The “green roads ” must be walked at a slow pace, on foot, by bicycle or on horseback in harmony with nature. The routes? The choice is almost endless in the territory of the Monti Dauni, which is proud of an immense treasure, rich in country roads, tracks and ancient Roman and medieval roads.
We have focused on two fascinating routes. The first one is the Appia Traiana, the road from the Roman era that from Campania proceeds to Puglia and crosses the territories of Faeto, Celle San Vito, Castelluccio Maggiore, Orsara di Puglia up to Troia, not far from the Camporeale-Foggia sheep-track where the shepherds with their inseparable dogs led their flocks of sheep from south to north and vice versa for the migratory herding.
The second is the Strada Regia delle Puglie, which was once travelled by shepherds, warriors and even brigands, in a valley crossed by the Cervaro, once navigable and the best way to connect the Vallo di Bovino and the Adriatic Sea. Both suggestions are more than just short tours, but they are an experience worth living that makes people discover a land rich in values and unexpected surprises.
The towns along the Appia Traiana stand like sentinels in a landscape dominated by the spring green or the yellow gold summer. Crisp air and cool shade are guaranteed even in summer in Faeto, thanks to the forests from which it is surrounded. This is a small town by the simple but elegant beauty, noticeable by two characteristics: the delicious prosciutto with the unique taste derived from black indigenous piglets and the local language, the Franco-Provençal that unites it to another small center not too far away, Celle San Vito. But how is it that in Faeto and Celle people speak the ancient occitane language? The use of this language is documented since 1556 but most likely it dates back to the Angevin dominions of the thirteenth century. Celle, which takes its name from a small hermitage with the cells that gave hospitality to the pilgrims who along the southern Via Francigena travelled to the Holy Land, has in common with Faeto not only the language, but also the lush forests in the surrounds and the many sources of water of which it is very rich. Something curious about the town? It’s the smallest municipality in Puglia with only 165 inhabitants. The tall Byzantine tower rises above the town of Castelluccio Valmaggiore, that rises up the slopes of Mount Cornacchia, the highest peak of the region, dominating the entire valley of Celone. Orsara di Puglia is “announced” by the Chiesa dell’’Annunziata located near the village and has the appearance of an austere fortress. The village is a worth a stroll among its churches, palaces and fountains. It has been awarded the title “Cittàslow” by Slow Food thanks to its typical food and also the “Bandiera Arancione”, the orange flag assigned by the Touring Club for its tourist-and environmental qualities. Do not miss a gourmet stopover at the ancient straw based oven where the baking follows an Arabian technique.
The symbol of Troia is the majestic cathedral, or rather its magnificent rose window, the only one in the world to have 11 rays consisting of columns all different from each other. Beautiful also are the two bronze doors by Oderisio from Benevento. Remarkable the palaces rising imperious in the little old town all gathered around the Romanesque cathedral: Palazzo dei Gesuiti, Palazzo San Domenico, built on the ruins of the castle of Federico II, Palazzo Antinozzi, Palazzo Siliceo and Palazzo Varo. It is impossible not to get as a souvenir a few bottles of Nero di Troia, a ruby red wine with great character, and a tray of Passionata, a sweet treat made with almonds and ricotta.
What immediately clashes out here, walking the streets that rise and fall between these gentle peaks, is that some years ago a huge wind farm was installed, in contrasts with the peaceful sheep which graze undisturbed in the landscape below.
Ristorante Salumificio Moreno – Cucina tipica tradizionale, prosciutti
To taste locally handmade cold cuts and hams but also the typical dishes of local cuisine.
Via Maria Petite Pierre, 1/7 Faeto
Info: +39 0881 973205
Antico forno Pane e Salute
Bakery of ancient tradition (from 1526) with a oven fueled by straw.
via Caracciolo, 13 Orsara di Puglia
Info: +39 0881 964826 – +39 0881 709253
Fax: +39 0881 755103
To treat yourself to the Passionata, the little cake invented right here.
Via Regina Margherita, 121 Troia
Info: +39 0881 970401
(Traduzione di Monia Saponaro)