An Italian Opera

No we didn’t get to an Opera last night. We went out for dinner in a local osteria. It’s almost the same.

We joined the local passeggiata at apertivo time and enjoyed the atmosphere of Gallipoli. The village seemed quiet, but after siesta the whole town woke up and got onto the Main Street which of course is for pedestrians only.

We saw couples walking arm in arm. Babies sitting alert in their strollers learning about being Italian. Children scampering around and swinging on the chain fence surrounding the church. People sipping Aperol, Campari and wine red or white. And nibbling on olives.

We saw a young,  just married couple walking through the town accepting all the well wishes from the locals. The husband, a policeman, was resplendent in his uniform with several friends looking equally wonderful.

Then we found a little restaurant that looked good. It had a crowd – which at 8.30 is amazing in Italy. And they weren’t tourists. So I went in and asked for a table to be told no. I decided to book (in my very best Italian) for the next night and used the name Francesca. Then the owner, who looked a little like an actor from a TV series, came over and said they would bring the table in from outside for us. Much scrambling around and …….. we were seated.

We had a wonderful meal. Probably the best (except of course the special one from the Grotto on day 1). We shared fritters of seafood so crisp and light they were delicious, along with grilled vegetables. Then Steve had sea beam baked in the oven topped with crisp  mashed potato. I had fresh tuna with rocket and tomatoes and cheese. Yum!

No room for dessert or even gelato tonight. Though we did enjoy the limoncello offered with the bill. And then went out and bought a bottle for the room. Another addiction from my trips to Italy. Somehow it always tastes better here?

We were in a prime position to observe our fellow diners. There was the young couple obviously in love but also very hungry. The birthday table for a young woman’s celebration. And the table of fakes. I called them that because there was a lot of Botox going around. And fake boobs. Oh boy.

They went to leave and stood at the pay table where the own Mr TV series sat like mission control and I’m sure he strung out the farewell so he could have a good look.

So our night out was both delicious and entertaining. What more could we ask for?

Our little courtyard outside our room.


Gallipoli. No not we’re not in Turkey. We’re in Southern Italy!!!

Antonio came to wish us goodbye. Really it was to make sure we hadn’t wreaked havoc on his place and to retrieve the keys.

So we decided to head south. Gallipoli is only about 45 mins from Lecce but we decided to visit a few places on the way. So we headed south to a rather uninspiring place called Maglie. We wanted coffee so headed onto Scarrano and drove into a piazza filled with activity. There were cranes and men all working to take down amazing lights. Like Christmas but even more! It was to celebrate a Saint – St Dominica. I love these Italians and their zest for a festiva.

We headed for the coast and found a lovely spot – Porto Tricase , where a swim could have been great but the weather had turned windy. So we went further south to Novaglie. A little port with lots of rocks and people sitting all over them. We decided to  have lunch then take the 2 hr boat trip for 15 euro to several of the natural grottos in the area. Fortunately the weather improved.

We boarded at 2 pm with 2 Italians in their 30’s  and 9 Polish people. Three couples and  3 children. It turned out well. They were all lovely people. I understood most of what the boat captain was saying. He had no English and the  Polish had no Italian, so Luna,  the 30 something Italian girl did most of the translation.

We motored down the beautiful coast line and saw various grottos with descriptive names. We got to one where we were told it was very dangerous but we could swim through a blow hole to an inside pool. It was all in the timing. Well off we went and naturally I got the timing wrong and bumped my head as I dived under to go through the arch. Fortunately no blood! I got out  ok though so all is good.

Then another grotto to enter. You had to swim then  climb rocks over a hill to a fresh water lake. It was also described as dangerous. So sensibly Steve and I decided rock climbing dressed only in a costume was not for us. We swam in the outer grotto instead.

Back to shore and emails exchanged with our new friends and off we drove to Gallipoli.

Gallipoli is named Gall meaning point and Poli meaning city – and is a fishing village with the old town over a bridge to a small island.

We found our B&B – Palazzo Senape Pace just as a big windy storm broke. That certainly cooled things down.

Our room is on the roof of the Palazzo and I think the Grandad of the family-run business checked us in. It has lovely seating areas out side the three rooms on this level. It’s charming and the room itself really old world comfort. I love it!

We prepared for dinner. It was dinner with theatre as well. Not really theatre,  just Italians being entertaining. A whole separate blog post!

View from our terrace.

Me enjoying the terrace.

The entrance to our Palazzo