After my week in Lucca last spring we spent a few days in Rome and then took the train across the country and south to Calitri (birthplace of my grandparents). You can’t actually take the train there, which we found out on our first visit. We discovered that what we thought were train tickets ended up being for one train and two buses in order to get up to the town. Now we take a train to Foggia where we rent a car which you absolutely need if you want to explore the beautiful countryside.
One of the best things about spending time here is the pace of life. This is not a town that most tourists would visit unless they had a family connection. There are no famous sites, but the entire town-both new and old sections-is authentic small town Italy at its best.
Of course I feel at peace in this hill town since my family came from here. A few years ago I was fortunate to spend time with the town’s genealogist researching the records for my grandparents. The door in the photo below is to the home where my grandmother was born.
The food is classic southern Italian. I am addicted to the pastries at the local pasticceria where we always start our day with a cappuccino and and a pastry or two. Of course then I feel the need to take a few things to go which they wrap up like a little gift.
The pasta of this area is cingul which is similar cavatelli. It’s made with semolina flour and hot water and served with a tomato sauce. I never tire of eating this dish and have tried it in various restaurants. I’ve recreated it at home, but it’s never quite the same as eating it in Calitri.
The photos of these ruins were taken at the very top of town in an area that has been abandoned since the 1980 earthquake. It was almost haunting to walk up there through what was once a thriving neighborhood. Nature has completely taken over and wildflowers blossom in and out of the buildings.
One evening we stood on the patio of a pizzeria outside the centro at sunset and were treated to this view of the town in an almost magical light.
And perhaps one of my absolute favorite pics was taken up on the patio of our rental. We’re looking out over the hills to Basilicata, the neighboring region.
Best case scenario we will be making new memories back here in the fall.
April 18, 2020 at 10:43 pm
I appreciate pics of Calitri where my grandparents were also born.
April 19, 2020 at 4:44 pm
Kempfjomach-I hope you visit this wonderful town some day. Where did your grandparents settle?
April 18, 2020 at 11:53 pm
Always makes me feel like I’ve been there. Thanks for bringing me to our grandmas birth home.
April 19, 2020 at 4:44 pm
Christina-I’m so glad you are enjoying. We will be there together some day.
April 19, 2020 at 5:14 am
I hope we are both able to travel this fall! I have given up hope for my July/August trip, but staying positive for October. Make sure you stop in Orsara di Puglia on your way to Calitri from Foggia. Peppe Zullo has fantastic food and nice accommodation too. Ciao, Cristina
April 19, 2020 at 4:45 pm
Cristina-fingers crossed! I would love to see your town.
April 19, 2020 at 6:29 am
Hi Janie – Lovely post and great photos. I’m sorry that you won’t be here this spring and I continue to hope that travel will resume in the fall. Lucca is very strange these days with nearly empty streets and everyone wearing masks and the undercurrent of fear. But it is still beautiful and I feel safe here in my new, smaller, ground floor apartment. I hope you are well and I will look forward to your next visit Joanne Bartram Twopartsitaly.com
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April 19, 2020 at 6:04 pm
Joanne-I am holding out hope that I will be arriving in September. I’m happy to hear that you are situated indoor new apartment and look forward to seeing you. Stay strong! I always enjoy your posts.