Monday, June 17, 2013

A Weekend in Puglia

I live with two other American colleagues from the consulate, and one of them has an Italian boyfriend. This is great for me to practice my Italian, but also amazing because his family lives in Lecce (a province in the region of Puglia).

When they informed us that they had rented a car for the weekend and would be staying in his family's beach house and invited us to join, of course we didn't hesitate.

5 of us packed into a LITTLE Fiat Punto and made our way to the opposite side of the boot Friday evening. We arrived in Lecce's city-center around 10:00, the ideal Italian dinner time. I was in love with this place. Their main square was an amazing mix of classic baroque architecture, ancient ruins, and modern pieces. Puglia is known for ts olive oil and wine, so we happily sampled plenty of both.

In the morning we made our way to the beach, which was approximately 3 blocks away.

After plenty of sun bathing, frolicking in the water, and minimal cliff jumping, we wandered back late afternoon for a standard Italian lunch which included fresh fruit, pasta (as a starter), a seafood veggie mix, more bread, and of course vino - all prepared by Matteo's (the Italian boyfriend) absolutely delightful parents. They didn't speak much English, but its funny how we were all still able to communicate just fine and understand and enjoy each other. 

Saturday evening we went to check out the nearby town, Galetina, where Matteo's mother owned a home goods store, and where his father is opening an art studio.

We also stopped by the wine store his uncle owned to get presents for loved ones back home. (He has something like 40 cousins, so his family is all over the town). 

Sunday was essentially of repeat of Saturday - beach, sun, water, cliffs, and a 4 course lunch (risotto salad, eggplant parmesan, beef, and what was essentially a tart-like cake) handmade my his mother (side note, I was in awe of how effortless she made these meals seem. I would get stressed out making PB&J's for everyone).

We sadly departed Sunday evening and made our way back to Napoli. We hit traffic and didn't arrive home until about 11:30 - starving. Thankfully, in the land of pizza, our favorite neighborhood joint was still going strong at this hour on a Sunday evening - and a margherita pizza was calling my name. 

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