It is late afternoon in June, sun radiations heat the terrace in the centre of Barletta, a little town at the Adriatic coast north of Bari. Youths are wandering down the park, some elderly people having their daily talks and swimmers are trying the blue water of the Adriatic. It seems nothing is disturbing these idyllic scenes. Now there should also be wifi! How happy I am to find this nice spot with some cool drinks and wifi. But.. connection fails… Fortunately one hour later staff has managed to create a connection. Finally connected with the world!
Life without wireless internet has become unthinkable. Could Guglielmo Marconi or Nikola Tesla or Heinrich Hertz have imagined how we are connecting, talking live with people all over the world from a terrace in Barletta, Puglia, working with their invention: radio waves? Without these brave men you would not be able to read this article. It makes one humble and respectful towards all those forward looking men of the past often not making money and not even receiving the merited rewards.
Canosa di Puglia.
Speaking about the past: there is no Italian region with more history than Puglia. Puglia is a wonderful territory which produces almost visible ´radio waves´ of history. Each town, each plain, each hillside, each forest, each vineyard radiates something of it. Looking around there is so much to see that five or even ten holidays are not enough to visit all monuments and places. A wonderful richness of great cultural importance. But did Marconi, or Tesla, or Hertz ever think about radio waves which will connect you with the past?
What would happen if radio waves would lead us back? Would they? Suppose they would, could we then hear something of the shouting of the elephants of Hannibal, or the crying Romans wounded and killed by a superior army of Carthaginians at the worst ever defeat of any Roman army at Cannae in Puglia (216 BC)? Or the diplomats talking in backrooms in Utrecht leading to the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, which granted Puglia to Austria?
Puglia has something mystical and whoever visits Castel del Monte (foto above), probably the hunting castle of emperor Frederick II, will experience some of that mystique. High positioned with sublime views this was the place where emperor Frederick II received his guests for hunting in the 13th century. Was it here where he retired when he needed to reflect on his empire? Or about his next crusade without violence? Was Frederick or his architect influenced by some esotherical philosophy? Questions are coming up at a visit to the castle.
Probably it will remain a myth and we will never know, unless some radio wave will take us back.
Long rows of vines in the Salento planted according to Albarello system.
Puglia´s territory radiates myths and mystique. And so do the wines! Take Negroamaro. All wine writers and experts may write the best tasting notes, describing its mild, aromatic character with some hints of prunes, tabacco and some earthern notes, all that fruit formed by strong sunbeams shining on the plants. But no one ever can deny it´s mystical character, these deep choky, dark fruit notes, reflecting a territory that has suffered much through the ages and has always recovered. This is impossible to describe, it is undefineable and this is Puglia!
Or take Primitivo, such a wonderful, expressive wine, with an exuberant mix of flavours of prunes, mint, cherry. Also this grape, imported two centuries ago by the Croatians, reflects this intense dark heat, and again this undefineable dignified character: Puglia!
Or take less-known Nero di Troia, once considered of less value, and only used in blends: it is able to give remarkably fresh fruit and when aged reflects not only the heavy sunbeams of Puglia, but also the fresh acidity of a grape that can resist the intense heat of Puglia, just like its inhabitants.
Tasting at the Radici event, Bari 15 June 2015
And there is more because Puglia´s wine scene has recently seen an increase of grape varieties which until recent had remained in obscurity and often were mixed with other wines.
Susumaniello is such a wonderful new discovery, completely authentic. It´s a crossing of Sangiovese with an unknown variety, but has extremely well adapted to Puglia´s hot climate: again this wine offers that undefineable choky character like grapes being stewed in the sun: Puglia!
Ottavianello, identical to Cinsault, gives some wines that may be compared somewhat to Susumaniello. And there is Verdeca, an upcoming white variety, produced mainly in the area´s of Gioia del Colle, Valle d´Itria and Salento. It gives a light somewhat mineral structure and some green vegetable notes. Other grapes like Fiano Minutolo are grown and maybe in future we will hear from even other grapes, in Italian wine scene we may expect new surprises in the future. This wealth of grapes is grown on Puglia´s plains near Foggia, in the hillside of the Murge, in the Valle d´Itria, in Gioia del Colle, at the coast near Bari and in the Salento: it´s of great cultural importance.
Lecce, South Italy most interesting Baroque town.
Puglia radiates mystique and myths. It´s exotic perfumes, it´s wealth of flavours make it unique. Unique are also the people, living amid a great number of Europe´s most interesting monuments and enjoying everyday life in the same way as once the Romans, the Greek, the Phoenicians or the local tribes of Messapians and Dauni once did. Nobody is asking for more wifi, because here in Puglia, the earth is giving so many radiation and culture, that diving into the history is possible every day in the small cute white towns from Foggia to Bari and Lecce, or Otranto or Brindisi. Anyway, radio waves that lead back into history will probably never be invented but if they would, it might be an Italian engineer, maybe from Puglia.
Puglia´s long coastline offers a lot of separate beaches.
Barletta, festivities dedicated to the disfatta of Barletta (1503)
Puglia´s long coastline.
Many thanks to Nicola Campanile and Radici Event, Bari, June 2015