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Southern Hospitality; Discovering the Unique and Beautiful Culture of Puglia

The first story I wrote on Italy; San Pietro Vernotico

ITALY | Monday, 30 May 2016 | Views [539]

Waking up in Italy

The "downtown" of San Pietro Vernotico

Its like regaining consciousness. After lifelessly existing, without even being aware of this state of being, I'm waking up, and guess what...I'm in Italy!

Now in my sixth month away from "home", I am beginning to understand why it feels like I only just got here. Now I notice the small details of everyday life in San Pietro Vernotico. Every morning little old Italian men ride their bikes around town and gather at the little cafes displaying a slow and leisurely way of life. Everything happens in the morning, the sun shines brighter.


Little old Italian man on bike

There is so much life in this town that I had no idea existed, sleeping until noon everyday will do that to you. I had been waking up in time for siesta. The hustle and bustle of morning life contrasts with the quiet, empty streets come one o'clock. Shops close as everyone heads home for lunch, the main meal of the day.


I spent a lot of time these last few months repeating in my head "you are in Italy, you are in Europe, look at the buildings, look at the streets", in an attempt to make myself realize how awesome it is to be here, to be living a dream that I have had for so long; missing a Winnipeg winter! (Although from what I hear it has been a mild winter and I picked the wrong winter to miss. And for those of you who aren't familiar with my hometown, Winnipeg winters are brutally long and unimaginably cold with temperatures anywhere from -30 to -50 at times). Truthfully, I had always dreamed of living in Europe, and I couldn't understand why I wasn't taking it all in, why I didn't feel amazing. It was as though I was missing the whole trip, sleepwalking through my life.





If anything, I am most passionate about travelling. I have always wanted the whole world, and to experience life outside of Winnipeg. When I was 22 I traveled to Paris, and wandered the streets of my most beloved city for two weeks. I was in love, I felt alive. It was beautiful and romantic. I felt a sense of connection, an energy that pulsed through the city, and I was over the moon to have it all to myself. I enjoy travelling alone, to me there is nothing better than getting lost in the world.


I came here to get lost, but not in the same way. I was hiding out. Now that I'm waking up I'm finding that this small town in the very south of Italy's heel has a lot to offer. The people are warm and caring. They are eager to know my story; where am I from and how did I end up in their little town?! They are inviting and so hospitable, doing all they can to make you feel welcome in their homes. This is typical of the culture in the south, this is the culture of Salento. This is an area rich in history and tradition. Puglia offers it's own specific cuisine, different than what would traditionally be thought of when you think "Italian food", and its own specific mentality. 


These are the topics this journal will highlight; food, culture and history of Puglia. What better way to start than by giving a quick shout out to the lovely, tiny town of San Pietro Vernotico, a place that I've called home for the last 9 months! **This story was originally written and posted on my personal blog https://pursuitofmytruth.org/ I have edited it for the purspose of re-posting it here.



Tags: italy, life in italy, puglia, salento, south of italy, travel in italy


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