9 Mar,2019 By jagabond
I lived in California, then spent two years in Italy before returning home. As a travel lover this isn’t surprising, as many of us seek these geographic breaks in our lives. In my case it was for work. When I left Italy it was difficult, but moving with my wife to San Diego made things easier. That said, I knew I’d miss things about my Italian life. This quote sums it up.
“A scattering of pinpoint lights shows up in the blackness ahead. A town or village straddling the highway.” – Cornell Woolrich
On any given weekend I could jump into my car, a humble Renault Twingo, and take off for a journey to Italian small towns. As I sit in the wonderful city of San Diego, I think back on one of those weekends. I set out for the easternmost parts of the Avellino Province. Avellino was where I lived for two years, and I loved it nearly immediately. The wine culture was incredible, dinner prices were cheap and the life was simple.
Small towns are the heartbeat of the Avellino Province. Only seven of the 119 communes have more than 10,000 residents. Every town has their festival, and I attended many. Themes ranged from medieval life to figs and chestnuts. Movies and television portray small towns as places that seem nice but hide dirty secrets. Here they were quaint agricultural hubs with some needing rebuilt from a massive earthquake that hit back in 1980. If there was any drama, it was arguing over pasta recipes with the adjacent town. The towns of Avellino are little pockets of culture and a tranquil escape from city life.
This might be the only travel blog talking about these two small towns together. They reside towards the edge of Avellino and high on the hills. If not for a semi-famous music festival this region may be utterly undiscovered. These sisters are isolated and their loneliness enhanced my curiosity. I now present a photo gallery of Bisaccia and Calitri.
Castello Ducale boasts amazing views, with the arch windows providing a perfect frame.
As if they were competing, gazing out from Castello Borgo in Calitri offers similar beauty.
Meat and cheese plates are the best way to sample the local cuisine in Italian small towns.
Dogs always make a trip better, like this special girl who proudly posed for a picture.
I’m forever a fan of street art, and this mural caught my eye.
This cool retro shot of a street in Bisaccia has little significance other than I like it.
When you walk medieval towns at night even a bare alley can appear magical.
Fans of modern art might enjoy this bright and colorful interpretation of the crucifixion.
My apartment in Calitri was memorable, as I slept in an upstairs crawlspace not meant for standing up.
Here locals use the power of the sun to save on their electric bills.
This dress showing the ancient apparel in Bisaccia could be a superheroine uniform…the next Wonder Woman?
Walking through Calitri offers many ‘wow’ moments by simply peering between buildings for the view.
Wine bars here aren’t listed on TripAdvisor, you just end up stumbling upon them.
I dined within a cave-themed restaurant in Calitri and enjoyed a lovely evening alone.
Another reason to learn Italian…so I can get into a shady card game at a local cafe.
I’m always looking for more luck, so I nearly snatched a horseshoe from this iron works display in Calitri.
I’m a sucker for simplistic art, like this creative potted plant.
Bisaccia and Calitri were only two of many small towns I visited while living in Italy. Some were so tiny it was difficult to write about them. Others warranted a full blog entry. I list some of my favorites below.