Southern Visions and Monopoli

I returned last night on a flight from Bari to Pisa (first experience on Ryanair) after spending 3 days with Anontello and team in Monopoli. The days were a blend of meeting and planning sessions, getting to know the (many) projects of the company and of course eating and drinking.

Basically it breaks down like this……Antonello owns Southern Visions Travel (google it) which started as a bike touring company throughout Puglia and is now growing to incorporate more “cultural” travel which includes food and wine. My job with the company is to basically do their marketing, but not only for the company but for life in Puglia–an emerging destination for Americans. You can check this out too on the Google–true story. So I’ve been outfitted with a camera and telecamera (video) and will facebook, twitter and blog my head off about my life as an American living in Puglia. Look out for my NEW blog, Southern Visions Puglia, daily life on the heel of the boot. The two might eventually merge in some cases. The other part of the job is doing a little PR….story pitching, press releases and the like. Can’t seem to get away from this but it’s part of the game I suppose. And then some work on the culinary end of things like connecting with US chefs and the whole localvore thing stateside.

So in two weeks I pack up and move down there–hopefully into what feels like the Puglese version of my Marblehead apartment…..just add two huge decks with a sea view. No joke.

I didn’t have my camera, for fear of exceeding the strict Ryanair weight limits so I just have a few snapshots from the cellulare.

Permesso Pronto and South to Bari

Now, let’s be honest…..I’ve had it easy. The whole being here legally thing has been, for the most part a walk in the park for me, compared to others. Horror stories exist. With my application for Italian citizenship I was able to simultaneously apply for a permesso di soggiorno, a permit to stay. I won’t need this once I have an Italian passport in hand but I still have no real idea when that’s actually going to happen. Although I was never told this when I applied for the permesso (at the post office) this little receipt saying that the application is in process grants me the ability to work legally in Italy however as I’ve learned, does not grant me the ability to leave the country and return senza problema. While it’s done with some frequency, it is in fact illegal until I have the official document in hand. And so I am left wondering if three days in the Canary Islands is worth the risk. Some say dai! don’t don’t worry, some say things have gotten lot tighter in the last three years and best to not mess with it. Good news is though that the actual permesso is ready to be picked up! In Campobasso. So as soon as I get to the questura in person I am officially legal in Italy.

Sunday I fly to Bari to spend 3 days with Antonello and the “team” from Southern Visions. If all goes well I will be moving there come the end of the first week of March. Yup, packing up and heading south. By train, by plane….still not sure but south to the heel until the end of October is the idea. From there…..chi lo sa.

That leaves me basically two weeks to wrap things up in Florence, do all the things I’ve been meaning to do here and visit all my favorite spots. No doubt there are things….and people that I will miss in this city.


I just would like to say a few words about the apperitivo. Traditionally it means to have a drink and some small snacks before dinner. Maybe a prosecco or campari and some olives or something simple like this. However, in modern day Italy it has come to mean something entirely different. It is the event you base your entire evening around in many cases. I believe it started in Milan and has moved its way south to the larger cities—I’m not sure how far south, likely not further than Rome. The concept is that a bar or cafe will offer an apperitivo from the hours of about 7-9. This will include a drink and a sampling of food of their choice that they put out buffet style. The cost is somewhere between 5 and 10 euro for food and drink. The display of food can be from large overflowing tables to a very small section of a very small bar. You could have your normal crostini and cured meats or full platters of pasta, roasted potatoes and entire panini. Now you can imagine in a city full of students and people who otherwise don’t have lots of money the apperitivo is a great way to socialize and have a nosh. Meet me for an apperitivo?  But what ends up happening is that it becomes a feeding frenzy for mediocre food (sometimes mini pizzas and french fries) and sitting down and eating a proper dinner never seems to happen. So while I like the concept of the apperitivo, and I go with some regularity with my friends, I’m not entirely for it. Sometimes lively atmosphere and cocktail it’s exactly what you need but it shouldn’t be confused with sitting down to eat dinner. That’s what I think.