Archive for July, 2013

The headline says it all: “Wild West in Bitonto”

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Sorry to have to report negative news, but bad things can happen anywhere and visitors need to be made aware of them.

Four youths were arrested the other night in Bitonto, outside Bari, and charged with attempted murder after a surveillance video captured images of them firing gunshots at unidentified people in a crowded street.

La Repubblica TV has posted the surveillance video that it reports “shows how a small group of friends, sitting on scooters in a piazzetta di Bitonto, in a matter of a moments are transformed into assassins who shoot a burst of fire to the height of a man on a summer evening while children play in the street and men and women spend time outdoors.”

Apparently, the gunfire involved one gang in a fight with another for control of drug dealing. As soon as the boys spotted their “enemies,” they obeyed orders to shoot, despite the presence of innocent civilians.

Scary stuff. We can write all we want about Puglia’s positive attributes as a tourism destination, but it can all be undone by events such as this. Let’s hope this was an isolated incident. Puglia has too much to offer travelers to allow this type of activity to deter potential visitors.

Tour operator plans Puglia-Sorrento program in September

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Tour operator Italy By Choice is promoting a program to Puglia and Sorrento that leaves New York City on Sept. 15, arrives in Naples the following day and returns from Brindisi on Sept. 23. A few seats are still available, the company reports.

The itinerary is as follows:
9/15 Depart NYC to Naples
9/16 Arrival Naples, transfer to Sorrento for 4 nights
9/17 Sorrento (optional Amalfi Coast drive 8 hrs)
9/18 Sorrento (optional full day Capri)
9/19 Sorrento (optional Pompeii and Naples)
9/20 Transfer to Puglia, then visit Matera (in the neighboring region of Basilicata, just over the line from Altamura)
9/21 Alberobello and Ostuni
9/22 Lecce
9/23 Depart Brindisi back to NYC

The company says the program costs approximately $2,000 per person based on double occupancy; $1,000 extra for single occupancy. Contact the company at 212-400-7347.

Announcing “The Arabic of Puglia. Stories of Music and of Puglia”

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

I just saw this announcement on the home page of the Puglia-based destination marketing organization PugliaPromozione. Due to the time element ‒ the book is being unveiled this Wednesday ‒ I’m taking the unusual step of providing the original Italian-language announcement and a very rudimentary English translation. I hope you can understand it. I apologize for any errors, grammatical or otherwise. Many researchers have studied the importance of Arabic influences on Puglia’s history and heritage, especially from a tourism development standpoint, so this announcement may be of some interest to you.

Presentation of the book “The Arabic of Puglia. Stories of Music and of Puglia”

Presentation of the book “The Arabic of Puglia. Stories of Music and of Puglia” and the title of the second volume of the series “Of Earth of Sea” written by Angelo Cavallo, which will be presented to the press Wednesday, July 10 at 10 A.M. at the Mediateca Regionale Pugliese (in via G. Zanardelli 30/36) in Bari.

“Of the land of the sea” and the tourist telling of the Puglia that through tales offers to the tourist-reader-traveler the opportunity to discover traditions, characters, food and recipes, anecdotes, myths and legends, rituals, ancient and recent history of the territory that visit.

Retrieve the deepest roots of the places of Puglia, observes the Regional Tourism Director Silvia Godelli, and the goal of the project “Earth of Sea” which aims to promote and enhance the territory. And it is thanks to the narration of stories “extraordinary” that the tourist-reader-solo becomes the protagonist of the journey, up to be directly involved in the history. The stories narrated in “Arabic of Puglia”” intertwine around sounds and languages that give life to characters full of Mediterranean style, where the places which are the framework for dialogs and events prove to be in all their historic interest and scenic beauty.

The lead wire of the stories contained in the book, set in Valle d’Itria, and music.

Here’s the original Italian text:

Presentazione del volume “L’arabo di Puglia. Storie di musica e di Puglia”

Presentazione del volume “L’arabo di Puglia. Storie di musica e di Puglia” è il titolo del secondo volume della collana “Di terra di mare” scritto da Angelo Cavallo che sarà presentato alla stampa mercoledì 10 luglio alle ore 10.00 presso la Mediateca Regionale Pugliese (in via G. Zanardelli 30/36) a Bari.

“Di terra di mare” è il tourist telling della Puglia che attraverso i racconti offre al turista-lettore-viaggiatore la possibilità di scoprire tradizioni, personaggi, gastronomia, aneddoti, miti e leggende, riti, storia antica e recente del territorio che visita.

Recuperare le radici più profonde dei luoghi di Puglia, osserva l’Assessore Silvia Godelli, è l’obiettivo del progetto ‘Di terra di mare’ che mira a promuovere e valorizzare il territorio. Ed è grazie alla narrazione di storie “straordinarie” che il turista-lettore-viaggiatore diventa protagonista del viaggio, fino ad essere coinvolto direttamente nella storia. I racconti narrati ne “L’arabo di Puglia” si intrecciano intorno a suoni e linguaggi che danno vita a personaggi pieni di mediterraneità, dove i luoghi che fanno da cornice a dialoghi e accadimenti si rivelano in tutto il loro interesse storico e paesaggistico.

Il filo conduttore dei racconti racchiusi nel libro, ambientato in Valle d’Itria, è la musica.

What’s in the water around Puglia’s Tremiti Islands?

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Italy’s Guardia Costiera (Coast Guard) is conducting tests on the seawater around Puglia’s Tremiti Islands after some type of foam was discovered in the normally pristine waters off the Gargano Promontory. The Italian news service ANSA reported that the authorities began using a mobile laboratory to inspect the waters after the presence of foam was reported across the area over the past few days, the Ministero dell’Ambiente a della Tutela Territorio e del Mare (Ministry of the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea) said in a statement.

The ministry said it requested the tests “to determine the root cause of the phenomenon.”

ANSA further reported, “The ministry said authorities are monitoring the sea off the Adriatic islands and checking the water to ascertain the cause. The Tremiti archipelago, north of the splendid Gargano Mountains, is one of the region’s top touristic attractions and its sea has been repeatedly given the prestigious Blue Flag award for clean water and pristine sands by the international Foundation for Environmental Education.”

Taranto museum closure upsets Puglia tourism businesses

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

The temporary closing of the National Archaeological Museum of Taranto is angering tour operators and other visitor-related businesses, as it forces them to find alternative activities for travelers whose pre-booked itineraries and hotel stays included visits to the museum. La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno (GDM) reports that the museum will be open only on weekends through Aug. 8.

It’s not so much the fact that the museum is being shut to complete needed renovations, but rather the timing of it ‒ during the height of the high summer tourism season and at a time when Puglia’s tourism industry has just mounted a campaign promoting culture- and history- based tourism. The museum is the primary home of many artifacts from the period of the Magna Grecia and is of considerable importance to history-focused travelers.

Francesco Palmisano, provincial president of Federablgerhi, the Italian hotel federation, told GDM that the decision is particularly disappointing to hoteliers who promote and sell packages that include visits to the museum. “This year, the communication campaign PromotionPuglia had staked everything on the cultural aspect of Taranto. For this reason, the decision of the Superintendence of Archaeological Heritage of Puglia to close the museum just in summer seems like a real contradiction to the regional communication campaign that aims to offer a positive image of Taranto and the surrounding area in an attempt to forget Ilva (a huge steel plant) and environmental problems.”

Unfortunately, this is nothing new. Over the years, I’ve seen museums and other visitor attractions in Puglia closed during peak tourism season over and over. It doesn’t make sense. It’s bad for tourism businesses and it’s bad for Puglia’s reputation as a visitor destination. The National Archaeological Museum of Taranto is a national-level museum holding priceless antiquities that people want to see. That’s why it’s featured in tour itineraries and hotel packages. Commendably, Puglia is working hard to improve its image among international travelers. Sending those visitors home disappointed is not the way to build a global reputation as a high-quality cultural tourism destination.

Year two of “Open Days Puglia” showcases region’s cultural heritage

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Summer is traditionally beach vacation time in Puglia, but this season there’s a whole lot more in store for visitors who also enjoy learning about the region’s history, culture, art, nature, food and wine.

Beginning on July 4 and continuing through Sept. 28, visitors to Puglia are invited to experience the region’s cultural heritage in the second year of “Open Days Puglia” free special events every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The program is sponsored by the regional tourism board, PugliaPromozione and various other tourism- and culture-related agencies.

On Thursdays the focus is on food and wine. Fridays are devoted to nature, and Saturday events highlight art.

“With the ‘Open Days’ we enhance accessibility through special openings, tours and experiential paths,” Silvia Godelli, the regional councilor for tourism, told La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno.

On Thursdays, 51 wine and food itineraries have been created in collaboration with Movimento Turismo del Vino and Consorzio Puglia in Masseria. According to PugliaPromozione, visitors “can follow the itineraries of flavors by bus, discovering the farmhouses (accompanied by rural guides), oil mills and wine cellars (accompanied by sommeliers) in order to enjoy free samples of food and wine products and participate in educational laboratories.”

On Fridays, PugliaPromozione says, visitors will be able to “experience the nature of parks and protected areas by choosing the several activities to discover flora and fauna in pristine habitats.” Each Saturday, according to PugliaPromozione, “The beauty of Puglia opens the door to visitors…you can discover historical centers with experienced guides and visit cultural and artistic heritage (sites) for free until late at night.”