Russians have been flocking to Italy. One assumes they love the warmth, the food, the yacht dockage and so forth.
But you never know, do you? You can hardly trump Russia’s historic traditions of spying for fun and international advantage.
A couple who’ve made our coverage of Puglia much deeper and more meaningful, Rita and Umberto, sent us a clipping from the Rodi Garganico online Blog recently.
Apparently the Russians had their minds set upon immortalizing little Vico del Gargano, the evocative “Village of Love”, in a television special.
So what is this Vico? Some people call it “Citrus Land”. Right smack in the center of town is a narrow little “kissing alley”. It all comes together. You need that lemony pucker if someone is coming from the other direction and looks remotely desirable. Then all there is left to do is slide your bodies along the wall and if your lips happen to come in contact with other lips, well, the “God doesn’t want you to have fun” crowd will have to call it an accident, won’t they?
Here’s the thing: Vico consists of a mere 6500 people. But if you were there with your puckering lips on Wednesday, July 11th, you would have seen the cast and crew of the Russian television program “In October” filming away.
The show claims 49 million viewers. Imagine. That’s 7,538.46 times the population of Vico.
Yeah, they also targeted other larger and more popular romantic destinations in the “country of love” like Venice, Florence, Rome, and Naples, but those aren’t little villages.
Vico has an amazing number of places to stay, but not millions.
What will it be like for little Vico to be inundated by tourists? Will Vico del Gargano become the Russian Cinque Terre? Will Italy’s most famous bar/gelateria/pasticceria, the Pizzicato, have to start making its signature pastries and ice cream in huge underground bunkers in China to keep up with demand? Would there be enough oxygen inside the sunken ex-oil mill, now a restaurant called Il Trappeto, to keep hordes of hungry tourists breathing at a regular pace until they could pay the bill? Will there be a new, commemorative spicy primo piato with secret ingredients called Pasta Putin-esca?
There is only one thing left to do for you, gentle tourist. Go soon. Think of orecchiette, fabulous bread, incredible seafood, free beaches, primitivo wine, and happy people fresh from a rousing brush-by in the friendly confines of the kissing alley.
Go to the Gargano in Puglia. Find Little Vico del Gargano on one of the maps. You can walk to the sea and the community beach. You can eat really fresh seafood at a Phoenician fishing contraption called a Trabucco which you’ll find just down the coast from the beach.
If you need a place to stay, try the Pizzicato Eco B&B run by the same friendly folks who run the bar.
Have fun in Puglia.