Before and after my Sicily road trip I visit the south of Italy and I am pleasantly surprised! In February I find winter showers and night frost, but also wonderful spring weather. I am impressed by the Italian city of Matera, the ruins in Pompeii and the beautiful route along the Amalfi coast.
All the way in the south of Italy, in the heel, I’m going to see the Capo Santé Maria di Leuca lighthouse and adjacent monastery. The weather is bad in Leuca but between the rain and the thunderstorm I can still take a few nice pictures. From the top there are two long stone steps down to the port of Leuca.
Coastal route Leuca-Lecce
From Leuca I drive via the east coast to Lecce, a beautiful coastal route! I have found a perfect place to stay. We walk from the camper spot along the coast and in deserted villages. And how wonderful to wake up with this view!
Dead olive trees
Then I drive to a Parco Naturale near Lecce and take Leo for a nice walk in the park.
There used to be many olive trees in southern Italy, millions, but in 2019 many olive trees died due to disease. A really disaster and horrible to see…
Ostuni, the white city
When I arrive I see a beautiful white city in the distance, Ostuni! Bizarrely almost all houses and buildings are white, except for a single church and this entrance gate.
It seems to be the case that the inhabitants are obliged to paint the house white every year?!
In Alberobello you can find the Trulli’s, cone-shaped houses. Very nice cozy houses with small doors. It reminds me of the hobbits. It is currently freezing and there are only a few tourists. I have the streets to myself, that will be different in the summer I guess.
Matera — James Bond location
Matera is one of my favorite locations in the south of Italy. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and is best known for the old ‘Sassi’ cave houses. Perhaps the village looks familiar to you, because the James Bond film ‘No time to die’ was filmed here.
The old town is insanely cool! It is a maze of houses, alleys, stairs, streets and also slippery cobblestones. Wet snow is falling but luckily it stops and I can even take a few pictures with clear skies.
It is really cold and I drive a lot further west to spend the night. Along the way it is a beautiful winter landscape, the snow even stays.
It is ‘just’ 1.5 hours away, but then it is also 5 degrees warmer!
On to Salerno from there I’ll drive the Amalfi Coastal route to Sorrento. It is a coast with high cliffs and the villages are built against the steep slopes. The sun is shining and the water is so clear, I can’t stop looking at it!
In the morning another piece of the Amalfi Coast. Wow, the streets are narrow and the Italians drive fast! I am also happy when I turn onto the normal wide road, just a relaxed ride. After more than an hour I arrive in Pompeii.
At the entrance to the ruin park there is a bit of a fuss about Leo. I try it anyway at the cash register and no problem, he can come along! Pompeii is huge. The city was covered in ashes after the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius and is well preserved. Houses, streets, pillars, theaters, frescoes, arenas and a bathhouse beautiful! We walk almost 10 km and then I am completely satisfied.
After Pompeii I take the ferry to Sicily in Villa San Giovanni.
Would you like to read my blog about Sicily? Just click on this link! https://www.marianaroundtheworld.com/en/europe/roadtrip-sicily/
After a great road trip through Sicily, I head north via the east coast of Italy. In Giovinazzo I look at this small harbor. The weather is spectacular with a lot of wind and we walk a long stretch along the footpath along the sea.
On the east coast you can also enjoy the breeze on the beach or go for a walk in the hills near Roccavivara.
Hike at Vasto
Is Vasto still southern Italy? I’m not sure but this village is so laid back and you can also go for great hikes. Vasto should not be missed and is highly recommended!
I look back on a fantastic journey through the south of Italy. Now I’m going back to the Netherlands. I drove through Europe for nine months, visited incredibly beautiful places and enjoyed my long journey so much!
But of course it doesn’t stop here, from May I will start a new journey through the east of Europe and the Balkans. See you soon!
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