How to live, what is worth doing and seeing as well as what to eat and drink in Maratea, told my way.
My Instagram followers (good fellows) know I’ve recently spent a few days in Maratea to attend Heores 2017, the Euromediterranean festival on innovation.
My personal acquaintances know my blood is from Basilicata and that I’ve actually been adopted by Salento, therefore accepting the assumption that blood will tell, along with adoptions, because they have a meaning in the definition of one’s identity.
I had never been to Maratea before, though.
The reasons lie in structural problems (leaving from Lecce, you can only get there by car and it takes no less than 4 hours and a half) along with geographical alibis (“well, I’m always around this area, sooner or later I’ll stop by”).
Yet, the truth is that you need to have a reason to travel to a complex location like Maratea and Basilicata because, honestly speaking, you don’t just drop in there by chance due to structural issues above.
And it’s not even due to the area being disadvantaged, that’s nonsense. The land looks like the Maritime Alps, where there’s quite a number of railway tracks and where the closest airports to the main tourist destinations are not 2 hours drive away on narrow and winding roads.
Let’s now get to a more sincere and unaffected acknowledgement of guilt, no alibis. People who love to go to the sea or to the mountains like me, and who describe themselves as more contemplative rather than active, almost have no excuse if they still haven’t visited a place like Maratea.
After travelling to the Netherlands by car, I don’t see why I couldn’t do the same and visit Maratea first to add it to my personal beauty experience, therefore “I accept persecution, so be it“.
As for you, don’t make the same mistake as I did. Go visit Maratea even before Heroes 2018. Let me now tell you what to carry with you.
Walking down the alleys of Maratea is something you do in comfortable shoes.
Possibly patchwork like mine, not only to take instagrammable pictures combining the weird colour of your shoes with the majolica tiles found sometimes in the small squares in front of the houses.
But also because, allow me the symbolism, you’ll see an alternation of doors and alleys in crayoned colours, small gardens just outside very narrow alleys, suddenly plunging into the sea view: you need patchwork shoes to walk a patchwork path.
Wait a minute, where did I put it?
For fuck’s sake, where did I lose my quietness…? While unpacking for the third time this month? No, no… it’s probably in the bag I brought to that meeting with the customer at eight thirty in the evening.
Or maybe not, it’s over there, close to the gas bill, at home.
Wherever it is, go get it back because you can’t fully enjoy these places with the haste you brought along.
The pace of life is slow like the South, like the places where roads are too steep to go fast and everything has to be observed with “peace of mind”.
I sugget you choose a local expert as your guide. I did it thanks to a tour offered by apt Basilicata, with a guide from Mondo Maratea.
Not a common guide though! An environmental activist, among plenty of other things I’m sure, he kept stopping while showing us around to pick up every single piece of paper somebody somehow “absent-mindedly” left behind. There wasn’t that much rubbish though and I like to stress that; Maratea is a clean place, the sea was awarded 21 Blue Flags and several Green Flags, relating to healthy beaches for children.
Pompeo Limongi is a person who loves this area, yet the mere knowledge of it is not enough for him; he actually loves it and fights to protect it.
From the statue of Christ the Redeemer, a well-known scenic spot, he will not only show you the view but he will also talk about local history from a geological, architectural, social and building point of view. His biographical background allows his general knowledge to provide you with proper information about any topic.
(He will probably delete me from his list of contacts after reading this post, because as far as I’ve understood, he’s also a fairly modest guy).
He then gained the rest of my esteem and gratitude when he took me to the Merenderia (Via Dietro l’Annunziata, 10), where you have to stop by as well, otherwise change species and get back to being an animal.
Taste local cheese with apples and jams, the Aglianico wine and, if you are omnivorous – unlike me – try the cold cuts as well as the lard heated up on the small fondue pot. We’ll get back to the food aspect later, hold on.
The eyes as the only way to see
You know what then?
Take pictures, when you see nice things. Then charge your phone or camera when you’re resting and have a look. Just look, use your eyes, especially at sunset.
What you eyes can see will actually never be properly captured by a camera, so be revolutionary for a moment and simply use your eyes.
Enjoy the sunset from the statue of Christ the Redeemer or from any other scenic spot (even the wildest ones) on the side of the statue, where you can see the sun disappearing into the water.
Enjoy the colours in the alleys and the sea in the morning, along with the craving to jump into the water from every rock or cliff.
Hunger and thirst
Leave your diet at home when you visit Basilicata. Seriously, forget about it.
Besides the Merenderia, if you’re looking for a “snack” try the places where you can taste the best Caciocavallo cheese and dishes with “cruschi” (fried and crunchy) peppers.
A number of “trattorias” are there in the town hall square, all offering good quality dishes sometimes at cheap and reasonable prices.
I will write a post during the week about where to eat the best Caciocavallo cheese in Maratea, where and how to find the “cruschi” peppers (you will never be able to do without) and the cellars to choose, so stay tuned!