Lesina (Puglia), Italy October 2020

It was raining heavily in Contursi when we went to bed last night and it was still raining when we awoke this morning. In fact heavy rain is forecast for the next few days in the Salerno area and along almost the whole of the west coast of Italy. There was only one thing to do – move to the east coast where the forecast is much brighter – and so we set off at about 9.30 for a place called Chieti which is on the Adriatic Coast in the Abruzzo Region.

Chieti is about 195 miles from Contursi and I estimated the journey would take between 2.5 and 3.0 hours using the motorways. In the end, we didn’t make it. In fact we are still 87 miles south of Chieti and that is after 5 hours driving! I went totally the wrong way. In fact, we are now in the small fishing town of Lesina on the Puglian coast of the Adriatic. No matter. We’re not in a hurry.

I don’t think there is much to see or do in Lesina but it is a pretty enough place. It is a genuine fishing village on Lake Lesina just to the north of the Gargano National Park (see the Vieste blog earlier this trip). I say ‘genuine’ because you get the impression here that fishing is what it is all about whereas, in a lot of so called ‘fishing villages’ the fishing has long since given way to tourism. We’ll find out for sure later tonight when we check out the restaurants and tomorrow morning when I check out the local fish market.

What’s to look at? Well, there’s an elegant looking (former) cathedral here, the Cattedrale della Santissima Annunziate. Not sure how it is or why a cathedral can revert to being a church?

There is some history here too in that USACE opened an airfield here in 1944 for 325 Fighter Group (317, 318 & 319 Squadrons) with their P51 Mustangs. It closed in 1945.

When arriving in Lesina we chose to stay at the local Aree di Sosta. By any standards the Sosta is a good one, even having a (very) small bar frequented by local fishermen. The proprietor was friendly and enquired as to whether or not we wanted any local fish, offering also to cook it for us in the small kitchen at the back of the bar. It wasn’t a particularly cheap meal by local standards but it was good and he served it with a very nice white wine from the Istria Valley in Puglia and then, to cap it all, presented us with complimentary liqueurs.

Yes, this is very much a genuine fishing village.

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