With summer vacation now over for most of Italians, the coastal areas are returning to a less frenetic period. There are still almost 4 million Italians on holiday (plus a few lucky Americans), but the high-season prices are down and there are a few secret places I like to go to.
Much of the activity is in the vineyards, or back in the cities, where the jobs are and the concentration of population lives and works. This is one of my favorite times to go to the coast and luxuriate in the sensation of the air, sea and land. Sure it’s a little lonely, this time of the year.
But the harvest is still going strong. Vegetables are ripening, the grapes are filling up with sugar and the bounty of the sea has less demand on it. Did you know right now that fishing has been slowed if not halted in some areas? According to Coldiretti, in a September 2 release, “Fishing is expected to stop at the beginning of the week including all activities from the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Sea as announced by Coldiretti ImpresaPesca, emphasizing that the provision in force until October 1st will affect the coast from Brindisi to Imperia involving seven regions, while fishing has already stopped since August 6th in the Adriatic from Pesaro to Bari.”
So while the fish can now have a vacation for the next month, to repopulate, where does one go? Sicily? The Maremma? The Ligurian coast? Calabria?
There is an area from Ortona to San Benedetto del Tronto, that if I had the time, I’d head straight for. No Languedoc for me, no Bordeaux, no Tuscany, no Piedmont.
This is the time to get to a piece of Italy that has changed very little. Or rather, along with all the changes the world and Italy has seen, this area still maintains a strong identity. The produce, the protein and the wine, this is a place where one can find it all and not at a premium.
Friends of mine go and continue to return there. For years I have gone there. Not lately though. Work in Tuscany has called me, and the West Coast, which for so many years I ignored, has taken me in the past few years. But the East Coast, Abruzzo all the way to the Marche border, there is a spot in my heart for this place, one that will never be eviscerated.
Part of the reason was the connection I had with a friend and the winery he was connected to. This friend, who passed away Sept 7, 2005, was from San Benedetto del Tronto and the wines from Abruzzo that he loved, starting with the Montepulciano, were not mere wines. They were extensions of his land, his identity. When he died, those wines died a little to me as well.
It’s hard to lose a friend after 30 years, especially after having traveled with him, and depended on him for my view of Italy. Since his passing, I have forged a different perspective on Italy and wine. In a way, it has enlarged. Partially because I changed my work role not too long before my friend died. My world expanded. My friend passed to another shore. As well, I needed to make a transition.
See on acevola.blogspot.it