Tuesday 17 May, 2011
Glad to be back on the coast, if only for one night, just to keep faith with my “Middle Sea” theme. The Romans’ name for the Mediterranean was “Mare Nostrum” (Our Sea). After this trip I might start calling it “Mare Mea” (My Sea).
Not doing very much here, just hanging with my U.S. Marine buddies and drinking a few beers.
I knew that Taranto was a major base for the Italian Navy, but it seems they welcome visits by the navies of friendly countries too.
My first view of a new sea (The Ionian, in the arch between the toe and the heel of the Italian peninsula). Still part of the Mediterranean of course. This part of Italy formed an important part of Magna Graecia (Greater Greece) in the centuries before the Romans colonised it. Apparently Plato once lived here. Taranto was founded in the 8th c. BC by exiles from Sparta. The geography of Taranto is unusual in that the middle third is an island, linked to the mainland by a bridge on one side and a causeway on the other, dividing the inner lagoon or Mar Piccolo (Little Sea) from the outer Ionian Sea (Mar Grande). The fort is the 15th c. Castello Aragonese.
I stayed in an apartment with a kitchen, so I cooked for myself tonight, a simple pasta, with fresh orriecchiete (ear-shaped, the traditional pasta shape in this region), pesto sauce and some good parmesan I bought in a nearby shop.
Tomorrow I am off to Alberobello, famous for its trulli architecture.