We had a four day weekend break at the end of November because it was Albanian Independence Day (celebrating when the Ottoman’s left Albania in 1912) and Albanian Liberation Day (celebrating when the Germans left Albania in 1944). A friend and I flew to Bari, Italy and then took the bus to two smaller Italian towns. Randy is still in the States hunting.
These were the signs that greeted us when we deplaned in Bari. We visited two regions of southern Italy, Puglia and Basilicata.
After arriving in Bari we took an hour and a half long bus ride to Matera where we spent the night. Matera is the third oldest continuously inhabited city in the world dating back to the 10th century BC. This is by far the oldest city I have visited. Matera is known as “the underground city” and contains ancient cave dwellings. In 1993 Matera was named as a Word Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The movie “The Passion of the Christ” which was released in 2004 was written and directed by Mel Gibson. He choose the city of Matera to film much of the movie because he felt it depicted the Biblical time period. The hole in the foreground of the the picture above is where the cross was planted for the filming of Christ’s crucification.
Matera by night…
We slept and ate dinner in a cave since Matera is known for it’s cave dwellings.
Artwork in the streets of Matera.
Matera is known for this type of bread. The bumps on the top of the bread stand for the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
I was especially intrigued by the rock churches which were carved right into the side of the hill.
Matera by day…
The next day we took an hour long drive to our next destination, Alberobello. This is a picture of our AirBnB host, Pasquale. He is the fourth generation in his family to own the home that we will be staying in while visiting this charming village.
Alberobello is known for these charming small buildings called trulli. Trulli are dry stone (without mortar) huts with conical roofs that were originally constructed in the 15th century as temporary field shelters and storehouses.
More pictures of the charming trulli of Alberobello.
Delicious dinner in a lovely neighborhood restaurant.
Alberobello up close.
My Fairport friend, Ann Wolanski’s mother and grandmother were born near this gorgeous cathedral in Alberobello. I tried to find the exact house but was unsuccessful.
We took a train and a bus to get to our next location, Bari, which is on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Dana is an expert at figuring out the train and bus schedules. Yay!
Arriving in Bari at night and trying to figure out where our Airbnb is located (a common challenge and adventure in itself).
Trip Advisor recommended this delicious salad and sandwich restaurant.
Pics from a run on the following morning.
We visited the fish market where Dana was a very adventurous eater.
While walking the side streets of Bari we came across several different women making pasta. This area of Italy is known for making orecchiette “little ear” pasta.
The Basilica of St. Nicholas was gorgeous. St. Nicholas was born in Russia and died in Turkey. This church holds both Catholic and Orthodox services within it’s walls which I found to be so interesting! The statue was given to the city of Bari by the Russians as a sign of good will.
Exploring a bit of southern Italy was a treat. This part of the country is not nearly as opulent as the northern part of Italy but definitely has a charm that we thoroughly enjoyed visiting.