February 19, Vasto, Italy, John

We left Bari with a short three-hour drive ahead of us.  I originally intended to drive through Gargano National Park.  A place of mountains, the sea, and narrow switchback roads.  After Amalfi, I had lost my taste for this level of driving drama so we passed it by and arrived in Vasto by noon.

Vasto is a beautiful medieval town rising high on a small mountain out of the coastal plain.  Our apartment was in the heart of the old city not far from the cliffs looking over the blue Adriatic.  We could not find a single place to drink or dine because it was Monday in the heart of winter.  Vasto clearly is a summer town for those with local knowledge and my cousins spoke about vacationing here.

Vasto, Italy Vasto, Italy

Vasto, Italy Vasto, Italy Vasto, Italy Vasto, Italy

We had a picnic in our room, having a stash of delicacies previously purchased including wine from our car trunk cellar.  The room was stylishly renovated in a very old building.  In the morning our landlord served a delicious and abundant breakfast on the roof terrace.  Though the town was “closed” we found it a good stop and we left refreshed for our venture into Tuscany.

We have included two pictures of one of the churches in Vasto which shows a somewhat rough and non-descript exterior and impeccably designed and executed masonry.  We found the churches beautifully if at times overwhelming ornate in Italy with often drab exteriors, but with the art and skill of masonry accomplishment at its highest level.

As we travelled north the exterior form became the main show with interior decorations not as ornate and colorful.  Also, the precision of execution of the masonry work became less sophisticated.  Later you will see, starting in the Netherlands and going north, relatively clumsy masonry work and church towers with considerable lean and also walls with precarious bulging out of plumb with large patched cracks, the result of inadequate foundations.