We took off on a Wednesday mid-morning. Bernalda to Laurenzana, about 80km. See map. Blue sky. Puffy white clouds. A little chilly.
Although I didn’t know what to expect, I figured it would be fun, as most of the people we’ve met have been friendly and helpful – now that I think of it, it’s probably because I’ve been telling them my name is Giovanni.
This day was at the top of the list of reasons I came to Italy. I wanted to be sure that the first piece of land I step on in Europe be that of my ancestors.
So off we go! Through this beautiful mountainous area of Basilicata. Lush with little towns carved into the side of mountains, olive groves and rolling hillsides.
Laurenzana is about 20km from the Autostrada and consists of a one and a half to two lane road, with S-Curve after S-Curve! Part of this stretch is through a National Park area including the beautiful Lake Camastra . . . . many . . . . many feet below the guardrail.
Basically, all the surrounding towns (including Laurenzana) are built on the top or side of a mountain. The drive was beautiful and breathtaking!
I am trying not to be too wordy or descriptive, but please keep in mind that I am writing this for Anita as well, as she had her eyes closed most of those last 20k!
Enjoy the Ride!
Hurtling up the Autosrada in our beefed up 1L 72HP Citroen!
Notice the uphill incline.
One of the many S-curves
Little Known Fact: The 3 little pigs were from Laurenzana. Can you say Porchetta?!
The Town is pretty quiet. . . . then we see three men in the Piazza . . .and Anita approches them while I park the car. As luck or fate would have it . . .
. we meet Antonio. A retired Professor – Antonio Martoccia! The same last name as my Grandfather – Michael Martocci ( no “a” in the US spelling).
Despite the language barrier, Antonio understands our request and shows us to the Municpo, so we can look up the birth records of both my grandparents.
Rosa, the town clerk and Antonio with the record book for births in 1888!