What do you do when you’re about to write a post about a trip to a town you’ve never visited before and another blog you follow beats you to it?
That’s the dilemma I had when I recently I saw that Santatatiana of Italian Slow Walks had published The Magnificent Via Crucis in Giulianova. In this wonderful piece Santatatiana gives us details about Giulianova (location, history, significant buildings) and also reveals a little about herself. I loved reading it.
So here I am about a week later and I’m writing about Giulianova. The great thing about blogging is that it’s rare that two bloggers have close to same experience at the same place or event so I’m hoping that this post acts a complement to The Magnificent Via Crucis in Giulianova and on reading either or both posts you’ll want to visit this Teramo town.
I’m a sucker for harbours, especially working harbours. Marinas are cool but I like places where people fish, where boats are refitted, where you see nets and lobster pots, where the sea isn’t just a place where people work on their suntan.
I didn’t know what to expect from Giulianova. Another town on the Adriatic with a great sandy beach, perhaps. Pretty but feeling a little empty as the season has reached its end. Yes it has a beach and it has a marina but it also seems to have a relationship with the sea that is unique.
Walking along the pier I took a few photos to try and capture the look and feel on the harbour. The boats of the marina gave way to a stone pier populated with fishermen and fishing huts, almost trabocco like. Looking back from the pier towards the old town on the hill you can see the dome of the Cathedral of San Flaviano rising above the masts as you hear the stays mimicking the sound of church bells.
Giancarlo Malandra is a photographer who lives in Giulianova. If you have the time I recommend that you take a look at his work. As I was walking along the pier I saw a collection of his photographs tied to a fence looking out to the Adriatic. His exhibition depicting the relationship between fishermen and the sea is wonderful; but as it was set on a fence overlooking the Adriatic I thought it was in one of the most perfect exhibition locations I’ve ever encountered. After seeing the images I contacted Giancarlo Malandra and he kindly agreed that I could publish my photos of his images as they contrasted with the sea, the sand, the fence grid and rope knots.
From there we headed for lunch to a restaurant we passed earlier, Ristorante Columbus, just up from the pier. From the outside it looked quiet enough but once we went in we could see it was hopping.
We asked for a table for two and on realising we hadn’t booked we were told that unfortunately they were full. Just then a member of staff who didn’t like the idea of turning away two paying customers worked some magic and a table became available. After some very tasty chitarra alla pescatore, grigliata di pesce and a little vino bianco, we were ready to explore the old town.
Wide streets, space, marvellous views of the Adriatic and a feeling of wealth – that was my initial impression of the centro storico. I can’t tell if Giulianova is thriving these days but based on the villas I saw as we walked from the Cathedral of San Flaviano towards the Santuario di Maria Santissima dello Splendore in certainly is imposing.
I’m a planner. I like to have an idea where I’m going and how the day is likely to pan out. But Giulianova took us by surprise and instead of stopping briefly for an hour or two we spent almost the entire day there. I really loved the town. But I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t realise the significance of the Santuario di Maria Santissima dello Splendore, the Via Crucis and the 1557 vision of the Madonna.
The highlight for me was the walk along the pier. The feeling that life and work goes on after the tourists leave. The day was cloudy and grey but the rain held off and the temperature was perfect for us Northern Europeans to walk around for hours in comfort. Being October and considering the temperature had taken a dip it wasn’t warm enough to go for a swim and the lack of sun meant taking the rays was out of the question.
There are many seaside towns that lose their charm in off season but Giulianova certainly isn’t one of them.