Thursday, November 08, 2007

Spiagge! (again)

Yes, let's talk about the beaches (spiagge) in the Gargano region of Puglia, in Southern Italy. Because really and truly God gave Puglia some of the most gorgeous beaches on Earth, and some of the best of the best are in Gargano.

And YES, cari lettori, I am still talking about PUGLIA! I will be talking about our trip there for years!

The beach above is in Rodi Garganico. Just to give you a sense of how great this region is, let me tell you Rodi probably doesn't see a lot of tourists. The town is nothing special. It's not near Peschici and Vieste, which comprise the heart of the region. But look at that view!

I shot this photo from the car window while we were driving out of Gargano, as we headed to Rome for the end of our trip. We stopped because we were just struck by the beauty of this simple, off-the-beaten-tracks place.

You're probably getting tired of these beach photos! They are all the same: a little piece of paradise!

The beach in the photo above is near Spiaggia Zaiana. Directional signs for Spiaggia Zaiana are everywhere in the area around Peschici so clearly people know this beach.

To get to the beach, we drove down a steep road that the Italians thought could accommodate two-way traffic. It was us and a sheepherder and a few dozen sheep. All in a day's work in Puglia.

A word about this photo on the left. As you can see, the trees are all brown. And they shouldn't be. Peschici and the Gargano coast were hit by a wave of arson at the height of the summer tourist season.

The fires really marred the beauty of the region, and threatened a key local industry: tourism.

Ok, we are at the point in the travelogue where it's time to say arrivederci to Gargano and indeed to Puglia. Can you believe it? What a trip. I leave you with one last photo in the heart of the Gargano region, taken along the road between Peschici and Vieste. I would not have minded being in the sailboat in the photo below. Next time!

Next stop: Roma! A tra poco!