The Old Otranto

Are you still asking yourselves what destination to choose for your perfect summer vacation? No worries at all, I have a remedy for your headache: Italy, Apulia, Otranto.

Have you ever seen that film – Mediterraneo by Salvatores? Imagine that the amazing and unique atmosphere of that masterpiece came to life in the picturesque Salento landscapes.
To the south-east of the Apennines, in the heel of the peninsula, between the Ionian and Adriatic seas, the peninsula of the peninsula, this region is one the top choices for a summer vacation among the Italians.

We are heading East. There are myriads of farms, fields and olive groves centuries old running along the road. To the left of the highway the ribbon of the sea is shining its numerous hues of blue dissolving itself in a cloudless sky. A shy sadness is strengthening my heart making me miss the places I’ve been looking at for the first time.

The Mediterranean atmosphere enters without knocking, insistent, quite, generous. It is now that I realize it is not going to leave me anymore, it is going to stay forever.

Otranto is one of Italy’s most eastern cities. On a quite day, from the Baia dei Turchi beach you can tell the Albanian shores.

I remember this city by the name of the restaurant we used to go to for dinner – the Old Otranto. I can sill recall the sweetness of their grilled octopus, the taste of the traditional pasta dish of orecchiette with broccoli accompanied by the sparkling rosé wine, I still smile at the jokes we cracked on our waiter waiting for the table to be prepared, seating on a wooden chair by a book store next door.

This is the place where you can listen to the sounds of the sea, untangle your hair, where the evening breeze is hiding from the darkness of the night, disappear in the noise of the crowd streaming along the white streets of the city.

This is the place where time slows down. It seems there is nobody along these shores that is acquainted with hurry or stress. The old fortress of Otranto, its beautiful cathedral seem to be still living in the past, their roots deep inside the fertile soil of Salento, just like those of the millennial olive trees of the region.

At dawn fishermen make their return from the sea with their boats full. In the evening they will have their octopus smoked above an open fireplace and their city full of children with soccer balls and melting ice cream.

Bees are buzzing in gardens, breakfast feast is accompanied by full spoons of homemade tangerine jam, the air smells of hot pastry, palm trees and Mediterranean pines are waving their tops, the sun heats up the air around, and the only salvation is by the sea, transparent, clear, cool.

And the evening brings new walks along the streets of the Old Otranto, full of life, youth and the Mediterranean atmosphere.

The unforgettable and unique atmosphere made of soft colours, low sounds, the quietness sliding through one’s fingers, endless time, mixture of joy and sadness, peace and nostalgia of the past, the present and the future.

My special gratitude for this trip and the inspiration for this piece goes to my dear husband Machs Gut © for his sincere love to Apulia and Salento he was so generous to share with me.

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