Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sant'Agata di Puglia

We've been back in Cervinara for a little over a week. The first couple of days were spent doing general maintenance, always an issue with this old house. We did some shopping to restock the larder and we spent one morning hooking up my new stove. And there were a couple of lump days where we just listened to the thunder storms rumble outside while reading and doing crossword puzzles. So  this morning when Mike asked me what I wanted to do, I was ready for an outing. 
A few years ago, an Italian soap opera that I watch filmed some episodes in a little hill town called Sant'Agata di Puglia. The scenes were so beautiful with piazzas overlooking rolling hills below, I immediately put it on my list of "wannasees". Google maps said it was 40 miles from here, an easy day trip for us. So off we went. 
GPS is a wonderful device. It has helped us navigate strange cities all over the world. But it has also led us into some sticky situations. On the map it looked like the most direct route was easy but not terribly scenic. We followed Gilda's (our GPS) directions and got off the Autostrada to follow the green road. We passed through some lovely little towns and up winding roads. The roads eventually became narrower and steeper. Not a guardrail in sight. 
Then we came to a fork in the road. One was marked with a "road closed" sign. We saw a car go down there but we decided to follow the sign pointing in the direction of our destination. Big mistake. 
SP 101 turned into a nightmare of washed out roads, craters rather than potholes, hairpin turns and gravel surfaces. We were in the middle of nowhere with no way to turn around, so we soldiered on. 
Eventually we got to this gorgeous town and realized it was worth all our effort. This town is a one way street going up to the castle and Piazza XX Settembre. The piazza where Andrea and Arianna first kissed was just as it had been on my show. Truly a sight to behold. 
Since it had taken us way longer to get here we were both ready for lunch, but neither of the pizzerias in town were open. As we strolled along we asked a group of young women where we could find something to eat. Right up the street from us was a gorgeous little spot called la Cantina Della Canonica. One of the girls walked us right to the door and let them know that some clients had arrived. This restaurant was in an old part of a church, with vaulted ceilings and lots of charm. After looking over the menu we decided to split the antipasto of the house and then have a bit of something else.
Well, this antipasto was the best ever! First came out some prosciutto and mozzarella. Ho hum. Pickled veggies. Yawn. Then the good stuff. Pane cotto. A terrine of melted cheese. Potatoes, sausage and chick peas. Sautéed greens with sausage. Escarole in broth. A mix of fried veggies. Potato croquette. Tripe. Sausage and peppers. I'm sure there were others but I can't remember them all now. 
This antipasto was supposed to be for one person! I can't imagine it! After this I cancelled my second course but Mike took his to go for supper tonight. We decided to have a bit of a sweet and opted for the pistachio ricotta pie. Not too sweet, redolent with real pistachio flavor, this was a perfect and to a perfect meal. 
After all this, we decided to follow the signs for the Autostrada to get us home. It was completely uneventful and a rather boring ride home, for which we were very grateful. 
If any of my blogger friends find themselves in Cervinara this year, consider a day trip to SantAgata di Puglia. Just remember to take the Candela exit off the highway. Don't listen to Gilda!!

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