Ciao a tutti! In case you missed our (not so frequent) newsletter, you can find it here. I’m so glad to see you here and thanks for tuning in – maybe you’re interested about life, travel, and food in Italy? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve got you covered. Come along for the ride. It’s a little bumpy, like riding on the back of a motto on Rome’s cobblestone streets, but hey, it’s beautiful. So let’s get to it. Part I of our giro dell’estate (summer tour).
The Islands of Ponza and Palmarola. There are no words to describe the colors, the wind that takes the sail, the splish splash of white wine sloshing in your cup as the boat gently rocks onward toward beautiful destinations. Doesn’t that sound lovely?
I must say, Ponza was not the main attraction for me (sorry Ponza, I still love you), but was the Island close by. Isola di Palmarola. Palmarola Island and all of its magical coves and breathtaking sunsets. Home to Fendi’s summer home (most likely one of the many, but arguably the best), the island has but just 1 restaurant that only takes cash – with no ATM in sight for at least a five hour sail away. And that was perfectly fine by us. We scrounged up enough money between the 7 of us to have a round of spritz’s and made our way back to our humble a(boat) for a pasta feast.
Thankfully we had some Italians on the boat and well, as much as I love to cook, I always, always leave the pasta up to an Italian (if there’s one present). It eliminates all chances for finger pointing and questions like, “Do you think the pasta is overcooked?” thrown in with a slightly passive rhetorical response like, “I like my pasta al dente”. No matter how good the pasta may seem at first bite, this is most certainly always the rhetoric. Thankfully, there were no bad pasta days aboard our ship.
With the little fold out kitchen on board our small sailboat, we created some truly stunning lunches, perfect for post snorkeling and afternoon meditation (of which some of us partook, some of us kept a heavy hand on the vino…guilty). We docked back at our port of departure with heavy hearts and with Palmarola sketched into our memories. Until next time, a presto.
And after the party, there’s the after party. This phrase has never felt more true. We kept the summer vibes going and jumped in the car in search for more sun, sea, and good food. Puglia. With no ultimate destination in mind and many hotels at full capacity, I took to my trusty google maps (who else pins everything and anything on good maps? Just me?). Clicking around and calling almost every typical Apulian trullo, albergo, and masseria I could find, I finally clicked the one. Agriturismo Serragambetta. And wow. Wow. Wow. It still feels like a dream. A dream that you’re not really sure if real or not. Pinch me, because it was truly perfect. Agriturismo Serragambetta is run by Domenico and his trusty four legged compagnon Solo pssst. Domenico is a fun, loving, entertainer, cook, storyteller whose Apulian roots shine brighter when dancing to traditional local music. We entered Serragambetta with only 2 nights booked. We stayed for 5. That’s the magic of Serragambetta. You leave the Masseria with a heavy heart and tons of friends. You’ve swapped stories, phone numbers, and enjoyed long dinners together.
The nightly dinners, (which, by the way are included in your room rate) are cooked by Ken, an amazingly talented chef by way of Japan and Graziella, another incredibly talented chef with roots that reign from Puglia. This is where the magic of Serragambetta takes over. Ken and Graziella cook as if you’ve stepped back into your grandmother’s kitchen. Each dish hits the table and without knowing what’s to come (because it’s like grandma, what she cooks is what you’re eating) your heart melts into your plate with each bite. Between sips of local labeless red table wine, you’ll think you’re dreaming. After dinner, and without fail, the homemade digestivos hit the table. You stay at the table stealing sips of digestivo well after the kitchen has been cleaned and the lights have been turned off. Domenico makes you feel like you’re sitting in your kitchen at one in the morning, chatting like friends do after a great night out. And that’s it, that’s the beauty. You leave Serrgambetta knowing you will return soon, but not soon enough.
We left Puglia and made our way up to Abruzzo. But, that’s another story. If you’d like to hear about PART II of our adventures, visit us, here, on our blog.
We’re back in Rome and the weather has shifted. No more stealing swims at the sea or sailing the Mediterranean. It’s back to reality. Which for me means Italian language lessons with my new and amazing teacher, conquering my fears of speaking Italian to Italians (weird, right?), and plotting and planning ways to stay connecting to my life in Italy and with you all.
Grazie mille a million for sticking around to hear what we’ve been up to. I hope this provided you with some armchair travel and the idea to keep those travel dreams alive and ignited.
Stay safe, wear a mask, & keep being you (everyone else is taken).
Un abbraccio (a hug),