Spring is in the air in Fethiye and, with the warmer temperatures, blooming annual tulips and a cacophony of drills, hammers, saws and angle grinders, thoughts turn to travel.
It’s a bit of a travel theme on the blog and our Facebook page this week, looking back on past wanderings and, at the end of the week, we’ll be telling you about our vague yet definite (and exciting, for us) plans for this year.
Last year, because we got residency in Turkey, we were able to use the money we’d saved to go and stay with friends in Italy for a week. A couple of nights in Rome, and then it was on the train to Cassino to meet up with our friends.
It’s easy to say Cassino because that’s the place name most people recognise because of the horrendous Second World War battle of Monte Cassino, but a slightly closer place to our friend’s family home is the small town / village of Cervaro.
We fell for Cervaro. How could you not? Look at this place. You won’t find much information about Cervaro (if any at all) in Italy guidebooks and you’ll only find one bed and breakfast in town. Do a Google search on the place and you won’t get much reward for your efforts there, either.
It appears Cervaro is known only to those that know it. That’s the great thing about staying with friends – we would have had no reason to visit Cervaro otherwise, and yet, here we are reminiscing about a special place for us.
The locals of Cervaro enjoy coffee shops, restaurants and local shops. Not a supermarket in sight. This place is a stereotypical Italian idyll which, astoundingly, escaped the complete Second World War destruction inflicted on nearby Cassino and San Pietro.
On a sunny day, smartly dressed locals are to be spotted sipping prosecco while nibbling on olives and squares of homemade breads topped with anchovies. Well, you know us. We were happy to go native and join in that little activity!
There’s also a huge Irish bar which apparently does really well – it looks big enough to hold the whole local population.
Despite drinking in all things Italian while we were in the country (the prosecco and Peroni were going down very nicely), we had flown into Italy after a few years in Turkey – so Barry savoured a pint or two of creamy Kilkenny in the said Irish bar.
And, on the road leading up to the centre of Cervaro is one of the best restaurants we have ever eaten in. We watched the sunset over distant Monte Cassino before heading inside to begin a true feast.
You can see photos of our meal at La Taverna del Colle in our post about all the food we ate in Italy.
And this is Italy, after all. There are more than enough churches to go round for the people of Cervaro (they were the subject of many a photograph for us) but only one graveyard.
We did hear while we were there that this local graveyard is getting a bit overcrowded these days so, apparently, the mayor asked if people would kindly refrain from dying for a while until more space can be made.
Wonder if everyone managed to obey that one…?
There were many similarities to Turkish markets with the tubs of olives, homemade cheeses and quality fruit and vegetables.
Dried, salted fish, shellfish and cured pork in various guises marked the difference between this Italian market and the Turkish markets we’ve visited. We lingered long around those meat stalls…
Cervaro is just over 2 miles east of Cassino in the Lazio region of Italy. If you’re visiting Monte Cassino for the monastery or the Polish war cemetery, it’s well worth a stop off, especially on market day.