My wife and two great friends and I recently traveled to Italy. We planned to see the usual sites, but I also wanted to visit Gioia del Colle, the little town in Apulia (Italian: Puglia) where my father’s father and his parents were born. We visited Gioia after touring Rome, Florence, and Venice. We only stayed two days in Gioia; I wish we could have stayed more. In Gioia we saw a beautiful part of Italy, and one that is not focused on tourism. With Angelo as our friend and guide, we felt not like tourists, but like family. The accommodations at the Cavour were excellent. Angelo arranged for our meals at restaurants run by and for the local population, and there we experienced some of the best dining of our entire stay in Italy. The wines there were definitely the best. We enjoyed the tour of the castle of Frederick II, over 750 years old and perfectly preserved , but we especially loved the Monday morning we visited the little shop where we watched the mozzarella being prepared, the Fatalone winery, and the tour of the Mancino olive oil press.
Throughout our wonderful stay, Angelo Coluccia was the best guide one could imagine. He is reliable, friendly, out-going, knowledgeable, and he loves the heritage of his city, region, and country. It is his joy to share that love with his guests.
We waited too long to see Italy. I don’t know when we will make it back, but if we do, I want to spend a lot more than two days in Gioia del Colle and Puglia. I am happy that my great-grandparents left Italy and brought my grandfather to the United States—if they hadn’t, I would’t be here to write this review). But they must have missed their homeland terribly. If you are dreaming about visiting Italy, make your dreams real! Do it! You won't regret the decision. And while you are in Italy, spend a few days, or better, a week with Angelo: Experience Puglia!
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