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Postcard from Apulia

My sister Tea and I spent 10 days in a beautiful location in the south of Italy. I won’t tell you about which places we visited and the things we made. Instead I’m going to tell you what I learnt.

1. First of all, taking a break from work is productive. Working no-stop all year long is not prolific if you have a creative job. After months spent between deadlines, appointments, city traffic and new exciting goals, I had no more time – and no more strength – to let my mind wander. Getting inspired – by traveling, making authentic experiences, meeting new people  – is part of what I do. All these things feed my creativity.

2. Home is where people I love are. Oh, and my daily rituals, like the coffee pot brewing every morning and the book I read before falling asleep. Everything else is something I can get used to.

3. Saying NO to work phone calls while I am away. Work can wait, my mental health can’t!

4. Getting rid of the things I can do without. I got used to live surrounded by too many objects – clothes, shoes, accessories, kitchen tools. For this trip I packed my essentials and cooked with the only two little pots we had in the kitchen. And – guess what?-  I felt better. The thing is: we should select what we really need, and not just keep collecting worthless stuff. This is the reason why I gave away half of my closet when I came back home.

5. Exploring is better than planning. A good pair of walking shoes is the only tool I really need in order to know a new place. City guides and rigid schedules are not as vital as they seem.

Freak Beach. Our favorite piece of coast.

 

Another corner of Freak Beach.

6. Solitude can be positive and empowering. I can maintain a network of relationships while saving some time to be by myself. Just to sit in silence, to think about nothing and to listen to my favorite music.

7. I’m totally in love with the seaside. I forgot how much I’ve missed it. The waves that break on the rocks make the most relaxing and calming sound I’ve ever known.

8. Beauty is everywhere. For instance, Apulian colors were marvelous: they might come from landscapes as well as local materials or kitchen ingredients. Golden fields, deep blue sea, aquamarine bays, greyish olive groves, reddish ground, brown almond shells, hemp home details and warm white stones. An astonishing color palette.

9. Connecting with nature never gets boring. The trees full of mature almonds fruit I harvested to prepare almond milk, the wind blowing after lunch, the fresh air on my skin during afternoon walks, the golden sunsets from the terrace and the silent nights waiting for the sunrise. And the cook-a-doodle-doo of the neighbor’s rooster that woke up me every day!

10. Slow living is a cure, I could see it in local people’s eyes. They are used to live respecting nature’s rhythms, waking up early in the morning and resting during the hot afternoon hours. The woman who hosted us let her toddler play barefoot in the garden before our house. The locals we met at the market suggested us which products we should buy and why. Maria, the owner of the closest masseria (it’s kind of a farm), sold us homemade bread while telling us the story of her family.

Alberobello.The city of Trulli.

 

Polignano a Mare. Strolling down the cutest alleys ever.

 

Polignano a Mare, Cala Porto.

 

Ostuni. Stone-white, surreal, beautiful.

What else to say? We have been staying in a beautiful typical trullo, built in the 16th century and totally restyled with natural materials. We had no programs, we just lived one day to the next. In all the towns we have been, there were so many streets and so many beautiful buildings – all one needed was to pay attention. Every corner was the right one to take a photo, whether I was strolling around Alberobello or Ostuni. The sunlight reflects on the white stone, which everything is made of, and spread out throughout the narrow alleys.

The best moment of our trip? Maybe the sunset in Polignano a Mare, because it combined some of my favorite things – local food, natural beauty and good time. Tea and I bought the typical “focaccia pugliese”, found a little corner by the rocks and set up a little picnic with a view. It was magical and unbelievable: we could see the horizon turning into different pink nuances until it was dark, and then a sky so full of stars we could not stop staring at it.

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