GALLIPOLI – DESTINATION FOR NEWLYWEDS
My husband didn’t want to go on honeymoon, as summer is on its way and he reckons we can have a beach holiday instead. Well I never – if he’s going to be that heartless, he can forget me ironing his shirts; now that we’re married, each husband will just have to pull his weight. And if that doesn’t work, then there’ll be no more cuddles at bedtime.
So anyway, today he asked:
Darling, shall we go to England?
What? I nearly choked on my dainty glass of iced orgeat. How about somewhere a teeny bit warmer?
No Silvio, I’d rather stay here in Italy, there are so many wonderful places around.
Would you like to go to Taormina, Claudio? That’s where our love story began.
And that’s where it’ll end too if you don’t stop torturing that lovely linen tablecloth, can’t you see you’re creasing the poor thing to death? I like the idea of southern Italy, I could really do with some prickly pears and beaches, wow! Let’s go to Gallipoli!
Gallipoli? But you never want to go there because you reckon that’s where all our friends go!
Well now I do! I’ve found some places to stay that are definitely gay-friendly. Down South they pretend not to notice, but they know when they’re onto a good thing.
OK, let’s go for the pearl of the Ionian: Gallipoli is just up the road from Lecce and we could arrange a trip there too.
Then there’s Punta della Suina, a breathtaking beach that looks as if it could be in the Maldives. I imagine myself stretched out on our new beach towel.
Isn’t that the beach where Ferzan Özpetek shot the famous dance scene in the sea in Loose Cannons?
Yes, that’s the one!
I’d prefer a rockier coastline though; let’s go to Santa Maria al Bagno to do some snorkelling, it’s got a spectacular sea floor.
Let’s alternate then, one day of sand, one day of rocks, my love, ok? I smile.
Then there’s the Angevin-Aragonese Castle and the characteristic old town with its beach of Purity, the Cathedral of Sant’Agata, which those in the know call a “supreme expression of Baroque architecture”, the Greek fountain on the brickwork bridge between new town and old. And we simply must go to the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi with its statue to the Impenitent Thief, who carried on mocking Christ while being crucified alongside him. This wooden statue is quite a little masterpiece, you know!
Yes, yes, of course, but we have to get a tan too, I don’t want to go back to work the colour of asses’ milk! And we simply must go for a trip to Sant’Andrea Island, where the pine forest is a wilderness of nature’s finest perfumes.
Love it, he answers with a satisfied grin.
And I can’t wait to try the famous Scapece, that dish of small fried fish with breadcrumbs softened in yellow saffron. And lu Purpu alla pignata, the octopus dish with potatoes cooked in tomato sauce in an ancient terracotta pot.
But of course, my love, just as long as we can wash it down with a fine Malvasia. That’s the stuff. And we’ll go dancing at the Picador, of course, after we’ve popped into the Led Café.
We could also do with a bit of relaxation though.
Of course, darling, and you’ll see, if you stay in one of those trulli with a swimming pool set in an olive grove, beneath the stars I’ll give you a massage you won’t forget as long as you have breath in your sweet body. Ah, how wonderful it is to be married. Whoever said marriage is the tomb of love?
With acknowledgements to Cherina Franklin
Special thanks to Anthony Green for the translation