Audrey and I are off to Salento today. We have a Swiss Air flight from SFO to Zurich to Rome. As per usual, we'll spend the night in Fiumicino, the port town 5 minutes from the Rome Airport and then take an Alitalia flight the next morning to Brindisi. We'll pick up our prepaid rental car at the airport from Auto Europe and head to our regular apartment on the Piazza del Duomo in Otranto. Here's a picture of Otranto from the air. The arrow points to our apartment with its terrace overlooking the bay. Sigh . . . . we can't wait for the long, early morning, languorous swims in the warm waters of the Adriatic. And a hearty hello to our friends and co-authors of SALENTO BY 5, Carlo, Lucia and Luciana! . . . And to you dear reader, you are invited to return often to this blog for information about new discoveries, changes and current updates to the recommendations contained in our book about Salento.
Audrey and I are off to Salento again this year (mid-June to mid-July) and we will continue to update our Travel Suggestions page. Don't forget, if you have personal questions you would like to ask of me or Audrey or of any of the authors of SALENTO BY 5 about your upcoming trip to Puglia or Salento, just submit them to us using the form at the bottom of that page. We'll be happy to respond as soon as we can.
And, if you happen to be in Salento on June 21st, Congratulations! You will be able to attend one of the hundreds of music concerts being held in nearly 500 towns across Italy as part of the Italian Festival of Music (Festa della Musica). Over 7000 artists will be participating, including our own co-author, Carlo Longo. Carlo will be performing with his Guitar Club in the town of Melissano, near his own home town of Taviano. Read more about the Festa della Musica here: https://www.festadellamusica.beniculturali.it/index.php/it/ We will be in Melissano and hope to see you there!
While were in Otranto this past July, the Italian edition of our book was launched by the publisher, AnimaMundi. The publisher arranged for a celebratory gathering for our book and two others that it had also just released. Here, we have the authors and members of the publisher's staff gathered for the festivities. There was Champaign and congratulations all around—an evening that Audrey and I will not forget. Unfortunately, our co-authors, Carlo, Lucia and Luciana could not be present since the ceremony was organized at the last minute—the day the printer delivered the books and the night before our flight.
From left: Valentina Sasò, graphic design specialist, Emmanuel Ferrari, author of the recently published book, Parole a Fumetti; Giuseppe Conoci; publisher and owner of AnimaMundi; Georgia Chinè, AnimaMundi bookstore manager; Massimiliano De Salvatore, Distribution (and leader of the band, Almoraima); Audrey Fielding, lead author of Salento by 5; David Fielding, sketcher for Salento by 5; and Luigi Garrisi, author of recently published book, Mala Agapiat.
Post by David Fielding
It's time to return to Otranto. This will be an important visit because our book has found an Italian publisher. It is to be published in English by AnimaMundi, an independent publishing house based in Otranto. Tourists visiting Salento will be able to find the book in local bookstores. The book can also be a good resource for Italian teachers of English since all the content is local and familiar. We will keep you posted as to when it will be available. In the meantime, Amazon books is the best way to get your very own copy of SALENTO BY 5. Read the reviews, get the book and experience this very special part of Italy for yourself.
Some postcard sketches and their inspirations, beginning with the San Francisco airport, then Fiumicino, outside of Rome, followed by scenes from Otranto and the Salento countryside. Hover the cursor over the image, click on the "Play" button and enjoy the show!
Look what we found in the Yucatan in Mexico! If you are ever in the Yucatan beach town of Playa del Carmen and want to eat a good pizza or a plate of pasta, this is the place.
Things change. Every year that we return to Salento, we learn of something new. The news is not always good. Marinella Cacciatore, the sister of our co-author Luciana, passed away suddenly of a heart attack in the Spring of this year. Marinella was a teacher of Latin and Greek at a nearby high school. Her high school auditorium has been renamed and rededicated to honor her memory. We will remember her as smart, friendly and dedicated to her students and learning.
It's all about the book promotion these days....and that means communication with you, our readers. For those of you who have written back to us, we thank you for your interest and support. For those of you who have been to Salento recently, we would love to hear your comments about your trip experiences and whether you found our book helpful or not. As we all know, things change, so any updates regarding travel notes in our book would be gratefully appreciated.
We were in Otranto this year (2017) from the middle of June to the middle of July. The weather was good and our swims in the Otranto Bay were fantastic with clear and often calm (no wind) waters. We even joined some friends and hiked down a small cliff to a picturesque and isolated cove south of Otranto. It was a bit dicey getting back out onto the rocks, but we made it.
The little tourist shop on the corner outside our apartment was no longer. Gigi and Rosaria have retired. Our two favorite eating places, Il Ghiottone and Il Castello are doing well. The best pasta and mussels in my opinion are at Il Ghiottone; add a seafood antipasta and a bottle of susumaniello wine and savor it all. Sergio thanked us for mentioning susumaniello wine in our book....he says that he knows which customers have read the book when they ask for it, since it has only recently become more popular with local Italians. Il Castello owners Roberto and Maria and family continue to welcome everyone with good local dishes and pizza. We've learned over the years that this is a good restaurant to start a conversation with a neighboring table, so don't be shy.
For the first time this year we noticed African refugees who appear to have chosen Otranto as their home base and not move on further north like so many others. They are more out and about in town, some at work in small stores. For the first time I saw African children swimming and playing in the water. Older teenagers played vigorous games of volleyball on a small section of the town's beach. Later in our trip we visited the towns of Riace and Badolato in Calabria, towns known for their acceptance and accommodation of numerous refugees from war torn areas of Africa and the Middle East.
Check in soon for more about our summer adventures in Salento.
Coming up in future blog posts::
*a rock concert for over 60"s....Lucio Dalla and 90's nostalgia
*a fabulous cooking school in Lecce in an old palazzo: The Awaiting Table
*a side trip to Calabria: it's closer than you think
Please join us at our upcoming book presentation
6:00pm, Wednesday, November 8
Book Passage bookstore in San Francisco
One Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111
The one-hour presentation will feature a multimedia introduction to Salento, with slides, music, a video introduction to our three Salento authors, Carlo, Luciana and Lucia and brief readings from the book by our San Francisco authors, Audrey and David Fielding. Of course Audrey and David will be available to sign and dedicate your copy of SALENTO BY 5.