napoleon villas, the delights of Collodi (the home of Pinocchio), wonderful vineyards and olive groves, plus the lake home of Puccini and wonderful productions!  Here are just a few favorite photos:

San Frediano Basilica
San Frediano Basilica
Walking and Biking the Wall in Lucca
Walking and Biking the Wall in Lucca
Church of San Michele in Foro
Church of San Michele in Foro
Villa Pfanner
Villa Pfanner
Garden of Villa Pfanner
Garden of Villa Pfanner
Duomo di San Martino
Duomo di San Martino
Innovation when you have to go in a walled town!
Innovation when you have to go in a walled town!