My love affair with Italy started in Tuscany a long time ago but has expanded to other regions since then. The more I traveled and reported throughout the peninsula, the more I discovered new ingredients and cooking styles, dialects that didn’t sound like Dante’s Tuscan Italian, myriad cultural heritages, new-to-me wines, and more Saints Feast Days than I can recount. Maybe, I thought, there’s no such thing as “Italian culture” but rather “Italian cultures.”
The boulevards in Turin, Piedmont, looked more to me like Paris than Rome.
The white city of Ostuni, Puglia, resembled a sun-bleached Greek island instead of a hilltown floating in a silver-green sea of olive trees.
Ponte de Legno in Alpine Lombardy seemed Swiss while the architecture of Modica in southern Sicily appeared Spanish. Yet, all these places and more are the vibrant threads in the glorious tapestry of Italy.
Intrigued by all of these Italys, I’ve promised myself to spend quality time in each of the nation’s 20 regions, roughly the equivalent of a US state.
On a trip from March-June this year, Walter and I checked out Liguria, Sardinia, Sicilia, and Molise.
Molise has been on my radar screen for the last year or so. Travel media have begun promoting it as “undiscovered,” “unspoiled,” and “not touristy.” Can calling it “the next Tuscany” be far off?