No we haven’t adopted a dog.
Talking to an Italian lady last Friday who is married to a Frenchman and now uses her Italian for just 4 weeks of the year on holiday here in the house they bought in 2001. I asked her why Puglia ? She replied that they chose Puglia because it reminded her of the Italy she had left 30 years before. What she never thought, she went on to say, was that Puglia would ever be considered the next Tuscany but that since April newspapers and magazines in France were full of that suggestion. I agreed with her, the English press seems similarly enamored with the place. But she said how could they all be ? Puglia she went on is so scruffy nobody could ever compare it to Tuscany, it is stupid.
Today a friend e-mailed to say that her brother had just returned from Puglia after two weeks exploring the area and he described Puglia she said as scruffy.
Wow, two in three days so I checked back at the travel writer A.A. Gill’s review about Puglia and guess what ? He also described it in his opening paragraph as scruffy. Three strikes and you’re out and they are right you know .
I can’t talk for the rest of Italy but here in Puglia there seems to be a complete lack of any civic pride. Take rubbish. Yes the bins are emptied around us efficiently and on a regularity that would have UK residents waxing lyrical for hours but the actual residents couldn’t care less. A Brit nearby who reads this blog occasionally said ages ago do a post on the Pugliese idea of going to the tip. Drive out of your own house gates turn left or right and at 60 kph wind down the window and toss the rubbish out.
The countryside is littered with these packages of rubbish. I think they believe the council will come and sort it out but this morning they came to remove a couple of notices from our community board that were out of date. Did they put it in the large truck the two guys had come in err no
They threw it on the road and it blew to the side.
Like many places the post boxes here are at the end of the driveway and I have watched people come down their immaculately manicured garden from their beautifully painted and pristine house , open the box, sift through the mail and dump all the junk mail into the hedgerow opposite.
We talked sometime ago about the newspaper trying to clean up the mass of unfinished buildings that litter the coastline of Puglia. Well up here in the Val d’Itria and indeed just around the corner we have our own . The strada down from ours would probably be declared an area of outstanding beauty in most countries. The road runs lazily through green fields littered with trulli and the houses all along it are large trulli beautifully looked after and restored. However someone decided to build a small factory there .
which I’m told never ever was opened and now just sits as an eyesore. Further down the road surrounded by trulli that would have coach loads of tourists reaching for their cameras and smart phones there is a large tyre storage area owned by a councillor in Martina and just past that is this
I have no idea what it was for or what purpose it served but now it just sits by the side of the road in a small field.
The newspaper campaign has run into problems because it appears that whilst there are large E.U. grants to restore Trulli, to restore dry walls alongside roads, to restore masseria ( large farm houses) and to plant olive trees. there are none to knock down illegal buildings nor any real laws to make owners do so. Court cases can take twenty years here and so seem not worthwhile pursuing.
This morning’s papers are full of stories as to how the push by Puglia tourism and the Regional Council of Puglia has increased foreigner tourist numbers this year. Indeed the number of foreign arrivals has meant that the region is unaffected by the drop in national tourists.
I wonder though how many got back on the plane and said ” nice, but wasn’ t it scruffy”.