#29 Tremiti – Arrival

More than five days within these less than five square meters of living space to go from Gallipoli to the Tremiti Islands. It takes quite some patience to make it!

Yesterday night, in the desperate attempt to make it past the Gargano promontory, which seemed to spit me back at every tack, some nasty winds arouse, with nasty waves seldom splashing inside Maribelle. Half intentionally half not, suddenly I found myself at 200 meters from the appealing lights of Vieste, the easternmost town in Gargano. I could see the people and thought they were all on vacation. I hesitated a bit, the land and some rest were calling at me. Then, who knows why, I carried on.

This morning, too, my electric toothbrush fell at sea. I stared at it, white, almost transparent, while it drifted astern.


Posted on: 11.Aug.2018   Leave a comment

Santino Caffè

While a sunset for which the best adjective, in my opinion, seems to be “creamy” falls on the Adriatic coast of Salento, slipping too slowly to my left, I feel like dedicating a thought to a great friend of mine.

Santino is a guy from Veglie, a small town in the Salento area. Like me, he has the bad habit of wanting to fulfill his dreams. And so, a few years ago, he became passionate about the world of coffee. He studied, traveled, struggled. Then came the first national prizes, the first consultancies given to bars wishing to make a leap in quality, and since one year the dream has finally come true: his own coffee bar. A place where not a single square centimeter is left to chance and where quality, be it coffees, artistic cappuccinos, or pastries, is tremendously high. Too much, perhaps, for a place like Veglie, with all due respect!, so much that it would deserve a bigger stage …

Gentlemen, Santino Caffè! Where, even if a little out of the way, I made a stop in the Salento stage of this trip. Because friends are important …


Posted on: 7.Aug.2018   Leave a comment

#28 Gallipoli – Departure

In Ortigia as well as in Gallipoli the natives use the word “rock” to indicate their island, just like the people from all the remote islands I have been so far do.

That said, Gallipoli, which in Greek means “beautiful city”, is an insanely beautiful place. A city that for at least 300 years ago was the equivalent of Dubai today for the almost monopoly throughout Europe of glaring oil (the one used for lighting), which lit the streets from London to Oslo. And since the boundaries of the island are unchangeable, and building beyond the short bridge was banned until a hundred years ago, up to 34 underground mills were digged where oil was produced. 34! Another fact: in Gallipoli there are no squares, you could not waste the little existing space! And finally in Gallipoli they don’t traditionally dance the “pizzica”, which represents the countryside essence of Salento, Gallipoli’s region: they preferred Neapolitan style songs sort of.

I met unforgettable and particularly enriching people here. The Circolo della Vela Gallipoli (Gallipoli Sailing Club), to start with, namely Massimoand Glauco, who took care of Maribelle and made me feel like a real sailor (which I am not).

Then the meeting with two special guys, Enrico and Renato of the Association EMYS, who gave life to a magical place struggling against monstruos touristic interests: the urban laboratory Liberalarte Gallipoli. In a former monastic cloister, hidden behind a door on the ramparts of the city, lies a container of art, crafts, innovation and tradition where you can visit an exhibition of tactile paintings (i.e. you are invited to touch them!), you can dive among whales and turtles with virtual reality glasses (the kids’ favorite) or listen to the sounds associated with the thousand traditions of the town organized according to the four seasons.

And then the incredible, volcanic and sweet Raffaela, an architect born in Milan but with blood from here, cultural manager of Castello di Gallipoli(Gallipoli’s Castle). Another incredible place that until 2014 was nothing less than a dump and that thanks to Raffaela and her collaborators has become the cultural pole of the city, with exhibitions (riht now a very clever one about selfies called #selfati) and events (yoga sessions, thematic nights, concerts) that stubbornly try to bring tourists, whose cultural level is here unfortunately quite low (Gallipoli in recent years has become the Italian Ibiza), to the world of culture .

In a few islands, indeed, I have found such an attachment to the “rock”, its traditions and its identity as I did in Gallipoli.

It’s even harder this morning to leave this place which already a huge place in my heart for past personal facts. In addition, in front of me stands (or should I say lies) the longest leg, until Tremiti islands: the forecast states very little and always opposite winds and extreme heat; besides, I will enter yet another sea, the Adriatic Sea, different, unique. With the shadow of Venice that looms from the North, the historical shadow of the former almighty marine empire and the personal shadow it being the arrival island of this crazy journey of mine…


Posted on: 6.Aug.2018   Leave a comment

#28 Gallipoli – Arrival

This big leg almost took me four days! Every day the same story, as if following a script: southerlies in the afternoon, northerlies in the night. In between, long and wearing calms. The one around noon, namely, awful for the extreme hot making it impossible to walk or sit on the deck, and me packed in the tiny space at the bow looking for the ephemeral shade of the sails.

Four days are already a good amount of time, especially on the small Maribelle: the land starts to become ethereal, bewitching, unreal.
Luckily, when I enter the harbor in the amazing scenery of Gallipoli, there’s a place all for me. Truly thank you, Circolo Della Vela Gallipoli.

Posted on: 3.Aug.2018   Leave a comment