Savelletri. All the best of the Adriatic Sea, in one place
Summer in Puglia might be tough -tough enough to keep your eyes wide shut at night. No matter how many slices of refreshing watermelon you had at dinner: sometimes even the coolest trullo can turn into a warm, steamy oven. But rather than staring at the ceiling and counting the white stones upon, there’s actually a better option that could make a sleepless night fruitful. And yes, it also includes a chance to catch the only gentle breeze you could get in the entire season.
You’ll only need:
-a good pair of walking shoes, if you’re staying in the beach area around Fasano;
-a car or a scooter, if you’re staying in one of the towns down at the Itria Valley, or in a farther town on the Adriatic coast;
-a waterproof or cooler bag.
Just make sure to be at the fishermen shore in Savelletri at 5AM sharp. By the time the bright colours of dawn touch the sea, at least two boats full of the freshest seafood will have docked at your feet. Someone could point at this as the perfect set for Wes Anderson’s next movie, most probably another chapter of The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou, full of peculiar characters and a dazzling colour palette. But if you’re not into hipster directors or if this sounds too scary or cloudy to you, don’t worry -you’ll soon be in good company. Besides the bearded men unloading huge boxes to the closest Pescheria Adriatica, there will be a clowder of cats waiting for a fish to jump out in the struggle to survive.
Early morning walks like this give a unique chance to experience the tones, taste and biodiversity of the Adriatic Sea from a very close perspective. The story of this land comes not only from the voice of fishermen and locals, but also from that of the rich Mediterranean nature around. Fish and shellfish reflect the season they’ve been caught; puffs of Scirocco wind come along with bold aromas of rosemary, laurel and green bushes on the coast, dried out by the heat. At the Savelletri shore, you’ll have this great richness at your fingertips: choose from the freshest prawns and sardines, watch the lobsters moving their big claws from their aquarium, and be generous while buying mussels and clams. Make sure to grab the best seafood for your sumptuous lunch before the community of old local ladies comes. Be brave and bite a tentacle off an octopus that has just been beaten (literally) on the closest sea rock: you’ll never have an healthier breakfast than this.
And then you suddenly realise that the temperature got hotter; there’s much more light than before, at the point that you have to quickly cover your eyes to save them from blindness, and the street is packed with people strolling in shorts and flip flops. Yes, you’re late. No, you won’t be able to go back home and cook the two bags of amazing fish you just bought for lunch. No, you don’t have to beat your head on the rocks as the poor octopus you’ve just eaten. Leave your bags in the refrigerator of Pescheria Adriatica, turn up your eyes and look around: Savelletri offers a great variety of restaurants, ready to serve the same high quality seafood. You can stroll at the sun at one of the wooden tables of Pescheria 2 Mari, while enjoying raw shrimps and oysters generously poured with some of the best local wines or French champagne. If you’re craving for sea urchins, take a little walk to the closest shack, la Forcatella -but remember: sea urchins are only available in those months whose name don’t contain the letter “r”. If you’ve already learned every swear word in Italian, start with the months of the year. You don’t really need that much of information, just pick one of the restaurants on the coast; none of them will let you down, and all of them will give you the real taste of the Adriatic sea. Just remember to ask for the waiter for the closest beach club: after a sleepless night and a pantagruelian lunch, you’ll definitely need an hammock.
Author Francesca Mastrovito