My summer 2008 travels in Europe – Part 3 – Italy

After a bittersweet conclusion to my time in Germany, I was off to Italy to see my relatives there.  Though my mom grew up in a small town in the hills, some of her relatives had relocated to Roseto, a coastal town on the Adriatic not far from there.  On this visit I was staying in the hills above that town with a beautiful view of the farmland, sea and mountains off in the distance.

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It was wonderful seeing my extended family again and being back in Italy.  I was treated to some amazing home cooked meals and spent my time seeing the different families and lounging at the beach during the day.

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During my time there, the Montepagano Wine Festival was taking place just up the hill from where I was staying.  The annual festival in August features music and food in the main square and wine tasting from numerous wineries in the region in the different shops along the narrow streets that connect to the main square.

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One of these days, I’m going to get a band together and we’re going to play Italian wine festivals since we can rock out in English.

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What Italian wine festival would be complete without a shirtless man tossing pizza dough to music while smoking a cigarette?

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Those people really know how to party and I highly recommend a trip to the festival if you want to taste some great wine and have fun doing something that’s probably not in the tourist books yet.  By day, the place looked rather tame betraying the bacchanalia that took place the night before.

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One notable feature of Montepagano and most other Italian cities is the various numbering schemes on the buildings.  It turns out that as new governments came to power, some decided to rename or renumber roads in the country.  The facade below featured four numbering systems.  I’m sure this makes being a postal carrier difficult.  Then again, being Italy, you can probably get close enough and someone will tell you where to go when you can’t find what you’re looking for.

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No trip to Roseto would be complete without hitting the beach with Renato, my mom’s cousin and someone I refer to as the “mayor of the beach” since he knows almost everyone there – especially the ladies.

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My thanks to the Tassonis for being very generous hosts and showing me yet another wonderful time in Roseto and its surroundings.

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After one last night at the wine festival, and a very painful early morning after, it was time to say farewell and hop on a 5:15am train to Rome, travelling through the hills near L’Aquila as my body slowly came back online.

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Though it takes much more time than the bus, the train was definitely the right choice since it provides views of castles, vineyards, farm land and small cities along the way and isn’t in much of a rush.  Once at FCO I was finally functioning and flew back to Munich for a quick stay and flight out to SFO the next morning.

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