Golden Day Ninety-One: Follow Martha Bakerjian to the Gargano Promontory
I came to know Martha Bakerjian years ago through her Italy Travel Site on About.com–a Must Click for all travelers to Italy–packed with excellent information–from maps, to guidance for well known destinations and off-the-beaten path spots, and insider’s advice for such things as Going to the Beach in Italy. It was a thrill to meet her in person last fall, when we rendezvoused for lunch in Pisa. She is a passionate Italofile, who has been traveling extensively in Italy for 30 years, and now has a home in the Lunigiana region of northern Tuscany where she spends about five months a year, using it as a base to explore Italy. One of Martha’s favorite places to explore is the region of Puglia. Since her first trip there, over 20 years ago, when she worked on an archaeological project on the Salento Peninsula, she has discovered the many pleasures of the entire region–from its beaches to castles, Greek ruins, medieval villages, nature reserves, and caverns. Lucky for us, Martha’s written a Puglia Travel Guide App (available on iTunes and Android)–guiding us to the best places to stay, eat, and enjoy the region’s unique treasures. I’m so grateful Martha’s joined in to give us her advice for a Golden Day for Seafood Lovers on Puglia’s Gargano Promontory, the northern part of Puglia, that appears as the spur of the Italian boot, jutting out into the Adriatic Sea… Start your day in the main square of the village of Vico del Gargano, with pastries, coffee, and organic juice (made from fruit grown on the family farm) at Bar Pasticceria Pizzicato. Sit outside and enjoy a look at local life. Drive down the hill to the coast road toward the pretty town of Peschici. Before you reach the town, stop at the lookout point where there’s an ancient tower, for views of Peschici, the sea, and the trabucco where you’ll have lunch. Work up an appetite by wandering along the pedestrian streets of Peschici’s historic center. Lovers of fresh fish will be in heaven at Il Trabucco di Monte Pucci (Localita Monte Pucci, off the S.S. 89 near Peschici Tel: +39 345 893 3151, reservations recommended on weekends and in summer). Your lunch will have come straight from the sea, right at the trabucco just a few hours before. From the view spot with tower on SS 89, take the narrow road down to their small parking lot. The waiter will show you samples of the day’s catch and tell you the menu options. Since the food is based on what was caught that day, there’s no written menu. Pasta and dessert are made in the kitchen. You’ll have a choice of several different appetizers, a few pasta dishes based on seafood, and then grilled or fried fish. After lunch you can walk to the trabucco’s private beach, tucked away in a cove below the cliffs, to relax or swim in the sea. In the evening stroll around the historic center of Vico del Gargano, on the list of “the most beautiful small towns in Italy”. Take a look at the narrow alleyways, called “kissing alleys”, where lovers were said to come to steal a kiss as they passed in the tight space. Return to the Pizzicato Bar for an apertivo–try one of their specialty drinks made with their organic juices. For your evening meal go to Cantina Il Trapetto (Via Casale 168, +39 347 915 3363), a renovated olive oil mill in the center where you’ll dine on tables that were once millstones. They have a variety of small plate dishes so you can try a few of the local specialties. In summer, they sometimes have live music on their terrace. Live like a local by staying at Pizzicato Eco B&B in a restored apartment in the historic center or in a modern apartment a short walk from the center. Giuseppe, the owner of both the apartments and bar, speaks English. Vico del Gargano is a lively town where you can really experience the slow life of Puglia rather than just being a tourist. Grazie mille, Martha! Looking forward to finding out more in your Puglia Travel Guide App AND getting over there to experience your Golden Day! *Puglia Map and App Cover by James Martin of Europe Travel.