It was eighteen months to the day since I left India and arrived in Italy.
It feels so good to be on the road again!
I landed in Naples, and after a night in Caserta, just north of the airport, I took a train across to Trani on the east coast.
Trani is a beautiful seaside town with an atmospheric port, a cathedral, and enough backstreet alleys to get totally lost! And gentle enough to recover from jet lag.
There was a great inflatable in one of the squares as part of an illumination festival.
I now have a TIM SIM! Think I have (bit of a language barrier!) 100 GB of data, unlimited calling and texting in Italy for €15 ($22.50CDN) a month. As long as I have enough to run Google Maps when I’m good and lost, I’ll be happy.
The typical breakfast offering at the B&B’s has been expresso/cappuccino and a cornetto, which is less rich and flaky than a croissant, and usually has a belly of pudding.
It’s also typical to get a voucher for the next door caffe shop. I don’t have a sweet tooth, so I managed to get toast and cheese instead.
I’m used to heat and jet lag doing strange things to my appetite. I’m usually hungry in the morning, but when your body doesn’t ‘feel morning’ it gets messed up. Then the heat makes food unappealing. So small snacks are good.
Then it was another train trip inland to Matera. I made a connection to another company in Bari, but everything was well signed. Three hours total.
Matera has a fascinating history of more than 7000 years. Original inhabitants lived in caves that were formed by erosion by the river Torrente Gravina.
You can still see the river in the bottom of the gorge beside the city.
Eventually houses were built on caves, and roofs became the foundation of a new home. There are two main main areas of these ‘sassi’ which are divided by a cathedral on a built up point. The centre also has many elaborate palaces and churches.
There are plenty of regular ornate churches, but the most interesting were carved out of the rock.
They have a museum preserving what the sassi cave homes looked like. Families with an average of six children, and their animals, lived in a small cave. You can see the end of light brown chest in the first two photos. No light or ventilation except for the front entry.
In the 1950’s the government was shamed into providing better homes, and the inhabitants were moved into the ‘new town’ between 1953 and 1968. Many caves have now been converted into expensive lodgings.
Matera was the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2019. As part of that, there is a Salvador Dali exhibit. Some larger pieces are placed around the city.
I had a great lunch today. I was craving vegetables, so ordered two antipasti. There are many courses but most people don’t order them all, and then they share.
They also checked for a green pass and have their menus on line instead of printed.
So tomorrow I’m off on the train again. Love the subterranean station here!