LavelloFebruary 2, 2017 in Italy
Leaving Lucera, we hoped to find a quieter stopover with less litter where we could relax for a few days. Setting off a few within 50 miles we started along the staright and bumpy roads that networked the patchwork of fields. Frequently there were plumes of smoke rising from amidst olive groves as farmers burned pruned branches. Growers had probably used this method of disposal for centuries but with such intensive cultivation and mass production, the smoke coloured the air for miles around.
The first stopover, up in the hills was difficult to get to through the narrow streets and when we stepped outside it was like walking on a surface of compacted landfill. The second proved impossible to get to, as both roads ahead had height limits. We had to ignore a 'one way' sign to get back out of the town. Despite keeping our eyes peeled for wild camping in the countryside, nothing fitted the bill and we carried on, eventually finding a spot in the town of Lavello. It was cleaner, quieter and we were very glad.
We spent two nights here and discovered we'd entered into the region of Basilicata- perhaps the reason for the improved cleanliness and the evidence of investment in public amenities such as small parks and sports facilities. Prices were low and the high level of poverty apparent in the quality of housing and cars. Even the clothes people wore, although in good condition, didn't have the same pride of presentation as we'd seen further north. Friday lunchtime was spent at a pizzaria in the comfortable basement of a multistorey building, a short walk away from the central piazza. It had advertised a 4 course meal for €15 and as we hadn't yet had 'primi, secondi, dolce and caffe' in one sitting, we went for it. They didn't stint on portion sizes or ingredients. After bolognaise, muscles, steak, fruit, coffee, water and a good amount of wine we'd really enjoyed our time there and the place had filled up with a good range of diners. Taking the long way back to the van we skirted round the edge of Lavello. There was very little green space amongst the low rise apartments from which people hung their drying, even placing portable drying racks on the pavements. Where the housing ended, the sloped and terraced plots began. Some were used, some weren't, there were fig trees, olives and wire fenced enclosures guarded by dogs. As the land flattened out in the narrow valley floor below, sheep chimed their bells and chickens scraped the dry earth. It was a beautiful view and would have been even nicer were it not for the fly tipping.
Our Friday night was spent living the high life (taking the sleeping bag for a much needed wash at the 'lavendaria'!) We were there for more than an hour and witnessed the Italian Passegiata, where lots of people come out for an evening stroll through the streets. It's a social event and people of all ages take part. We found it interesting to think of how the groups of teenagers would be viewed were they wandering the streets back in the UK. Here, the whole community was out together, away from the TV and focusing on what and who was around them.Read more