Anyway, the rest of the drive to Castelmezzano was beautiful. Bigger and more rugged mountains lined our path. This was like the West in the U.S.... big sky and mountains. Some were bald and rocky, others were forested. Then there were dizzyingly high peaks with villages clinging to their cliffs.
Dinner was a bit stuffy and formal but food was good. As this was mid October, the hotel seemed to have only 3 rooms booked. I suppose they get busy in the summer with people flocking here to do the zipline (more on that below). Afterwards the highlight was walking the passagiata with the locals (we were the only tourists) and coming upon the piazza overlooking the cliffs and village just as all the lights were lit. A Christmas village illuminated right before our eyes. I got some great pics using my tiny backpack tripod. We then walked a bit on the little streets, so narrow that you had to hug the walls if a small car came past.
The next morning we drove to the nearby sister clifftown of Pietrapertosa via an amazing twisty and dangerous road (one part was undercut from a landslide... I drove quick over that.) Even this drive was an enjoyable adventure with just us on the roads--aside from the sheep and goats. I tried taking a photo of a line of sheep heading toward our road to cross... as soon as I got out of the car I heard one of the "sheep" give two sharp barks. It was the sheep dog warning of the danger. The sheep stopped dead in their tracks and would not move as long as the didn't get the all clear.
The views of Pietrapertosa were even more astounding than Castelmezzano. I'll be sure to post some pics... words can't do it justice. The pinnacles were ornate and many. Some looked like faces... others just impress with the volcanic uplift that created them. The views from the road is amazing. In some parts of the village the cliffs lean and hang right over the houses!
There is even a zipline that runs between the two towns called the Flight of the Angel (volodellangelo.com). You lay flat in a harness--Superman style--and fly at over 70 MPH! I had hoped to do it myself but it was a bit of a logistic problem... You need to decide which direction you want to travel in. There are lines going both ways but in different locations due to the downward pitch of the line needed to go from one town to the other. I couldn't figure out how to get back and forth--and one of the roads between the two towns is closed. (Yea... that's my story and I'm stickin' to it... yea, that's the ticket.)
We then drove into a broad high plateau to move to our next amazement... the cave city of Matera, where we would spend the night in a cave hotel....
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