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Golden Day Ninety-Six: La Baia dei Mergoli with Sandra Sicolo

August 27, 2013

SANDRA-PHOTOMy dear friend Carol Malzone, a dedicated Italofile, author, and founder of Flavors of Rome, was singing the praises of her new Italian teacher, Sandra Sicolo. Sandra grew up in Bitonto-Bari, Puglia, moved to the USA in 1989 with her husband and two children, and immediately began teaching Italian and doing translation work.

SANDRA-LOGOThe family now lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where Sandra has founded a popular cultural organization: All Italian Things, Inc., that promotes and preserves Italian culture, through entertaining events, cooking and language classes, AND group trips to Puglia that are designed and led by Sandra.

I’m so grateful she has joined in to share her advice for a Golden Day in La Baia dei Mergoli…

My favorite place in Puglia is the Gargano province specifically, La Baia dei Mergoli  also known as Baia delle Zagare. This place is enchanting, with crystal blue waters and rock formations rising from the sea–scenery that rivals the Amalfi Coast!

SANDRABAIABEACHOn the cliffs above Mattinata, a small fishing village, is my favorite 5 Star Resort;  Hotel Baia dei Faraglioni. This is paradise. Every time we visit we stay here because of its views, welcoming atmosphere, and wonderful restaurant.
SANDRAHOTELBAIAThe fish served is excellent–fresh from the Adriatic Sea! Because the place is so beautiful, I advise you to stay with “pensione completa” so you don’t have to leave the resort. The hotel also has a Spa, so you can pamper yourselves with a massage. And you will also enjoy the pool, that has a beautiful view overlooking the bay.
SANDRA-POOLThe hotel also provides a boat ride, for a fee, that takes you along the coast to visit beautiful coastal caves and bays that can only be seen from the sea. You can also take a dip in the turquoise waters during the excursion, if you wish. There is a private beach, fully equipped with chairs and umbrellas. The beach is only accessible from stairs, or a private elevator that goes through the mountain!
SANDRA-CAVESIf you want to leave the resort to explore the area, you must rent a car.  Vieste is a 20 minute ride away, with plenty of caffes and restaurants and a beautiful beach.
SANDRA-VIESTE Stop in at Pizzeria Borgo Antico (Via Cesare Battisti), for delicious wood-fired pizzas at reasonable prices (they also serve good pasta and seafood). It’s a bit off the beaten path, just outside the old city gates. It has terrace seating which overlooks the harbor lighthouse. 
On our tour, we also like to take our guests to visit the Sanctuary of the Archangel Michael in Monte Sant’Angelo. This is about a half hour drive from the hotel and is worth the drive for the magnificent views and for the mystery that surrounds this sacred and mystical place.
SANDRA-MONTESANT'ANGELOThe Sanctuary is built on a underground cave where the Archangel Michael is believed to have appeared. The best time to go is in the evening,  as morning can get very hot and it’s preferable to enjoy the beach!
I’d also recommend the Ristorante San Michele (Via Reale Basilica 51, 0884 561 302) in  Monte Sant’Angelo–the prices are reasonable and they serve good homemade food.   
Grazie Mille Sandra!
Click here for more info about All Italian Things, Inc and Sandra’s Tours to Puglia–there are still some spots available on one that leaves at the end of September…AND you can find her on Facebook: Puglia Tours.
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