The heel of Italy and the soul

Once we had landed in the marina at Santa Maria di Leuca, the village on the very heel of Italy, we wandered around the town we had visited two years ago. By chance, as the tourist season doesn’t seem to have started, only Gelaterias were open. We have a gelato test – if the gelato is piled high out of the container, we walk by. If it is level or just slightly higher than its container, we order. The second test is pistachio ice cream must be a dusty olive green and not bright or flouro green. These two tests are fairly fool proof.

Needless to say, the gelato was wonderful at Crema and Cioccolatta Gelateria and afterwards we walked down the street and noticed a medieval fort built to protect against the Saracens.  The fortress is covered in beautiful caper plants, which must self seed into crevices of the hot, dry stone walls.

Fortress - Santa Marina di Leuca
Fortress – Santa Marina di Leuca

This part of the journey finds anchorages and marinas few and far between, we are sailing or motor sailing for 60 miles a day, leaving at day break and getting in late afternoon or early evenings.

Two years ago, we went into the Porto Vecchio at Crotone on a Sunday.  There wasn’t much open and we only saw the very gritty area near the fish markets.

Crotone Streets
Crotone Streets

Yesterday, we walked up to the beautiful castle built by Carlos V and the old town, then down to the beach with beautiful sands.  We commented that it didn’t look affected by tourism at all, except perhaps Italian tourism.  As we were departing this morning, we saw a cruise ship come into Crotone. We realized we were doubly lucky: we weren’t there on Sunday and the Cruise ship was not in town.

On our Western track, we passed the Promontorio di Capocolonna.  In a very small area, we see the ruins of the Temple of Hera Lacina, the Tower of Nao, a XVl century fortress, a church sanctuary and a light house.

Temple of Hera Lacina
Temple of Hera Lacina, in what was once a forest