Adding very complex and fragmented geographical patters, the result is an incredible variety of food habits and regional recipes, of course.
On their way back from the Crusades in the Holy Land in the 10th century, fierce Norman knights (the same posse which sailed from Normandy and conquered England in 1066 …) offered their swords to the Lombards protecting them from Saracen attacks in exchange of fertile feuds, starting the period of the so called “Norman kingdom of Sicily”. Through a series of battles and complex dynastic events, Norman and Swabian (south Germany) emperors ruled for centuries the Italian area south of Naples leaving behind a trail of influences and of course genetic heritage.
Travelling through Puglia, you meet coastal watchtowers, churches, walled cities and castles built by these northern rulers, the most famous of which is Castel del Monte.
The closer you get to the imposing structure, the more you perceive a sense of peace, dignity, balance: the meaning of number “8” according to ancient numerology. Designed not as a true fortress but as a centre of knowledge, or as relaxing retreat and hunting lodge by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, this Unesco world heritage listed masterpiece is a casket of exoteric, philosophical and mystical meanings, starting from its perfectly octagonal shape with 8 towers build according to the complex proportion of the "golden number" 1,61803...
A short hike and some negotiations with the owners of the coastal properties will allow access to magnificent spots like Baia dei Faraglioni, a scenic bay hosting two imposing rocks named the “Scissors” and “Diomedes” after the Greek hero, which face steep white cliffs and crystal clear waters, and the natural rock arc of Baia di San Felice, ideally to be explored by fins & boat.
These charming machines are now mostly converted into scenic restaurants, but in some cases are still operational as "Al Trabucco da Mimi´", a living legend of the fishing community. Romantic beyond words at sunset, the restaurant is the ideal location for our “last supper” in Puglia with a choice of fish served raw according to the local habit, in our case raw swordfish, scampi, seafood risotto and fresh tagliatelle with grouper ragu´ paired with a “Paolo Leo” Chardonnay.