Tag Archives: westie

Autumn tour part 4: Molise and San Marino

500 kilometers and 5 hours after leaving our beautiful trullo, we pulled into the b&b in Agnone in the northern part of Molise. Happy to be out of the car but with Puglia still present on our minds, soon enough it was time to set out for dinner.

Grrrrr…third strike out!

As it happened, restaurants in upland Molise weren’t so dog-friendly. Whether by choice (from the Slow Food guide) or at random, every place we went to didn’t allow dogs. Even the opening hour for dinner was absurd – not before 8:30pm! We wasted an hour and a half driving around before heading back to a pizzeria next to the b&b. They didn’t allow dogs either but they had take-out. What a run of unfortunate circumstances on this trip.

Ah well, Agnone may not have been a hit for writing up a stellar meal but it has one thing going for it that makes visiting worthwhile: caciocavallo. The caciocavallo impiccato of last month still lingered in the back of my mind, and when I saw this in the breakfast room, our host explained that every home has at least two hanging in the cellar. It was time for cheese shopping.

Where to buy – Caseificio Di Nucci in the center of Agnone is the place to purchase smaller, vacumn-packed sections since their factory on the outskirts of town sells whole ones. There’s cacio with black truffle, lemon zest, hot pepper flakes, stuffed with butter, and a cheese called caciosalame that has a whole salame in the middle. I should’ve bought more, but at least I didn’t leave without a jar of mushroom/truffle topping.

A brief word of how the cheese got its name. Wikipedia in both italian and english explains it well enough but I’m going with what our b&b host told us. When herders and their livestock took part in the transhumance, cacio (cheese) produced on the way was transported ‘a cavallo’, or by horseback.

Samnite ruins over museums

Agnone’s main attractions are 2 museums dedicated to copper and bells (big ding-dong ones), but if guided tours aren’t your thing, try the ancient Samnite ruins at nearby Pietrabbondante. The entry fee is 2€, you can wander at your own pace, and dogs can go in too.

Maddie at Samnite ruins

San Marino

Poor little San Marino. The oldest republic in the world and all it gets is a mention. I booked an overnighter at an agriturismo so that we could come down from “vacation high” before hitting the road home. It was wonderful to experience the various cuisines, accents, change in scenery, and hospitality in the southern regions, but most of all it was great to record our travels with our dogs since we never like to go anywhere without them. Thank you for reading!

Related posts:

Home, sweet home
Autumn tour part 1: Tuscany, Abruzzo
Autumn tour part 2: the long road to Basilicata
Castelmezzano
Autumn tour part 3: Glamping under the Puglia sun

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Autumn tour part 3: Glamping under the Puglian sun

Some 1500 kilometers from home when we finally reached Puglia and the southernmost part of our trip, we simply could not wait to settle down, settle in, eat, drink, and be off the grid for 3 whole days. We booked a pajara, a thick stone building which is basically a trullo in another name. Most people are familiar with the cone-roofed trulli of Alberobello. Ours by comparison had a simple flat top but it held more character and charm that I could have ever imagined. It actually felt like having a second home.

Trullo lu Ruezzo

Trullo Lu Ruezzo has everything for a self-catering holiday: fully-equipped kitchen (small fridge and gas tank stove), breakfast table, sitting room, bedroom, bathroom, 2 outdoor dining areas, hammocks, outdoor shower for rinsing off after the beach, clothesline, barbecue area (perfect for an open wood-fire paella), AND a small garden from which we were welcome to pick as many vegetables as we wanted. Paradise!

Trullo lu Ruezzo

The pajara sits on a large parcel of land dotted with olive trees, fig, and prickly pear, with the nearest neighbors being the owners who lived a stone’s throw away. Absolute privacy, tranquil, and 100% rural by all definition, yet within easy reach of beaches and major towns like Galatone and Gallipoli. Where the glamping part comes in is how you need to step outside when going from room to room. Kitchen, bedroom and bathroom all face the foyer on 3 sides, so it had a sort of camping vibe but upgraded to the most basic of creature comforts.

Kitchen with a view
A kitchen with a window from which I could call out to the MotH – a tavola!!! (come and eat!)

View from kitchen window
He hung around a lot between meals.

Ricci di mare for lunch
But he was totally hands on when it came time to crack open the sea urchins we picked up from a roadside vendor in Gallipoli. Not a lot, but you don’t need much for spaghetti ai ricci di mare.

Sleeping in a trullo

Bedroom

A cool experience that we nicknamed “hunkering down in the cave”. Even though the roof is flat, the ceiling slopes up into a conical shape which gives a sense of height. Simple details like the lampshade below is made from a dried cactus leaf.

Cactus leaf lampshade

Bathroom

Even the bathroom rocked! Note the prickly pear cactus leaf decoration nailed to the wall. There were a couple of geckos in there that looked like the common house geckos in Hawaii.

The best part though, was creating meals and drinking wine

Mixed antipasti platter
We popped into the Conad grocery store in town for daily antipasti.

Calamaretti and spaghetti
Made spaghetti with baby calamari and enjoyed a taste of Calabria (the only region we didn’t pass through) with a bottle of Greco Nero rosato (Statti).

Sweet peppers and bombette
The next day we picked sweet peppers, fried them with bombette (meat roll-ups made with pork and a tiny cube of cheese inside), and enjoyed them with a big bowl of salad. SO GOOD!

Ital-english Scrabble

Since there was no internet available, I brought the Scrabble board along and we played in both languages. It was the first night in a long time where we weren’t glued to the tv, tablet, pc, or phone. Liberating, but I LOST!

Trullo lu Ruezzo outdoors

Last day

Mister B at Trullo lu Ruezzo

It was a very sad day when it was time to leave, but we hope to be able to visit again and soon. The proprietress saw us off and we left with a bottle of her own homemade tomato sauce – a generous and lovely gesture that we will treasure for always. Mille grazie e Mahalo!

Happy Howloween and a strange October sky

Frankenwiener

I love to make holiday masks using the top flap from pizza boxes, and Halloween is always the best. By now Mister Bentley is an expert at posing since he knows a snack follows anything to do with my camera pointing at him. The Westie doesn’t expect anything, just puts up with it (she’s becoming more stubborn and indifferent as she ages) then runs off and plays deaf.

Halloween with the dogs 2017

The skies made national news the other night


The sky made the news last night

With all the commotion currently happening in climate and weather around the globe, it’s near impossible to listen to the news without hearing of the havoc going on right now. On Sunday evening I looked out to see a very strange sky, a sky that looked like swirls of thick foam.

The sky turned even more spectacular as the sun slowly sank into the horizon and I thought of that fancy sand art as the pastel hues deepened in contrast. MotH and I wondered if anyone else was witnessing this and about an hour later, we saw the strange skies on tv (but not before photos from all over Italy started showing up on Facebook). Yay for social media.

The sky made tv news last night

Jack and Jacques