Untravelled Paths super-client, Shirley Cherry, shares her memories from her spent time in Puglia on the Dolce Vita Experience last September. If you’re tempted to follow in her footsteps or learn more about the trip head on over to the Dolce Vita Experience page.
The Real Italy
The whole experience was a multi-sensory treat with wine tasting, cookery lessons, olive tasting, local market shopping and pasta making all rolled together into one gigantic, toothsome Italian adventure. We have been to the traditional tourist destinations of Florence, Pisa, Sienna and Rome but, while oozing with history and art, they are a sticky honeypot of tourism. You don’t really feel you get to meet that many ‘real’ italians. Not so this trip! No signore!
Hobbit Houses & Caves
There was a real excitement visiting the unusual places that Puglia has to offer like: Alberobello with its hobbit-like Trulli (some of the most ancient dwellings on the planet), exploring the caves of the Sassi and gaining an insight into this ages old way of life, seeing Matera at night which was a magical sight to behold.
Making Pasta with the ‘Mammas’ of Bari
The cycling tour round Bari was a hoot with a visit to Saint Nicholas’s church, home of Father Christmas. We went to make orecchiette pasta with some bone fide Italian Mammas, previously visited by Jamie Oliver. My husband enjoyed being gratuitously “mothered’ by them. He now understands why Italian men rarely leave home before they are 40!
Food Glorious Food
As Untravelled Paths say in their literature: ‘Italy is synonymous with food’ so what better way to experience the genuine article than through ones taste buds! Our first stop, once we’d crossed over from Bar to Bari on the overnight ferry, was to an authentic Italian cafe and our first taste of freshly baked Pastacciotto accompanied by rich, aromatic Cappuccino – heavenly! What a brilliant way to start!
Another highlight was the day spent shopping for, preparing and then eating the food under the expert guidance of a charming Italian chef. We made pasta, deep fried aubergine flowers, prepared an orange and pumpkin salad and a lamb stew in the restaurant kitchens in Matera. It was all delightful! We finished our Dolce Vita baking experience with a trip to a traditional bakers in Altamura where the naturally occurring yeast is all that’s needed to make the bread rise. Tasting the delicious freshly made focaccia, you could understand why its reputation has endured for centuries.
Olive Oil and Wine
This feast of the senses continued with a trip to a vineyard for wine tasting and another to an olive grove where we paid our respects to a 3,000 year old tree, pre-dating the Romans by 1,000 years. How’s that for true longevity? Followed by a visit to the caves to see where the olives used to be pressed, with heavy stone mill wheels turned by a donkey, while slaves lived underground to man the operation.
The interesting itinerary and gastronomic highlights made The Dolce Vita Experience – fabulouso! It’s amazing to think we packed so much into much a short space of time. Coming from Montenegro, we only spent 5 days in Puglia, but what an action-packed, sensory overload, mouth-watering five days they turned out to be!
Hats off to Untravelled Paths for putting together such an epic Dolce Vita experience!