We arrived in Buccino late after a wonderful lunch at Osteria Reale high up in the Amalfi hills. It wasn’t far from the highway exit in kilometers but as we found out, the winding road up the Amalfi hills is deceptively long. We were greeted personally by the Mayor of Buccino in the town hall and were presented with gifts from the town.
The next morning we traveled to Barile in Basilicata for a tasting with Rino Botte at his winery, Marcarico. He is rightfully proud of his Tre Bicchieri award for his Aglianico del Vulture. After the tasting we had another wonderful lunch at Novecento in Melfi. We then made our way to the little town of San Gregorio Magno, known for its Via del Bacchus with about 500 grottos dating from the 1500’s and currently used as individually owned wine cellars. We were able to enter 4 of the grottos with the assistance of a member of the Mayor’s office and also had a tasting of local cheeses, including the fromaggio dei vermi: worm cheese! It actually was cheese with worms in it!
The next day was the 1st Sunday of July and the annual Festa della Madonna. According to local lore, it was on the 1st Sunday of July in 1534 when the town was cured of the Black Plague. It has been held ever since and features a procession of over 1,000 people through the streets, many barefoot and carrying huge candles. Before the procession started we had a guided tour of the historical center of Buccino which dates to pre-Roman times and a wonderful historical museum.
That evening we all went into town for the pagan portion of the festivities with a huge firework display at midnight, just in time for our 4th of July.
This morning we left Buccino early for the next leg of our La Famiglia tour to the Marche area. On our way we stopped for lunch in Ortona, Abruzzo, for a tour and lunch at the Agriverde winery where I purchased a bottle of their Tre Bicchieri award winning wine, Plateo.
Tomorrow we’ll start with a tour of the Sharecropper Museum (Mezzadria) and have the afternoon free for swimming in the Adriatic before leaving for a special evening in Stacciola.