Prior to our sojourn in the Trullo near Castellana Grotte, we stayed several nights in Vico del Gargano, a relatively small community up the hill overlooking the Adriatic on the Gargano Peninsula. The Gargano promontory is one of the most picturesque, inviting, and undiscovered parts of Italy. No crowds, no tourist traps, just a warm and inviting place full of scenery, delicious food, and friendly people all at very reasonable prices.
Vico del Gargano is a very pleasant place. I chose it because of its location and promotional efforts of Giuseppe Romondia whose family owns and runs the Bar Pizzicato in the center of town and in conjunction with Pizzicato B and B(http://www.pizzicatobeb.com). When we arrived in Vico our first stop was at Bar Pizzicato to arrange for our accommodations. Giuseppe greeted us with a welcome drink and appetizers. It was more than I expected. Bar Pizzicato is the local hub in Vico where both locals and visitors hang out.
Bar Pizzicato offers an amazing array of drinks, sweets, and local products along with comfortable tables, both inside and out to enjoy the available goodies.
After giving us a choice of staying in a studio apartment in the center of town or one a bit further out and a bit quieter, we opted for the latter. Another surprise was Giuseppe’s offer of a free half-day tour of nearby points of interest the next day and a free lunch at his uncle’s farm. Only an ingrate or an idiot would have turned that offer down.
We settled in and rested until the evening when we ventured out to the old part of town and It Trappeto, a subterranean restaurant that once housed a medieval olive press. There, by chance, we met our fellow tour mates for the next day, a couple of American journalists/bloggers who were checking out the area and Giuseppe’s establishment.
The next day began with bright sunshine and breakfast at Bar Pizzicato. After breakfast, Giuseppe drove us down the hill to one of the many beaches dotting the coastline. Since it was April and too early for swimming, the place was essentially deserted. I have to admit I prefer my beaches deserted or sparsely populated, but that’s not something one is likely to find in Italy in high summer.
After the beach, it was going to get very interesting. We next stopped at Il Trabucco di Monte Pucci. A Trabucco is a fishing apparatus jutting out into the sea. Nets are suspended on long wooden poles. These sites dot the coastline of the Gargano Peninsula in Puglia and Abruzzo to the north. They make it unnecessary to go out in a boat to face the wind and waves. This Trabucco had a restaurant onsite to cook freshly caught fish and seafood. That morning the crew was retrieving one of the long poles that had been lost in a storm a couple of months previously. We returned that evening for a fresh seafood dinner accompanied by generous amounts of white wine. The ride up the winding hill in pitch-black darkness didn’t do a lot for my digestion.
We made our last stop at Giuseppe’s uncle’s farmstead where his aunt and uncle prepared a feast for us in the open air. They served us prodigious amounts of fish, seafood, vegetables, and bread, all locally caught or grown. Wow!, we were treated just like family. This is the Italy I have come to know and love, far from its more well known and frequented sites.