Southern Italy

May 2022


Southern Italy

Southern Italy ~ A stupendous holiday traveling with Road Scholar to Southern Italy in May of 2022 after 2 years of a Covid-sabbatical. Our small group of 16 explored 24 cities for its culture, while overnighting in Lecce, Martina Franca, Matera, Cosenza, and Catanzaro Lido. Along the way we had fine weather, and we dined on delectable Italian cuisine ~ every meal was a grand experience in Southern Italian cooking.

Pics L->R: (1) Basilica of Saint Mary of the Roccella, (2) Seaside in Reggio Calabria, (3) Lama Monachile Beach in Polignano a Mare, (4) Church of San Francesco d'Assisi, (5) Locorotondo Street Art, (6) Bell Tower of Cathedral of Maria Santissima Achiropita in Rossano, (7) Trullo Home in Village of Alberobello.

Peace Island

Peace Island ~ A contemporary drawing at the Jewish Museum in Lecce. The Museum is a center of culture and permanent exhibition on the presence of Jews in Lecce throughout time. It is in the building known as Palazzo Personè where the original of the Mediaeval Giudecca stood. The Museum opened in 2016, and has seven halls illustrating the history and lives of Lecce Jews.


Freedom ~ Bronze statue of a woman representing freedom. It is located in the Piazza Castromediano Sigismondo of Lecce. The monument was commissioned in 1898 by the mayor of Lecce. At the base of the pedestal is a figure of a woman representing freedom, while above her (not shown) depicts the Duke of Morciano. The date on the statue is a historical reference to 1812 (MDCCCXII).

Mother & Child Graffiti

Mother & Child Graffiti ~ I found this quaint graffiti sketch in Lecce near the Church of San Giovanni Battista (aka Rosary church).

The Pharmacist

The Pharmacist ~ Located in the fortified castle island of Gallipoli near the Basilica of Saint Agatha.

Eve & Serpents

Eve & Serpents ~ Mosaic on the floor of the Otranto Cathedral. It's a Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. The cathedral was consecrated in 1088. It is 54 meters long by 25 meters wide. Its most famous feature is its 12th century mosaic covering the entire floor of the nave, the sanctuary and the apse. [Reference wikipedia]

Port of Otranto

Port of Otranto ~ A delightful city on the water. We arrived at the port, then walked its waterfront before exploring the historic sites within.


Trozzella is a dramatic form of Messapian pottery, which in the local dialect means "little wheels." The pottery vase generally has four little wheels at the summit and base of its sharp angled handles. It was produced between the 7th and 3rd century BC in a region of southern Italy along the Adriatic Sea called Apulia. The pottery is on display at Museo Archeologico di Egnazia. [Reference wikipedia]


Trullo (plural, trulli) is a traditional Apulian dry stone hut with a conical roof. Its style of construction is specific to the Itria Valley, in the Murge area of the Italian region of Apulia. In the town of Alberobello (as illustrated), in the province of Bari, whole districts contain dense concentrations of trulli. Reference wikipedia

Village of Alberobello

Village of Alberobello, Italian meaning "beautiful tree", is a small town and commune of the Metropolitan City of Bari, Apulia, southern Italy. It has about 10K inhabitants and is famous for its unique trullo buildings. The trulli of Alberobello have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996. [Reference wikipedia]

Sunday Service

Sunday Service at the Church of Saint Anthony in Alberobello. The church was built in 1926, and is located on top of a hill in the Rione Monti area. I quietly viewed the church at its entrance, not entering, as it was at a time of its traditional Sunday service as depicted by the faithful parishioners of this photo. [Reference]


Bouquet of flowers in Locorotondo.


Laundromat ~ It's all about the art of making best use of space in the narrow walkways of Locorotondo.

The Spigot

The Spigot for public water. In 1914, the date on this old hand water pump, the convenience of tap water in you home was a luxury. This pump in Locorotondo remains actively used.


Dining ~ A delightful setting for a meal with friends on a side street in the city of Locorotondo. While I was visiting the area, on my independent meal days, I would always select a restaurant with outdoor seating to enjoy the pleasant May time weather.

Street Art

Street Art ~ The pleasure of meandering in Locorotondo is its quaint art.


Pottery ~ A street side shop selling its wares in Locorotondo. It's a delightful city with many interesting sights.

Café Bouquet

Café Bouquet ~ Although more likely a boutique art store rather than a café, it nonetheless adds to the ambiance of Locorotondo.

Grottagile Ceramics

Grottagile Ceramics ~ This relatively large artwork (about 2 feet by 3 feet) is a glazed ceramic. The town, Grottaglie, is a ceramic lover's dream with several ceramic foundries, and it is noted as the capital of ceramics and pottery in Puglia.

Street Art

Street Art in Bari. This poster is within the Old Town city walls near the Saint Nicholas Basilica.

Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas at the Saint Nicholas Basilica in Bari. The basilica was built between 1087 and 1197, during the Italo-Norman domination of Apulia, the area previously occupied by the Byzantine Catapan of which Bari was the seat. Its foundation is related to the recovery of some of the relics of Saint Nicholas from the saint's original shrine in Myra, in what is now Turkey. When Myra passed into the hands of the Saracens, some saw it as an opportunity to move the saint's relics to a safer location. According to the justifying legend, the saint, passing by the city on his way to Rome, had chosen Bari as his burial place. Reference wikipedia.


Archway, one of many among the streets in Bari.

Lama Monachile Beach

Lama Monachile, whose official name is Cala Porto, is a small public beach in Polignano a Mare, located near the historical center of the city. Enclosed between two rocky walls, the beach is a highly photogenic place on the coast of Puglia. It is also a popular place to catch a few rays and enjoy the sun. [Reference]

White Town

White Town is a popular name for the town of Polignano a Mare as many of its houses are white washed, especially along the waterfront as depicted here.


Harmonious ~ One of many pleasantly landscaped walkways in Polignano a Mare, all with its traditional white façade .


Monument ~ This commemorative monument is dedicated to the public security guard Francesco Paolo Conte, Silver Medal for Civil Valor, who died at the age of 28 to help his fellow citizens during a terrible storm that hit the city of Matera on 24 October 1928. [Reference]

Church of San Francesco d'Assisi

Church of San Francesco d'Assisi is built in the Baroque style in the San Francesco Square of Matera. It is dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi after the saint visited Matera in 1218.

The current church was built in the first half of the 13th century on the place of a subterranean church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. The ancient church can still be accessed today through a trap door from the third chapel on the left. In the church can be found a fresco depicting the visit of Pope Urban II to Matera from 1093.

The church was enlarged in the 15th century, and many transformations were subsequently made until the 18th century when it assumed its current state with the construction of the Baroque façade by the architects Vito Valentino and Tommaso Pennetta. [Reference]


Apartment ~ Street art in Matera.

Sassi Cave Dwelling

Sassi Cave Dwelling ~ The Sassi district in Matera has cave dwellings dating back to the first human settlements in the world. The caves were inhabited up until the 1950s.

In the mid 1930s Matera was a town marked by misery and malaria. In his book called Christ Stopped At Eboli the exiled Italian writer Carlo Levi recounts his sister's first meeting with a city, she had trouble finding, because most of the habitations lay hidden in a ravine below the earth's surface. As a doctor she describes how the residents suffered from malaria, dysentery and severe eye infections. The starvation evident in prominent ribs and swollen stomachs. Caves dug into the ravine where large families lived with their dogs, goats, sheep and pigs. And children begging quinine from strangers to fight the malaria.

The Sassi in Matera were formed in continuation of the first human settlements in Italy, and the caves, excavated in cells and layers like a beehive, have not changed significantly over time. In the 1950s Sassi dwellers were forcefully relocated to more modern housing, and only recently have the caves been renovated and transformed into hotels, cafes or shops. [Reference]


Piano ~ Sculpture by Salvador Dali located in front of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Matera.

City of Matera

City of Matera ~ Note the Matera Cathedral visible on the left skyline. The cathedral was built in Apulian Romanesque style in the 13th century on the ridge that forms the highest point of the city of Matera and divides the two Sassi, on the site of the ancient Church of Saint Eustace, protector of the city. Construction began in 1203, the year in which Pope Innocent III raised Matera to the rank of an archdiocese in union with Acerenza as the Archdiocese of Acerenza and Matera, and was completed in 1270. [Reference Wikipedia]

Tavole Palatine

Tavole Palatine ("Palatine Tables") are the remains of a hexastyle peripteral Greek temple of the sixth century BC, dedicated to the goddess Hera and the god Apollo. The temple, located near the Bradano river in the south of Italy, was part of a countryside sanctuary and remains of the wall of the temenos and of a very ancient altar are visible. [Reference Wikipedia]


Castelmezzano is a town and commune in the province of Potenza in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. It is designated as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, one of southern Italy's most stunningly located villages, and a best place you've never heard of. [Reference Wikipedia]

Castelmezzano Walk

Castelmezzano Walk ~ With an alpine atmosphere, our group walked 1 km from town to a viewpoint called the Gradinata Normanna (or Norman Stairway). It is a place with a grand view of the valley below. At the summit, a set of 54 "technical" stairs carved into rock provide an expansive view, however we were impressed with the easy viewpoint at the base of these rock-climbing stairs. [Reference] [Google Map]


Time ~ Salvador Dali in Matera.

Cathedral of Maria Santissima Achiropita

Cathedral of Maria Santissima Achiropita is an architectural monument of Rossano, in the province of Cosenza. It is the town's main place of worship.

The church, which today has three naves and three apses, was built in the 11th century, with subsequent interventions in the 18th and 19th centuries. Of the original structure there are still two columns located outside the side portal.

The bell tower and the baptismal font date back to the 14th century while the other decorations, among which the pulpit and some canvases, date between the 17th and 18th centuries. [Reference Wikipedia]

Portrait of Mark

Portrait of Mark, as part of the Rossano Gospels, is a 6th-century illuminated manuscript Gospel Book written following the reconquest of the Italian peninsula by the Byzantine Empire. Also known as Codex purpureus Rossanensis due to the reddish-purple appearance of its pages, the codex is one of the oldest surviving illuminated manuscripts of the New Testament. [Reference Wikipedia]

Riace Bronze Statues

Riace Bronze Statues, also called the Riace Warriors, are two full-size Greek bronzes of naked bearded warriors, cast about 460-450 BC that were found in the sea in 1972 near Riace, Calabria, in southern Italy. The bronzes are now in the Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia in the nearby city of Reggio Calabria. [Reference Wikipedia]

Reggio Calabria

Reggio Calabria is located on the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula and is separated from the island of Sicily by the Strait of Messina. It is situated on the slopes of the Aspromonte, a long, craggy mountain range that runs up through the center of the region. [Reference Wikipedia]


Seaside in Reggio Calabria.

Lady of the Day

Lady of the Day in Reggio Calabria offering tourists conversation and companionship.

Elsie the Cow

Elsie the Cow at the Statti Winery near the city of Lamezia Terme, province of Catanzaro in the Calabria region of Southern Italy.

Basilica Saint Mary della Roccella

Basilica of Saint Mary of the Roccella is located at the Scolacium Archaeological Park along the Ionian Sea about 100 km NE of tip of Sicily. The imposing ruins stand among a present day olive grove. For more history, visit Scolacium Archeological Park and/or La Roccellatta di Borgia.

Olive Press

Olive Press at the Scolacium Archaeological Park. For more information, visit Scolacium Archaeological Park.

Group Photo

Group Photo

Standing (left to right): Karen, Tammy, Chris, Namoni, Rick, Margie, Harriet, Kathie, Dan, Emily, Roger, Duncan, Gary

Kneeling: Emanuela (guide), Herb