Small islands, how I love them! No self-respecting tour of Italy can fail to take in at least one archipelago, whether it’s the Aeolian islands, the Aegadian islands, Pontine islands or the Tuscan archipelago…there are over 800 islands (and islets) dotted around our shores.
So here I am: well, naturally, because the Adriatic has its very own islands, the Tremiti; white, green and rocky, they are located off Gargano (remember the accent?!), in Puglia. They are San Domino (the largest), San Nicola, Cretaccio, Capraia and, twenty kilometers or so north east, the truly wild Pianosa – which is barely visible being, as the name suggests, completely piana – flat.
San Domino can be reached from a number of ports. I am opting for Termoli because it is in Molise and I like the idea of stopping off in this small region to the north of Puglia, not least because it is incredibly beautiful. The old town overhangs the sea and is protected by thick walls and defense towers, such as we have seen previously in Alghero. And it’s obvious why; history teaches us that the sea has been more a threat than just a beautiful view to gaze upon, as I am now, feeling very privileged to be doing so.
As I look out from the famous Belvedere Tower, I lose myself, as usual, in the horizon. I love the depth of the spaces, I love the line that separates sky and sea, and above all I love those two dots of blue – colors always speak to my heart.
That’s enough lazing around, it’s time to set sail for San Domino! The crossing takes just over an hour. Needless to say I spend the entire time contemplating the sea, the sky and the seagulls – they follow us from dry land making their usual sounds that are so reminiscent of being on vacation, at least for me, as a city dweller. On arrival there is a wonderful surprise: there are no cars here, everything is done on foot, the ideal place for #awalkwithMarco! I walk along unhurriedly and acclimatize myself to this paradise: silence, the slow rhythm, the buildings as white as the rock on which they are built, the Aleppo pines …WOW!
All joking aside, instead of traipsing up and down the hills and slopes of this island – which is decidedly not as flat as Pianosa – I am advised to view it from the sea and travel around it by boat. So, shoes in hand, I hop onto a small sail-boat that is ready to weigh anchor. Only this way can I admire the crystal waters of the sea in its thousand shades of blue, the unexpected grottoes wedged between the bright white rocks or the small beaches which would otherwise be inaccessible.
By the time we get back the sun is going down, the perfect time for a delicious fish soup: mussels, clams and the fish of the day, they smell of the sea and happiness!
OK, I’ll see you again in two weeks’ time – provided someone manages to tear me away from this enchanted island…