After a few days on the farm, it was time to move on again. We packed up our bikes once more, sent the scenic-riders on their way first, then, after refilling water bottles and smearing sunscreen all over each other, the second group set off to meet the others.
The landscape began to change- it got more hilly and dramatic- the deep blue of the Adriatic sparkled in the sunlight and reflected off the white rocky cliffs, and danced with the vivid green of the early summer vegetation- fig trees- plum trees, tomatoes plants, peppers and arugula. I had a blast picking wild arugula and capers as I went. There’s nothing like the spicy- strong flavor of wild arugula. One of our guides, Adriana, a local of the area, invited us to her parents’ house for lunch. So we detoured into the countryside, riding until we reached a tiny whitewashed town.
Called Specchia, after the ancient stones (specchie) upon which it was built, the town now boasts the title of one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Our first stop was a tiny whitewashed apartment just outside the city center- the home of Adriana’s parents. They were so sweet. Her sister Stefania and mamma Maria spent the entire day and evening beforehand preparing a feast for us!
Fresh vegetables, local breads, cold salads and soups, gelato and coffee. Mammamia!
Then after a wonderful deep nap, Stefania, who’d written her thesis about the history of Specchia and tourist itineraries, gave us a fascinating tour of the old center, the monastary of the black Franciscans, the underground olive mill and the castle.
Then, in the evening, we continued on our way.