We have been home for a week now and I am still in Puglia, Basillicata, Calabria and Sicily in my head. Altomonte, a wonderful mountain village perched high in the lush green hills of Calabria is an absolute jewel. A medieval village, it still retains the colour and characterof days gone by.
Our driver, Renzo, completed amazing breath-holding feats of skill and patience as he negotiated around the seemingly impossible bends and junctions - missing overhanging roofs - of the narrow streets of the village. Our host Signore Barbieri treated us to an unprecedented peek into village life on a walking tour. We met some 'very important persons'!
Leaving Altomonte for Sicily, I could not stop filming through the coach windows.You just wanted to put it all into a bottle to keep! Altomonte was a complete contrast to Ostuni, Alberobella and Martina Franca in Puglia but they were all magnificent. People still live in the Trulli houses of Alberobella - amazing and enchanting.
The change of hotel in Sicily found us with a balcony hanging over the sea. As the cable car up to Taormina was only a couple of minutes away, we decided to explore Taormina morethan on our first visit in 2005 and just chill out on the balcony after buying a made-to-order Panini and other supplies in the Mini-Market. Bliss!
Too much to tell here -just a flavour but I now have all I need (I think) to shape up 'The Long Leg of Italy and 'Island Interludes'. Still lots to do with the camcorder film which I took. The whole tour was madespecial by the intimate knowledge of Italy and the language of Sally our Saga Tour Manager (plus her patience,flexibility and unflappability). If you are reading this - thank you Sally.