Tuesday, September 9, 2014

ITALY'S ADRIATIC COAST

Gate to old town Termoli
Tower of original castle
Fishing cabin and nets Termoli
View from our balcony - beach & old town

Termoli Basilica
Termoli is a small city on the Adriatic coast that is known for its old town as well as nice beaches and clear, blue water.  It is a popular summer destination for Italians.  Few outsiders know of Termoli or come here so we were a rarity.  When Ron went for a haircut, they were anxious to know how we got there. 

Our hotel was nestled between the old town and the beach; our balcony overlooked both.  The old town is mostly residential with a very simple but beautiful cathedral in the middle.  Built in the 12 – 13th centuries, it was restored to its original appearance.  A wall surrounds the old town and rising from a corner right next to our hotel is the tower of a castle that was originally part of a wide fortification.
Rainy days in Vieste
Sea caves Vieste on a rare sunny afternoon


Jutting out from the spur of the boot of Italy is the Gargano promontory.  It has about 110 miles of coastline with sandy beaches, limestone cliffs and sea caves. At one time this piece of land was connected to Croatia.  Today much of it is part of a 30,000 acre national park.  We stayed at a beach resort just outside the small city of Vieste. Unfortunately, the rain caught up with us.  We arrived in pouring rain and had several days of it.  This has been an unusually wet summer for much of Europe.

We had three lovely days in the beautiful town of Trani. At one time, Trani was a primary trading point for wine, fruit and grain and its port was the most important one on the Adriatic Sea. 
Trani's Cathedral
Interior of the cathedral: simplicity & double columns 
The old town winds around the large, protected harbor. Countless narrow, cobblestone streets veer away from the water.  Many of the buildings have been restored and the local stone has a pearl-like glitter in the sun - no doubt giving rise to Trani's nickname "Pearl of the Adriatic." 

As was the case in Termoli, the cathedral reflects its original design which is very simple and pristine -- no statues or stations of the cross.  Across from the cathedral is a massive castle built by Frederick II.  The city 
The cathedral is perched between the sea and the port

Local fishermen at the port Trani
reached its peak of wealth and prosperity under his rule in the 13th century.  He was one of the most powerful Roman emperors of the Middle Ages reigning from 1194-1250.  A man of great intelligence, culture and ability, historians consider him the first modern ruler.


Puglia is the name of this province in the southeast section of Italy, and the strip of land that is known as the heel runs between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.  The area has an interesting mix of Greek and Turkish flavors aside from Italian as it was invaded by those countries and more over the ages.   

The interior of Puglia is mostly farmland with endless olive groves that produce 80% of Italy’s olive oil.  80% of Europe’s pasta is produced here.  The towns are quaint with white washed buildings.  The coast line is jagged with powder blue water and sandy beaches.   


Ron beside the entrance to Trani's harbor