Friday, December 18, 2009

Jewel of the hills...

When I was working for the Italian leather upholstery company Natuzzi, which is located in a town called Santeramo, I used to stay in the next town over called Gioia Del Colle. The name of this town directly translates to “Joy of the hills”, or “Jewel of the hills”. Legend has it, that this name came about when Biancalancia, wife of Emperor Frederick II, was riding her horse through these beautiful hills, and at some point she realized she had lost her necklace. It was a beautiful string of pearls. She searched and searched for them, but they were never found. Despite the loss of her jewels, she fell so in love with the beauty of the area that she decided to name it “Jewel of the hills", in Italian...Gioia Del Colle.

Today, Gioia Del Colle is a town of about 30,000 people, and it’s well known for producing the best mozzarella in all of Italy. The company that produces it is appropriately named Gioiella. Trust me it’s a total joy to eat! In fact, if I was forced to have only two things to eat for the rest of my life, it would be the mozzarella from Gioia, with the bread from another nearby town called Altamura. These two things together can only be described as paradise on a plate!
Every morning as I walk through the town to get to my favorite coffee bar, I see the local retired men congregating near the center piazza sharing the news of the day. And, maybe just a little bit of gossip. In the evenings, you’ll find so many families out walking together hand in hand. It’s a very simple, but wonderful way of life. When it’s time for lunch, the shop owners pull down their shutters, and head to their homes for the main meal of the day. Usually pasta to start, then a meat dish with plenty of local vegetables.

There are so many things about Gioia to write about. Like the state-of-the-art Euro Fighters from the nearby N.A.T.O. base flying over the medieval part of town with the castle built by Emperor Frederick II. But, I will save it all for future posts. For now, take a look at some of the photos I’ve taken since I arrived...

I will take many more photos and post them soon. I hope you will enjoy them. Buona giornata a tutti!◦
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