On our first visit to Calitri in 2005 we barely had time to discover the beauty and charm of the town. After taking a train from Rome, a bus from Foggia and then being picked up by a driver when the bus went no further, we arrived for an overnight. We walked from the town’s one hotel over to the borgo, which was a lot quieter than it is now. Much of the area was uninhabited and I was moved knowing that I was walking the lanes where my grandparents once walked. Before leaving the next day on the bus we lunched at Osteria Tre Rose, unaware that this would one day be our favorite restaurant in town.
Since then, we’ve retuned three times, each for a week. We know a lot more about the town than we did then. On the first trip we relied on public transportation and having a car makes all the difference. The surrounding countryside is stunning and we still have a lot more exploring to do.
The borgo is inhabited by a lot more families than it was on our first visit. I never of tire roaming up and down through the cobbled passageways, admiring the many colored doors and buildings. This time I was lucky to have the opportunity to climb up above the town to the area that’s been abandoned since the 1980 earthquake. After the quake many of the families moved out of the borgo to newly constructed buildings. Walking around up there amidst wildflowers growing in and out of the ruins was eerily fascinating and the views of the surrounding area were spectacular.
The weather was unseasonably cold during our stay. There were rainy days too, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying the weekly mercato all’aperto. I recognized some of the vendors from previous visits and couldn’t resist buying a wheel of local pecorino cheese. Needless to say we devoured it during our stay with bread from the panetteria.
We ate at a few different restaurants in town, but as I said before, Tre Rose is our favorite and I could eat there every day and never tire of their cingul’-the pasta I grew up eating at my grandparents’ table. The other specialty of the town is cannazze which resembles ziti. Peccati di Cola served amazing Neapolitan style pizza. We were lucky to witness a stunning sunset bathing Calitri in a golden light from the patio of the pizzeria.
Arrivederci Calitri-until next time…
Osteria Tre Rose-Via Luigi Einaudi, 11 Calitri
Peccati di Cola-Via Gagliano, Calitri