October 26, 2016
It is a region of Italy that reveals itself slowly but not grudgingly. Puglia and Basilicata are hardscrabble neighbors, sandwiched between two seas, anchored in sandstone and limestone, used and abused as a gateway to and from other lands.
Perhaps it is because they have needed to keep a low profile, to concentrate on keeping body and soul together, that they have eschewed the snobbery, the flash, the pretension, even, of other more northerly regions. And, because necessity is the mother of invention, these life-hardened agriculturalists have developed cultural life ways that make them special: their cooking, their architecture, their desire for privacy reflect centuries of making life work.
Today, this region of Italy is on the cusp of becoming the darling of travelers who bemoan the trafficked towns and country roads of Tuscany. “This is the new Tuscany, ” they say, but they are wrong. This is not Tuscany at all. This is something – a place and a people – that is completely different.