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There is an Apulia you don't know, made up of history, culture and flavors that arouse unique emotions: from Easter events to patronal festivals, from the paths of the soul to the flavors and aromas of gastronomy and wine excellence.

 

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Municipalities of the month

30 April 2021

CASTELLANA GROTTE

The night of the fanóve

 The Night of Fanóve     CASTELLANA GROTTE (ba) stands on the limestone plateau of the Murge and belongs to the tourist area of the caves and trulli.   Near the town are the famous Grotte di Castellana, karstic cavities discovered in 1938 by Professor Franco Anelli, assisted by Vito Matarrese (who discovered the wonderful Grotta Bianca the following year), which are the area's main tourist attraction.   Among the popular traditions that characterise the town, the first one is the Night of the Fanóve. Burning every year on the night of 11 January are more than 100 majestic stacks of wood scattered throughout the town, all the way to the most remote district of the city.   The Night of the Fanóve has been lighting up the City of Caves since 1691. The most impressive Fanóve are now made by young people full of enthusiasm who almost compete to surpass the art and skill of the traditional Fanovisti, who have always been masters at building grandiose bonfires in the small square of the Chiesa Matrice and in Largo Porta Grande. Tons of wood are burned here under the astonished gaze of the people of Castellano and those arriving from neighbouring towns. As in every popular festival, the gastronomic part is not missing.   It is difficult not to be tempted by the samples of taralli, chickpeas and roasted broad beans, olives, focaccine, pizzas, fritters, bruschettas, meat, fish and a glass of generous primitivo, all offered by the fanóva organisers. Since 2019, thanks to the intervention of the Apulia Region, the 'Fanóve' of Castellana Grotte, the 'Focara' of Novoli and the 'Fracchie' of San Marco in Lamis have formed the 'Network of fires of Apulia'. {IMAGE_4}{IMAGE_7} THE FANÓVES. Documented by historical sources, the story tells of the liberation of the citizens of Castellana Grotte from the plague. It was the year 1690 when a terrible plague epidemic spread through the area. It is said that, on the night of 11 January 1691, two priests prayed incessantly under the altar of Our Lady of the Angels placed in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi so that, through her intercession, the people of Castellana would be cured of the plague.   One of the two priests dreamt that Our Lady of Vetrana, worshipped at the time in a small church, would free Castellana from the plague, while the other dreamt that the small church would be enlarged and become a place of worship where the end of the epidemic would be celebrated. By anointing the boils of the sick with oil from the lamp that burned perpetually next to the painting of the Virgin, the citizens of Castellana were cured of the plague.   In this way, and by setting fire to everything that had been in contact with the disease, from that 12 January no one in Castellana died of the plague any more. From that day on, no more deaths were recorded, as attested by the diary of the doctor of the time, Dr Giuseppe Valerio De Consolibus, and everyone attributed the miracle to the Virgin of Vetrana. Since then, the town of Castellana Grotte has dedicated the Fanóve to its patron saint.   To visit: in addition to the marvellous caves of Castellana, the Chiesa Matrice San Leone Magno with Renaissance-era works by Aurelio Persio, the Santuario Maria SS. Della Vetrana and the Chiesa di San Francesco d'Assisi with the stupendous sculptures by Fra Luca Principino.   Photo: Mimmo Guglielmi, Giandomenico Laera, Pasquale Ladogana, Gaetano Armenio    

cities

09 June 2022

CHIEUTI

The Gateway to Apulia

The Gateway to Apulia   Situated on a lush hillside, about 8 km from the sea, Chieuti is considered the 'Gateway to Apulia' and is surrounded by breathtaking views: the Gargano promontory, with a view of Lake Lesina, dominates the view to the east, while to the west there is a wide view of lower Molise, in particular Termoli and its port.   In the background, the Maiella mountain range looms overhead, and on mist-free days even the Gran Sasso massif is visible, providing evocative sunsets on summer afternoons. Closing the frame of the marvellous panorama is the presence of the Tremiti Islands, which face the coastline of Marina di Chieuti in a crystal-clear sea that has repeatedly been awarded coveted accolades, such as the Bandiera Blu (Blue Flag) and the four Legambiente sails, and that stretches along a sandy coastline with crystal-clear waters, with the Tremiti Islands and the Gargano forming the backdrop to a breathtaking landscape. {IMAGE_4}{IMAGE_7} After being destroyed by the Goths in 495 A.D., between 1460 and 1470 an Albanian community settled permanently in the territory, having arrived in the retinue of the leader Giorgio Castriota Skanderbeg.   Of these origins, Chieuti still preserves evidence today thanks to the presence of the Arbereshe language, still spoken among the population. In recent years, the community has been working to safeguard and valorise this heritage, through demonstrations and events, with songs in the language and typical clothing.   THE FEAST   Characteristic of Chieuti is undoubtedly the festivity in honour of its patron saint, San Giorgio Martire, with the Carrese of 22 April, a singular race with four wooden carts, each pulled by a pair of oxen, which, with the help of horses, cover a distance of around 4 km that leads them from the countryside to the church located in the town centre.   The prize for the winning wagon will be to carry the simulacrum of the saint on its shoulders during the procession on 23 April, wearing a red headdress with a bow in the colour of its district. On this occasion, the Tarallo, a form of cabbage paste weighing around 80 kg, is also paraded, which after being blessed is divided and distributed to the entire population.    To visit: the Museum of Arbereshe Culture and Identity, plus the Museum of Chieutin Migration, and the Catholic Church of St George Martyr, built in the 17th century in honour of Skanderbeg. The church houses a canvas depicting St George and the dragon, attributable to master Alessio D'Elia, dated around 1740. In the sacred building, the St. George and the Dragon is accompanied by a canvas depicting Our Lady of Mount Carmel giving the scapular to the souls in purgatory, also attributable to the work of D'Elia, and an artefact depicting the Madonna and Child, attributable to the work of Paolo Saverio di Zinno (1718-1781), a Molise sculptor very active in Capitanata.   Photos by: Gaetano Armenio and Pasquale Aurelio

cities

30 January 2023

TERLIZZI

The city of flowers and ceramics

The city of flowers and ceramics     The recent recognition of Terlizzi as the city of ceramics exalts the centuries-old tradition of working with clay, which in these districts, in the heart of Apulia, has been able to achieve art forms of unusual beauty. Terlizzi is also the city of extra virgin olive oil and other agri-food delicacies, including the 'Mingo Tauro' florin, candidate for IGP denomination, and above all it is the 'city of flowers', with the hundreds of companies operating in the area and in the district, all well established on national and foreign markets by virtue of their excellent and much sought-after products: a true treasure of biodiversity.   But Terlizzi has many 'flowers', and all to be discovered, in an emotional journey that smells of both the ancient and the modern, where modernity is under everyone's eyes and the ancient is well portrayed, up to the point of reliving, in the pages offered by passionate scholars such as Don Gaetano Valente and arch. Michele Gargano, accustomed to immersing themselves in the documentary papers as in the maze of narrow streets and paved widenings of the medieval village enclosed by the 'stradone', overlooked by the elegant residences of the families that have made history in the city. {IMAGE_4}{IMAGE_7} At the edge of the mediaeval town, one can admire the elegant bulk of the neoclassical Co-Cathedral dedicated to St Michael Archangel, built on the 13th-century Collegiate Church that bore the signature of Anseramo da Trani, whose refined portal set in the Church of the Rosary can still be admired. In continuity, as if guarded by the tall bell tower with its bulbous, oriental-style termination, is the Church of the Immaculate Conception. It houses, amidst stuccowork and ornate Baroque ornamentation, a sequence of canvases depicting stories from the Old Testament and the life of the Madonna painted by Domenico Antonio Carella.   But what literally takes your breath away is the celebrated Adoration of the Shepherds by Corrado Giaquinto around 1750. A stone's throw away is the Pinacoteca Civica, which houses the rich legacy of works (over a thousand) by Michele de Napoli (1808-1892) in the same rooms as the artist's residence. It leads to Terlizzi's main square, dominated by the austere bulk of the Norman Tower, a strategic defence work, today the Clock Tower, crowned by civil architecture, including the Palazzo del governo cittadino (town government building) in conjunction with the Millico Theatre, and religious architecture, the churches of San Gioacchino and Santa Lucia with the War Memorial by Giulio Cozzoli in the centre, without neglecting the memory of illustrious Terlizzi citizens who fought for freedom and were slaughtered at the Fosse Ardeatine: Don Pietro Pappagallo and Gioacchino Gesmundo, whose commemorative monument is in Largo La Ginestra.   Your gaze along the Corso lingers on the imposing façade of Palazzo de Gemmis, with Vanvitellian-style inventions, and on the nearby church of Santa Maria la Nova, which was the forge of culture and theological knowledge of the Friars Minor Observant. It houses first-class works of art, such as the Nativity (1540) by Giovan Girolamo Savoldo (1480c-1548) and the Madonna and Child with Saints John the Baptist and Francis of Assisi (1532-1533) by Giovanni Antonio de Sacchis, known as Pordenone (1483c-1539).   An authentic oasis of peace and spirituality, along the routes of the Francigena, the Borgo di Sovereto encloses and preserves, as a precious pearl, the sanctuary of the patron Virgin whose icon was found, according to ancient legends, by a shepherd in a cave. Ѐ the Marian effigy of the Theotòkos (Mother of God), which every year, in the ritual commemoration of the mythical discovery, crosses the main streets of the town hoisted on the mammoth 'triumphal chariot' for the 'major feast' on the first Sunday of August, sealing one of the most beautiful and exhilarating feasts to be witnessed in Apulia.   THE TRIUMPHAL FLOAT   Terlizzi's triumphal float represents the symbol in which the entire community recognises itself. It is a festive machine with a wooden supporting structure and a 22-metre-high canvas covering, which every year parades along the main city streets, pushed by more than fifty men and driven by four helmsmen in traditional dress, directed by a head helmsman who skilfully leads it through the traditional and spectacular curves of the city centre.   It carries in triumph the icon of Our Lady of Sovereto and the statue of Saint Michael, the city's main patron saints, as well as a large number of children, seated on the steps leading from the 'carretta' to the 'throne' on which the sacred image of the Virgin is placed.   In Terlizzi, the tradition of the triumphal cart, attested by some documents from the 16th century, is intimately linked to the birth of the cult in honour of Our Lady of Sovereto. Its symbolism is imbued with content that refers to the legend of its discovery: the image of the Virgin was found by a shepherd who, while trying to free a stranded sheep, noticed the icon in an underground cavity. The shepherd was from Bitonto, while the icon was found in the Terlizzese countryside. The problem immediately arose as to which of the two municipalities the icon should belong to. It was thus decided to entrust the fate to the 'judgement of God'.   The image was placed on a cart drawn by two oxen, one from Bitonto and one from Terlizzi. The latter prevailed, blinding the ox from Bitonto with a horn. The cart thus arrived in Terlizzi, constantly changing its appearance. In 1868 it took on its final shape, both in its supporting structure and in its architectural and decorative components, handed down to the present day, thanks to Michele De Napoli, a great neoclassical painter who had become mayor of the town, who designed a new festive machine.   The operational construction of the float was entrusted to set designer Raffaele Affaitati from Foggia. Since then, the float has remained virtually unchanged in its stylistic components and continues to deeply move people on the first Sunday of August each year.   Places to visit: Co-cathedral of San Michele Arcangelo, Church of Santa Maria la Nova, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Church of the Rosary and Portal of Anseramo da Trani, Medieval village, Norman Tower (or Clock Tower), Palazzo di Città and 'Millico' Theatre, 'Michele de Napoli' Art Gallery, Sanctuary and village of Sovereto, Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Cesano.   text by Franco di Palo / photos by Francesco De Chirico

cities

30 April 2021

TARANTO

The capital of Magna Graecia

The capital of Magna Graecia     Bathed by two seas, the Mar Piccolo and the Mar Grande, Taranto is an extraordinary city that manages to impress even the most discerning tourists thanks to its multi-millennial history, its many fine works of art and its rich biodiversity.   The oldest heart is undoubtedly the Old City, where the Acropolis of Taranto once stood, the only Spartan colony, founded 706 years before the birth of Christ.   As soon as you enter what is now an island, you are greeted by the bulk of the Aragonese Castle built on the remains of an ancient Byzantine fortress that, according to tradition, inspired the adventures of the 'Count of Montecristo', and by the soaring Doric columns of Piazza Castello, evidence of one of the temples of ancient Taras and, above all, the oldest in Magna Graecia.   Strolling along Via Duomo is an experience to be had with one's nose turned upwards to lose oneself in the decorations of the ancient noble palaces and the hubbub of the island's inhabitants. In the heart of the Old City is the Cathedral dedicated to San Cataldo, the oldest in Apulia, with the Cappellone dedicated to the patron saint: a kaleidoscope of marble inlays, mother-of-pearl and precious stones that serve as a backdrop for eight statues by Giuseppe Sammartino and a fresco by Paolo de Matteis.   Continuing along Via Duomo is the MuDi (Diocesan Museum) which, alongside statues, canvases and sacred vestments, houses the world's largest artistic jewel: an engraved topaz weighing over a kilo and a half. {IMAGE_1}{IMAGE_4} The walk through the historic centre of Taranto cannot but end with the entrance to the Church of San Domenico Maggiore, a lofty example of Angevin architecture that preserves the sacred effigy of Our Lady of Sorrows, the protagonist of the Easter procession on Maundy Thursday night, and the entrance to Palazzo Pantaleo, a perfectly preserved 18th-century residence that houses the Ethnographic Museum.   After crossing the Canale Navigabile with its iconic Ponte Girevole (swing bridge), we enter the Umbertino district. A stroll along the city's seafront, embellished by the architecture of the twentieth century signed by the greatest architects of the time (Bazzani and Brasini, to name but a few), is a must. Then, after a stop at the beautiful Church of the Carmine, which houses the statues that make up the Good Friday Mysteries procession, enter MArTa, Taranto's National Archaeological Museum.   Housed in an ancient monastery, called one of the most important archaeological museums in the world, it boasts a rich collection of jewellery from the Hellenistic period, the tomb of the athlete, marvellous Roman mosaic floors and one of the richest collections of vases in the world.   Taranto also knows how to amaze outside the standard tourist circuits: not far from the centre is the Co-cathedral, Gio Ponti's last and perhaps most beautiful work; an interesting itinerary linked to Street Art (Progetto T.R.U.St.) in continuous evolution; and the 'La Vela' marsh where it is easy to encounter seahorses, herons and the splendid pink flamingos.   Texts by Luca Adamo / photos by Luca Adamo and Peppe Carucci

cities

30 April 2021

BITONTO

Capital of Olive Oil

Capital of Olive Oil     A symbol of olive oil, fascinating for its architecture and rich for the presence of artistic and cultural works, BITONTO is a city in which the grandeur of history and timeless traditions can be perceived.   An area where olive trees, with their gnarled trunks and lush green leaves, characterise the landscape leading down to the sea and are the emblem of the Murgia.   The city, says the heraldic motto, chooses the olive tree as an emblem of peace and a symbol of openness and welcome. An olive tree of great proportions, majestic, whose oil possesses exceptional organoleptic qualities, is the 'Cima di Bitonto' cultivar, a variety that from here reaches as far as the north-eastern area of Basilicata.   The olive tree also stands out on the town's coat of arms and oil is still the town's most important and valuable economic resource.   It is precisely in oil, the so-called yellow gold, that Bitonto finds its wealth. The ogliarola, Bitonto's olive, was already traded during the 13th century, triggering what was then an initial, timid glow of industrial revolution. {IMAGE_1}{IMAGE_2} The historical centre is a treasure chest full of artistic treasures. Walking along the ancient 'chianche' of the old town, the sound of footsteps punctuates the gaze of the traveller who observes the multitude of architectural beauties in enchantment.   It is a journey through time that begins with the Angevin Tower, an element of strength and openness, which with its mightiness is the only survivor of the thirty towers that delimited the urban area, and the adjacent Porta Baresana, placed to guard the route to Bari and Santo Spirito.   Not far away is the 'Devanna' National Gallery of Apulia (the only one in the region), housed in the sumptuous Renaissance Palazzo Sylos-Calò. On the walls of the Gallery are works by incredible artists such as Veronese, De Nittis, Delacroix, Poussin and Giaquinto, whose painting spans the centuries unchanged.   Wandering through the historical centre, one is dazzled by the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Valentino, one of the most complete examples of Apulian Romanesque architecture, which with its majesty and elegance watches over the inhabitants of the old town. Inside is the extraordinary floor mosaic of the Grifo, dating from the mid-11th century.   The old town reveals unexpected gems: Piazza Cavour is dotted with churches and historical palaces, small streets oozing with history, and old street lamps with soft lights accompanying the traveller, who has no choice but to surrender to the incredible beauty of Bitonto.   During the Easter period, the calendar of processional events of Holy Week are moments not to be missed, as well as in May the Patronal Festival in honour of Maria SS Immacolata with the historical procession in memory of the battle in 1700 between the Spanish and the Austrians for the conquest of the city, and the festival dedicated to the Medical Saints Cosmas and Damian, celebrated in October and attracting the faithful also from outside the region.   To visit: Co-cathedral of St Valentine, Church of St Francis of Assisi, Church of the Crucifix, Church of the Purgatory, Sylos-Vulpano Palace, Sylos-Calò Palace, Angevin Tower, Archaeological Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art.         Photos by: Domenico Ciocia, Ezio Marrone, Andrea Melato, Gaetano Loporto, Francesco Racaniello.

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the Producers 

30 April 2021

Mastrototaro Food

"From field to table' for Mastrototaro Food is not an abstract concept but a real promise the company makes to the consumer.     We are in BISCEGLIE (Bat), a flourishing land lapped by the waters of the Adriatic Sea. It is precisely between the land and the sea that the preserves of Mastrototaro Food are born, products that symbolise the authenticity of Apulia and the genuine flavour of tradition.     The company has a long entrepreneurial history behind it, which began in 1956 and runs in the agricultural sector.     In 2008, Mastrototaro Food decided to further enhance the raw materials produced on the company's land by transforming them into excellent agro-food preserves. Three decades of expertise in the sector did the rest.     Today it is the three brothers, Mauro, Giulio and Roberto, who with skill and ingenuity run the company, which is certified organic and one of the few in Italy to organise production from scratch. The cicerone of our journey through the delicacies of the Mastrototaro brand is Mauro, who, amidst vast expanses of olive groves and vast fields of cultivated land, tells us about the great effort made to offer the consumer a product in which quality is the undisputed queen.     The cultivation of vegetables according to the ancestral customs of our ancestors and love for nature are the winning elements of the company, which harvests the raw materials by hand and transforms them into preserves in just a few hours.     This makes it possible to preserve the organoleptic qualities of the vegetables, which unleash their goodness and taste delicious just by looking at them. Aubergines, artichokes, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, olives and courgettes are the raw materials that go well with the extra virgin olive oil produced by the company.     Looking at the farm shop, we seem to be looking at a slightly larger version of grandma's classic larder. A triumph of colours is what presents itself to our eyes as visitors, where we gaze in amazement at the different nuances of the jarred vegetables.     With pride, Mauro explains the company's precise philosophy: to recover the ancient recipes for preserves in order to make them known beyond the borders of Apulia. And so we discover the 'Pric 'o prac', an ancient Molfettese sauce, now impossible to find, made from peppers and tomatoes, or the biscegliese antipasto with artichokes, champignon mushrooms, peppers and olives.     We cannot fail to mention the exquisite artichokes available in several versions. Grilled, stemmed, 'della mamma' or 'pugliese' style: all are exceptional with their tender heart dipped in the golden yellow of extra virgin olive oil. Tradition yes, but also innovation, like the refined lentil and sun-dried tomato mousse that combines the nutritional properties of the legume with the lively flavour of sun-dried tomatoes.      Mastrototaro Food's list of products is a long one. Mauro explains that a company like his, which puts the consumer before turnover, is the result of great teamwork. A team that wins because it plays well in the field. That field that Mastrototaro Food brings in jars directly to our.    

Fireworks producer

30 April 2021

Chiarappa Fireworks

In 1940 PIROTECNICA CHIARAPPA, an Apulian company known worldwide for the scenic beauty of its fireworks displays, was founded in San Severo (fg). Eighty years in business and four generations of entrepreneurs skilled in the art of light and fireworks displays make PIROTECNICA CHIARAPPA a benchmark in the fireworks display industry.   The company produces all kinds of pyrotechnics in full compliance with the safety standards dictated by the European Union and tests products following the guidelines of accredited institutes. The incredible craft of fireworks preparation is carefully and passionately handed down from father to son and has evolved to the point where it offers the public incredible and breathtaking fireworks shows.   Pirotecnica Chiarappa has lit up the skies all over Italy, bringing Apulian mastery to Europe as well, such as the numerous participations in Germany, Croatia, France, and Austria, winning numerous contests and receiving many awards and recognitions.   Separate mention deserves the participation of Pirotecnica Chiarappa in the opening party of Matera 2019 European Capital of Culture. The consequentiality of the images that suddenly appear high in the sky and that mix designs of luminous fountains, streamers that descend slowly, stars that burst dividing into many other little stars and so on, are all games that are not random but studied at the desk by real experts who know the secrets of pyrotechnics and who know well the effects of a certain path and how to achieve it.   {IMAGE_0}{IMAGE_1} The study is not superficial but very detailed and thorough. Like a director, Nicola Chiarappa, the last of the lineage, has to foresee times, causes and effects so that a performance can be executed planned in every detail. Not only tradition but also and above all innovation.   Chiarappa Pyrotechnics offers classic "ground" shows and radio-controlled displays, with remote programming and computerized start-up. Shades of color are obtained by calibrating and mixing various types of chemicals until the desired result is achieved.   It is a job that requires meticulous care of the products handled to ensure that each shade and nuance is exactly as requested by the client. As in all craft businesses, there is a meticulous method of preparation to achieve the desired colors and results: the "recipe" jealously guarded, has been handed down from father to son for decades.   Thanks to the family's creativity, experience and desire to take the spread of the art of pyrotechnics ever higher, Pirotecnica Chiarappa has opened a store dedicated to the marketing of products for all kinds of parties.   Between fireworks, streamers and gadgets, Pirotecnica Chiarappa makes incredible shows and performances that will make you daydream. Today Nicola Chiarappa holds the reins of the company to propel it into an increasingly promising future.    

Winery

30 April 2021

“Cantine Barsento” factory

The journey to Noci (ba), a small town in the pleasant Murgia hills where Cantine Barsento is located, is studded with natural landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see, breathtakingly beautiful. In this unspoilt territory, a winery was born more than fifty years ago that, as the current Sole Director Rocco Colucci tells us, 'translates the essence of Puglia into wine'.     Cantine Barsento is a lively winery founded in 1969 with a visionary mission for the time: to promote quality wines from the Nocese countryside alone. What makes this winery so special and unique is something that, once you cross the threshold of the establishment, you do not expect to find: about one thousand square metres of underground cellar dug into the limestone rock and 15 metres deep.     A true oenological jewel that amazes for its unexpected beauty, with its tunnels and perfectly organised cells that enclose true and precious treasures of our winemaking tradition. The function of the underground cellar is to obtain a wine aged in the rock cellar, ensuring that there is precise control of temperature and humidity.     The indigenous grape varieties are Primitivo, Malvasia and Negramaro: grapes chosen for their expression of territoriality, authenticity and specificity and whose quality is further sublimated through an exclusively manual harvesting process.   {IMAGE_0}{IMAGE_1}   Cantine Barsento's labels (they are divided between IGP and DOC) are not simply wine products, but are much more: they represent the passion for quality grapes and their bond with nature, the sole creator of the rare characteristics of each raw material.     Intense and generous is the Paturno, a ruby with a complex and at the same time sweetish bouquet typical of the Primitivo from which it comes, or the Ladislao, a pure Negramaro that is impenetrable, almost gloomy. It has mature, decidedly virile aromas, is aged in oak barrels and is a wine for those who love to surprise and be surprised.     If we wanted to give it a personification, Casaboli would certainly be a woman with an elegant appearance and refined intelligence. Made from Primitivo, this DOC is a wine of depth that blends its pleasantness with tannicity. Playful, fresh, sweet. This is Primitivo Malicchia Mapicchia, a meditation nectar of great vinosity on the palate, aged for a year and pleasant for any culinary combination.     Cantine Barsento's winemaking tradition also runs on the catering track through the Bamì restaurant. The mission? To fuse two incredible arts: the art of cooking and the art of winemaking and bring them together in one form, Bamì. The restaurant is located inside Cantine Barsento and espouses the concept of enhancing raw materials and dishes that respect the organoleptic properties of the ingredients. A concept that, if we dare say so, is clothed in sacredness.     The same that has always accompanied those who, in various forms, work the products of the earth with respect and devotion.    

Tarallo factory

07 December 2022

Freehand

A story that has its roots far back in time, because far back Don Riccardo Agresti has always been able to look: all it takes is a farm and many hands just asking to be used for something good. This is how the taralli of 'a Mano Libera' were born, thanks to the Diocese of Andria's 'Senza Sbarre' project.     We are in the Andria countryside, enjoying a beautiful panorama, with Castel del Monte standing out in the background, symbol of an ancient and true Apulia. Here we find the fortified masseria San Vittore.     San Vittore has become a place of rehabilitation and reintegration for dozens of inmates and ex-convicts with its ten hectares of land. The bright colours of the fruit, the fragrances of the vegetable garden, the sound of the wind passing through the branches of the olive trees are accessories to the scent coming from the kitchens.     Don Riccardo tells us that the "Senza sbarre" project and the "a Mano Libera" cooperative produce handmade taralli with quality natural raw materials and km 0. They are truly handmade, because there are no industrial machines to shape the taralli to the grains being processed: the busy and skilful hands of the operators move with precision on the counters and arrange those rounded shapes of pure love on the baking trays.     In addition to the classic fennel seed taralli, tasty varieties have been added, such as the one already mentioned with cereals, then the one with sun-dried tomatoes, which combines one of the most identifying flavours of the Apulian territory with a typical product, and the taralli with Nero di Troia: usually taralli are kneaded with white wine, while here one of the most acclaimed local varieties is chosen.     The scent coming from the oven spreads throughout the premises dedicated to production, which starts with dough made from quality local flours. The dough is shaped strictly by hand and then boiled, after which the taralli end up in the oven, the author of those fragrances that can be savoured well before entering the premises.     "a Mano Libera" was born as an alternative measure to prison, giving hope and new perspectives to its operators, but also quality traditional products for all the world's gluttons.     The proceeds from the sale of the taralli go back into circulation, reinvested to give other people who have seen prison in their path a chance at redemption.

Liquor factory

30 April 2021

Fiume

It was the beginning of the 1960s when Vittorio Fiume made his first experiments with liqueurs and almond milk in a small artisan laboratory.   Animated by his passion for Puglia, at the time he was probably unaware that those artisanal attempts of his would have transformed over time into an Apulian brand known throughout the world. The history of the Fiume brand is a story that speaks of love.   Love for Puglia, for herbs, spices and infusions. Located in the industrial area of Putignano, a town famous for its ancient Carnival, the Fiume plant today produces highly appreciated drinks in the liqueur and non-alcoholic sector.   The Fiume brand liqueurs communicate the link with the territory, starting with the raw materials. As Caterina Fiume, Vittorio's daughter and brand research and development manager, explains to us, one of the first liqueurs to bear her father's signature is the "Elisir dei Trulli", whose name evokes a miraculous potion and amazes with the enveloping flavor of the alcoholic and aromatic notes.   Chocolate, rum, hazelnut and coffee are some of the scents of the Elisir dei Trulli, which offer the consumer a sensory journey that delights the palate with warm and intense flavours. The "Amaro Pugliese", famous contemporary of Elisir dei Trulli, is famous because it conveys Apulian character not only in the name but also in the choice of raw materials.   And so in the Officinal Teriaca of Amaro Pugliese we discover mint, fennel, sage, artichoke, citrus fruits and so on. All raw materials from the area, transformed to create a amaro that speaks of customs and collective memory.   While she tells us about Amaro Pugliese, Caterina takes out a small box with some of the herbs used. And so, next to the mint, a native herbaceous plant, we notice the China Succirubra which instead comes from Ecuador, the Rhubarb, typical of China and the Quassio of Jamaica. And it's incredible how a single liqueur can contain entire portions of the world while remaining tied to tradition.   {IMAGE_0}{IMAGE_1}   Tradition that is also expressed in the "Limoncello", produced according to the ancient recipe of Caterina's grandmother and which seals a little secret handed down from generation to generation. Remaining on the side of alcoholic beverages, "Amarum" is another Fiume brand creation that mixes territoriality and international influences.   In Amarum, Jamaican rum sublimates the infusion of local spices and nuts. A amaro so precious as to be recognized at the SIAL in Paris in 2008 as one of the 100 most innovative products, and awarded at the 2020 Rome Bar Show for being able to make the most of the excellence of the territory.   For those who don't like alcohol, there is a decidedly tasty alternative. It is the "Almond Milk", born as a syrup, now also in the delicious ready-to-drink version, Mandorlè, and which is produced by extraction using only and exclusively sweet Apulian almonds.   Yet another trait of attachment to its origins of a brand that, with one foot in Puglia and one in the world, takes its drinks beyond national borders.    

Farmhouse

01 February 2022

Masseria Liuzzi

Along the path that crosses the fascinating natural landscape of the Regional Natural Park 'Terra delle Gravine' one arrives at Mottola, a municipality in the province of Taranto called 'Spia dello Ionio' (Ionian Sea Beach) due to its panoramic geographical position that embraces the entire Gulf of Taranto and the splendid Ionian Sea with an area rich in natural ravines and rocky villages. In this enchanting landscape one encounters a genuine reality dedicated to the production of wine and grain.     We are talking about Masseria Liuzzi located in contrada Marinara, which now has a sales outlet in via Risorgimento in Mottola.     A combination of passion, commitment and spirit of sacrifice, whose protagonists are Marcello Latorrata and Barbara Lattarulo. The couple, who inherited the business from the Latorrata family, carry on, day after day, a tradition that has been handed down for four generations.     It all started more than a century ago with a different name, 'I Casidd d Liuzzi', with a cereal-livestock focus. The metamorphosis into Masseria Liuzzi took place with the transition to wine production on a predominantly calcareous land covering approximately 10 hectares. The quality of the products is also guaranteed by the altitude of about 270 metres above sea level, a good temperature range between day and night and adequate ventilation.     Masseria Liuzzi's wine is a product that fully reflects the Apulian territory: the vineyards are transformed into wine grapes by a natural process. The result is a primitivo with an unmistakable flavour, processed in purity. We are one of the few wineries in Apulia to treat in purity also the rosé, which at Masseria Liuzzi is a primitivo to all intents and purposes, as it preserves the same alcohol content as the red primitivo.     What makes the Mottola-based company's wines unique are also the names on the labels. Products that tell their own story. Starting with the primitives, we find the 'Marnera', which recalls the Marinara district in dialect, literally meaning 'land covered by the sea', the 'Tuppétt', which owes its name to a small hillock on the Masseria Liuzzi where the vines overlook the property.     The last on this list is 'Rosasso', whose name derives from the combination of the colour of rosé wine and the limestone soil on which the vines stand, in which marine fossils can be found whenever there is ploughing or soil movement.     Added to these are 'Scinò', a black malvasia whose name is a fusion of the malvasia vine and the word 'malvagia', a reference to that magic that in Apulia is immediately linked to the so-called 'affascino' and, to end on a high note, 'Bolloro', a fiano that pays homage to Frederick II of Swabia, a fiano lover who issued the Golden Bull in Rimini back in 1235.     Equally characteristic is the production of wheat, which takes place with full care in each of its phases. After periodic ploughing, sowing and harvesting, the wheat is taken to a pasta factory in Matera, where the traditional formats that can be found in the Masseria Liuzzi shop are created.     Cavatelli and orecchiette are at the top of the shelves, strictly bronze-drawn pasta using 'Senatore Cappelli' flour.      Depending on soil conditions, then, the farm's production also periodically turns to pulses, especially chickpeas.     In the characteristic Apulian landscape, made up of natural ravines and rocky villages, lies the soul of Masseria Liuzzi, which among oaks, olive trees and wheat, represents the soul of Apulia.  

Oil mill

30 April 2021

Clement

"A splendid and exciting adventure"     When we ask Michele Clemente, President of Olearia Clemente, to tell us the entrepreneurial story of one of Italy's largest oil companies, he answers exactly that: a splendid and exciting adventure.     It can only be otherwise for a company with a hundred years of activity that ploughs through the years and was founded in Manfredonia, in the heart of the Gargano, amidst olive trees with imposing foliage and intertwined trunks, a perfect tangle that is only Mother Nature's.     We arrive at the farm through vast expanses of olive groves where the green of the leaves and fruit dominates the existing land. The dense foliage of the olive trees is barely moved by a light breeze that smells of the vegetation and saltiness of the nearby Adriatic Sea, which reaches our sense of smell, conciliating our senses.     In this unspoilt landscape, barely touched by anthropisation, lies Olearia Clemente. The history of Olearia Clemente is that of a family that has been dedicated to the agricultural and olive-growing tradition for five generations.     It was inaugurated in 1895 by Berardino Clemente, the great-grandfather of the current owners, siblings Michele, Antonello, Carla and Ilenia, with the precise aim of offering the market an excellent product that would enhance the cultivars of this area.     This objective was pursued through the direct management of the entire production process, starting with the fruit, harvested perfectly healthy, often by hand, and processed using special technologies that allow a product unique in taste and aroma to be obtained. Olearia Clemente should be credited with the ability to give extra virgin olive oil the value it deserves, disrupting the belief that it is just a condiment but making it, instead, a cornerstone food of the Mediterranean diet.     The experience gained over the years is the key to producing pure and natural extra virgin olive oil. In Olearia Clemente's sublime olive pressing we have Apulian cultivars, such as Coratina, Ogliarola Garganica and Peranzana, monocultivars that have their own specificity with explosive organoleptic qualities that taste of herbaceousness, sweetness, fruit and nature.     From respect for the latter comes the line of organic oils including 'U Polp', extra virgin DOP Dauno del Gargano with a unique flavour and packaging that in its colours and designs winks at the veracity of Apulia.     A precise bouquet of scents and flavours is what 'Zagare' oil gives, a 100% Italian cold-pressed oil named after the flowers surrounding the Gargano citrus groves.     The Zagare line is a historic line, now launched in a modern version that symbolises the fifth generation of Olearia Clemente. In this oil, whose fruits are kissed by the sun and blessed by the air, the company's centuries-old tradition is combined with the impetus towards the future represented by the very young Eliana, Leonardo, Berardino and Rosistella, who are eager to take Olearia Clemente to as yet unexplored frontiers.    

Winery

30 April 2021

Pandora Cellars

In the heart of Brindisi, a thriving land rich in millennia-old archaeological wonders, the Cantine Pandora winery was born.       Officially, the history of the business begins in 2017, but that of its founder has somewhat more remote origins. The owner, Francesco Fumarulo, owes his fortune to the land and his work as a farmer. With pride and transportation, Francesco explains that his passion for winemaking began as a child, and then over the years became a real profession culminating in the creation of Cantine Pandora.       The establishment stands in the midst of nature, among majestic olive trees, grazing animals, long rows of grapes and vast expanses of fields. Cradled by the healthy, placid air of Brindisi, Cantine Pandora's grapes turned into excellent red, white and rosé wine are almost all from Salento.       Francesco's willingness to contribute to the growth of his area is attested to by a very specific choice: to use largely native vines of Primitivo, Negramaro, Malvasia Nera and Malvasia Bianca grown according to organic standards.       With incredible respect for tradition and the aid of modern winemaking technology, Cantine Pandora is now a successful winery. The bottles are a small masterpiece that encapsulate the hard work, the love of the land, the work in the vineyard and in the cellar and, not surprisingly, they can all bear the IGP label.   {IMAGE_0}{IMAGE_1}   As the legend about the ancient Pandora's Box tells us, uncorking a bottle from this winery is tantamount to discovering all the good and beautiful of the land of origin.  Wine, otherwise also known as "nectar of the gods," for Cantine Pandora has an actual connection with divinity, to the point of deserving names that recall mythology.       To one of the "kings" of Salento, Primitivo, is dedicated Zeus, appellation of the highest Olympian deity. Zeus is a purplish-colored red produced from hand-picked grapes in the area's ancient vines, soft and enveloping with hints of red fruit.       Negramaro and Malvasia are the vines from which the grapes of Prometeo come, another red wine made from historic vines bred to trees that give the wine a delicate, broad, intense and pleasantly dry and full-bodied flavor. Then we find Ermes, Negramaro del Salento vinified in purity with the traditional method, tannic and structured to the right point. To Athena and Aphrodite are dedicated two of the rosés, both obtained from Negroamaro grapes and with intense fruity and very balanced scents. Among the whites we find Gea, a Malvasia Bianca del Salento wine with a refined, structured and persistent character or the charming Era, created from Chardonnay grapes that stands out for its golden hues and fine, dry but harmonious flavor.       Cantine Pandora's flagship product is the red '71 IGT, aged 6 months in French oak barrels. Strong, generous and intense are its aromas, so reminiscent of dried figs, which in this wine produced from Primitivo vines give it an original and strong-willed character.       Wines that fascinate the consumer for their overpowering and vigorous content, just like the territory from which they come.    

Winery

30 April 2021

D'Arapri Cellars

Three friends with a passion for jazz music and for the indigenous grape varieties of the Tavoliere, an underground cellar with an irresistible charm and sparkling wines that gather admirers from all over the world. There is nothing lacking in the history of Cantine d'Araprì: friendship, love for their land, a far-sighted project and an uncommon entrepreneurial flair.     At the basis of the company was the conviction that it would be possible to produce fine sparkling wines in the south too, using the indigenous Capitanata grape variety: 'Bombino bianco'. This is how the three friends, Girolamo d'Amico, Louis Rapini and Ulrico Priore created their dream in 1979. Cantine d'Araprì is the first company in Apulia to produce sparkling wine using the classic method.     A courageous choice, which over time has proved successful and led to numerous awards. Entering their cellar, one cannot fail to notice the dozens of awards won over the years for the skill with which they enhance the territory. The building housing Cantina d'Araprì, dating back to the beginning of the 18th century and located in the historic centre of San Severo (fg), seems almost like a house that holds extraordinary treasures.     We discover to our amazement that beneath our feet are a thousand square metres of underground cellar accessed through a maze of tunnels and galleries. The space periodically hosts cultural events and exhibitions. The environment welcomes and guards the precious sparkling wine that rests placidly waiting to be ready to be uncorked.     We almost feel as if we are witnessing a ceremony, in the silence of the basement and surrounded by stacks of bottles whose contents follow precise artisanal protocols refined through experience. Among the sparkling wines we find the vintage rosé 'Sansevieria', obtained from the manual harvesting of Nero di Troia grapes with its gentle colour and sweet citrus scent.     For dry lovers, the 'Pas Dosè' made from Bombino Bianco and Pinot Nero is a sparkling wine with a convincing character softened by hints of pastry. Montepulciano and Pinot Noir are the precious ingredients of 'Brut Rosè', a sparkling wine with a fine, rounded flavour and aromas of bread and toasted fruit.     Ethereal and gentle is the bouquet of 'Brut', the first sparkling wine to be produced by the house, which envelops the consumer with fruity scents of apple, yellow peach and orange. Leading us on this sparkling wine journey are Anna d'Amico, daughter of Girolamo, and Daniele Rapini, son of Louis.     Because one of the characteristics of the winery is the interweaving of friendship and familiarity that binds the members of the company. The three founding partners were joined in 2019 by the so-called 'new generation' embodied by the three children: Anna d'Amico, Daniele Rapini and Antonio Priore, all three of whom are driven by the desire to carry on the tradition started by their fathers.     Each bottle of d'Araprì sparkling wine is like a perfect jazz melody: it slowly reveals its amazing notes, telling of a product that smells of Apulia and friendship.