My Dad is gone more than a decade now--longer than my 10 year old son is on this planet. He was born in Molfetta, Italy--down in Puglia. He was a simple man--just like his roots. I made a promise to him that someday I'd take him to Molfetta to revisit his four-year-old memories: "Lots of fishing boats and sailboats. All the buildings were white. The smell of the sea--and the fish market." We never made it together.
But now, my little famiglia of three are planning the biggest trip of our lives:
three weeks in Italy, what we call our
It's been difficult to plan a trip like this, especially with a 10 year old. We all made our wish lists, cuts things out there, added some here. Our itinerary has changed a lot over the last six months of planning, and I'm sure it will continue to evolve...
We will land in Rome but for the first leg of our Voyage, we will take a train to southern Tuscany into the Crete Sinese clay hills where we will stay in an agriturismo. We will visit hilltowns, discover the local pecorino cheeses and delve into the natural environment a bit.
After that we'll drive further south through Basilicata and visit in Italy's own version of Machu Picchu--Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano--where people still live in homes built into-and under the towering pinnacles of the rugged mountains. We might even see a ghost town or two along the way.
Next it will be a stay in a cave hotel in the Sassi town of Matera, and entire town where people have been living in cave homes for thousands of years. After that, we will sleep under the pointed roof of our own Trullo villa as we move into in Puglia. One could think these pointy stone cottages are straight out of the Land of Oz.
Then the most important part of the trip: To pay homage to Dad and walk the streets, smell the air and taste the food of Molfetta, his birthplace. He will be with us.
Then we will ditch our rental car and take the train back to Rome several days to soak in its history, the architecture, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peters, the museums and of course, the food.
Stay tuned. I will be blogging along with my wife Lisa and son Lucas. We will describe not only the trip, but the planning leading up to it all. Of course, my Father will always be a part of this. After all, in finding ourselves in Italy we will also be finding Dad again--and what made him so simple and dolce. He was one of the sweetest men I've ever known...