It’s time for a festival in Castroreggio

We woke up in our hotel to a gorgeous view of the sea and the valley. Our breakfast was homemade cakes, fresh fruit, and strong coffee. It was really nice. We drove down the hill through the charming town of Amendolara and onto Marina di Amendolara. We stopped by the beach and walked in the water. The beach is extremely rocky, but the stones are round and smooth, so it is quite nice. From there, we drove to Oriolo, saw its Medieval castle and then decided to return to Castroreggio to find Cathy.

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The view from Masseria Stomato.

We discovered that Cathy had not been feeling well and missed mass. She found the local bakery and bought a couple small escarole hand pies. I had more than a bite, they were very good. The entire town had left to go to a wooded area about a mile out of town. This is the festival dedicated to the Madonna of the Snow. This is where the statue of the Virgin Mary stays in the summer. Why does a statue need a summer home? I don’t know, but religion by its very nature is weird. Let’s leave it at that.

It’s an oak forest with a small chapel and big stone picnic tables. There were a couple hundred people milling about and picnicking with their families. There were a lot of vendors and 85% of them sold nothing but junk toys and knock off clothing. The vendors selling local cheeses, meats, and honey were the best of the lot. This included the guy selling pork and sausage sandwiches for lunch. I ordered a sandwich with thin slices of fried pork and marinated eggplants. It tasted great.

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The virgin leaving her chapel in the woods.

After lunch, we left the forest and took Cathy to Marina di Amendolara. One of Cathy’s cousins stayed in the forest and was a part of the 2-3 hour procession to carry the virgin Mary back to town. Summer is over and it’s time she got back to work. After a visit to the sea (Cathy’s first dip in the Mediterranean) we went to our hotel to enjoy the view with a bottle of wine made on our hotel’s farm. The wine costs €3 and was excellent.

After relaxing on the terrace we made our way back to Castroreggio only to find out that the procession was just arriving to the church. Some of our crew was very hungry and wanted dinner ASAP, but Ada was nervous that the town’s restaurant owner may not be open. Ada escorted us to La Tana Del Lupo and asked them if they could make us a meal. They could, so all were relieved. La Tana Del Lupo is a restaurant, but is also functions as a corner store. There are 3 tables on a small terrace. The owner made us each an antipasti plate and a bowl of cavatelli with sausage in tomato sauce. A young cousin of Cathy’s family stopped by and bought us a round of after dinner drinks. Amaro di Capo is good and packs a punch.

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Hand made cavatelli.

The night ended with a band and dancing in the town square. My mom was right in the middle of it dancing the night away. We made it back to our hotel around 1 AM and quickly fell asleep.

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Glenda is hitting the dance floor.

Next: Driving through Italy is a roller coaster

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