Southern Italy Wines Leading a “Revolution”

Even I do not usually think of whites when I think of Southern Italian wines. This, however, is a huge oversight. The white wines of Southern Italy are poised to become more popular than ever as recognition spreads to wine enthusiasts.

“It’s time for a fashion update. The big buzz right now is for whites from southern Italy, the land of still-active volcanoes, sun-drenched beaches, and 80 percent of the country’s olive trees. It’s also where you’ll find off-beat grape varieties few wine geeks have ever heard of. The best of the bottles that are made from these are great wine buys, offering surprising depth and character at bargain prices.” -Bloomberg Business

According to this recent article by  Elin McCoy, The “White Wines of Southern Italy are Leading a Revolution.”









Staying in Calitri, Italy, but don’t have a car or just don’t feel like driving? The seasonal beach bus is back! Enjoy your day at the beach on the Adriatic Coast in Puglia. (Direct bus service to Margherita di Savoia, Puglia, begins July 1.)

Castle del Monte

Castle del Monte -Puglia, Italy

Despite spending quite a bit of time in Italy, I had never been to Pulgia (Apulia); I honestly had no idea what to expect.  We had enjoyed seeing some of the other Norman castles built by Frederick II – Melfi, with it’s modern, top-notch renovation and impressive museum…imposing Lagopesole with it’s falcons still circling…we were excited to take on this famous “Octagonal Castle”.

Driving out of Campania and into Basilicata is really a gentle progression.  There are the same mountains and tress and streams….Hill Towns perched high above the greenery.  Driving from Basilicata into Puglia is an abrupt splash of cold water…well..perhaps, hot water…this was August, after all!  This was an unusually dry season and brush fires a common occurrence – I think it added to the contrast and starkness of Puglia (Apulia).  The landscapes changed – flatlands of amber and brown…here and there an olive grove or a tomato field.  Soon, the vineyards were rolling past…big, fat bunches of grapes hanging down, looking as if they should be snapped up in a photo and places on a wine label.  Had we not been on a highway, I think the temptation to grab a bunch right then and there would have been great.  More olives…and more olives…and more olives (!) I am told that all that brown does turn to green….but it is hard to envision.  Somehow, it makes the castle seem even more present on the approach – a great monument out of the stark dryness of the land.

Castle de Monte, perched up on the hill, jutting out from the flatlands certainly is impressive.  It is symmetrical and perfect and right out of a fairy-tale. 

Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (1194-1250) ordered the castle built in the year 1240 A.D.  Unfortunately, Frederick died before the castle was completed.

There is some debate as to the exact use of the castle.  Generally, it is thought from the layout of rooms (and bathrooms!) that it was used as a jail for the most part, and not a residence or fortress. 

Water is always important in the dryness of Puglia – a water collection system was designed on the roof, as well as in the courtyard.  On the interior, running all of the way around the foot of the interior walls, there were channels used to collect condensation; water would trickle down the cool marble.  The channels then directed the collected water. .

Most materials used for the construction were from the local area, with the exception of the highly ornate marble columns that hold up the roof.

When the castle was first built, the walls where surfaced with marble as well.  Over the years the marble fell off of the walls and/or was taken to be used as building material.   Things are still remarkably intact, including some of the enormous fireplaces (four of them).

Castle del Monte - Marble Columns   Castle del Monte - One of the Great fireplaces

Castle del Monte is an architectural gem and certainly lends a majestic authority to the vast lands of Puglia. 

It is an easy and fascinating drive from your home-base in Calitri: Driving Directions from Calitri to Castle del Monte


Would you like to stay at Casa del Cipresso (Calitri, Avellino, Southern Italy)? Please contact us at SouthernItaly@comcast.net .

www.SouthernItaly.wordpress.com Copyright © 2007 All rights reserved.

The Gargano Coast in Puglia, Southern Italy

Gargano Peninsula – Puglia’s Best Beaches

“The more discerning head for the Gargano peninsula, the spur on the heel of Italy, a national park with long, sandy beaches, great forests of pine and a geographical location that tempers the summer heat with breezes blowing in from the sea on three sides. Come in August and you’ll barely hear an accent other than Italian. You will also get a remarkable insight into Italian family life and its enduring conservatism….You enter the Gargano from the vast plains of Puglia – the bread basket of Italy – and the transformation in the landscape is immediate and striking. The long, straight autostrada is replaced by cramped roads that cling to the forests above the sea. The smell of pine is everywhere.” – Telegraph.co.uk

Conde Nast Traveler, in it’s concierge.com, says “The boot’s heel is the new Tuscany. Best Baroque architecture; miles of beautiful beaches; incredible, singular cuisine.”

The Gargano Coast and beaches of Puglia are undiscovered gems and a truely authentic and special detour!

During the summer months, there is direct bus service from Calitri to the Puglia beaches – for your excursion, simply get on the bus marked, “Mare”! It leaves around 8am and returns you to Calitri around 6pm (the bus takes about an hour and half each way) – the perfect, relaxing, day at the beach in Puglia and back in Calitri in time for dinner!

Would you like to stay at Casa del Cipresso? Please contact us at SouthernItaly@comcast.net .

Casa del Cipresso - Italy Holiday Rental

Casa del Cipresso is a cozy home in Southern Italy; it is available for weekly rentals year-round;  A great, affordable, family alternative to a B&B (Bed and Breakfast) or Pensione! 

Please be sure to check in for postings in our “Southern Italy Blog”  for lots of information about the local area and our self catering holiday home.

For more information, including Rates, Directions and more photos, please click on the “buttons” at the top of this page.

Please browse through our link page to learn more about the location and town of Calitri, things to do and see nearby, and anything else we think may be of interest! 

Italy Holiday Rental – Would you like to stay at Casa del Cipresso? Please contact us at SouthernItaly@comcast.net .
www.SouthernItaly.wordpress.com Copyright © 2007 All rights reserved.