Why Molfetta? Why not? I had heard good things about this seaport on the Adriatic, and just decided to go with it!
Now getting to the town was a breeze, however finding our hotel was more challenging. With a location in the historic center came to mean that there were more alleyways than streets.
So the GPS took me to a Piazza, then decided it was going to take a rest. I found a sort of central agency (Municipio), where the man inside said he did not know the street San Girolamo. Holy smolly, you from here, and do not know it. I am in trouble!
He did locate it, and I took a photo. So if you notice on the diagram Largo Municipo, and go left on Via Morte, San Girolamo is next up. He instructed me to go through an archway, the entrance to the historic centre.
What he did not tell me was that these streets are not really driveable. They are narrow, and the house steps make it tougher. So I find the infamous archway, excitedly go down Via Piazza, and it gets tighter and tighter.
Soon a man is directing me to turn to back up and make a left. I want out. So I have to go down a road and now I am by the sea. I can see the docks, which would be an easy out, but there is a chained gate. Naturally!
So I must retrace my route, go through the archway, and then turn right to end up by the docks. We then have to ask, and end up walking down the same road I came down. I had gone right passed the hotel, but there was no parking permitted!
I tell you this because I swear I am not going to let this happen again when I am driving in Italy, and lo and behold, it does. Dai.. (Italian for a drawn out expressive – why me!)
So we are in the historic center, which is adjacent to the harbour. Molfetta once operated as an independent seaport, trading with other Mediterranean markets like Venice, Alexandria, and Constantinople. It also became a point of departure for pilgrims going to the Holy Land. The Crusades added to the importance of embarkation from this town.
There was a sense that the fisherman we saw represented generations of those in the same profession. Just hard working men. There were some luxury boats, but for the most part this was serious stuff. They tended to their nets, spend their free time in the evening on board preparing for the next day, and with patience needed to dock, bring their catch in to and take to the nearby market.
Being in their proximity, then having a frutti di mare with fresh octopus at dinner, brought a respect for those who harvest the sea.
We need reminded more often that our food does not come from the grocery store.
Il Doumo di San Corrado was built in the 12th-13th centuries, and was right next to our hotel. We saw three or four weddings over a period of two days. It was very barebones as far as decor goes, but nonetheless pointed to the era in which it was built. The two towers loom above the church, and one was a bell tower, the other a watchtower.
We enjoyed seeing the interior courtyards, and the baptismal fonts. It was obvious we were in a place of antiquity and of historical significance. Molfetta did not deliver us to our hotel in the beginning, but did deliver us a great ending.