We landed in Rome without much fanfare. It was an easy flight and we grabbed a car then hit the road. Castroregio is 5.5 hours away from Rome, but most of it is open highway. It was an easy drive for me, because Cathy did most of it. On our way we stopped at a road side rest stop, where Cathy and I were utterly confused by our coffee choices. I ended up with a lukewarm cappuccino and she ended up with a sweet espresso on ice. Could I replicate that order in the future? Absolutely not. Italian coffee is a super intense and delicious experience.
We ate lunch at a restaurant called Ristorante Pizzeria La Terrazza in a small town called Mercato San Severino. It was a cute old little place without much fanfare. They are known for their chicken, but we each ordered a both of pasta and split a salad. Glenda had the carbonara, Cathy ordered the puttanesca, and I ordered the special raddichio and pancetta pasta. The puttanesca was a bit too spicy for Cathy so we swapped. The owner brought us fresh figs for dessert and they were delicious.
A few hours later we made it to the hotel that Glenda and I are staying in right now. It is called Masseria Stomato and it is near the town of Amendolara. We are staying on a farm with a view of the ocean. It has a beautiful terrace that we relax on and eat breakfast. I love this hotel. The family that runs it are really sweet.
After we dropped off our bags, we traveled to our destination; Castroregio. This is the town that some of Cathy Brady’s family comes from before they immigrated to the United States. 500 years ago a bunch of wealthy Albanian refugees fled persecution from the Ottoman Empire and built a community on top of this mountain. Here stands Castroregio; a town will more steps and small stone alleyways than people.
On Friday night, friend of Cathy’s family (an unofficial Castroreggio ambassador) Ada Saracino had us over for dinner. Her husband’s name is Pietro and her daughter’s name is Erica. We really enjoyed each others company. She served us mussels, eggplant, and more food than I remember. It was a lovely first dinner in Italy. I brought them a bottle of Bear Trap liquor from Rowhouse Distilling in Philadelphia. They really enjoyed it.
My mom and I left the dinner before dessert, so we could drive down the hill to our hotel. It’s a long and twisting road so it can make one a bit nervous in the dark. It didn’t bother me too much, but Cathy worried about us the entire night. My mom and I got into our hotel and fell right to sleep.